by Linda Brink [The opinions expressed in these essays do not necessarily reflect the position of ARAUNY.] I was thinking about how Cecil’s last hours might have passed. In the first cool breezes of evening, he would have scented the freshly spilled blood that drew him to the kill zone—the bait being another victim destroyed…
Posted by tinako on August 10, 2015
Posted by tinako on August 3, 2015
By John Carbonaro (The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the position of ARAUNY) Back when i was in high school, we didn’t dissect. That happened at my community college. A lot has changed in H.S. since then, including going from the ‘typical’ earthworm/frog to… cats. The focus on the dissection of cats and the…
Posted by tinako on June 28, 2015
I was tabling for our local vegan society and a GMO Labeling Bill a few weeks ago, and I was struck by the despair expressed by a few people who came up to me. “No one cares, even when they know the facts about animals,” said one woman. An organic farmer said, “Monsanto is so big. People don’t know. Who will tell them?”
My responses? Who will tell them? “Me!!” No one cares? “On this side of the table, I return to the same locations and every year hear from people who have come to care based on the info that I gave them last year. In my personal life, I know several people who are vegan directly because I am.”
While I am sad at the effects of animal exploitation and GMOs, I am undaunted by the scope of the problem, because that is not my task. Someone said,
It is not for us to peer dimly into the future
but to face the issue clearly at hand.
What I can’t do is not my job. My job is to do what I can do.
What other people do is not my job. My job is to do what I can do.
And I can show up with a table and some vegan and GMO materials, stand there a few hours and do my best to answer questions. This is not impossible.
Vegan educator Colleen Patrick-Goudreau says, “Don’t do nothing because you can’t do everything. Do something.”
I thought about all this as I have spent many hours pulling and bagging invasive alien Garlic Mustard from woods by myself (with permission), and knowing I will have to repeat this for several years in each site before the seeds existing in the soil are all gone. I would look up and see a large area infested, but before I could lose heart, I looked down at my feet and said to myself, “That area is not my job. Next year is not my job. This right here within my reach, this is my job right now. Now it’s this plant. Now this one.” I would think about the relief the remaining, native plants will have with this individual allelopathic poisoner gone, and the relief the animals who live here will have when a co-evolved native plant of use to them can flourish. After a while I looked around and the area was cleared. This year.
My son thinks I’m nuts with a goal of eventually clearing an entire woods, but I see no contradiction in attempting the seemingly impossible. I can’t rid the continent of this disruptive pest by myself, but as long as I have sufficient health, and as long as I care, I can pull that one. And now it will never seed.
I tutor inner city elementary students, mostly immigrant refugees, a few hours a week. Will I solve our country’s education crisis? That’s not my job. One week my task was to show 40 kids, not all of whom speak English, how to use a protractor. Done.
In analyzing what is my job, two aspects to consider are, 1. are my efforts efficient and useful?, and 2. what do I do with failures?
As for the first, I try what seems sensible, listen to constructive feedback (seeking out contradictory opinions), watch carefully for results, and adjust. I will choose this path over paralytic indecision. As for the second question, first be sure you have defined failure correctly. If I am vegan, someone asks me why, and they don’t immediately go vegan, have I failed? Not if my goal was to express my veganism – automatic success. If I approach a non-profit and they talk with me about social justice for animals but ultimately decide not to make any changes, did I fail? Not if my goal was to offer a wider view of social justice for their consideration. If I find I could have done better, I can learn and either try another direct approach or “go around.”
Each plant pulled, each person spoken to, each person who sees me rejoice in my vegan life. Was I solving animal and consumer exploitation at that tabling event? No. That is not my job. Was I making a difference? You betcha.
Will you join me? Please consider volunteering for any organization which is striving to make the world a better place, one action at a time.
Posted by tinako on June 1, 2015
The woman in line in front of me was buying a baby chick.
He was dead of course.
And his little mutilated body was displayed in a clear plastic casket.
I could have turned away.
But I felt that to do so would have been one more insult to the short life of this creature.
I had a chance to be the only one to meet him who had ever had a kind thought for him.
And so I stayed with him as he rode the conveyor belt.
And I thought about what his life must have been like.
Only six weeks old, he still had the peeps of a chick when he was sent to slaughter along with everyone he had ever known.
I’m so sorry, I said to him, and I cried.
It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. – Jiddu Krishnamurti
I’m grateful to the person whose car I was behind on the way home. Her hatchback plastered with defiant vegan stickers, I bet “CHICKIDEE” would have understood.
Posted by tinako on June 1, 2015
By John Carbonaro [The opinions expressed in these essays do not necessarily reflect the position of ARAUNY.] In the 1950’s Dr. Harry Harlow conducted psychological experiments on baby rhesus monkeys to research the effects of maternal deprivation on attachment and growth. He created wire “mothers” capable of dispensing milk, and mothers made of cloth which…
Posted by tinako on May 29, 2015
by Linda Brink
Bryan Graczyk recently posted these extraordinarily interesting quotes on AR-Global:
Navajo warning: “If you kill off the prairie dogs there will be no one to cry for rain.”
Hopi Elder: “Water under the ground has much to do with rain clouds. If you take the water from under the ground, the land will dry up.”
Posted by tinako on May 13, 2015
Wesleyan U. Social Psychology Professor Scott Plous studies people’s attitudes towards using animal products. I’m taking his intro to social psych online course and we had to participate in this interesting survey. I plan to read his research, but this survey shows you what the front end looks like (at least part of it – your answers determine what further questions you get, like a “Write your own adventure.” It’s open to the public, so give it a try, help Prof Plous figure out what’s going on.
Posted by tinako on May 4, 2015
By John Carbonaro
We gain physical and emotional pleasure from our attachment-intake. We gain cerebral comfort and pleasure from our singular pet-relationship focus.
They supply a sense of balance and connection between us and the world of other animals. We can then tell ourselves that we ‘love animals’ in a global, diffused way despite our different treatment of them. They fill the cognitive-emotion gap between us and our ‘other’ treatment of animals.
Posted by tinako on May 2, 2015
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website, the USFWS “was created in large part because of the efforts of hunters and their concern for our wildlife resources. Since the late 19th century, hunters and anglers have been the driving force behind much of the conservation that has taken place in this century, and we as a service remain committed to preserving these great outdoor traditions.”
Posted by tinako on April 21, 2015
by George Payne, founder of Gandhi Earth Keepers International
[The opinions expressed in these essays do not necessarily reflect the position of ARAUNY.]
The less humans know about animals the better off animals will be. From the earliest ages children should be taught to simply leave animals alone. If they are curious about them that is wonderful. This curiosity is natural and appropriate. But there is no reason why this state of wonderment must develop into knowledge and understanding. Knowledge and understanding brings with it an attempt to control the object or subject of one’s epistemic pursuit. There is always the studied and the studier, and the studied are the ones who end up captured, confined, killed, dissected, laminated, stored, and written about in textbooks. The most important virtues that we must transfer to future generations are reverence and curiosity rather than knowledge and power. Future generations should be taught how to express gratitude for animals without touching them, how to appreciate their beauty without seizing it for their own, and how to participate in the lives of other creatures without vamping on them. The more our children are taught about animals through books, websites, television programs, traveling exhibits, farms, mascots, food products and the like, the more they will see animals as controllable entities that should be gawked at, apprehended and/or consumed rather than wild and liberated creatures to be simply appreciated and left alone. The truth is we have studied certain species into nonexistence.
All education has done for animals is threaten their way of life. What they truly want is to freely exist in their own habitat without interference from us. Why are we unable to accept their right to be left alone? Why do we want to learn about them? We want to see how we can use them. Does this taste good or bad? Will this make a good picture? Will it move if I touch it? What happens when I do this or that to it? The satisfaction that comes with our “understanding” them is rooted in a primitive ambition for control that inevitably leads to the basest acts of animal cruelty.
Zoos are the worst. What zoos do is transfix people into believing an illusion that animals are comfortable inside a synthetic environment and that somehow this forced confinement is actually helping to preserve their species through education. But there has never been and never will be an animal that prefers a caged world when they were born to live boundless under the stars.
George Payne is founder-director of Gandhi Earth Keepers International based out of Rochester, NY. He written blogs, essays, letters, and op-eds for a variety of local and national publications including the Rochester City Newspaper, the Democrat and Chronicle, the Minority Reporter, the Atlantic, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Campaign Nonviolence, Veterans for Peace, and many more. He can be contacted directly at George@gandhiearthkeepers.org.