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Survey on using animal products

Posted by tinako on May 13, 2015

Prof. Scott Plous

Prof. Scott Plous

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.

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Pets are the opiate of speciesism

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.

Pets are the opiate of speciesism was originally published on Animal Rights Advocates of Upstate, N.Y.

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Wildlife Watchers Vastly Outnumber Hunters in the United States

Posted by tinako on May 2, 2015

by JanineS

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.”

Wildlife Watchers Vastly Outnumber Hunters in the United States was originally published on Animal Rights Advocates of Upstate, N.Y.

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Education Endangers Animals

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.]

IMG_20150412_233130-2The 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.

AIMG_20150411_115527023-1ll 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.

Education Endangers Animals was originally published on Animal Rights Advocates of Upstate, N.Y.

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On Smushing Bugs

Posted by tinako on March 6, 2015

16MENAGERIE-blog480I think this book excerpt from The N.Y. Times, “On Smushing Bugs,” is just beautiful.

I love his wording – a “karmic broken-window theory,” “the oubliette of the vacuum bag,” and his natural compassion tested by “the tiny black turd in my mug.”

I love the picture; this man is about to kill, but he is looking, peeking even though it is painful, and he sees.  He sees an anthropomorphic cartoon ant, but… more metaphorically, he sees himself in the ant, as the Buddha said:

All beings tremble before violence.
All love life.
All fear death.
See yourself in others.
Then whom can you hurt?  What harm can you do?

But mostly I love his humility, his questioning, his looking deeply into himself, looking for the truth no matter where it takes him, even to a cliff or dead end of choices he doesn’t want to make.

This isn’t a how-to essay, and claims only to ask questions, not answer them, so he doesn’t mention that prevention adds a choice between re-washing all your dishes every day or pulling on your executioner’s hood.

I must admit to mixed results with prevention.  But maybe we don’t need all the answers right away.  Maybe looking, within and without, is the path to figuring out how we want to be in the world.

 

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Ringling to phase out elephants by 2018

Posted by tinako on March 5, 2015

I don’t usually just repost news stories, but this one is so close to my heart and so exciting I just have to share:

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/df575148221544f4adaf3bea2adbb635/apnewsbreak-ringling-bros-eliminating-elephant-acts

Mr. Feld says they’re reacting to the changing public mood.  Thank you to everyone who told him what you think of Ringling’s use of elephants.

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Revived AR website with local bloggers

Posted by tinako on March 2, 2015

aralogo521x521I’m in the local AR group Animal Rights Advocates of Upstate N.Y.  We just re-launched our website, arauny.org, with a schedule of local writers contributing to our blog a few times a week.

Check it out and subscribe by email or social media for updates.

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It’s Time for the Canadian Seal Hunt to End

Posted by tinako on February 28, 2015

by Anonymous
As February winds down and we look forward to spring, a grim reality disguised as “tradition” comes forth. The annual slaughter of baby harp seals begins as soon as the pups start shedding their white coats and ice conditions permit. A white, pristine nursery where hundreds of thousands of seal mothers nurse their young becomes a horrifying, bloody killing field.

It’s Time for the Canadian Seal Hunt to End was originally published on Animal Rights Advocates of Upstate, N.Y.

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I was an Omnitarian

Posted by tinako on January 29, 2015

Gary Francione with his rescued pound puppies

Gary Francione with his rescued pound puppies

I’ve been listening to old podcasts by Gary Francione while I clean, and while I don’t agree with everything I’ve read of his, I’ve found an awful lot of sense in these audio commentaries.  One of the points he makes is to stop telling people that vegetarianism is morally better than omnivorism.

This has sunk in, and a concrete effect is that when people ask how long I’ve been vegan, I have made a personal choice to stop mentioning when I went vegetarian, which was 15 years earlier.  I’ve also removed it from any social website bios.  I had been taking credit for that 15 years, but the dairy cows and egg-laying hens are unimpressed, and I no longer want to trumpet it.

I’m vegan.  I’ve been vegan since Easter 2008, full stop.  Before that I was an omnivore.

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The Chain: Farm, Factory, and the Fate of our Food

Posted by tinako on January 17, 2015

chainI just read half of The Chain: Farm, Factory, and the Fate of our Food by Ted Genoways.  It seems well-researched, and though I personally found the history of slaughterhouse labor unions tedious, that does explain how we got the system we have.  Having read Fast Food Nation years ago, much of the material was not new to me.

I expected this book would explore the social justice issues around Big Meat, and I was hoping that would include justice for non-human animals. Halfway through, I seemed to have already passed the chapters dealing with inhumane treatment, and it became pretty clear that this author is only appalled by a factory killing 13,000 pigs a day in that it is unsafe for workers and consumers; as long as we can stop workers from beating or sodomizing the pigs (doubtful), he seems more-or-less OK with the pigs lives and deaths.  I have all compassion for the workers, both American-born and immigrant, and am grateful that their story is being told, and I greatly appreciated the paragraph that found compassion even for abusers, caught up in the system themselves. From other reviews, however, it seems as though I am justified in putting down the book, that I would read in vain for even a passing thought given to asking: Is this system not working because it’s big and fast, or because it’s inherently, *inescapably* violent.

For example, the author indicates understanding that, when you have to move a mother that has been immobilized in a cage no larger than herself for months, and she finds it difficult or painful to walk and doesn’t want to, you have to make her, and that probably means hurting her. He seems satisfied that as a result of being caught abusing pigs while moving them, the business decided to move pigs less.  So… the solution to crippling animals by not allowing them to move is: to keep them from moving even more. What he doesn’t mention is that, on top of the obvious cruelty of immobilizing an animal even longer, the pigs do have to move at least once, to the truck and off the truck to slaughter, and that is where a lot of abuse happens, for exactly the same reason: crippled, terrified pigs. But he never makes the connection that we have another choice.

I didn’t expect this to be an animal rights book, but there was no acknowledgement of this choice, and the omission was glaring. This author is subtle, and often seems to let the facts speak for themselves rather than editorializing, but while you can often infer his discomfort with certain things, there is no hint given that he is not 100% comfortable with the killing.

Violence is arguably never useful, and in this case, it’s so unnecessary, so transparently frivolous: Spam. I was hoping that a compassionate author would make this connection, and my disappointment is why I didn’t like the book.  Would you want to finish a book about injustice written by a racist?  Perhaps an investigation on how difficult life in the southern slave states was for the poor whites, a book which only seems to be bothered by slavery if there’s beating involved?  Being a non-speciesist, that’s how I felt about this book.

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