November 2013


“…living by voices we shall never hear” (see our slideshow)


  • Blog updates: dogs & wolves; plastic whale; recruiting kid hunters
  • Put your two cents in for wild animals
  • Holiday gift ideas that support good work (attn: Pearl Jammers!)
  • Thanksgiving goes Hollywood – Free the birds!
  • In the land of fur coats…one woman’s awakening
  • The Ghosts in Our Machine – now playing
  • Quick links – just FYI, without all the blather
  • The tail end: Wag it! This month, it’s about gratitude

Stay in touch between newsletters…“like” Other Nations on Facebook!


Little Dave - courtesy photo from Facebook

“Hunter kills companion dog: I thought it was a wolf”
It wasn’t hard to see this tragedy coming. Really, it was just a matter of time–not if it would happen, but when. And a six-month wolf hunting season only increases the odds for more tragedy under the Big Sky. Read more, including an anguished, first-person account from the dog’s guardian.   Photo at left: the late Little Dave

WhaleDistant“The Plastic Whale Project: Turning advocacy into art and art into advocacy” The Plastic Whale migrated through Missoula, MT last month, and the beautiful creature (made of 9000 plastic shopping bags!) bearing a sobering message about ocean trash drew a crowd of appreciative whale watchers.  This post was written exclusively for Encyclopedia Britannica’s Advocacy for Animals, so we’re sending you over there

How does the hunting industry recruit new youth hunters? Could T-shirt slogans that link identity to hunting be part of the strategy? Decide for yourself after reading “Bad advice: Homework is for kids who don’t hunt.” You’ll find it here.

Two cents…two or 20 minutes…whatever it takes…time to act!
Native wildlife need your help. Here’s the lowdown: Support a proposal to list wolverines (rare, forest carnivores) under the Endangered Species Act – 12/2 deadline; oppose a rule to remove gray wolves from the list of threatened/endangered animals (but to maintain protection and expand recovery efforts for the Mexican wolf) – 12/17 deadline; and just say NO to a ridiculous, harmful, wasteful plan by Montana’s Dept. of Livestock to vaccinate wild, native bison in the Yellowstone area. WHAT??? Visit our “Act” page where we’ve assembled the info.

A few gift ideas for animal activists…
We love supporting nonprofits when it comes to gift-giving. And because wild bison advocacy is hugely important here at Other Nations, we want to let you know about the merchandise available that supports the work of the grassroots Buffalo Field Campaign located in West Yellowstone, MT. Here’s the merch page, but don’t forget about the benefit license plate–a legal specialty plate for Montanans and a decorative novelty plate for the rest of ya! Yes, you can have it personalized. Pearl Jam and BFC? Got you covered there, too. An even easier gift, especially for those who don’t need more stuff in their lives, is a contribution to a favorite nonprofit (shelter, sanctuary, advocacy group, etc.) in someone’s honor. Most places will send your recipient an acknowledgement of your gift, or, like the Blind Cat Rescue & Sanctuary, post it right online (scroll down to the Christmas tree here).

From Mercy for Animal’s blog: “Free Birds” tells the story of two turkeys who travel back in time to the first Thanksgiving in hopes of putting an end to the tragic tradition of eating turkey. Read more and watch the trailer here. The movie hasn’t gotten great reviews (OK, here’s one good one)–wonder if that’s because it really isn’t very good…or because the message flies uncomfortably in the face of a tradition we refuse to examine? Here’s the Butterball truth, for anyone who dares to look.

And for the ultimate in emotional conflict,  check out the writer who doesn’t want to be “forced to face my own hypocrisy” about killing and eating animals and so refuses to take his kids to see “Free Birds” because it will “completely wreck Thanksgiving.” Ouch.

Whenever I get discouraged about the long road ahead in the struggle for animal rights (and this is often), I stop to think what life must be like for activists in countries where such ideas are only just emerging. Think China, for instance, or Viet Nam. Or Russia. An interesting article from Radio Free Europe tells about one Russian woman whose activism was born while she was shopping online–for another fur coat. Once she found out about the hidden animal suffering in each coat, she had this to say:

“Of course it’s a cause of constant shame. How was it possible to live for so many years, never pausing to wonder and understand that what you’re consuming is in actual fact perpetuating cruelty and barbarism? It’s a mystery to me and a shame. It’s a reason I want somehow to make up for this guilt and at least do something.”  Article: “In the land of fur coats, an embryonic animal-rights movement.”

By the way, the Friday after Thanksgiving is designated Fur-Free Friday!

GhostsMachine460x261THE GHOSTS IN OUR MACHINE 
Back in Aug. 2011 we learned about an intriguing new documentary that was just getting underway, and we shared that info with early readers of our newsletter. The documentary is now premiering in major markets to positive reviews like this one, from the LA Times.

Who are the ghosts? From the ‘about’ page at the film’s website: “From food and fashion to entertainment and product testing and research, the Ghosts are the animals used within industries as commodities for our consumer goods.” The machine is our highly mechanized world, “the infrastructure required to feed consumer demand,” in the words of the LA Times film critic. She also writes:

A shot of piglets going at a milk pan is adorable, the way they snuggle together afterward suggests sentient beings making choices. They are the “ghosts” of the title, forgotten when we grab that leather handbag, bake Thanksgiving turkey, or use life-saving drugs.

quicklynxQUICK LINKS: Just FYI–without all the blather

  • Maneka Gandhi tells animal rights groups: Be proactive (in The Hindu) (more about Maneka Gandhi)
  • Introducing “Bleating Hearts: The Hidden World of Animal Suffering” – a new book
  •  10 things everyone should know about free-range turkeys – mainly, it’s a marketing term meant to fool consumers…here.
  • “V is for Vegan” – a new kids’ book. Scroll down here for video trailer.
  • This is 2-plus years old, but what a story: Thai elephant gets new prosthetic leg – article & video.

tailendwagitTHE TAIL END: WAG IT!
It’s possible that we’ve posted a couple of these videos before…but you’ll probably agree that they’re worth another look. Wishing you a happy and gentle Thanksgiving from Other Nations!

  • Something to be thankful for: the rescue of a single turkey from a “free range” farm just days before Thanksgiving – here
  • In the Arms of an Angel: A touching tribute to animal rescuers by EVOLVE! Campaigns – here
  • Gloria Gaynor (or Gobbler): “I will survive” – here
  • Not animal-related, but oh-so-beautiful: all about the power of compassion and gratitude to change lives. What goes around, comes around. Don’t miss this one. Here.