May 2016


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


  • BLOG UPDATES: Scarface – an unjust end for an old grizzly
  • HOW MANY sharks die for a Hong Kong wedding?!?
  • How to avoid hiring an animal rights activist (!)
  • Primate rights in film and book
  • Space monkeys & space monkeys redux
  • Addressing cruelty by teaching empathy
  • And then there were five…greyhound racing states
  • QUICK LINKS: Just stuff FYI…without all the blather!
  • The tail end: WAG IT!

imagesBLOG UPDATE: “Scarface: In the end, the end was a bullet” – Scarface was a well-known Yellowstone grizzly with a fan base in the park. He was also an exceptionally long-lived bear at 25 and in declining health. A hunter’s bullet robbed him of a natural death last November, but the news of his demise was only just released weeks before the May 10th deadline to submit comments on the US Fish & Wildlife Service proposal to delist the Yellowstone-area grizzlies. They’ll likely be removed from Endangered Species Act protection–at which time trophy hunting will be a “management” option. Learn more about Scarface–I’ve linked to some lovely videos of the old guy–and read the impassioned words of a revered elder from the Flathead Indian Reservation. Find it here.

30 sharks die for a typical wedding in Hong Kong – “Consumption of shark’s fin soup is threatening the marine animals with extinction.” That’s the message delivered by a global ad agency (partnering with Hong Kong Shark Foundation and WildAid) in a graphic 30-second video spot airing on Facebook and YouTube. Watch it on YouTube or at this article in the South China Morning Post. Bans on shark fishing and sale of shark fins are  here. Find shark fin soup facts at the Stop Shark Finning website.

Mercy for Animals photo

Mercy for Animals photo

How to avoid hiring an animal rights activist: Nothing puts a crimp in a lucrative, animal-exploiting business model like a nosy-Nellie do-gooder animal activist with a hidden camera (e.g., most recently, undercover video exposed Tyson–yet again). “Successful Farming” at instructs on how to avoid this costly (to both reputation and bottom line) hazard–first by “strictly enforc(ing) the rules and regulations set in place for the humane treatment of animals.” Let’s not forget that standard industry practices are insanely inhumane–debeaking, tail docking, de-horning, teeth-clipping, toe-trimming (amputation), neutering–all without anesthesia. And then there’s the cruelty that, ostensibly, ISN’T allowed! Nevertheless, employers must use background checks, the article advises, and require sworn statements under penalty of perjury as well as contract provisions that, for example, require would-be employees to leave cell phones in cars or lockers. Sounds like there’s a lot to hide in a factory farm. Read it for yourself.

Space monkeys –  On May 28, 1959, Able and Baker–a rhesus monkey and a squirrel monkey respectively–were shot into space by NASA in the nose cone of a Jupiter ballistic missile. Tiny Baker was confined in a capsule not much larger than a thermos bottle (picture at NPR). Check out this 2-minute, 1950s news reel and note how the narration makes it sound like the monkeys volunteered for the mission: “tiny astronauts” –“hitchhikers” –“sturdy little explorers” –“pathfinders.” The pair went 360 miles into space and experienced nine minutes of weightlessness–two years before humans would undertake the endeavor themselves. According to NPR, “Able died just a few days later, during a medical procedure to remove an electrode.” To prove that the more things change, the more they stay the same, Russia is currently training 4 rhesus macaques to be sent to Mars (a six-month, one-way journey) in 2017. 

chimp-CC-Dhammika-Heenpella-article-image2-300x240PRIMATE RIGHTS in film & book: “Unlocking the Cage,” a recently-premiered documentary, “follows animal rights lawyer Steven Wise in his unprecedented challenge to break down the legal wall that separates animals from humans” (from the film’s Facebook page). According to a film review from the New York Times, “Mr. Wise has argued that animals should have the legal status of persons. …not that they should be classified as human, but rather that their rights should be acknowledged and protected under the law.” Read a Sundance review here; watch the film trailer here. Will this film do for chimps what “Blackfish” did for orcas?
“Prolegomenon Towards a Primate Rights Bill” is a 150-page book that doesn’t depend on personhood to assert natural and legal rights for primates: “Instead, the foundation is that natural rights come from the faculty of autonomy, sentience, and the potential to suffer.” The rights are laid out in 31 articles (e.g., Article 24: “All primates have the right to rest and leisure, and therefore should never be enslaved to work for the benefit of any other primate group.”) Learn more here

Addressing cruelty by teaching empathy: As I prepare this newsletter, a story (view it here) makes the news about three young teenage girls in Florida who repeatedly threw a companion rabbit against the wall and kicked the small, defenseless animal, then uploaded video of the deed to social media. Is the availability of social media driving this horrifying behavior in any way? Is it allowing people with cruel tendencies and no empathy to act out–publicly–for groups of like-minded peers? It’s baffling–and distressing and frightening. Can empathy be taught? Animal advocacy group Red Rover (“Bringing animals from crisis to care”) says ‘yes’; watch their video, “The power of animals to teach children empathy” (3:43 minutes) here. FYI in case it’s useful to anyone–“The difference between sympathy and empathy,” an animated video (2:51 min.). Here.

And then there were five… We’ll get to greyhound racing in a moment. Let’s start with the Preakness and the deaths of two race horses. I may have posted this link previously, but humor me and click on this Horse Racing Wrongs link and scroll through the list of horses killed in action on U.S. tracks in 2015. Shocking, no? And it doesn’t include horses who died off-track! A couple of high-stakes, high-profile deaths–tragic and outrageous as they are–represent an entire world of animal suffering and death. Stay tuned for the Belmont Stakes (6/11) and its $1.5 million purse. Meanwhile, GREY2K USA is chipping away at dog racing states–recently, live dog racing came to an end in Arizona. Just five states are left with active tracks–view the US map with status by state here. Hundreds of racing greyhounds are up for adoption–see GREY2K for info. Forcing nonhuman animals to race (or fight) for human ego, recreation, and greed is just one of many ways speciesism manifests itself in our species.  

quicklynxQUICK LINKS: Just stuff FYI–without all the blather!

  • “Harambe’s rights were violated long before his tragic death” – all the finger-pointing blame (the mother! the zoo!) misses the underlying problem. Stephen Wise of the NonHuman Rights Project explains it here.
  • “Deciding to die: Dolphin suicide” – at Sonar
  • “Just like you” – a beautiful, 3:30 min. Vimeo exploring the ways humans are just like cetaceans–along with one big difference.
  • “The top 3 ways animal experiments hurt humans”: this article opens with a very thought-provoking question that puts this topic in perspective!
  • Photo essay on a Chinese “pet” cemetery – here.
  • Intelligence(squared) debates: See pre-debate and post-debate poll results based on the motion that hunters conserve wildlife.” Submit your vote in the online poll.
  • “How animals think: A new look at what humans can learn from nonhuman minds” – in The Atlantic.
  • “Are animals ‘persons’? Or just cute objects capitalism can save? Animal rights enters a strange new era” – in Salon.
  • “Animals are not brain food”: “Contrary to the popular claims, eating meat did not make our brains bigger or our species smarter.” At
  • “The grisly truth behind billionaires’ wardrobes”: Documentary exposes how caged animals are slaughtered to create luxurious coats worth 1million Euros. Here.
  • Mexico: “Beating small animals could end in Citilcum”tradition is never a legitimate defense for brutality! Here.
  • “Eating animals: Addressing our most common justifications” – here.

tailendwagitThe tail end: WAG IT!

  • Kitty plays with ingenious toy…until the dog barges in. *sigh*
  • Mom raccoon has her hands full -or- “I love a (vertical) parade!” – Other Nations Facebook page
  • Summer: Kids, dog, sprinkler. Other Nations Facebook page.
  • Partially-paralyzed & abandoned: Tiny kitten speeds around hospital in Lego wheelchair! – here
  • Helping a wild corvid with embedded porcupine quills (squawk!) – here
  • Ha ha, these folks don’t need one of those “wipe your paws” doormats!!! – here