NOVEMBER 2016

OTHER NATIONS VOICES

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

IN THIS ISSUE:

  • “Humane revolution” bypasses University of Montana
  • Turkeys Tater & Tot ‘pardoned’ for being born nonhuman animals
  • Video game: Can you dodge the ghost gear?!?
  • In the news: gorillas…dead (Harambe for president?) and alive
  • A game of chicken: kinder, gentler exploitation
  • Gaga for designer breeds; former prez adopts from shelter
  • Saving orcas in the Pacific Northwest: what you can do 
  • QUICK LINKS: Just stuff FYI…without all the blather
  • The tail end: WAG IT!

pig_mamababyHUMANE REVOLUTION…but not at UM: The world is a mess, and getting messier all the time. Yet last May, a New York Times opinion piece suggested that the many strides being made for animals constitute a “humane revolution.” We could debate that, but progress has been and continues to be made. All Gap Inc. retailers have gone fur-free–the last one, Intermix, earlier this month. The number of vegans in Britain rose by 360% in 10 years (article). More countries–Taiwan the latest–have banned cosmetics testing on animals. In a victory for ocean inhabitants, California is the first state to ban single-use plastic bags. So what a shock it was to learn recently that the University of Montana was considering opening a porcine research lab–in the same town (the first in Montana) that banned wild/exotic animal acts in September 2015!  Consider contacting UM decision-makers with your respectfully-stated concerns: Royce Engstrom, President: prestalk@umontana.edu; Scott Whittenburg, VP for Research: vpr@umontana.edu

A word about pigs: Pigs lead complex social lives and show empathy. They’re cognitively complex (smarter than dogs and 3-year-old humans) although sentience is the only criterion that matters. If UM goes forward with this plan, sentient individuals will be inflicted with spinal cord injuries at the university’s Neural Injury Center. Currently–and appropriately–the center “is focused more on human research, such as work with veterans.” For more: “Why animal testing is unnecessary,” here; pig personalities, here. And for compelling reading, “Second thoughts of an animal researcher,” here.

happy wild turkey

happy wild turkey

TURKEYS TATER & TOT SPARED…but death is imminent: Today, in a display of false benevolence, President Obama “pardoned” the presidential turkeys (the turkey industry is in on this gimmick, of course) for the “crime” of being born nonhuman animals in a speciesist world. (Here’s the history on turkey pardons.) But “food” turkeys are “bred for the table, not longevity” (see “The White House’s pardoned turkeys aren’t so lucky after Thanksgiving,” here). Turkeys are bred and fed to be so grossly overweight (more meat!) that they suffer skeletal problems and excessive strain on internal organs during their short lives. Many die from these issues within months of their pardon. So live it up, Tater & Tot!

VIDEO GAME: Can you dodge the ghost gear? – Ghost gear is lost, abandoned, or discarded fishing gear that turns the world’s oceans into death traps for marine dwellers. According to World Animal Protection (WAP), “a staggering 640,000 tons of gear is left in our oceans each year. That gear traps, injures, mutilates and kills hundreds of thousands of whales, dolphins, sharks, seals, turtles and birds annually.” If you’ve visited the Other Nations home page lately, you might have encountered a link to a stunning, sobering photo: a dead 43-foot endangered whale found entangled in fishing ropes. The whale dwarfs the immense flatbed trailer he/she is being hauled on–don’t miss this photo (here). Learn more about WAP’s Sea Change campaign and their pledge to save one million marine animals by 2018. And play Ghost Gear Dodge by scrolling down here.

GORILLAS…dead and alive: First, dead gorillas…one specific dead gorilla, to be exact: Harambe. (If you’ve been on another planet since last May and don’t know who Harambe is–not to mention the meme industry his death spawned–see this.) It turns out that we’re not done with zoo captive Harambe yet–rumors began circulating on the night of the election that 11,000 write-in votes for president had been cast for the tragically-killed 17-year-old western lowland gorilla (CNN lays the rumor to rest here). And in case you missed it, oversight agency USDA “concluded the barrier at a gorilla enclosure at an Ohio zoo was not in compliance with standards” when the child fell into the exhibit. Article (11/18) with video is here

In the news earlier: very much alive and monkey-wrenching juvenile gorillas teamed up to dismantle poachers’ snares (you GO kids!) after the death of an infant in their Rwandan forest home. According to a program manager for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, “they were very confident. They saw what they had to do, they did it, and then they left.” This gives new meaning to the term “animal activist”! Find that story hereFinally, a more recent report (11/17) on climate change and the drought threatening the famous “gorillas in the mist.” See video from the CBS Evening news.

Mercy for Animals photo

Mercy for Animals photo

“A GAME OF CHICKEN” – from Forbes: “Imagine the sight of a 10-year-old girl weighing 500 pounds. She’s laying [sic] on the ground and covered in her own excrement. Her legs are broken due to the sheer weight that snapped her tiny legs. She’s been lying there since week five of her life. It’s simply too painful to move. …Welcome to the average life of a chicken raised for meat.”

Yes, the life of a factory-farmed “broiler” (meat chicken) is hell on earth. Check out the illustration that accompanies this Forbes article; it illustrates how chickens have changed in the past 50 years–from normal-looking birds to freakish behemoths loaded with flesh their organs and bones can’t support. The article touts new “progressive” policies at two giant food corporations designed “to address the extreme abuse in their chicken supply chain”–the result of pressure from animal advocacy groups. But it’s no secret–the only way to save sentient individuals from suffering and exploitation is to leave them off our plates.

GAGA FOR DESIGNER BREEDS: Entertainment media sites are all googoo over Lady Gaga’s latest canine acquisition…a 3rd French bulldog (video & article). Star power and adoring fans (239 *thousand* fans liked this puppy-as-prop photo) most likely translates into a boon for breeders–while 1.2 million wonderful “excess” dogs are killed in U.S. shelters each year (ASPCA number). But shelter dogs aren’t the only victims of this obsession with breeds–some designer dogs themselves suffer a variety of health-related issues. Said one Dutch veterinarian, ‘They were bred to have a smaller skull and a flattened nose. This means they often cannot smell or breathe very well. They can be born deaf and often go blind” (article). But guess which former presidential couple is advocating for shelter adoptions?!? George W. and Laura Bush. They “visited the SPCA of Texas…Animal Care Center last Tuesday to thank them for their great work – and came home with a puppy” named Freddy. Congrats to them for saving a life!

orcaSAVING ORCAS: The 80 (or fewer) endangered Southern Resident killer whales (orcas or blackfish) form the smallest of four resident communities living in the U.S. Northwest’s Pacific Ocean. They’re in serious trouble. Four dams were erected on the Snake River between 1961 & 1975, and since then, the river basin’s wild salmon–including the chinook crucial to the orcas’ survival–have been driven to endangered status and some species to extinction. Despite billions of taxpayer dollars spent on salmon recovery, orcas are dying. The recent tragic death of a young mother (article & obituary) led to the heartbreaking death of her calf. Scientists as well as activists are calling for the removal of the dams on the lower Snake (article). To speak out for salmon and orcas, visit DamSense and click on ‘get involved.’ A 3-1/2 minute video on that page, set to music, does a nice job of telling the story in both historic and present-day photos. It’s also on YouTube. Petition-signers can help this petition reach its goal–it’s getting close.

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

  • Cougar or not? Test your cat identifying skills with this test.
  • An elaborate Hong Kong mall Christmas display promotes performing captive wild/exotic animal. From Animals Asia
  • These 16 dogs are heroes. They are also pit bulls. Here.
  • Donald Trump is agribusiness’ dream come true.” Here.
  • “Animal advocacy in the age of Trump,” National Review.
  • The ghoulish animal experimentation devices you’re funding, 364 days a year plus Halloween, here.
  • World’s first captive whale retirement home could be in Nova Scotia or British Columbia.” Here.
  • Adidas innovation: Sustainable shoes made from synthetic spider silk…and shoes made from recycled ocean trash.
  • Victims of Vanity II: Born Free USA’s follow-up trapping investigation, here.
  • Rare video shows elephants mourning matriarch’s death, here from National Geographic.
  • A new book called “Cat Wars” calls for killing free-ranging cats: a critique (here) by Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Marc Bekoff.
  • “Which came first?” by writer/activist Carol J. Adams. A reflection on feminism and veganism. A compelling Vimeo.
  • Suicide bomber dogs attack Mosul; ISIS detonates explosives using remote control,” here.
  • “What is the ‘natural’ human diet?” Those making the case for the “paleo diet” aren’t going back far enough–or perhaps are going too far. Interesting video, here.
  • Buck breaks into Minnesota fur company drying deer hides, wreaks havoc,” here. You can’t make this stuff up.
  • Burger King piles on the meat in new “meatatarian” menu, here. Why???
  • A Buddhist monk’s plea for the animals (video) is here.
  • What happens when vegans end up in nursing homes? This award-winning activities coordinator for a UK nursing home has given it some thought. Article here.
  • “If animals have rights, should robots?” Long-form journalism; looks interesting. 11/28/16 New Yorker.
  • Should wild animals have property rights over their habitat? Of course they should. I’m just imagining how well that will go over here in rural Montana. Here.

tailendwagitTHE TAIL END: WAG IT!

  • “Dog eats rain out of car window” here.
  • NYC subway bans dogs unless they fit into a bag. Big dog owners accepted the challenge. Here.
  • Finalists of the ‘Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards,’ here. These pics are just crying out for captions!
  • 3 little bandits get a leg up and out of a dumpster–video.
  • Jump for joy: John Lewis department stores (UK) uses CGI wildlife in its sweet holiday ad along with *real* dog Buster the Boxer…here.
  • Turkeys playing soccer: note the beaking violation around 0:50, here.
  • Find even more at the Other Nations Facebook page!