December 2011

Other Nations Voices

“…living by voices we shall never hear.”

IN THIS ISSUE:

  • Rock stars, factory farmers, & two gifts to the food bank
  • Sister Species: Women, animals, & social justice
  • Creative 44-second ad crusades against pet store puppy sales
  • AETA is challenged in court–and why we care
  • Animal protection laws: 2011 state rankings
  • Sleuthing for fur trim at the mall: faux (as advertised) or real?
  • Leave you wagging & purring

Rock stars, factory farmers, and two gifts to the food bank:When Bitterroot Valley resident Huey Lewis got the news that the Missoula Food Bank was short on traditional holiday fare, he gave his buddy John Tyson a call, and 15 tons of factory farmed chicken was dispatched to a grateful food network. But for those of us who strive to live as far outside the animal industrial complex as possible, a gift to the food bank involves a shopping trip and some soul-searching.  It’s at our blog.

Sister Species: Women, animals, and social justice: It’s not just any book in which you can hear from a woman who describes her former self as a “…vegetarian-but-not-vegan lesbian/feminist/antiracist/pro-peace/antipoverty activist who insisted that everything–racism, sexism, homophobia, capitalism, militarism, etc. etc.–was connected…but somehow managed to leave nonhuman animals out of the equation.” This particular essayist now rehabilitates roosters rescued from cock fighting rings.

Did you know that more than 60% of animal activists are women? Fourteen of them share their unique and vastly different stories in this anthology by a philosopher, activist, and Montanan from MSU-Billings. And how does Missoula’s reviled Malfunction Junction play into it? You’ll have to read it for yourself, but here’s a hint: it has something to do with intersections. Read more at our blog.

No pet store puppies: I bet I’ve watched this brief ASPCA ad spot 10 times and could watch it another five. Give it a look (bet you can’t view it just once!), then visit nopetstorepuppies.com to learn more about puppy mills. Rest assured that the site makes the distinction between those businesses that sell puppies and those that adopt them out–in Missoula, for instance, Pet Nebula works with the Humane Society of Western Montana and AniMeals to find homes for cats and dogs in need. PetSmart also offers adoptions. This U.S. map documents pet stores that sell puppies–including three locations in Montana…Missoula included.

 

NO AETA - click on picture

AETA and our First Amendment rights: A good, concise primer on the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act can be found here. AETA was passed by Congress and signed by Geo. W. Bush in November 2006. Powerful agri-business and bio-medical industry groups (among other supporters, like universities) pushed it through Congress; in both houses, only Dennis Kucinich spoke out against it (read his statement here). According to the Center for Constitutional Rights (CfCR), “the bill was pushed through late at night, with inadequate notice, and with only a fraction of Congresspersons present to vote on it.” AETA replaced a precursor, the Animal Enterprise Protection Act. Clever of the Bush regime to make terrorists out of animal advocates and activists, eh?

Again, from CfCR: “…the language of the AETA covers many First Amendment activities, such as picketing, boycotts and undercover investigations if they “interfere” with an animal enterprise by causing a loss of profits. So in effect, The AETA silences the peaceful and lawful protest activities of animal and environmental advocates.”

On 12/15/11, a lawsuit was filed in Boston challenging the law: “Blum v. Holder is a federal lawsuit challenging the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) as an unconstitutional infringement on free speech. The plaintiffs are five longtime animal rights activists whose advocacy work has been chilled due to fear of being prosecuted as a terrorist under the AETA.” Find short bios on the five activists and more on the case here. One of the activist has already served almost 3-1/2 years in federal prison under AEPA–for maintaining a website. Read the background on U.S. v. SHAC 7 here.

Dennis Kucinich gets the last word (for now, anyhow): He exhorted Congress to make “…a clear statement about ethical principles with respect to animals and how we treat animals in research and other enterprise. These are very serious questions that millions of Americans care about. I understand the intent here, but I think that you must be very careful about painting everyone with the broad brush of terrorism who might have a legitimate objection to research with or treatment of animals that is inhumane.” Amen to that!

Want more in-depth info on AETA? Another good resource is the Civil Liberties Defense Center.

 

Animal Legal Defense Fund

Animal Legal Defense Fund releases 2011 rankings: Illinois is riding high. Mississippi moved from one of the worst five last year to 30th overall this year. Kentucky? Ouch. Only the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa are lower than Kain-tuck at 55 and 56 respectively. Montana comes in at 40 (considered the bottom tier among states) with Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, and Guam ahead of it. Wyoming and Idaho join Montana in the bottom tier–the Cowboy State at 49, Famous Potatoes at 52–for a pretty pathetic Northern Rockies showing. (These rankings do not include wildlife laws.)

Click here for further summary; click here for the full report and state rankings.

Sleuthing at the mall: Is it faux? Is it real? HSUS offers an eye-opening display of advertisements hawking garments with faux fur–but wait! the next panel shows the actual clothing labels, some indicating genuine fur, some indicating faux. HSUS analyzed each item–each and every one features real fur, regardless of advertisement and/or label claims. Learn how to tell the difference yourself with this field guide, then check to see if any of your local stores are named in HSUS’s “petition to enjoin false advertising and labeling of fur garments and to impose civil and criminal penalties” before the Federal Trade Commission. Missoulians will find a Southgate Mall tenant in the list.

I like faux fur as well as the next fashion maven, but do worry that when it’s trendy–as it is now–it a) provides cover for real fur (see above) or b) creates a market for real fur. The shallow and conscience-deprived might insist on the real thing, but the rest of us know that fur coats are beautiful only on their rightful, original owners.

Leave you waggin’, purrin’…
Santa Paws is comin’ to town: Sung by a canine virtuoso.
Christmas lights with a message: adopt!

Happy solstice, happy holidays from Other Nations! Thank you for your animal advocacy & activism, and for your interest in Other Nations.

Onward into 2012…toward animal rights–peacefully, persistently!