February 2012

OTHER NATIONS VOICES

“…living by voices we shall never hear.”

In this issue:

  • Your Mommy Kills Animals: Missoula showing, March 8th
  • All factory, no farm: And the CAFOs go rolling along
  • Shelby, MT: Hog butcher for the world? (or at least China?) 
  • Double-deck trailers: Montana’s senior senator gets it wrong
  • Trapping in MT series on local TV; trap release workshop scheduled
  • Susan G. Komen’s other gaffe: Animal testing
  • How (not why) did the chicken cross the road?!? A gem of a story
  • Heloise goes all animal rights
  • The tail end: Wag it!

Your Mommy Kills Animals (catchy title!)
Other Nations teams up with the University of Montana’s Peace & Justice film series to show “Your Mommy Kills Animals” on Thursday, March 8th, 7:00 pm, Gallagher Business Building (campus map), room 122. Free admission, donations appreciated ($2 suggested).

Sometimes irreverent and whacked out, both funny and scary in turns, maddening on some levels, sobering on others, a film that features (in part) criminal destruction of property in the name of animal rights might seem like an odd choice for a persistently peaceful group like Other Nations. But the larger discussion is about First Amendment rights and how far legislation like the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act might go toward curtailing the rights of even peaceful protesters. See our December newsletter for background info on AETA. 


All factory, no farm–coming to Montana?
“Stench alerts.” Massive fish die-offs. Allergy to manure dust that causes eyeballs to swell. Legislation to protect the perps instead of the citizen victims. Charges of eco-terrorism (and even links to Al-Qaeda, for crying out loud!) directed at those who criticize. Animal suffering on a horrifically massive scale. Is anybody out there listening?!? It’s at our blog, with links a-plenty to bring you up to snuff on the dirty, inhumane business of industrial animal production.

Other blog entries since our last newsletter: “An animal rights Super Bowl fantasy,” and “Happy Groundhog Day! Now get outta here, varmint!”

Shelby: Hog butcher for China? (apologies to Carl Sandburg and Chicago)
“No governor in Montana history has sent more bison to slaughter than this governor” bragged Gov. Brian Schweitzer when speaking of the livestock industry’s trumped up charges against America’s last pure, genetically-diverse, wild and migratory bison in the Yellowstone area. With so little respect for native wildlife, we can’t expect compassion for domestic pigs. The governor is makin’ bacon with Chinese investors, hoping to land a $150 million plant that “processes” 1.2 million pigs per year, double that with 24-hour production. “It’s a neat idea, a neat concept,” said Shelby’s mayor.

But CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations, also known as factory farms) are environmental disasters, polluting land and surface water, emitting dangerous toxins into the air, contaminating wells, and making people sick. Visit our new “issues” page on factory farming; then, if you call the Treasure State your home, consider contacting the governor. His address is listed at the link.

Equine Protection Network-click on photo

MT senator works for the rodeo and slaughter industries
“A proposal in Congress to ban the transportation of horses in double-deck trailers would place ‘undue burden on rodeo operators across Montana and the country,’ says Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.” (Missoulian article). Yup, looking out for rodeo operators–that’s what we sent him to Congress to do. The bill, S.1950, is the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act of 2011.

Meanwhile, a duel has commenced in the House (HR 7). According to a 2/19 article in the Baltimore Sun,

Animal-rights groups say double-deck trailers, in which animals are stacked atop each other, do not provide the 7 to 8 feet of clearance horses need to raise their heads, which they must do to maintain balance. The horses can fall and potentially break their legs or necks, advocates and some owners say.

“They have a tendency to slip, and as a result they can fall under another horse,” said Nancy Dawn Ashway, who stables about 20 horses on her farm in St. Michaels and who travels around the country as a judge of horse shows. “The fact is it’s unsafe for the animal no matter where they’re going.”

The bill “inadvertently attacks Western states and rodeo culture,” said the spokeswoman (for a Colorado Republican).

Animal-rights advocates say most of the trailers — even those modified for use in rodeos — provide at most 71 inches of height, less than the average 84-inch to 92-inch height of a horse. The height of an average house door is 84 inches.

A five minute video from Showing Animals Respect & Kindness (SHARK) reveals rodeo cruelty and transport suffering and hazards. And of course, horses are transported to slaughter in this manner, too, another of Sen. Baucus’s projects (see “Senator leads charge to end ban…” on horse slaughter). Visit the Equine Protection Network for much more on horse transport. First-person account of a double-deck trailer accident here. Contact info: Senators Baucus & Tester; Rep. Rehberg

Trapping in Montana, a 2-part series from local KPAX TV
A couple of the timeworn nuggets you’ll hear:  trapping is “tradition”; trappers care more about the animals than anyone else; and some circular illogic from an expert: ”(Trappers are) the ones that are out there, they know that species and those areas probably better than most people and to me, that’s a real positive component because it’s getting people out in the wild.” View the two segments here, and note that part one is the far-right of the two small screens below the large screen. The segments are roughly three minutes long. 

Trapped Pet Release Workshop on Saturday, February 25, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Humane Society of Western Montana, 5930 Hwy 93 South, Missoula, MT 59804. Learn how to act quickly and potentially save your companion animal’s life. Sponsored by Footloose Montana, a nonprofit educational organization promoting trap-free public lands for people, pets and wildlife. Call 274-7878 for more information, or e-mail info@footloosemontana.org

Komen gets an earful, and then some
“Komen does women a disservice by continuing to channel funds into animal tests, while other cancer charities have moved on from such old-fashioned abominations or never engaged in them to begin with. From a purely human, female perspective, the fact is that animal experiments often delay effective treatments. Take Taxol, an important breast cancer drug, for example: It was shelved for years because animal tests indicated that it was ineffective. Later, after animal tests were dropped in favor of more accurate tests on actual human cancer cells, Taxol was found to be one of the most effective cancer treatments available.”  ~Ingrid Newkirk
Read the entire essay at Huff Post Green.  

Factory farmed rescues, Chocowinity Chicken Sanctuary, NC - click on photo

HOW did the chicken cross the road?
Although most might ask why, I’m asking how. Two disabled chickens eventually named Thelma and Louise (Louise was subsequently and more accurately renamed Louie) were rescued from certain death by New Dawn Montana farmed animal sanctuary in the Bitterroot Valley. With only two good legs out of the three legs they possessed between them, they almost found their retirement home at New Dawn. But their special needs were too great even in this compassionate sanctuary setting, and through New Dawn’s redoubled efforts, they eventually came to roost with a bird rehab specialist. 

The point of this little gem of a story? That the lives of two humble chickens mattered to so many people. It’s something to cling to when sickened to despair by our species’ abject loss of humanity–a loss that enables a million–two million–pigs to be considered nothing more than production units to suffer and die for economic gain. The story of two disabled chickens encountering a chain of saviors who recognize their needs, feed them, transport them hundreds of miles, house them, and find for them the appropriate care stands in stark and merciful contrast to the takers and killers and profiteers.

The story of two disabled chickens reminds me that there’s an army of compassionate justice-seekers who go to the same lengths for abandoned cats, abused dogs, too many rabbits, old donkeys, slaughter-bound horses, discarded cows and gimpy goats–and includes those who donate money, volunteer at shelters, write letters to editors, stand in public holding signs, work for legislation, and refuse to eat the products of suffering. 

But still. The apparent ease with which a proposal can be made to squander as many as 2.4 million lives per year leaves me wondering: What are we doing wrong? What are we not doing that we should be doing? How can we possibly do more? Would changing our words change our world? What should we say? I’m at a loss.

Love those AR-friendly cleaning products
Am I the last person on Earth to discover Method cleaning products? Available at Target? Reasonably priced? Vegan and cruelty free? Is there anything here to not love?

The tail end: Leave you wagging!
Because pigs are a current concern, here’s an endeavor that “…enables humans to play with an animal they normally only consume as meat.” Your turn, dude!

“The Playing with Pigs project is researching the complex relationship we have with domesticated pigs by designing a game. Designing new forms of human-pig interaction can create the opportunity for consumers and pigs to forge new relations as well as to experience the cognitive capabilities of each other. The game is called Pig Chase.”

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
~Dr. Martin Luther King