Feb 2011


“…living by voices we shall never hear”

February 2011 In this issue:

  • ‘Lucky’ year of the rabbit not so lucky for the rabbit
  • Kids these days…are awesome!
  • Alberta oil sands project a human & animal rights issue
  • Record-breaking circus lion rescue in progress
  • Retire the Alamogordo chimps! You can help
  • Montana legislative session: no love for the Animal Kingdom
  • New at the Other Nations website
  • Leave you smiling: Funny animal voiceovers from the BBC

The Chinese lunar new year arrived earlier this month, and with it, the Sign of the Rabbit (hare, in China).  People born under this sign are said to have many desirable personality traits–kindness, sensitivity, and graciousness; good luck is usually mentioned, too.  The oh-so-lucky rabbit!

Remember rabbit’s foot keychains? I actually had one when I was a kid in the ’50s. It was dyed an unnatural color, had a metal cap (over the leg bone, I suppose) and one of those silver bead chains. (Why I had it, how I got it, what I thought of it–these details are lost to me now. The whole scene is inexplicable and bizarre.) Sorry to say, Amazon.com (and many others) still sells them if you’d like to have a word with them about it. They were considered lucky talismans for humans–but for the rabbit, not so much.

If you’ve ever seen undercover footage of fur farming, you know there are no lucky bunnies there, either.  Now imagine fur farming in China (you’re on your own for this one; try googling rabbit fur farming China–just reading through the hits is horror enough). Animal protection laws are nonexistent, and although China has drafted animal protection legislation, it seems likely that it hasn’t yet been adopted.

Why must sentient creatures–beings with emotional lives, who feel pain, who suffer–endure such hideous existences?

‘Rabbit is a very popular and economic component fur type and features strongly in many ready-to-wear lines as well as in street fashion,” according to a spokesman for the Hong Kong Fur Federation. “Rabbit is very versatile and easy to work with which makes it popular with ‘fashionistas’ around the world.”

Ah, yes, the fashionistas and the bottom line.

Getting back to those Sign of the Rabbit personality traits–another trait frequently mentioned is longevity.  Luck and longevity. A fur farmed rabbit has neither, and in that particular instance, a short life is a merciful thing.      ~K.S.

See “Fur Flies Over Wearing of Skins in Chinese Year of Rabbit;” click here to read.

Makes me wanna say thanks! Read and view here.

Other Nations has joined the All Against the Haul network (click here to see supporting groups).  Why? Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil intends to establish an industrial corridor through the Northwest to haul mega-loads of foreign-manufactured equipment to the Alberta oil sands (or tar sands) project. Ultimately, this project dooms a large swath of Canadian Boreal forest, native people, and native birds and animals, destroying forest habitat the size of Florida while unleashing devastating amounts of pollution and greenhouse gas.  Check out these photos to see what’s at stake. Taken together, the first two are enough to make you weep for the Earth.

Heart of the Monster by Rick Bass and David James Duncan addresses the issue and what it means for Montana, Canada, and the planet.  Bass: “The entire world is wanting to dig up Alberta, and wants to come through Montana–our little backroads, our scenic byways–to do so.” Locally, the industrial haul will commandeer a wild & scenic river corridor as well as the Nez Perce and Lewis & Clark historic trails. The authors have likened the tar sands project to an act of war against the Earth; Natural Resources Defense Council has issued a grim report detailing lethal mining effects on migratory bird populations. Read a synopsis (or the entire report), view a slideshow of threatened birds, and enjoy an audio birdsong feature here. Serious birders can check out the Boreal Songbird Initiative.

But let’s give the children the last word.  Keepers of the Water is a short documentary created by Fort Chipewyan native kids living just downstream from the tar sands, “the most environmentally polluting industrial project in the world.”  They can’t drink their once-pure North Woods water anymore and their people are dying of rare cancers. Please watch their four-minute video.

Photo courtesy of ADI

Animal Defenders International has rescued 25 circus lions from deplorable conditions in Bolivian circuses.  Lions from three months old to an elder of 15 years will find new homes at The Wild Animal Sanctuary, “the oldest and largest nonprofit sanctuary in the U.S. dedicated exclusively to rescuing captive exotic and endangered large carnivores.” To view a photo essay on the big cats’ beautiful new home, click here. Bolivia’s Law 4040 bans the use of animals in circuses; it was enacted with ADI’s involvement and is the first full ban and circus animal evacuation in the world.  Read about the lion rescue here; visit ADI to learn more about their global Stop Circus Suffering campaign, active in Europe, So. America, and the USA.

They’ve spent their lives in cages, subjects of invasive research. Now they are to be transferred to Texas–not to sanctuary, but to another lab. Watch a short video from “Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell” (no graphic images).  If this woman doesn’t get you fired up, nothing will! Then visit Retire the Chimps for more info, more media, and to learn how you can help 186 suffering individuals.

EASY ADVOCACY: The Great Ape Protection Act will end invasive research and testing on an estimated 1000 chimps still cowering and going insane in laboratory cages. Use this site (look for “Campaign Links”) to determine if your U.S. House representative is one of the 161 co-sponsors, and if your two senators are among the six (six?) Senate cosponsors.  (None of the Montana delegation has signed on.) A few lines down, click “Find your legislator.” You’ll get their contact pages–ask them to co-sponsor the bipartisan Great Ape Protection Act. Please do this for the thinking, feeling beings who need our help.

Other Nations has added a feature to our “widgets” column (the narrow column to the right)–a quick how-to on contacting your legislator and tracking bills important to you. The legislative session is moving quickly, with an abundance of bills (good, bad, ugly) churning through committees and chamber votes. Here are a few to keep an eye on (there are many others):


SB 112 Allowing hand-thrown spears to kill animals during general hunting season (referred to House Fish, Wildlife & Parks committee)
HB 390 Regulating and inspecting dog breeding facilities–a puppy mill bill; hearing held 2/10, no further action indicated
SB 220 Adds “knowing spectator” as a person who commits an offense of animal fighting; tabled 2/16 in the Senate Agriculture, Livestock & Irrigation committee
HB 482 Wild bison conservation–defines bison as native wildlife and restores management to MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks; died in committee on 2/17, 6-14 vote
HB576 Reclassify mountain lions as predators and eliminate the need for mountain lion hunting licenses (predators can be shot year-round by both residents & nonresidents; read about recreational predator killing here
SB 207 Defines wild bison as livestock; out of committee
SB 108, 142, 143, 348 A slew of anti-wolf & grizzly bills from Debby Barrett, R-Dillon; read about some of them here. Do you feel the love yet?  Me neither.

When we kicked off Other Nations last October with a film screening of “The Witness” (watch it online here), we created a slideshow to accompany Henry Beston’s beautiful words (from whence comes the Other Nations name). That slideshow is now installed with links on our home page. And finally, a blog. We’ve added a blog page, feeling that there just aren’t enough blogs already hurtling through cyberspace. This one doesn’t take comments, though, and is not trained to do any tricks. It just sits there.

“Walk on the Wild Side” wild animal voiceovers from the BBC (not your typical Brit humor). If you like this 1-minute video, you’ll love this longer version.