June 2012


“…living by voices we shall never hear.”


  • The animal rights movement: “A beast that needs to be slain”
  • Attempting to slay the beast–who’s behind the weapon?
  • The animal industrial complex: The monster in our midst
  • L.A. zoo elephant exhibit on trial
  • We honor the passing of two sanctuary chimps
  • NPR’s “meat week”; when can we expect “vegan week”?
  • Neuter is neater: when the message misses the mark 
  • The tail end: Wag it! 

AR Movement: “A beast that needs to be slain” – Drive up Montana’s Bitterroot Valley with us where we’ll attend a seminar titled “The Human Cost of the Animal Rights Movement.” You’ll learn what some people believe you believe…simply because you strive for compassion and justice for animals. “A beast that needs to be slain”? Now that’s dramatic…sounds kinda epic, too. It’s at our blog.

PETA & HSUS: Is what they say about them true? – At that same seminar (see previous item), plenty of scorn was heaped on PETA while the Humane Society of the U.S. was truly reviled (probably because it’s often quite effective in the legislative arena). You don’t have to belong to either one (and I don’t) to wonder about attacks by well-heeled groups created specifically to discredit. Interesting item on the Washington Post blog revealing who’s behind the front groups. Are they merely hired guns for the animal-exploiting industries? You decide.

The Animal Industrial Complex: The monster in our midst – On presenting an Earth Day program on factory farming to high school kids. The very idea of a “Milk Mustache Scholarship.” On the normalcy of drinking milk meant for nursing calves, and the premature deaths of mom and baby bovines. How we failed to heed Dwight Eisenhower’s warning. No, wait, that was something else. But similar…eerily similar. At our blog.

Don’t fence me in- Elephants simply don’t thrive in captivity. Zoos, circuses, wherever they are caged or confined, these social herd animals suffer physically and mentally and die prematurely. A Los Angeles elephant exhibit is currently on trial after making its way through the court system. An impressive list of expert witnesses is testifying. 

The trial is attracting media attention and is sure to open the eyes of the public to the outdated practice of confining elephants in unnatural zoo exhibits that lead to terrible suffering and premature death. A win in the lawsuit would set a precedent that could send shockwaves through the zoo industry (read more: Animal Connection).

Fewer than four acres are available to three elephants in a $42 million exhibit (exhibit–now there’s a telling word), yet this L.A.Times opinion piece advocates giving them “several more years to see if they can nurture a thriving herd.” These are animals who, in the wild, roam tens of miles a day. A “thriving herd” cannot exist in an urban zoo. The city awaits the judge’s decision–here’s the latest.  In August of 2010, Lily Tomlin and other comedians threw a benefit to fund the trial (apparently at that time, only one elephant was incarcerated in the zoo). View the four-minute promo video here.

Fergus; click image

Beautiful endings to two formerly tormented lives – Many–most–exploited animals never make it out alive, whether from zoos, circuses, laboratories…wherever. Here are two who did. Dana (1960-2012; taken from her murdered mother and sold into research) and Sinbad (40-some years old; died last month; his route went from “pet” to zoo to lab) were biomedical research subjects who were fortunate enough to live out their lives at Save the Chimps in Florida, the world’s largest chimpanzee sanctuary. Their stories are so touching that you might find yourself shedding a tear or two of gratitude to those who provide sanctuary. To learn more about release and restitution for lab chimps in the U.S., visit Project R&R.

National Public Radio celebrates “Meat Week”; can “Vegan Week” be far behind?-  Confession: I missed “meat week” on NPR’s Morning Edition. And sorry I’m not. But all the installments can be found here. Hard to believe that ANYone could celebrate a meat-eating culture when the cost–in resources (not to mention cruelty)–of producing just ONE quarter-pound hamburger is so high, as laid out in one of the segments, “A Nation of Meat Eaters: See how it all adds up.” Check out the graphic; you’ll be shocked–unless, that is, you’re already familiar with meat’s unsustainability. The final episode features a chef who loves all things pig, from snout to tail tip. Bonus: fried pig’s ear salad recipe. OMG. That repulsive sloshing noise? My stomach turning. Maybe yours, too.

If you support public radio, consider sending your local station–the one you send the money to–a respectful message about the cruelty and unsustainability of meat and your expectation that “vegan week” is coming soon! Missoula-area supporters can use this link. If you don’t contribute to a local station, contact NPR here.

When the message misses the mark: Testicle turn-off –  Some things might be better left unjoked about, and medical issues like neutering could be one of…er, two of those things. In other words, being entertaining doesn’t always translate into being effective, according to research. But suffice it to say that actress and producer Katherine Heigl hates ’em, and hers is one more approach to getting the message out. Watch the video, see what you think. 

The tail end: Wag it! – An irreverent take (though amazingly close to the mark) on animal rights from Family Guy: “After drunkenly running over a dog, Brian (a dog himself), guilt-ridden, holds an animal rights meeting, showing a video that demonstrates animals being treated as second-class citizens: there’s cosmetic research, veal burgers being made… and a dog being left alone at home, forced to listen to NPR. The audience, after finding out that people in some Asian countries cook and eat dogs, becomes curious. And then ravenous.” Two-plus minutes…available here.