October 2012


“…living by voices we shall never hear.”


  • Blog update: Psychotic grizzlies; entangled beaks; blessing of St. Francis
  • Have a Gentle Thanksgiving–and no one gets hurt!
  • Social media wins one for animals–inadvertently (hey, whatever works!)
  • All things considered, NPR disappoints
  • Dogs ‘n’ cats
  • Is the “Peanuts” gang shilling for the dairy industry? Ouch.
  • The tail end: Wag it! A Halloween trick, a Halloween treat

BLOG UPDATES: When grizzly sows are exterminated as so-called “problem bears,” their orphaned cubs are often sent to zoos where, typically, that’s the last we hear of them. But not this time. Seven years after losing their mom and their freedom, we follow up with two Montana cubs now pacing in their small, midwestern exhibit. This is a story about speciesism. “Grizzly psychosis at the zoo: There’s no place like home”  Bear with us–here.

Ocean Conservancy

Balloons blow–don’t let ’em go! Come take a walk along a Great Lakes shoreline. We’ll pick up spent balloons (and their deadly ribbons) and contemplate the fleeting experience of a balloon release as a price too high for the possible tragic fallout. “Life’s a beach–or an entangled beak” Float on over.

Blessing of the Animals church services are held in October around the feast day of St. Francis, patron saint of animals. We seek blessings for our beloved companions, yet often return home to a meal of ham, steak, or chicken from the bodies of those who were equally deserving of mercy. May our eyes be opened. “Which animals would St. Francis bless today?” Find it here.


Have yourself a gentle little Thanksgiving: Traditions are overrated–especially when they rely on the suffering and death of others. The Thanksgiving turkey is just such a cruel tradition. Last year’s horrific abuse caught on undercover video at a Butterball facility is no aberration–factory farming routinely unleashes brutality on gentle, intelligent beings. (Visit our factory farming page under “issues” in the menu bar.) If this is the year you decide to go turkey-free, get your compassionate self over to Gentle Thanksgiving where you’ll find support and recipes. (If you’re not vegan, don’t let the word scare you off.)  Learn more about the turkey abuse and suffering that comes prepackaged with each dead bird at the Butterball Abuse website produced by Mercy for Animals. Please note that the video starts automatically; if you feel unprepared to watch it, hit the stop button and read the text first. Ultimately, though, anyone willing to eat one of these tormented birds should find the courage to witness what they endure during their short, sad lives.

From dissection lab to Facebook to enlightenment: Some school kids were just cuttin’ up–while cutting up dead cats in science class. (It’s reported that a cat’s severed head also appeared in someone’s locker.) Snapped some pictures, posted them on Facebook. Ha ha, dude, check it out!

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine got wind of it–they report that the school district “will stop using cats and other animals for science class dissection.” Says PCRM: “This victory is the latest of many recent PCRM successes that have replaced animals in education with superior nonanimal training methods. And we’ll continue that fight wherever animals are used in education.”


What’s up with NPR? We’ve supported NPR for a long time, but frankly, I grow weary of receiving alerts from activist friends about stories that promote–and actually seem to glorify–the exploitation of animals. Last summer, we were treated to “A Girl and Her Pig” wherein a dead pig is slung over the shoulders of a chef who proclaims, “I adore pigs” with one breath and “I love anything crispy so, you know, it’s very natural for me to have crispy pigs ears,” with the next. This installment came during NPR’s Meat Week, where several of the segments saw comments numbering in the 200s, 300s, and 400s (e.g.,“Who funded this series?”). The latest is an ode to beef hearts and includes this line:  “Even for me, an ex-line cook, beef heart is chillingly anatomical.” (Hel-looo, it’s someone’s HEART! A sentient, bovine individual’s heart, not a “beef heart”! It once pumped blood, just like yours!) The number of comments at this post is not huge, but they are instructive.

Still more offensive–without even the bogus guise of “food”–is All Things Considered’s Plucky former poultry farmer goes wild for gators.” “Plucky” is how NPR characterizes a factory farmer/exploiter who profits from the misery of “broiler” chickens and factory farmed alligators–100,000 of them (the farm’s website is here). The stock photo NPR used to accompany their article shows baby gators basking in the sun, an ironic choice, given what’s revealed:

The alligators spend their entire lives indoors in barns where everything is controlled, including food, climate and water temperature. They spend their lives in semi-darkness, so they won’t be too aggressive because when they fight, it’s bad for business. “The industry we are selling the alligator hides into — the Louis Vuittons, the Hermes, the Gucci, Prada, Chanels — they want perfect premium skins. No scars, no blemishes, no scratches,” he says.

Two letters objecting to the feature were read on air; we wonder how many additional objections they represent. I’ve heard from a few activists that they’re done contributing to NPR. Geez, what with Big Bird’s job on the line over at PBS, this is a heckuva time for public radio to be trading their listeners’ donations–bread, as it were–for meat.

DOGS ‘n’ CATS IN THE NEWS: First up: Daniel the beagle, who survived a date with the gas chamber. The dog was  “thrown into a Florence, Alabama pound gas chamber on October 3, 2011. After 17 minutes of carbon monoxide exposure, Daniel walked out the gas chamber, still remarkably alive. And while the miracle dog survived the ordeal, the other dogs did not” (full story here). Daniel and his newly-adopted human went on to campaign against the cruelty of primitive gas chambers. On Monday, Oct. 29th, the governor of Pennsylvania will sign “Daniel’s Law,” outlawing their use in the Keystone State. Visit Daniel’s website to learn which states have banned gas chambers and to watch a brief video of the beagle in his new home.

Next, a new survey reveals that cats face discrimination based on fur color. Question: Which color is assigned more positive personality traits than any other? (Hint: We might be seeing the Morris/Garfield Effect in action.)

The round-headed kid and the Red Baron’s nemesis are shilling for the dairy industry?!? Learn the facts: “Got Milk? Got Ethics?”  (ABC’s “The Blotter“) includes two videos: one of dehorning, one of tail docking; “Dairy’s dark side: The sour truth behind milk” from Mercy for Animals; “The hidden casualties of the dairy industry: Male calves” at Free From Harm. Also, “Got milk? You don’t need it” with great graphics; and a Guide to plant-based milks. Our latest blog post examines the sad exploitation of a beloved icon–the “Peanuts” gang. *sigh* 


The tail end: Wag it! Trick AND treat…
***Yikes, animal mummies!
(Including “meat mummies”–argh!!!) A National Geographic slide show.

***Lil’ Drac: The little bat who rocked the world – They say that Lil’ Drac’s video went viral last year–but it just caught up with us here at Other Nations for the first time earlier this month. Even if you’ve seen it, you’ll want to enjoy it again–and again. Lil’ Drac’s mom rejected him after she faced the trauma of zoo captivity followed by a stressful move when the zoo closed. Bat World Sanctuary came to the rescue, nursing Lil’ Drac and helping him learn to fly. I’ve shed a lil’ tear of gratitude each time I’ve watched the short videos, parts one and two. Lil’ Drac’s story is here; scroll down at that page for the videos, or watch them on YouTube here and here.
Happy Halloween from Other Nations!

P.S. Treat that special someone to a BAD (Bats Are Deserving) wristband and help support Bat World Sanctuary.