July 2013

OTHER NATIONS VOICES

“…living by voices we shall never hear” (see our slideshow)

IN THIS ISSUE:

  • Blog updates: 1st Amendment & animal rights; classic rock & bacon?
  • Other updates: Happy news – notorious bear pit closes!
  • ‘Tis the season: Stand up to abuse at fairs & rodeos
  • Fukushima revisited: Most radioactive man with the kindest heart
  • Put a tiger in your tank at the Tiger Truck Stop
  • Stephen Colbert makes a mockery of cruel Farm Bill amendment
  • Quick links: this ‘n’ that, not a lot of blather
  • The tail end: Wag it!

Blog updates:  How can activists engage in outreach to circus-goers when they can’t, well, actually reach the circus-goers? During April’s Shrine Circus in Missoula, our designated “free speech zone” was also free of any meaningful contact with the public. The ACLU weighs in with an opinion; details in “First Amendment rights and the pursuit of animal rights,” here.

Led Zeppelin. Jethro Tull. Jimi Hendrix. Bacon. Wait, what?!? When the local classic rock station started hawking a bacon recipe contest, we did what any good vegan rocker would do–we entered it. (BTW, we didn’t win. The winner? Bacon Bliss chocolate cake, at Z100’s Facebook page.) Our recipe, “Feel the squeal! Bacon from scratch” was apparently not a big hit at the radio station. *sigh* Find it here.

Good news update on previous blog item:  Back in January we wrote about bear pits (see “Bear pits are the bare pits“)–miserable, for-profit animal prisons–and the oft-conflicted people who visit them. Now comes the good news that Chief Saunooke bear park in Cherokee, NC has been shut down by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture in the wake of a PETA campaign. The bears have a wonderful new home at the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary in Texas–with grass instead of cement under their feet. Details at Huff Post Green (includes a slideshow of the bears in their new digs) and PETA (includes heart-warming, short video). Congrats and gratitude to all the activists who made it happen!

‘Tis the season for animal abuse and exploitation at fairs and rodeos – Mutton bustin’. Pig wrestling. While these activities might pass as fun and entertainment for compassion-challenged humans, for animals—not so much.

Wrestling, as a sport, is contested by evenly matched human opponents. Each enters into the match voluntarily with mutually agreed-upon rules and a common goal. Not so in “matches” like pig wrestling, where frightened animals are unwilling participants exploited by teams of humans for entertainment. Visit our pig wrestling page for activism suggestions as well as a collection of articles and videos. It’s been our most-visited page recently–thanks to everyone who’s shared the link on social media.

And then there’s the odiously-named mutton bustin’—where kids hang on the backs of frightened, docile, prey animals (watch video). What’s the lesson in this? That “conquering” animals makes you a winner? That empathy is for sissies? That causing animals emotional distress and possibly physical injury is of no consequence? (That’s certainly seems to be the lesson in rodeo!)

Visit our home page for a video of just one of many rodeo animal deaths (after page is updated, find the video here). And don’t miss our 2011 post, “Is rodeo humane? No buckin’ way!” We’ll link you to all the rodeo abuse videos you can stomach, and give you a great suggestion for how you can keep those cruelty-exposing cameras rolling.

Fukushima revisited: The Fukushima disaster is back in the news, giving us the opportunity to highlight a story we missed earlier: “The most radioactive man on earth has the kindest heart” in Mother Jones (3/12/13): “Naoto Matsumura, a 53-year-old fifth-generation rice farmer who went back into the dead zone around Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant to take care of his cows (and pigs, cats, dogs, and ostriches), and then stayed there.” Soon, he was caring for all the abandoned animals. A fascinating (and unsettling and touching) video accompanies the article. Visit the Facebook page established to honor Naoto here.

Put a tiger in your tank at the Tiger Truck Stop: This is fairly old news–you might know all about Tony the Tiger, curiosity and crowd-attractor at the Tiger Truck Stop near Baton Rouge. The latest development comes from our heroes at Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), who have “asked the Louisiana Supreme Court to let stand two lower court rulings that the owner of Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete cannot have a license to keep a tiger” –find details and history at Free Tony the Tiger. Also, Tony the Tiger is on YouTube.

The Tiger Truck Stop website, of course, tells a different story–not one of exploitation, but of love. Tony is part of the family. Tony has a wonderful pad. Tony is practically domesticated. Tony doesn’t mind being entirely alone because he loves his family. While I’ll admit that I’ve seen tigers pacing in smaller cages (BTW, Tony paces, too…), I was blown away by what sounded like a boast (from website videos): “More live tigers have been born and raised at the Tiger Truck Stop than almost any other facility in the United States.” Yes, that’s right...a truck stop in Louisiana is breeding captive tigers who will never be returned to the wild. What’s wrong with this picture?!? Betcha the original Tony the Tiger doesn’t think this truck stop sideshow is so GRRREAT…!
(From the “Back in the day” department: “Put a tiger in your tank” –see ad here.)

Farm Bill Follies – Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert ridicules Iowa Congressman Steve King’s amendment to the Farm Bill for denying egg-laying hens “palatial” new cages (that they can turn around in). In fact, Colbert suggests making them live in paper towel tubes. Despite the text at this month-old Mercy for Animals link (where you’ll find the video), the King amendment is back in play after a stripped down version of the Farm Bill (minus the food stamp program) passed the House earlier this month. Right now is a good time to contact your senators and representative while the bill is under joint committee review and urge them to exclude the King amendment from any final version of the bill. Find background info here; find your two senators and one representative here.

Quick Links: Not a lot of blather, just FYI
***Gimme shelter or set me free –
NV rally held for wild horses
***Attention, dog guardians:
I have no experience with Trifexis, but if you use it, consider doing some research (e.g., here and here).
***12 Dreamy Towns for Vegan Living – VegNews article
*Toronto Pig Save:  Website; YouTube video of members giving water to pigs in sweltering transport carriers during a heat wave.
***Blackfish: New documentary takes on SeaWorld in an indictment of captive marine mammal exploitation. News item with interesting links here; movie website here.

The tail end: Wag it!
***Mama bear wants to hunt for salmon at Brooks Falls (Katmai National Park, AK) and deposits her three cubs on a ledge next to the falls. You can practically hear her admonishing, “Now you kids sit here, behave, and don’t move and I mean it!” Of course, the kids get squirmy…watch what happens next! For more bear videos, click the boxes below the video screen.
***Kitten vs. Apples: Who will win–the fruit…or the cute? Video here.