Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Time to eat a bigger dead animal, that you had someone else kill for you so you can feel removed from the violence of it, than normal. It needn't be so.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
From Newsweek. Here's the original, if you want it. Proposition 2 is the ballot initiative that successfully banned factory farming, or at least as it's currently practiced.
California voters have put the animal-rights movement squarely in the mainstream. Will we all soon be vegans?
The notion that animals should have rights was widely ridiculed when it was first advocated in the 1970s. Now it is getting more respect. The movement has gained tens of millions of adherents and has already persuaded the European Union to require that all hens have room to stretch their wings, perch and lay their eggs in a nest box, and to phase out keeping pigs and veal calves in individual crates too narrow for them to walk or turn around. And earlier this month Californians voted 63 percent to 37 percent for a measure that, beginning in 2015, gives all farm animals the right to stand up, lie down, turn around and fully extend their limbs. The state's 45 major egg producers will have to rip out the cages that now hold 19 million hens, and either put in new and larger cages with fewer birds or, more likely, keep the birds on the floor in large sheds. California's sole large-scale pig-factory farm will also have to give all its pigs room to turn around.
Pressure on other states to grant the same basic freedoms may prove irresistible. Many people see this movement as a logical continuation of the fight against racism and sexism, and believe that the concept of animal rights will soon be as commonplace as equal pay and opportunities for women and minorities. If that happens—and I believe it will—the effects on the food we eat, how we produce it and the place of animals in our society will be profound.
If this sounds radical, so did suffrage and civil rights a few decades ago. The notion that we should recognize the rights of animals living among us rests on a firm ethical foundation. A sentient being is sentient regardless of which species it happens to belong to. Pain is pain, whether it is the pain of a cat, a dog, a pig or a child.
Consider how widely humans differ in their mental abilities. A typical adult can reason, make moral choices and do many things (like voting) that animals obviously cannot do. But not all human beings are capable of reason, not all are morally responsible and not all are capable of voting. And yet we go out of our way to claim that all humans have rights. What, then, justifies our withholding at least some rights from nonhuman animals? Defenders of the status quo have found that a difficult question to answer.
If animals do have rights, what rights would those be? The most basic right any sentient being can have is for his or her interests to be given equal consideration. After that, things get more complicated. Some advocates think that all animals have a right to life. Others give more weight to the lives of beings such as chimpanzees, which are capable of understanding that they have a life, and of having hopes and desires directed toward the future. The movement's supporters agree that the way we treat animals now, as test subjects and factory-farm products, is flagrantly wrong.
If society were gradually to accept animal rights, it would spell dramatic changes. Some people might accept humanely raised meat, eggs and dairy products, if the animals had good lives, living outdoors in social groups of a size natural to the particular species. But this would most likely prove to be an interim stage. As the demand for animal products dwindles, the meat industry would breed fewer chickens, turkeys, pigs and cattle. Eventually the only remaining beef cattle, sheep and pigs would be small herds preserved so that we can take the grandchildren to see what these once abundant animals look like. Factory farming—for meat, eggs or milk—would disappear. If we are to continue to eat meat, we'll have to rely on scientists who are now trying to grow meat in vats. When they succeed, it will be the real thing, grown from animal cells, not a soy-based substitute, and it might even be indistinguishable from the meat we eat now. But since it would involve no animals, and hence no suffering or killing, there will be no ethical objections.
Milk and cheese are no easier than meat to reconcile. Cows will not give milk unless they are made pregnant each year, and if the calves are left with their mothers, there won't be much milk for humans. The separation of the cow and her calf causes distress to both. Hens are not so concerned about the removal of their eggs, and genuinely free-range hens appear to have a good life, but male chicks have to be disposed of, and no commercial egg producer allows hens to live beyond the point at which their rate of laying declines. That's why animal-rights advocates today tend to be vegans.
Where animals are now used for research, we must find alternatives. In Europe, cell and tissue cultures have already replaced some product testing of live animals, and that will increase dramatically once harmful research on animals is put ethically out of bounds. Research using animals may not cease entirely, but in a nonspeciesist world it could continue only under the same strict ethical safeguards that we use for research on human subjects who can't give their consent.
Our greatest difficulty in respecting other species may lie in our quest for land. The animal movement forces us to consider that land we do not use is the habitat of other sentient beings, and we must do what we can to allow them to continue to live on it, including limiting our own population growth. Even wilderness presents a problem. Are humans ethically bound to prevent animals from killing other animals? To contemplate interfering with the workings of ecosystems would be presumptuous, at least for now. We will do better to concentrate, first, on lessening our own harmful impact on our domestic animals.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Sixty-six baby turkeys got pretty lucky recently. Someone rescued them from their torture death sentence in a factory farm and brought them instead to Farm Sanctuary, where they will be loved for the sentient beings they are, not their taste. They're just sixty-six of the 45 million who will be killed and eaten for Thanksgiving, and of the 270 million killed and eaten over the course of this year. How did they know they were from a factory farm? Easy.
When they arrived at Farm Sanctuary, Bubbles and the others had already been mutilated. Industry workers used a high-intensity infrared light to debeak the birds and microwave radiation to remove the ends of their toes. These techniques are used on today’s commercially-raised birds and delay amputation of the beak and toes until weeks later when the appendages erode and fall off. While some had already suffered the loss of these precious body parts, others still had their beaks and toes intact; however, they too fell off during the birds’ first days at the shelter, leaving wounds that caused terrible pain as they tried to eat and walk. To prevent infection, we cleansed the exposed areas daily, and thankfully, most of the poults have now begun to heal.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
The Supreme Court said it's fine for the United States Navy to maim and kill an untold number of whales on a permanent, recurring basis. The Navy does this, and has been doing this for over forty years, through sonar training exercises. Exercises. Yup.
The groups say that sonar can be as loud as 2,000 jet engines, causing marine mammals to suffer lasting physical trauma, strandings and changes in breeding and migration patterns. They contend that courts are perfectly capable of weighing the competing security and environmental concerns.No matter though:
When you think about it, the court has a good point - they're just whales.
Chief Justice Roberts took a different view. Courts, he said, quoting a 1986 decision of the justices, must “give great deference to the professional judgment of military authorities” in making decisions about personnel, training and priorities.He cited an observation, made by President Theodore Roosevelt in a 1907 message to Congress, that only “practice at sea, under all the conditions which would have to be met if war existed,” can guarantee a prepared Navy.
For the environmental groups that sought to limit the exercises, Chief Justice Roberts wrote, “the most serious possible injury would be harm to an unknown number of marine mammals that they study and observe.”People believe and live as though they can do whatever they want, that they have accountability to nothing. They can take and take, they can destroy, that if something is possible, then they should do it.
This isn't just about whales. We live, today, through annihilation. Our lives are predicated upon destruction. Destruction of life, both human and non-human, destruction of quality of life, both human and non-human, extinction of life, both human and non-human. This is one of the more glaring examples of totally wanton destruction. Fucking careless, deliberate. The people who run these programs would, and have, directly ruin people in the process if there weren't so many laws, and it hadn't become so expensive through lawsuits and bad publicity.
"An explanation is what we want. We want to know how things could get so fucked up, how things could get so out of hand. So many times we have waited on others to stand up for us and act on what we believe is so fucked and wrong with our generation. I know we are all so angry. I know I am so fucking angry..."
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
Here are some hate crimes from around the country in the last four days, all directly in response to people electing Barack Obama as president. Please take note that none of them occurred in the traditional "South." Two in the Northeast, or Up South, and one in Texas, which is its own confusing mess.
Staten Island - a seventeen-year-old young Liberian man was beaten with bats by four white males, in a car, with concealed faces, yelling "Obama" at him.
Waco, Texas - among other things, some white people hung a noose from a tree at Baylor University in response to Barack Obama's win.
Hardwick, New Jersey - some white people burned a six foot cross on a Cuban/Indian family's front lawn, after stealing their homemade celebratory Obama victory banner.
I'm so much more eager and ready to burn this fucking country down than I was a week ago.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Who's moving forward again? Where's the unity? If there was a ballot initiative against gay people yesterday, it passed. Arizona - gay marriage banned. Arkansas - gay couples banned from adopting children. California - gay marriage banned. Florida - gay marriage banned.
Arizona and Arkansas collectively voted for John McCain. California and Florida collectively voted for Barack Obama. All four voted to enshrine anti-gay sentiments in their constitutions. Obama decidedly won in California, barely won in Florida, and McCain dominated him in Arkansas and Arizona.
Just as many people voted for a president in California as voted one way or the other on the gay marriage ban. Obama won California 61% to McCain's 37%, but the gay marriage ban passed by 52% to 48%. Yes to a black president, no to gay people enjoying their lives and having the same rights as others? What the fuck?
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Right on, sir.
I found this two-part interview in Satya while looking for a picture of the man for the previous post.
He always makes for an interesting read.
I had this dream the other night that I was in Washington, DC and Ian Mackaye decided, in what I assume was a move of anti-materialism, that he was going to be giving away his record collection. I went over to his house, locked up my bike and went inside. There was a long line outside and he was only letting a few people in at a time. First come, first serve. In an effort to be fair, he was only letting people take eight records or so and was watching us. The floor of his house was nothing but records. Crates and boxes of records, almost all LPs. Luckily, where I dug in housed the Wipers discography and right next to it, I found most of the Propagandhi records, including several that do not exist (it was a dream, you know?). Ian got pretty upset in the midst of all of this and had to leave, but held strong with his commitment to rid himself of his records.
Here is the interview in its entirety.
The whole thing is horseshit. Fucking hell. Some highlights - the National Organization for Women endorses Sarah Palin (which is not true) and Sarah Palin "represents feminism at its finest level."
Oh, and here's the traitor woman dumbfuck support-women-vying-for-positions-of-power-no-matter-what Los Angeles NOW chapter president making her endorsement:
"America, this is what a feminist looks like." Yeah, wow.
The idiot robots to whom she's speaking jeer her for mentioning that she's a Democrat, despite the fact that she is there solely to talk up Sarah Palin and is STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO HER. They are such reactionary trained seals that they can't even listen to her finish her endorsement for their symbol puppet woman. "Democrat." "BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!" Fuck all of you.