Thursday, March 1, 2012

March 1 - National Pig Day

Three facts provided by PETA:

• Studies have identified that pigs use more than 20 oinks for different situations and that mother pigs sing to their young while nursing.
• Pigs enjoy music and playing games such as soccer and are big fans of belly rubs.
• When trained, pigs can learn their own names and sit for treats like dogs.

I learned about the smart, social and inquisitive nature of pigs through my research and I absolutely think they deserve recognition for their abilities and personalities. If you think cats and dogs should not be abused, slaughtered and eaten, perhaps you may want to consider giving intelligent farm animals a chance to live a life free of suffering as well. Cows and poultry have their own intelligence and social characteristics too, just look it up!

9 Fur Facts

PETA just came out with 9 fur facts that will make you think twice about the fur in a boutique, in your closet or on someone's body. Sometimes heartbreaking pictures are not good enough, because they don't break everyone's hearts. Hopefully, solid data on the cruel life-to-death fur industry practices will speak to your conscience. If so, please share this information with anyone you know that has purchased any kinds of fur. Let them know fur is not the least bit classy and that ignorance is not the way to go!

All facts below are from: Nine Shocking Fur Facts

Fur Fact 1: Electrocuting fur-bearing animals anally and genitally is an agonizing slaughter method used frequently to limit damage to fur. New York is the only state in which this inhumane method is illegal.

Fur Fact 2: Eighty-five percent of the fur industry's skins come from animals who were captive on fur factory farms, where they are crammed into severely crowded, filthy wire cages and later skinned alive. 

Fur Fact 3: There are no penalties for people who abuse animals on fur farms in China, which is the world's largest fur exporter, supplying more than half of the finished garments in the United States.

Fur Fact 4: One billion rabbits are killed each year so that their fur can be used in clothing or for lures in fly-fishing or trim on craft items. 

Fur Fact 5: In China, more than 2 million cats and hundreds of thousands of dogs are bludgeoned, hanged, bled to death, and often skinned alive for their fur.

Fur Fact 6: Fur farms harm the environment. One million pounds of feces are produced annually by U.S. mink farms alone. One dangerous component of this waste is nearly 1,000 tons of phosphorus, which pollutes nearby rivers and streams.

Fur Fact 7: Fur farms in the U.S. are the only sector of animal agriculture unregulated by the federal government. 

Fur Fact 8: After an animal has been slaughtered, his or her skin is treated with toxic chemicals to keep it from rotting and decomposing in the buyer's closet.

Fur Fact 9: One-third of all fur sold in the U.S. comes from animals killed in steel-jaw traps, which are legal in 43 states. These traps slam shut on an animal's limb, which causes excruciating pain and leaves the animal stuck and starving, sometimes for days. The conibear trap crushes an animal's neck by applying 90 pounds of pressure per square inch, leaving the animal to suffer for another three to eight minutes while he or she slowly suffocates.

For more information, please see my other posts on fur here.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Rats Choose Empathy Over Food

As reported by The Washington Post: "A study by Science/AAAS shows that rats preferred freeing caged rats rather than eating food placed in the cage, suggesting that the rats show empathy, a trait only previously known to primates. (Courtesy of Science/AAAS)" (source)

In the video, you can see the rat trying to find a way to free the other rat trapped in a bottle. The video mentions that rats choose to first save the trapped rat before even touching the provided food and even ended up sharing the food with the other rat. I haven't had personal encounters with rats, but I have released two mice into parks on separate occasions after noticing that my cat was playing with them.. the mice are really no different than your other small "pet" animals (hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits) who are inquisitive and try to live a safe and happy life.

Tabby's Toes Help Milwaukee Animal Shelter

This cute white and orange tabby named Daniel has 26 toes (8 more toes than an average cat), and every one of those toes came into use when Milwaukee Animal Rescue Center found themselves short of financing to continue their operations due to a doubling in rent. Daniel's special toes helped raise more than $50,000 at the shelter as the shelter asked for $26 donations, $1 per toe. Daniel was once an unwanted cat at another animal control that might have been put to sleep, but now he is one loved mascot at the Milwaukee center. (full article here)

Our animal friends really do bring us unexpected blessings, if only we would do more for them so that no unwanted animals would have to die.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Victory: Fur Ban in West Hollywood

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."- Edmund Burke (cite)

Two workers handle foxes at a farm in Russia, one of the countries with fur farms that supply fur to the "fashion" industry.

West Hollywood, California, one of the fashion hubs of the state, has recently passed a ban on the sale of fur in the city- making it the first city in the nation to take such a step. The ban will officially be enforced in 2013. There are various opinions on this ban, of course some are thrilled and some not so much. Whatever people make of this, I say that a step against cruelty and exploitation is a step in the right direction.

See the CNN article for the full story here.

To see my other posts on fur click here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Jilian Michaels at Ringling Bros. Protest

This clip is short but notable. Jilian Michaels, the trainer from the show The Biggest Loswer, stepped up and publicly spoke against animal suffering in the circus.

If you do not already know why going to circuses equates to supporting pure cruelty to animals, take one minute and visit If you are someone that thinks animal abuse is wrong, you will definitely be able to see that circuses do not support your values. Please share the word and, as JilianMichaels  said, make this viral so that everyone will be informed and make their own educated decisions.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Modern Meat Story As Told by Me

Tonight I came across a video titled "I am scared and don't want to die." It was a secretly filmed segment of one cow's last few minutes of life. The cow knew of its fate behind the door of the slaughterhouse and very obviously did not want to go in for fear of impending death.

Our society is very far removed from the animals that we consume, whether in the form of meat, leather, or dairy products. It was not always this way, but as countries became more industrialized and focused on mass production, efficiency, and profit in the past few centuries, they also lost their connection with animals as they moved out of the agricultural and farming lifestyles. As the meat industry expanded along with capitalism, so did the forced breeding and killing of animals. As objects of investment, the animals' natural needs and wants became disregarded and secondary to what would make the most money for those running the meat business.

This led to maximizing the number of animals kept within a certain area of space and thus inhumane, overcrowded quarters for chickens, turkeys, cows, and pigs. A lifetime of confinement in filthy, tiny cement stalls of farm factories is, to say the least, unnatural. This also led to feeding the animals unnatural foods including antibiotic and growth hormones to rapidly increase body mass and shorten the period between life to slaughter, again for the purpose of obtaining more profit per animal. Unnatural feeding not only harms animals and leaves them crippled and disabled due to the disproportionate weight of their bodies, but its consequences have also shown itself through the public health (for example through the rapidly increasing rate of weight gain and early age of menarche for young girls due to high level of estrogen).

Furthermore, the treatment of farm animals as objects of investment led to the most cheap yet most cruel methods of raising and killing animals. Aside from "living spaces" that often leave no room for animals to turn around, equivalent to a human living in something smaller and narrower than a public bathroom stall, other cruel methods include surgical procedures aimed to reduce fatality in the farm, which are often performed without anesthesia. Piglets have their tails docked off with scissors to prevent other pigs from chewing on them, a behavior due to stress. Baby chicks have their beaks seared off with a hot iron machine to prevent pecking and injuring other birds, which is again a behavior caused by stress. These are but a few examples of how our farm animals suffer a lifetime of invasive and forced procedures aimed to protect their value as products.

The final strike of our mistreatment of farm animals ends with their murder, which I need not go into detail here- all you need to know is that this kind of slaughterhouse murder would be punishable by law if it occurs to any human being or pet animal in many countries. Finally, the manipulation of the consumer market, which limits consumer knowledge, and promotion of meat and animals products through sales strategies and marketing by the meat industry is another issue that contributes to farm animal cruelty- however, it is a topic for another day.

We humans have unnaturally caused the existence and also suffering of hundreds of millions of animals through artificial insemination (or forced breeding) and cruel methods of farming all tailored towards human benefit. That is selfishness and a disrespect to the gift of sentient animals provided by the earth. The video that I posted above of the frightened cow refusing to enter the slaughterhouse is a perfect illustration of what I mean by sentience. You may take this with a grain of salt, but I have heard from others that cows not only cry (with tears in their eyes) but also talk as if they were begging for their lives when they realize they are meeting their end.

Furthermore, our farm animals share a similar basic nervous system with us and our pet cats and dogs and other mammals, which means they can think, feel, understand and plan. Although their cognitive abilities are relatively limited when compared to humans, there is no factor that will be good enough reason enough to condemn them to (for lack of better terms) a life of hell.. unless you believe that infants or mentally disabled people of less developed cognition deserve less than a fair chance at life and personal happiness. People who have interacted with animals know that cats, dogs, cows, chickens, and pigs are social animals that share close bonds with their companions and hold the capacity to feel pain, suffering, and happiness.

Before I end this note, I want to touch on one more thing. Where does this "value" (that I mentioned three paragraphs ago) for animal meat come from? The economic value of something is determined by what a consumer is willing to pay for a product, thus how much profit a company can reap through the production of something. It can be influenced but is not ultimately decided by the supply or corporate end of the market. Instead, it is decided by the choices of those with purchasing power- both you and I.

This post is based on my understanding and research over the last few years of the present day meat industry. It is a simplified overview of the development, nature, injustices and tragedies of our farm factories where innocent souls are brutally mistreated by the hundreds of millions. Modern farm factory practices are truly an atrocity for the disadvantaged whose voices and lives are sealed behind slaughterhouse doors.

If you have any thoughts, questions or feedback for me at all, please comment below- an Google account is not required.