Archive: January 2009

easyVegan Link Sanctuary, 2009-01-31

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Action Alerts

Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR): Close Torture Loopholes in the Army Field Manual
“President Obama’s three executive orders of January 22, 2009 call for the closing of Guantanamo within one year, the closing of secret CIA ‘black sites,’ and the limiting of interrogation techniques to those allowed in the Army Field Manual (AFM), eliminating the numerous executive orders and opinions issued during the Bush administration that granted official approval for torture, cruel and inhuman treatment, and abuse. These executive orders certainly represent an extraordinary step forward, but we remain concerned about potentially exploitable loopholes. Please take a moment to ask him to close the loopholes.”

Defenders of Wildlife: Speak Out for Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs
“Black-tailed prairie dogs were once abundant across the Great Plains, from Canada to Mexico. But after decades of habitat loss, poisonings and disease, these furry creatures have declined more than 95% in the last 150 years — and are gone completely in large parts of their range. Now, federal officials are considering protection for the black-tailed prairie dog under the Endangered Species Act as a terrible plague continues to wipe out vast numbers of the remaining prairie dog colonies, and as federal agencies continue to poison prairie dog colonies on our public lands.”

Greenpeace: Ask President Obama to end the whaling and dealing
“Holdouts from the Bush Administration are in closed-door talks with Japanese officials at the International Whaling Commission. According to news reports, the two parties are negotiating a deal that would trade a small reduction in the quota of whales that Japan hunts in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary for increased rights to hunt minke whales off the coast of Japan. Some of the minke populations in this area are already designated as endangered. We need your help to stop this bad deal from going through!”

PETA: Tell Obama: Ban on Torture Should Include Animals!
“Days after President Barack Obama signed an executive order banning torture during military interrogations, PETA wrote to the president calling for the ban of another form of military torture: trauma and chemical-casualty training exercises conducted on animals. Thousands of live animals are shot, stabbed, dismembered, burned, and poisoned every year in Department of Defense (DoD) training exercises designed to train medics and infantry in how to treat various human battlefield injuries. PETA is asking President Obama to issue an executive order requiring the DoD to replace animals with non-animal methods.”

PETA: URGENT: Urge Virginia Public Schools to Halt Their Alleged Use of Cruel Glue Traps
“Distraught parents of children attending Norfolk and Chesapeake, Virginia, schools contacted PETA after learning of the alleged use of glue traps to ensnare and kill mice in the schools’ buildings and campuses. PETA contacted school officials, apprising them of the inherent and extreme cruelty of these devices and asking that they remove the traps immediately and instead explore humane pest-control alternatives. Officials suggested that they would look into the matter, but there has been no indication that the traps have been removed. Our follow-up calls are not being returned.”

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Bonsai Bouillon & Cubed Chicken

Friday, January 30th, 2009

Usually, the makers and marketers of “meat”-based foodstuffs attempt to remove the finished product from its live animal origins as much as possible; by dismembering, reconstructing and altering animal corpses, then, butchers make it easier for consumers to conveniently “forget” that they’re consuming formerly sentient creatures.

Not Royco! Nope, they want you to know that those chicken and “beef” bouillon cubes are the real thing, baby! Whereas most people see an innocuous, flavorful cube of powder when they unwrap a bouillon, Royco makes it clear that there’s really a live (dead) animal buried within those indistinguishable powder particles.

First, their chicken bouillon:

Royco - Chicken cube

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Kinship Circle: ACT/ NIH Fairytale About Animal Testing

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Jan 29, 2009 4:48 PM
Subject: ACT/ NIH Fairytale About Animal Testing

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY / PERMISSION TO CROSSPOST

1/29/09: An NIH Fairytale About Animal Testing Targets Kids
FOR A FORMATTED LETTER (WORD DOC), EMAIL: kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Easily modify letter. Copy/paste it into an email or print letter to fax or mail.

Kinship Circle - 2009-01-29 - An NIH Fairytale About Animal Testing Targets Kids

ABOVE: Cover and two pages from “The Lucky Puppy,” a misleading children’s workbook produced by North Carolina Association for Biomedical Research.

http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/images/coloring/luckycolor.pdf

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Kinship Circle: Save Iditarod Dogs

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Jan 27, 2009 1:38 PM
Subject: Save Iditarod Dogs [FRIENDS OF KC ALERT]

Kinship Circle - Friends of KC Banner

Kinship Circle does not write/research these alerts. We’re not responsible for their accuracy. Please do NOT hit reply! Contact alert-writers directly.

FRIENDS OF KINSHIP CIRCLE ALERT
1/27/09: Save Iditarod Dogs From Brutality
WRITE To Sponsors & Supporters

SOURCE / REPLY TO:

FOR QUESTIONS, CONTACT: SledDogAC [at] aol.com
Sled Dog Action Coalition, http://www.helpsleddogs.org

Kinship Circle - 2009-01-27 - Save Iditarod Dogs

Imagine the cruelties these sled dog pups will experience in the Iditarod…Death, paralysis, frostbite, bleeding ulcers, bloody diarrhea, lung damage, pneumonia, ruptured discs, viral diseases, broken bones, torn muscles and tendons and sprains… Please help end the barbaric treatment of dogs by sending protest emails to organizations that support the Iditarod.

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easyVegan Link Sanctuary, 2009-01-29

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Action Alerts

Alaska Wilderness League: Revoke Bush’s Plan to Drill in ‘Polar Bear Seas’
“The icy waters of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, north of Alaska, are home to 20 percent of the world’s remaining polar bear population. Thanks to George Bush, these waters might also become home to a massive and dangerous network of oil rigs and pipelines. On his way out of Washington, Bush proposed the largest block yet of Arctic Ocean waters for drilling – right in the heart of threatened polar bear habitat. Oil spills are a certainty in that harsh climate and no technology exists to clean them up. Drilling is simply not worth it.”

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): Tell Your Senators to Support Pay Equality Today
“Over 45 years ago, Congress passed the Equal Pay Act to fix the disparity in wages between men and women, but over time, loopholes and weak remedies have lessened its effectiveness. The Paycheck Fairness Act makes several common sense changes to strengthen the Equal Pay Act — putting in place enforcement tools needed to make real progress on pay equity. The Paycheck Fairness Act is an important and measured approach to eradicating wage discrimination and is another critical weapon in the battle against sex discrimination in the workplace. Take action today to strengthen our tools to combat wage disparities.”

Animal Person: On Breed Discrimination, Bestiality and Pound Seizure
Mary Martin writes about what you can do to stop BSL and ban bestiality in Florida.

Earthjustice: Tell EPA to Control CO2
“Should the EPA force a monster proposed coal-fired power plant to control 12.7 million tons of carbon dioxide it will spew out each year? The Obama-led EPA is asking Americans to tell it what to do. Take action by February 23rd—Tell the EPA to place the strictest-possible controls on the Desert Rock power plant.”

Green for All: Tell Your Senators to Get On Board: Pass Obama’s Green Recovery Plan
“President Obama and Congress are currently crafting an economic stimulus and recovery plan which could jumpstart an inclusive green economy and create hundreds of thousands of green jobs. The House of Representatives just passed a bold and visionary green stimulus plan, including $500 million to train workers for green-collar jobs. But your Senators need a little nudge to get on board. Please write to your Senators today. Tell them to pass President Obama’s green stimulus, including $500 million for the Green Jobs Act. It’s time to build a strong, green economy for America.”

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f—ing love her!

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Via ecorazzi, singer Neko Case of The New Pornographers has persuaded her record label to donate $5 to Best Friends Animal Society every time a blogger links to her new single, ‘People Got a Lotta Nerve.’ So link, people!

Of Best Friends, Neko says:

“Best Friends took the Michael Vick dogs,” Case points out. “That’s a big deal because a lot of supposed animal welfare organizations like PETA — who can blow me — said you should euthanize the dogs immediately. But it’s not the dogs’ fault that they were fighting dogs — they’ve been abused. Pit bulls are muscular and big, but they’re not man-eaters.”

By the by, of the 49 Vick pit bulls, only one was deemed too vicious to save and was killed. Subsequently, 25 were placed in foster homes and/or adopted, and 22 found permanent sanctuary at Best Friends. Those 47 lives might be a drop in the ocean to PETA, but their abuse makes them no less deserving of life than the “food” or “fur-bearing” animals PETA typically focuses on. More so than their “naked ads,” their stance on the Vick dogs, as well as their forays into animal rescue and “adoption,” has been and will likely remain an objection of epic proportions that I have with PETA.

PETA, I might add, is an animal welfare group – not an animal rights group. Yes, there’s a difference – and it’s a biggie.

(At the most fundamental level, they appear to support Peter Singer’s philosophy of utilitarianism, which is a form of “progressive animal welfarism” – not animal rights. See also: PETA’s support of breed-specific legislation; their continued insistence that killing the Vick dogs would have been the right thing to do; and their “humane” killing of shelter animals rather than spend the time, money and effort to rehome them.)

And can I just say that I also f—ing love Neko for correctly identifying PETA as a welfare group? f—ing love her, I do!

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"Rodeo Cowboy Criminals": A SHARK Documentary Series

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Zeb Lanham, a “bull rider” who pled guilty to felony domestic violence for beating his pregnant girlfriend last November. Among other injuries, he left her with a broken cheekbone, which was placing pressure on her brain. I also highlighted 16 additional cases of interpersonal violence and/or animal abuse (above and beyond the cruelty-as-entertainment regularly found in rodeos), committed by those involved in the rodeo and associated businesses, which I pulled from SHARK’s website. Criminal acts perpetrated by “cowboys” are so common that SHARK has even devoted a section of their website to detailing these cases: CowboyCriminals.com

SHARK has begun collecting these stories in a series of short video documentaries, “Rodeo Cowboy Criminals”. They expect to produce at least a dozen such installments, linking the cruelty committed in the ring with the violence these career animal abusers carry into their personal lives. Such interpersonal violence includes assault, domestic abuse, child abuse, rape and murder. And animal abuse and environmental injustices, naturally.

Here’s Part 1, along with a description of the video from their latest newsletter. (The video runs 7 1/2 minutes and includes some images of animal cruelty.)

SHARK has posted the first of a long series of videos that will expose a deeper, darker corner of the Rodeo Mafia than ever before. The video is “Rodeo Cowboy Criminals, Part 1.”

Based on the records of rodeo connected criminals already in our possession, the series is likely to run a dozen or more video exposes’. The crimes range from animal abuse to child abuse, to racial crimes to rape and murder. This is a grisly job, but someone has to do it.

Perhaps the most disgusting aspect of these Cowboy Criminals is that many of them are still involved in and embraced by the rodeo industry.

“Rodeo Cowboy Criminals, Part 1″ looks at three dastardly criminals. Zeb Lanham we reported on in our last update. Lanham beat his pregnant girlfriend so badly that she had to be airlifted to adequate medical care. Larry Lancaster is a child sexual predator, which is of course sickening and repulsive all by itself. Worse yet, Lancaster ran a rodeo school and was a sponsor of high school rodeo! Jimmy David Brazile is also a child predator. This sixty year old predator repeatedly had sex with a sixteen year-old girl, and then had the incredible nerve to tell the girl’s father that he had sex with the girl to show her that it wasn’t a big deal!

SHARK’s “Rodeo Cowboy Criminals” series will show the link between those who abuse animals and human abuse. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to look at this important new effort to expose the cruelty of rodeo.

I’m thrilled that SHARK is making the connections – between interpersonal violence and animal abuse, between the oppression of humans and that of non-human animals, and between misogyny, racism and speciesism. These are not isolated incidents of hate and violence; rather, they’re all part of the same fabric of oppression, privilege and othering. We need to keep connecting these dots.

You can follow SHARK’s progress on their You Tube channel, and send them an appreciative email (or support their work with a donation) here.

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easyVegan Link Sanctuary, 2009-01-28

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Action Alerts

ACORN: “Stop Foreclosures for Real Economic Recovery”
“The foreclosure crisis among American homeowners lies at the very heart of the broader economic collapse from which we are struggling to recover. Because of widespread predatory lending, 2008 saw 2.3 million properties enter foreclosure, the highest rate of foreclosure since the Great Depression. Credit Suisse predicts that there will be between 8 and 9 million foreclosures in the next four years without major changes. A successful economic recovery is impossible without directly addressing the record foreclosure rate that lies at its heart.”

Animal Welfare Institute (AWI): 111th Congress Starts With Important Animal Protection Measures
“The end of the last Congress saw significant movement on two issues of great importance to AWI and its supporters. House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and Congressman Dan Burton (R-IN) introduced the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, a bill to ban horse slaughter, which passed out of the Chairman’s committee. The House of Representatives also passed a measure to strengthen the Shark Finning Prohibition Act. However, the Senate was unable to take action on either measure before the session ended, necessitating the recent reintroduction of both. The good news is that both have been reintroduced and are clear priorities for their sponsors. Nevertheless, we need your help to ensure their successful passage. Please take a moment to contact your US Representative to ask for support on both issues.”

Color of Change: Another officer attacked Grant before he was killed; The District Attorney says he isn’t prosecuting
“It wasn’t just one cop attacking Oscar Grant on New Year’s Eve. A new video shows that before Grant was killed, officer Tony Pirone punched him in the face without cause. Experts have called it criminal. So why has the District Attorney said he’s not pursuing charges? It took two weeks and thousands of people speaking out before the DA charged Oscar Grant’s killer with murder. Clearly, it will take continued public pressure to see that justice is served throughout this case. Please join us in publicly confronting District Attorney Tom Orloff, as well as calling on California’s Attorney General to keep an eye on Orloff’s handling of the case.”

National Partnership for Women & Families: Expand Access to Family Planning Services
“This week, family planning opponents in Congress used lies and distortions to eliminate an important provision in the economic stimulus package that would have allowed states to expand access to family planning services to low-income families through the Medicaid program. This provision would have enabled many low-income women and families to access vital family planning services — basic health care that includes contraceptives and breast and cervical cancer screening. At the same time, it would have generated hundreds of millions of dollars in much-needed savings to both states and the federal government.”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA): Tell Strathmore to Leave Ringling Bros. Circus Out of Its Festival
“When we discovered that Strathmore, a nonprofit arts center, was planning to host clowns, jugglers, and trapeze artists from the Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus at its annual festival, we immediately fired off a letter to the center’s president. We explained that by endorsing Ringling Bros., Strathmore would be supporting an industry that condones cruelty and violence to animals. [...] Following discussions, Strathmore executives decided to move forward with the partnership. We must let them know that promoting Ringling Bros. is unacceptable and supports cruelty to animals.”

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easyVegan Link Sanctuary, 2009-01-27

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

Action Alerts

Consumers Union: Spread the word about Peanut Butter!
“Seven people have died, hundreds have become sick, and millions more are at risk — from peanut butter! Coming on the heels of jalapeno, spinach, and pet food recalls, we need to prevent contamination at the source. [...] Today, we underfund prevention and then spend millions to try and recall food already distributed across the nation. This makes no sense. We must ensure regular and appropriate inspection of production facilities, and efficient tracking once food has been distributed. This means a major overhaul of the FDA’s food safety program. Tell Congress that we need a major overhaul of the Food and Drug Administration!”

DawnWatch: CBS Sunday Morning on a shelter that matchmakes people and pets 1/25/08
“The CBS news show “Sunday Morning,” yesterday, January 25, covered London’s famous Battersea animal shelter. The reporter, Richard Roth, tells us that the shelter promises never to turn away a dog or cat in need of help. He tells us, ‘To get in, all the animal needs to do is show up. To get out though, the staff must be convinced that it is getting into good hands.’”

Environmental Defense Fund: Urgent Alert: Support Transit Funding
“We need your urgent help to support transit funding. The U.S. House of Representatives is about to vote on an amendment to the economic recovery bill that will increase funding for transit projects. We need your Representative to vote yes. By investing in our overburdened mass transit systems, we can provide immediate good-paying jobs in hard-hit communities while helping to reduce congestion, cut our dependence on oil, and help pave the way for a greener future.”

National Women’s Law Center: Support the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in the House
“The worsening recession is causing pain across the country, especially for the millions of women and families who already were struggling to make ends meet. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will preserve and create jobs for women and men and help women and families through these tough times. A strong vote of support in the House is the first step toward getting our families, communities and nation the help they need in this economic crisis.”

PETA Europe: Help Ban Snares in Scotland
“The Scottish government recently rejected a ban on snares in Scotland. We need your help to urge the government to rethink its decision and enact this important ban. This is a vital time for action, so please take a few minutes to send the letter below to Scottish Minister for Environment Mike Russell and help get snares banned for good. There has been strong public support for a ban on snares in Scotland, but the Scottish government has yet to prohibit them. Let the Scottish government know that people want these cruel contraptions to be relegated to the history books by sending the government a letter in support of the ban.”

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Liam Neeson is a Fooking Wanker

Monday, January 26th, 2009

Liam Neeson was on The Daily Show Thursday in order to promote his latest movie, Taken (which – and it pains me to admit this after sitting through his idiocy – doesn’t look half bad). In case you hadn’t heard, Neeson recently penned a letter to the New York City (City?) Council in opposition to recent legislation which would ban the horse carriage “biz” in NYC.*

Host Jon Stewart begins the interview by asking about Neeson’s efforts to “save” New York City’s carriage horses. By “save,” I mean continue to enslave and exploit. It’s tradition, dontchaknow!

Cue the stupid:
 

 
While I’ve enjoyed TDS off and on for years, I’ve always found Stewart’s interview skills to be, shall we say, somewhat lacking. And yet, with only a minimal grasp of the issues – and playing the most amiable Devil’s Advocate ever – Jon p0wns Liam. He offers up the rather commonsense observation that the horses would probably be happier in a more pastoral setting (as opposed to the stables next to his studio), where they’d be able to roam free without worrying about dodging NYC traffic. How about we build a home for the horses in Central Park, where citizens can “enjoy” them in a more natural environment, he suggests? A nice “compromise,” no?

In response, Neeson insists that the horses are treated well, blah blah blah, it would be irresponsible to lay off 400 workers while the economy’s in the toilet, yada yada yada, insert your standard appeals to tradition here, and – here’s the kicker – the horses actually prefer working a 9 to 5 job and spending all their off time confined to tiny little prison cells! They’ve been bred over thousands of years to love the city life! They get holidays off, yo! Hey, those stables are so clean and warm and comfy, I’d even live there, Neeson cries with glee.

Honestly, he comes off as borderline batshit.

Post-interview, Jon works in a nice little stab at Neeson’s expense. It’s not on the Moment of Zen video clip (damn you, Stewart!), but it involves a joke about Monday’s guest, Jimmy Carter, who’ll be coming out in favor of horse meat sandwiches.

* When it’s you vs. Alec Baldwin, and Alec Baldwin looks like the sane, kind, compassionate party in the dispute…well, that’s not a good sign, brother.

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easyVegan Link Sanctuary, 2009-01-26

Monday, January 26th, 2009

Action Alerts

Center for Biological Diversity: Petition to Protect the Verde River
“According to U.S. Geological Survey reports, the first 24 miles of the Verde River, also referred to as the upper Verde, rely on springs originating from the Big Chino aquifer for at least 80 percent of the baseflow. Hydrologists predict that, in time, pumping water from the aquifer will reduce the Verde’s flow by an amount equal to the pumpage. If pumping exceeds the natural discharge from the aquifer to the Verde, baseflow from the Big Chino will cease. Without baseflow, a stream is a dry wash, flowing only during storm runoff.”

Earthjustice: Protect America’s Rainforest – Alaska’s Tongass National Forest
“This month marks the anniversary of the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule that protected 58.5 million acres of wild national forests and grasslands from road building, logging, and other harmful development. [...] Despite this support, early in its tenure the Bush administration excluded Alaska’s Tongass rainforest from roadless protections. The Tongass is our nation’s largest national forest and the largest remaining old-growth temperate rainforest in the world. This spring, selling of old growth timber sales in roadless areas in the Tongass is scheduled to begin. Clearcutting old growth permanently damages its habitat value for old growth dependent species and building new roads will further fragment this important ecosystem.”

Kelly’s note: If you choose to use the sample letter provided by Earthjustice, please delete the phrase “ensure quality recreation for millions of hikers, fishermen, and hunters” from the second paragraph.

Elaine Vigneault: Puppymills & Related Problems
In dissecting several issues with Henderson Animal Care & Control, Elaine offers some tips on how we might be able to help our local shelters and rescue groups operate more effectively, particularly in promoting and rehoming adoptable animals.

Feminist Majority Foundation: Tell President Obama Thank You for Keeping his Pledge to Women and Girls
“Thank President Obama for keeping his pledge to women and girls around the world by abolishing the Global Gag Rule, saving the lives of countless women and girls. President Obama’s expeditious repeal of the Global Gag Rule that prevented women in the developing nations from accessing basic reproductive healthcare and AIDS prevention and treatment is a victory for women. Tell President Obama we stand with him as he stand ups for the rights of women and girls at home and aboard!”

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC): Save the Tongass National Forest
“The inauguration of President Obama could mean the end of an eight-year assault on America’s last pristine forests. We need your help to make sure the Obama administration makes a new commitment to protecting these remaining wildlands for generations to come. Please urge President Obama to take immediate action to preserve the old growth wilderness of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest.”

(More below the fold…)

On "fur hags" and "fucking bitches."

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

PETA - PETA2 (Fur Hag Tear Sheet)

Of all PETA’s campaigns, I think I find the “fur hag” meme most offensive. While feminists can (and do) disagree on whether nudity and porn can ever be empowering for women, “fur hag” is a rather obvious gender-based slur, and draws upon a number of age-old stereotypes about women – which PETA further elucidates with their “fur hag” artwork.

To be fair, I have no idea whether PETA actually invented the term “fur hag” – but they’ve certainly been quite influential in launching “fur hag” into the mainstream. Wherever fur-wearing celebs are trashed – on gossip blogs, in fashion show protests, or even on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, “fur hag” is inevitably bandied about as an insult. Oftentimes by other women, who apparently see nothing sexist about denigrating women they dislike with misogynist slurs.

Let’s start by looking at the word “hag.”

Dictionary.com defines “hag” as:

1. an ugly old woman, esp. a vicious or malicious one.
2. a witch or sorceress.
3. a hagfish.

The first definition is obviously problematic: a hag is “an ugly old woman, esp. a vicious or malicious one.” While I have no qualms about calling people (women and men) who wear fur “vicious” or “malicious,” the term “hag” also attacks the fur wearer’s physical appearance and gender – a “hag” is “an ugly old woman.” In fact, the primary aspect of this definition involves appearance and gender – a “hag” is “an ugly old woman,” especially [but not necessarily] “a vicious or malicious one.” “Vicious” and “malicious” are somewhat extraneous to this definition; a “hag,” then, is chiefly “an ugly old woman.”

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Hoping for a change in how our government views the sex class.

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

President Obama rescinded the Global Gag Rule yesterday. Wishes really do come true! Well, kinda sorta. Being the cynical bitch I am, Obama’s timing and statement threw up all kinds of red feminist flags for me.

As I said in Thursday’s Blog for Choice post, I had hoped – fervently – that Obama would repeal the Global Gag Rule that day. Instead, he chose to do so a day later. What’s one day, right? Practically speaking, not much. I don’t imagine that much money was distributed to international NGOs between Thursday the 22nd and Friday the 23rd, so most likely Obama’s slight delay didn’t have a negative impact on any family planning organizations. And yet.

Had he chosen to take action on the anti-abortion rule on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade – like the two administrations before him – he would have sent a strong message to anti- and pro-choicers alike: Women are humans, and I respect their right to privacy and bodily autonomy unequivocally – no matter how popular such a stance may or may not be. Period. The difference is one of symbolism – and symbolically, Obama seems reluctant to align himself too closely with the pro-choice side.

Of course, he also chose to repeal the rule on a Friday – the slowest of all news days. Consequently, I’ve seen little-to-no coverage of the Gag Rule on the cable news shows. Seriously, Sully Sullenberger has received more air time. The more cynical part of me (which is to say, 99%) can’t help but think that this was Obama’s plan all along.

Of his rescinding of the Global Gag Rule, Obama wrote:

It is clear that the provisions of the Mexico City Policy are unnecessarily broad and unwarranted under current law, and for the past eight years, they have undermined efforts to promote safe and effective voluntary family planning in developing countries. For these reasons, it is right for us to rescind this policy and restore critical efforts to protect and empower women and promote global economic development.

For too long, international family planning assistance has been used as a political wedge issue, the subject of a back and forth debate that has served only to divide us. I have no desire to continue this stale and fruitless debate.

It is time that we end the politicization of this issue. In the coming weeks, my Administration will initiate a fresh conversation on family planning, working to find areas of common ground to best meet the needs of women and families at home and around the world.

I have directed my staff to reach out to those on all sides of this issue to achieve the goal of reducing unintended pregnancies. They will also work to promote safe motherhood, reduce maternal and infant mortality rates and increase educational and economic opportunities for women and girls.

In addition, I look forward to working with Congress to restore U.S. financial support for the U.N. Population Fund. By resuming funding to UNFPA, the U.S. will be joining 180 other donor nations working collaboratively to reduce poverty, improve the health of women and children, prevent HIV/AIDS and provide family planning assistance to women in 154 countries.

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A coma of cuteness (with a side of bittersweet).

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

It all started with this video, posted by Stephanie on the Change.org Animal Rights blog – Rat Loves Cat:

ZOMFG, me wants rats! Too bad I already have a house full of killer cats and canines. *pout*

Of course, once I was over at You Tube, I couldn’t stop clicking on all those cute vids on the right hand sidebar.

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easyVegan Link Sanctuary, 2009-01-24

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Action Alerts

Animal Person: Irish SPCA’s Bizarre Fundraiser
As Mary reports, the Irish Society for the PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS is holding a DOG SLEDDING RACE as a fundraiser. Please contact the ISPCA and tell them that dog sledding is inherently cruel, particularly under the conditions they’re advertising on the event page (“Sledding over 200 kilometres from our base camp into the wilds of the most northern European country of Norway, this event proves the ultimate challenge for many participants. With temperatures falling as low as -30C the bond between man and dog becomes essential…”). You can find additional information and talking points at www.helpsleddogs.org.

Defenders of Wildlife: Help Ensure a Lasting Future for Wolves in Greater Yellowstone and the Northern Rockies
“In March 2008, the Bush/Cheney Administration eliminated Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in Greater Yellowstone and the Northern Rockies. For months, wolves were slaughtered… until Defenders of Wildlife and our conservation allies prevailed in court and restored federal protections for these magnificent animals. In its final hours in power, the outgoing Bush/Cheney Administration attempted to once again remove wolves from the list of federally protected species. President Barack Obama has temporarily suspended the Bush/Cheney wolf proposal, and now we need your help to encourage federal officials to adopt a more responsible wolf management plan in its place.”

Kelly’s note: If you choose to use Defenders’ sample letter, please delete the “ranchers, hunters” in the following sentence: “I also hope that you will work with conservationists, states, ranchers and other interested parties to craft a science-based, responsible and balanced federal management strategy that will benefit wolves, ranchers, hunters, Northern Rockies residents and all Americans who care deeply about wildlife conservation.” I could not care less about helping ranchers and hunters.

Kinship Circle: UPDATE: Obama’s Freeze May Give Gray Wolves Reprieve; Plus: Sign-On To Letter To Abolish “Lethal” Wildlife Services
“On 1/14/09, an Interior Department rule under the Bush Administration removed gray wolves in the western Great Lakes and northern Rocky Mountains regions from the federal endangered species list. : ‘Within hours of Obama’s inauguration, his administration froze last-minute Bush administration regulations before they could take effect. Among them was an Interior Department proposal to remove gray wolves from Endangered Species protections in much of the northern Rocky Mountains…’”

NARAL: Thanks, President Obama!
“Just days into Obama’s presidency, he took swift and decisive action to end the global gag rule. The repeal of the global gag rule means that health clinics in developing countries will again be able to offer the world’s poorest women access to much needed reproductive-health services, from birth control to prenatal care.”

National Partnership for Women & Families: Urge President Obama to to reverse this ill-conceived HHS regulation
“At long last, the Bush Administration’s global gag rule was rescinded today by President Obama. This is a huge victory for women’s reproductive health, and we applaud President Obama for ending an eight-year policy that denied contraception for women in some of the world’s poorest nations. [...] In December, the Bush Administration issued a dangerous and misguided “conscience” regulation that jeopardizes access to birth control and other medically necessary health care services and information, dealing another blow to women’s right to make their own informed health care decisions. The new HHS regulation makes it easier for health care providers to withhold information and services to patients, if the providers have moral or religious objections.”

(More below the fold…)

easyVegan Link Sanctuary, 2009-01-23

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Action Alerts

Amnesty International: Commend President Obama and Call for Accountability
“Amnesty International commends President Barack Obama’s signing of executive orders on Guantanamo, detention policy, interrogation and transparency, along with his decision to halt military commissions at Guantanamo, as important steps forward in committing the United States government to human rights, international law, the U.S. Constitution, and the values and ideals central to a just, free and secure society. As President Obama said at the signing ceremony, the United States does not have “to continue with a false choice between our safety and our ideals.” Take a moment to commend him for his initial first positive steps and ask him to finish the job he started.”

Center for Biological Diversity: Stop Palin’s Attack On Beluga Whales
“Governor Sarah Palin won’t give wildlife a break. Last week, she announced the state of Alaska will sue to strike down Endangered Species Act protection for the imperiled Cook Inlet beluga whale. This rare white whale’s population has already plummeted from thousands to just 375 in the last two decades. They will certainly go extinct if Palin has her way. Our lawyers and scientists are already in court to block Palin’s anti-polar bear actions, and we’ll soon jump in to save the beluga from her reckless campaign to promote oil & gas interests. But we also need to build a groundswell of public support. Please help us now to protect beluga whales by sending a letter asking the Obama administration to oppose Palin’s lawsuit.”

Environmental Defense: Cap Global Warming Pollution Now
“President Obama says that our environmental and economic renewal “starts with a cap and trade” system to deal with global warming. But he needs the support of Congress to achieve this historic goal this year. Take action to deliver this message to your members of Congress.”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA): Urge Crayola to Stop Using Glue Traps Immediately!
“PETA has received several complaints that Crayola Facilities is using glue traps to catch and kill rodents in its corporate offices. Reportedly, glue traps are currently set out in the entryways and storage areas at its Palmer branch. Even though we have made repeated attempts to contact Crayola, LLC, asking it to remove set traps and choose humane rodent-control methods, the company has yet to respond to our requests.”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA): URGENT: Pit Bull Returned to Alleged Dogfighter: Your Voice Is Needed!
“Setting an unthinkable precedent, the Madison County, Georgia, Animal Control Board recently returned a pit bull to Johnny Stewart Johnson, the man from whom the dog was legally seized. According to news reports, the returned dog was one of seven pit bulls seized in a raid in July 2008 from Johnson’s Shakedown Kennels, where the animals were found tethered by heavy chains at the property, which also housed a treadmill, supplies commonly used by dogfighters to “patch up” torn up victims, and other evidence of this gruesome and illegal activity. Sources report that the seized dogs were underweight and scarred when they were found chained to barren barrels without adequate food or water—typical of the harsh and bleak conditions endured by dogs bred and kept to be tortured in staged pit fights. Johnson is facing multiple felony counts of dogfighting.”

(More below the fold…)

Blogging for Choice: A bitch’s wish list

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

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Oh, yays! Today marks the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade – and it’s also the fourth annual Blog for Choice Day!

Over at easyVegan.info, I spent quite a bit of time examining reproductive rights as it relates to animal advocacy, but I fear I only scratched the surface. Volumes can be – have been! – written about the exploitation of women’s and non-human animals’ sexuality separately; methinks we’d need an entire encyclopedia set to fully examine the parallels and intersections between the two together.

For example, I didn’t even touch upon Nestle’s exploitation of new mothers in impoverished nations by convincing them that unaffordable, dairy-based formula is better for their babies than mother’s milk; dairy-based formula, of course, necessarily involves the exploitation of female cows.

Anyhow, this year’s topic is “What is your top pro-choice hope for President Obama and/or the new Congress?” Easy, peasy as (vegan) pie!

I have so many hopes, that it’s hard to choose just one. If forced, I’d have to get vague: Be progressive in words and actions.

But that doesn’t make for a very interesting post, so instead I’ll name my most immediate pro-choice hope for Obama: Repeal the Global Gag Rule. While this is only one of many pro-choice hopes I have for the Obama administration, I would love for it to be the first he enacts – because in so doing, he’ll send a strong, clear, pro-choice message, not just to the nation, but to the world.

Also known as The Mexico City Policy, the Global Gag Rule is a policy which

requires non-governmental organizations to “agree as a condition of their receipt of [U.S.] federal funds” that they will “neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations”. The policy has exceptions for abortions done in response to rape, incest, or life-threatening conditions.

Referrals to abortion providers – indeed, even broaching the subject of abortion – qualifies as “actively promot[ing] abortion.”

(More below the fold…)

easyVegan Link Sanctuary, 2009-01-22

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Action Alerts

Born Free USA: Please Help Billy the Elephant Move to a Sanctuary; Please Attend Rescheduled L.A. City Council Meetings
“We urgently need your help to close down the Los Angeles Zoo elephant exhibit and send its lone elephant, Billy, to a sanctuary. We are hopeful that we can free him from his lonely existence — please don’t let him down! With information provided by Born Free USA CEO Will Travers and others, L.A. City Council member Tony Cardenas has presented a motion to halt the L.A. Zoo’s $42 million elephant exhibit renovation. Despite its mammoth price tag and expense to taxpayers, we believe it still will not provide the space nor quality of environment elephants need, and that elephants will continue to suffer and die unnecessarily at the zoo.”

DawnWatch: “The Cove,” film on dolphin slaughter, covered in Salon 1/22/08
“The Cove, a new film about the annual dolphin slaughter in Japan, got a lot of buzz at Sundance this year and is getting some great press. Andrew O’Hehir’s blog about Indie film, “Beyond the Multiplex,” in the online magazine Salon, currently features “The Cove” in a piece headed “Who Killed Flipper?”"

Farm Sanctuary: NYS: One massive cattle operation stopped, 600 more factory farms to watch.
“New Yorker’s can celebrate the recent announcement that Bion Environmental Technologies has suspended its unpopular plan to build an180,000-head beef cattle finishing operation in St. Lawrence County. This factory farm would be a nightmare for animals and the local community, and no amount of industry spin could convince the public otherwise. While Bion’s plans are on hold indefinitely, animal advocates can focus our efforts on the rest of New York’s approximately 600 factory farms, 80% of which are dairy operations.”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA): Urge Canadian Officials to Help Sled Dog Survivors, Allegedly in Dire Shape!
“Recently, the bodies of several sled dogs were found frozen to the ground in Tuktoyaktuk, Canada. These dogs, reportedly belonging to Tuktoyaktuk resident Randall Pokiak, had been tethered without access to shelter in temperatures below 0ºF. Three additional dogs were found still alive, also tethered without access to shelter and in bad shape. [...] Please call, fax, and e-mail Tuktoyaktuk officials and urge them help the three surviving dogs immediately before they fall prey to the deadly cold.”

PETA India: Undercover Investigation Reveals Horrors in India’s Dairy Industry
“PETA India’s recent undercover investigation of several dairy farms revealed shocking cruelty to cows and buffaloes. Tabelas – animal factories with no provisions for health care or animal welfare – are steadily replacing small family farms. By signing the pledge below to stop consuming dairy products – and encouraging your friends and family members to do so as well – you will be sending a powerful message that the cruel treatment of animals is unacceptable.”

(More below the fold…)

Blogging for Choice: Animal Advocacy & Reproductive Rights

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

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Today marks the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade – and it’s also the fourth annual Blog for Choice Day!

This is the first year I’m participating in the blog swarm over here; in years past, I reasoned that reproductive rights were far enough removed from animal advocacy that a pro-choice post on an animal rights blog just wouldn’t make sense. The more I learn about intersecting oppressions, the more I realize how wrong, wrong, wrong I was.

There are many reasons why animal advocates should support a woman’s right to control her own reproductive system*: the environmental consequences of overpopulation and increased resource consumption; empowering women activists, who are overrepresented in the animal advocacy movement; a respect for bodily autonomy; and, perhaps most importantly, the similarities between speciesism and misogyny as expressed through the control of animals’ and women’s reproductive systems.

Much as a the reproductive systems of non-human animals are controlled, manipulated and exploited, anti-choicers seek to do the same to women.

First, let’s consider the ways in which humans manipulate animal reproduction in order to make a buck and satisfy a want (as opposed to a need):

Dairy cows are kept perpetually pregnant, so that they continue to produce milk. Typically, they produce up to 100 pounds of milk a day, or ten times as much as they might under natural conditions. The continued pregnancies and lactation is stressful on the cows’ bodies; common maladies include mastitis, ketosis, laminitis and “Milk Fever” (caused by a calcium deficiency). Once their calves are born, the sons are slaughtered to make beef or veal, while the daughters face the same fate as their mothers. Dairy cows usually live only 3 to 4 years before they, too, become beef; their natural life span is 25 years.

Egg-laying hens are packed into tiny cages, debeaked and forced to lay 250+ eggs per year. Since this is more than they would produce in the wild, their bodies are severely taxed; they may develop osteoporosis, fatty liver syndrome and cage layer fatigue. In order to eke a few extra eggs out of their hens, farmers initiate forced molts – they starve the entire flock simultaneously. Once the birds can no longer produce eggs – when they’re “spent” – they’re made into low-grade “meat” or “recycled” into animal feed. As with the dairy industry, male chicks are of no use to egg factories; consequently, farmers literally dispose of them: they’re stuffed into garbage bags to suffocate, thrown live into wood chippers, and otherwise treated like garbage.

Pigs, who are destined to become pork, don’t fare much better. Breeding sows are continually pregnant, birthing up to 20 piglets per year. During pregnancy, sows are confined to gestation crates; for birth, they’re transferred to farrowing crates. Piglets are taken from their mothers at 2 to 3 weeks of age. They are fattened up for “meat,” while heir mothers are forcibly impregnated again and again.

These are only three examples, taken from the modern animal agriculture industry. Add to this list dogs, cats, rats, ducks – basically any species of animal that humans “use” for food, clothing, entertainment, experimentation, etc. is exploited in a similar manner.

Likewise, just as the megatheocorporatocracy exerts control over non-human animals’ sex organs, so too does it try to control women’s sexuality and reproduction. Exerting control over a woman’s reproductive cycle is just the first step in controlling her as a person.

(More below the fold…)

easyVegan Link Sanctuary, 2009-01-21

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

Action Alerts

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): Tell President Obama, “Thank you!”
“Within hours of taking office, President Obama took the important first step to close Guantánamo: halting the unconstitutional military commissions by ordering the prosecution to seek a 120-day suspension. It’s the first step in what we hope will be a series of bold measures to free America from the civil liberties outrages and human rights abuses of the Bush era. Let’s match President Obama’s first step forward with a powerful show of support and encouragement.”

Animal Person: Help Produce a Movie With $1, and One Other Thing
“Today the first fan-managed, motion picture studio, Green Light Flix announced that it is inviting vegetarians, vegans, animal rights activists, and environmentalists to donate at least $1.00 to help finance eco-friendly feature films & educational videos. [...] All projects are financed by individual and corporate donors. Once productions are completed they will be made available for free on-line, and Limited Edition DVDs will be mailed to anyone who donates more than $25.00. Profits will finance future productions and will also be donated to animal rescue, rights, rescue, and welfare organizations selected by its Board of Advisors and Donor Members.”

Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR): Tell President Obama: Close Guantanamo Now
“According to news reports, President Obama is circulating a draft executive order to close the offshore prison camp at Guantánamo Bay. It is seven years long past time to close Guantánamo, and President Obama must take decisive action to ensure that it happens swiftly. For seven years, the men at Guantánamo have suffered in horrendous conditions from an arbitrary detention regime, kept from their families, homes and communities with little to no legal process or hope to secure justice.”

Earthjustice: Welcome, President Obama…Now Let’s Get Started
“As we celebrate today’s historic inauguration of Barack Obama, let us take to heart his stirring call to action and ready ourselves to support his promising environmental agenda. But first, we must help Obama counter the environmental havoc caused by ex-president Bush, especially in the waning moments of his administration. Join with us to help President Obama make a clean, swift break from these policies.”

Kinship Circle: Man Who Filed Dog’s Teeth To Gumline Belongs In Jail
“A McMinnville, Tenn. jury found Chris Barnett guilty of animal cruelty for filing down the dog’s teeth last year… Barnett faces up to a year in jail when he’s sentenced.” Please write to Judge Stanley, Ms. Lisa Zavogiannis, and Government Officials of Warren County, McMinnville, and the State of Tennessee to urge that Christopher Barnett receive the maximum felony penalty.

(More below the fold…)