Archive: June 2009

Chocolate & Yogurt: Sarah Haskins on "Lady Food"

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

As much as I love me some Sarah Haskins, sometimes it’s weeks before I remember to check for a new installment of her Target Women series. I’d blame it on my scatterbrain, except I’m usually organized to a fault. There are just too many distractions on the interwebs to keep track of, dammit.

Anyhow, I had ample time to catch up this week, since I haven’t been feeling all that well. (Stomach bug, food poisoning, who knows.) Though she rarely covers “animal issues” per se, a number of her skits do indirectly touch upon animal exploitation, as we saw with her take on the Carl’s Jr. franchise. So it is with her discussions of “lady food” – namely, chocolate and yogurt.

There are a number of feminine corollaries to the tired old “meat = masculinity” meme. For example, women eat “like birds” (and sundry other adorable-but-harmless wildlife), daintily pecking at fruit, vegetables and (one would assume) scattered nuts and seeds, our weak lil’ bodies having little need for muscle-building protein. (Protein is only found in the rotting flesh of animal corpses, dontchaknow!?)

Additionally, whereas men crave meat (and heart disease), women literally lust after sugary highs – especially if they come coated in chocolate. What better foodstuff for already hysterical, irrational and moody beings, no? Plus, consuming the milk of our enslaved sisters is the perfect night cap to a shitty blind date.

 


 
The marketing of yogurt – specifically, probiotic-rich yogurt – is a newer trend. (Or at least “new” in the retro sense of the word; I’ve no idea what the picture was like in the ’70s, but the Mr. swears that he remembers similar gynocentric yogurt advertising in his youth.) Whether you want to attribute it to IBS, yeast infections or diet fads, yogurt most definitely falls into the “lady food” category.

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The easyVegan Weekend Activist, No. 9

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Action Alerts: Animal & Environmental Advocacy

Animals Australia: Aussie Company Supports Cruel Seal Cull

Center for Biological Diversity: Help Ban Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining

DawnWatch: AR activism and CMU prisons on Democracy Now 6/25/09

DawnWatch: Parrot crisis beautifully covered on CBS Sunday Morning News 6/21/09

Defenders of Wildlife: Save Frogs and Protect Human Health [Ban Endosulfan]

Farm Sanctuary: Isn’t It Time for California Dairy Farmers to Stop Cutting Cows’ Tails Off? (Update: June 24, 2009)

Farm Sanctuary: Michigan: Don’t Let the Fox Guard the Henhouse

Forest Ethics: Tell Hillary Clinton to Stop Dirty Oil in its Tracks

Greenpeace: Petition to Stand up for the Whales

Jane Goodall Institute (JGI): Take Action Against the Bushmeat Trade—Watch the Video and Show your Support for Great Apes

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Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 3

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

I’ve been feeling kind of crappy since Friday, so I all I have to offer is this link roundup. Happy reading…or not.
 


 
Kelly Garbato @ Animal Rights @ Change.org: Egypt’s Pigs: Beaten, Stoned, and Burned Alive (Part 1) and Religious Discrimination and the Killing of Egypt’s Pigs (Part 2)

In my second round of guest posts at change.org, I look at the recent pig culls in Egypt, and explain how the mass killings may have less to do with concerns over the swine flu than with religious discrimination directed at the country’s Coptic Christians – as well as “their” pigs.

I, Bonobo: Guess who’s really at the bottom of the shitpile? and

Vegan Soapbox: Why Women Should Care About Animals

Bonobobabe and Eccentric Vegan both respond to a recent piece that appeared in the community section of Feministing. Not surprisingly, the author asserted that animal rights and feminism are unrelated movements, such that the animal rights movement has nothing to contribute to feminism and vice versa. Thus, it’s perfectly acceptable for good liberal progressive feminists to eat meat, wear fur and shit on animal advocates when they complain. I’m taking liberties, of course, but you get the idea.

Bonobobabe’s reply, in particular, is a must-read. I skimmed it over several times, trying to boil it down to an excerpt or two to illustrate her argument, but it’s all awesome. This about sums it up, though:

So, while I think it’s fine for a woman who calls herself a feminist to put her time and energy towards women-centered things, I also feel that if a feminist is supposed to be sensitive to class and race issues, that she should also be sensitive to speciesist issues. It’s not OK to say that you are better than an animal. Besides, hierarchies are the invention of men. Being a speciesist, even if one is a feminist, is playing by men’s rules. You’re better than that.

Hat tip to Stephanie for this one.

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The Dangerous World of Butterflies: More dangerous for butterflies than for humans.

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

On Wednesday, journalist Peter Laufer appeared on The Daily Show in order to discuss his newest book, The Dangerous World of Butterflies: The Startling Subculture of Criminals, Collectors, and Conservationists. While the material might seem rather lighthearted – especially in comparison to his previous subjects, which include neo-Nazism, illegal immigration and the Iraq war – the illegal butterfly trade is nothing to scoff at, as he explains:
 

 
Naturally, even the so-called “butterfly huggers” (e.g., the North American Butterfly Association, the International Butterfly Breeders Association) view butterflies as a collection or a part of nature or ecology as opposed to the many individual beings that they are. Or, put another way, butterfly conservation is more about environmental protection than animal rights – or even welfare. Even so, The Dangerous World of Butterflies sounds like an interesting read, since butterfly collecting isn’t normally a “hobby” that’s equated with danger (nor are butterflies the first group of animals to come to mind when one thinks of wildlife “poaching”).

During the interview, Jon wonders why one might want to collect butterflies, due to their short life spans of a week or two. According to Wiki, this is a bit of a misconception:

It is a popular belief that butterflies have very short life spans. However, butterflies in their adult stage can live from a week to nearly a year depending on the species. Many species have long larval life stages while others can remain dormant in their pupal or egg stages and thereby survive winters.

Butterflies may have one or more broods per year. The number of generations per year varies from temperate to tropical regions with tropical regions showing a trend towards multivoltinism.

Not that the butterfly’s life span really matters – for, as Laufer explains, it’s not the aim of collectors to house a population of living butterflies. Rather, collectors view butterflies as objects to be exhibited, much like artwork. In this way, the appeal of “owning” the corpse of a butterfly belonging to a protected or endangered species is much like that of owning a stolen piece of art.

As morbid as this attitude is, I’m not sure it’s all that different from that of butterfly conservations, who view their objects of admiration as pieces of a whole, cogs to be manipulated and controlled in order to achieve a desired result. A thousand Schaus Swallowtails, for example, aren’t significant as a thousand living beings, but as representatives of an endangered butterfly species. To conservationists, the beings are all interchangeable members of a species, much as their corpses are interchangeable pieces of valuables and artwork to poachers and collectors.

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The easyVegan Weekend Activist, No. 8

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Action Alerts: Animal & Environmental Advocacy

American Rivers: River Alert: Tell Congress to Pass a Strong Climate Change Bill NOW!

ASPCA: CA: Fight Cuts to Holding Period at Animal Shelters!

Audubon: The EPA Needs to Hear from You about Global Warming

CREDO Action: Tell Congress: Pass a food safety bill with teeth

CREDO Action: Remove the Trojan Horse from Global Warming Legislation

DawnWatch: NY1 fluff piece on Ringling 6/18/09

DawnWatch: Wild animal “mausoleum” on LA Times front page 6/18/09

Defenders of Wildlife: Support the American Clean Energy and Security Act

Earthjustice: Tell EPA to Act Now on Climate Change

Ecological Internet / The Rainforest Portal: Action Alert: Madagascar: Daewoo’s Rainforest Land Grab in Nature’s Paradise

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"Being dead never tasted so good!"

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Via Blamer moodygirl comes the following SNL skit, “Cluckin Chicken,” which takes the Suicide Food phenomenon to a whole new level. (Indeed, Ben included the video as part of a “Fictional Suicide Food Emeriti” roundup last May.)

Warning: the video contains some graphic footage of a chicken corpse being “cleaned” and “quartered.”
 


 
About twenty seconds into the video, my husband popped up over my shoulder to ask if I was watching an actual commercial. Such is the depravity of modern “meat” advertisements.

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Movie Review: Marie Antoinette: A Film by David Grubin (2006)

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

The condensed version of Antonia Fraser’s biography

four out of five stars

After listening to Antonia Fraser’s excellent and exhaustive biography of Marie Antoinette on audiobook (MARIE ANTOINETTE: THE JOURNEY), I immediately hopped onto Netflix in search of a related documentary or two. The only one to catch my eye was David Grubin’s MARIE ANTOINETTE: A FILM. Try as I might, I can’t help but critique Grubin’s film in relation to Fraser’s biography.

Grubin’s MARIE ANTOINETTE clocks in at about two hours, compared to the 20+ hour narration of Fraser’s MARIE ANTOINETTE. While it might seem unfair to compare the two for this reason alone, they do share a similar story arc and cover much the same ground. In fact, Grubin includes snippets of interviews with several French historians in MARIE ANTOINETTE, one of whom is Antonia Fraser herself!

Given the time limitation, Grubin does a decent enough job of detailing the life and death of Marie Antoinette, starting with her childhood in Vienna, Austria, and ending with her death at the hands of “revolutionaries” in Paris, France. Even so, Grubin barely scratches the surface; for example, though he attempts to examine Marie Antoinette’s psychological, social and intellectual development, the audience is only beginning to get a feel for Marie Antoinette the person by film’s end. Additionally, Grubin raises a few controversial points – such as Marie Antoinette’s relationship with Count Ferson – which is unfortunate, because he’s unable to examine points of contention on anything but a superficial level. For example, Fraser dealt with historical controversies by returning to contemporary accounts of the events (diaries, letters, etc.), detailing various modern views on the issue, and then concluding with her own reasoned interpretation of the evidence. Grubin simply doesn’t have enough time to do the same.

On the plus side, Grubin’s film boasts one momentous advantage over Fraser’s (audio)book – visual aids! Grubin interlaces interviews and narration with video and stills for stunning visual effects. MARIE ANTOINETTE: A FILM highlights a number of contemporary images, including portraits of Marie Antoinette and her friends and family, as well as scores of pages from then-scandalous pamphlets and propaganda – much of which contains nudity and sketches of a sexual nature (thankfully, none is censored). Grubin juxtaposes modern video of historical places – Versailles, Le Petit Trianon, Vienna – with these historical images, thus allowing the audience access to the places significant to Madame Antoine’s child- and adulthood.

Additionally, I thought that Grubin’s recounting of the French Revolution was more linear and easier to follow than was Fraser’s. Fraser interspersed her accounts of the revolutionary political climate in France with its effects on Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI, while Grubin offered a lean – but informative – summary towards the end of his film.

All in all, I enjoyed MARIE ANTOINETTE: A FILM, but coming off of MARIE ANTOINETTE: THE JOURNEY, felt as though I’d already heard much of Grubin’s story. Newbies will probably find MARIE ANTOINETTE: A FILM a nice introduction to the topic, while history buffs might like the film’s visuals. All in all, a keeper.

(This review was originally published on Amazon. Please click through and vote it helpful if you think it so!)

Book Review: How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America by Cristina Page (2006)

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Though I often review books and movies that have little to do with animal advocacy or environmental issues, I don’t usually post the reviews here since – well, since they’ve little to do with animal advocacy!

So while I read and reviewed Cristina Page’s How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America: Freedom, Politics and the War on Sex (2006) over Memorial Day weekend (do I know how to live it up, or what?!), it didn’t initially occur to me that I should publish it here. That is, until earlier today, when I realized that I included the volume in my list of recommended reading on the topic of intersectionality. Thus, entirely appropriate!

Also, I spent all my spare time today writing another guest post for change.org. Filler, this post? No!

Seriously, though, it’s a great book, and an excellent introduction to the current American debate over reproductive rights. It’s also quite timely, eerily so.

How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America by Cristina Page (2006)

“Pro-life”? More like “anti-sex,” “anti-woman” and “anti-human.”

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If How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America – the title of Cristina Page’s 2006 exposé of the religious right/pro-life movement’s true agenda – sounds like liberal hyperbole, chances are that Page wrote this book just for you!

While the “pro-life” movement professes to respect “all life,” to the point of holding it sacred, the movement’s actions belie this all-too-common assumption. Since the days of Roe v. Wade, pro-lifers have been hammering away at women’s – and men’s – reproductive rights. In addition to abortion (whether it occurs before the fertilized egg implants in the womb, the point at which those in the medical field consider that a pregnancy has begun, or in the later stages of pregnancy, which is very rare and usually done in order to save the mother’s life), the pro-life movement opposes contraception, and not just Plan B (which is not an abortifacient, but rather a high dose of The Pill). Whether the method is hormonal (The Pill, the patch, Plan B, NuvaRing, etc.) or barrier (the condom, the sponge, the cervical cap, the diaphragm, spermicide), pro-lifers oppose it. The only contraceptive method explicitly endorsed by pro-life groups, in fact, is one with dubious efficacy: natural family planning, also called the rhythm method.

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Breaking: Gymnast Shawn Johnson Put To Sleep After Breaking Leg

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

The Onion reports:
 


 
This video is chock full of snarky goodness, but my favorite part?

“Shawn was only 17 years old, so we never got to breed her.”

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Dog Deserve Better’s 6th Annual Chain-Off – Freedom for Chained Dogs

Monday, June 15th, 2009

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The anti-chaining group Dog Deserve Better has been holding an an annual Chain-Off, on or around July 4th, since 2004. This year, the Chain-Off will take place June 27 through July 12.

Just what is a “Chain-Off,” you ask?

Chain Off has been held annually around the 4th of July since 2003, highlighting the reality that while Americans are celebrating their own freedom, there are tens of thousands of Man’s Best Friends in every state who are still not free: America’s chained and penned dogs. These dogs are found in backyards stretching from Delaware to Alaska, from Maine to Hawaii, throughout the provinces of Canada, and in countries around the world.

Chain Off has evolved from one woman chaining herself to a doghouse in 2003 for 33 hours, to 85 people chaining themselves in 23 states during last year’s 2008 Chain Off to raise awareness for chained dogs.

This year help us blow last year’s 85 total out of the water by chaining yourself in your own backyard, your neighborhood, a local park, or with us in South Carolina! Join up ‘in packs’ to make a local event of it, or take it low-key in a one-woman or one-man show in your own backyard. However it works for you, it’s ok by us! We’ve got more excitement than ever, with a large event in S. Carolina where activists will be chained, and new ways to fundraise in groups or on your own. We’d like to see over 100 people, and at least one from EVERY SINGLE STATE, living chained to doghouses sometime during the week from June 27th through July 7th. We can do it! You can do it!

In addition to being our biggest awareness campaign of the year, this is also our biggest fundraising event of the year, last year raising over $33,000 for our work with chained and penned dogs. $33,000? Let’s blow that out of the water this year too, with a goal of $60,000 raised during Chain Off! Be part of it! You can fundraise even if you’re not going to live chained to the doghouse…join an online fundraising ‘team’ in your state, start your own fundraising page, and make it happen.

We intended to do Chain Off in Denver, Colorado this year, but were asked by Denver Kills Dogs to stand in solidarity with them in a boycott of Denver. While we had been planning to use the opportunity to protest their pit bill ban, we decided it would be right for us to pull out of Denver. Hence a time crunch to find another location!

Given that we had so little time and needed on the ground help, we approached friend and founder of local anti-chaining organization Pawsitive Effects Mikael Hardy, and are chaining off in her neck of the woods so we can collaborate. Mikael was one of the 11 participantes in our 2006 Chain Off who spent days chained to doghouses hoping to win a new car, and took her passion for the cause to new levels!

We’d like to invite all the up and coming local Anti-Chaining organizations to Chain Off with us; this show of coordination and solidarity will take our cause even further!

Whether you are part of an organization or an individual animal advocate, we’d love for you to travel there to be chained with us, or set yourself up in your neighborhood, town, or your own backyard! We accommodate all participants, in whatever way works for you.

Make sure to visit our Chain Off Home Page and fill out the registration form to get you started. Special thanks to Susan Hartland, DDB Seattle Rep, for her diligent work in obtaining not only one but two Chain Off locations this year!

Chain Off Attire, with this gorgeous logo donated by DaftGeneration.com, will make the perfect 4th of July shirt this year! Gets yours at our cafepress store.

If the idea of chaining yourself to a dog house in the heat of July doesn’t appeal to you (and here, I should stop to note that it isn’t exactly a party for dogs similarly chained, either), you can make a donation to DDB, or sign on as a Team Sponsor for $100. And, naturally, there’s all that cool Chain-Off 2009 gear to be had!

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The easyVegan Weekend Activist, No. 7

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Action Alerts: Animal & Environmental Advocacy

American Rivers: RiverAlert: Help Protect and Restore the Snake River [If you choose to use the sample letter provided, please edit for speciesism.]

Animals Australia: Help Improve Laws for Pigs!

AVAAZ: Protect Indigenous Rights – Save the Amazon!

Center for Biological Diversity: Help Protect Iconic Sierra Bighorn From Deadly Disease

Center for Biological Diversity: Save Mexican Gray Wolves From Being Trapped and Shot

DawnWatch: Slate 5 part series on animal experimentation 6/1 — 6/5/09

Earthjustice: Protect Your Drinking Water From Toxic Chemicals

The Ellen Show (via Twitter): Important: Tell Gov. Arnold not to limit time animals are kept in shelters from 6 days to 3.

Environment New Mexico: The clean energy revolution starts here

Farm Sanctuary: Pennsylvania: Support Bill to Stop Cruel Pigeon Shoots

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Food, Inc. & Fast Food Nation (the books) giveaway!

Friday, June 12th, 2009
Food, Inc. movie poster Fast Food Nation (004)

Update: 6/19/09: Using the random number generator http://www.random.org – which selected the #4 – we have a winner! Sharon, I’ll contact you at the email address you provided in order to get your shipping info.

2009-06-19 - Food Inc Drawing

Thanks for playing, everyone. I’ve seen a few similar contests pop up here and there, so if you didn’t win, keep an eye on your favorite veg blogs for more chances to enter!

———————

We’ve all been hearing about the new documentary Food, Inc. for what seems like months now, and tonight it finally opens to limited release in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. Additional screens will be added on 6/19, and every weekend thereafter – through at least mid-August, it looks like. You can view the entire list of play dates here. (Sadly, Kansas City didn’t make the cut, so I guess it’s Netflix for moi.)

In honor of the release, the kind Food, Inc. PR peoples offered me a copy of the film’s companion book, also called Food, Inc., as well as Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal (the film adaptation of which is still languishing in my Netflix queue; what can I say, I’ve been on a period piece kick as of late!).

They also offered up a set of the books for a reader giveaway. My first ever, at that!

So here’s the deal: in order to win a copy each of Food, Inc. and Fast Food Nation, drop a comment on this post and name your favorite animal-friendly movie: Babe, Behind the Mask, Harry and the Hendersons, whatever. It doesn’t have to be a documentary, in fact, the more creative, the better. Entertain me! A mention of this giveaway on your blog will earn you a second entry (just make sure it shows up here as a trackback, or else leave a second comment with a link to your blog post).

[Updated to add: The PR people didn’t mention location restrictions, and I totally forgot to ask, so I’ll assume for the time being that they’ll only mail the books to U.S. residents. Mylène, if you win, I’ll personally ship you your set if need be, since that’s only fair!]

The contest ends next Friday, 6/19 at 2 AM, CDT, and I’ll announce the winner sometime that day. (Not often you see Central time, eh?)

By the way, I’m 99.9% sure that I managed to fix the comment issue I mentioned last week. Somehow, somewhere, some way, a requirement that users must be logged on to Word Press in order to comment was accidentally enabled; don’t ask me how. It should all be fixed now, but if you run into any issues (knock on sustainable wood), please email me at easyvegan [at] gmail.com. Or, if instant gratification’s your thing, tweet me @easyvegan.

In the meantime, keep reading for some additional info about Food, Inc. (which, much like Fast Food Nation, seems to be more welfare-oriented, but may still be worth checking out – if only to praise the good and refute the bad).

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Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 2

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

lol jayne - speciesism 101, pot 1

Kelly Garbato (that’s me!) @ Animal Rights at Change.org: Intersectionality 101: Sexism, Racism, Speciesism, and More and Intersectionality and Animal Advocacy

Stephanie at Change.org kindly invited me to guest post at the Animal Rights blog; Intersectionality 101 and Intersectionality and Animal Advocacy are my first contributions. This is a two-part post in which I introduce the concept of intersectionality, explain how intersectionality can help us better understand (and dismantle) our exploitation of animals, and argue for the inclusion of other anti-”ism” activism in the animal advocacy movement. Please stop by and share your thoughts!

Also worth checking out: the new(ly visible) “oppression connections” post category on Animal Rights.

Briar Levit @ Bitch Blogs: Nicole Georges pays tribute to the Queer Animal Kingdom

Last week, I noted how media such as Green Porno, by celebrating non-human animals in all their sexual diversity, has the potential to liberate and uplift animals of all species.

In this vein, Briar Levit introduces us to Nicole Georges, “a zinester, illustrator, and pet portrait artist” (and also a contributor to Bitch magazine), whose latest project is “an exploration of the Queer Animal Kingdom” – as explained in this documentary:

Nicole Georges 5/1/09 from cat on Vimeo.

As far as feminist media goes, Bitch seems to be the most animal-friendly magazine out there (with a very vocal – albeit minority – vegan/vegetarian readership!), so if you’re so inclined, you can check ‘em out here.

Igualdad Animal / Animal Equality: Press release about ‘The Running of the Nudes’ and PETA

Igualdad Animal (Animal Equality) describes itself as “an international non-profit organisation dedicating to gaining equal consideration and respect for animals. Founded in Madrid (Spain) in January 2006 by Sharon Nunez, Javier Moreno and Jose Valle, it is currently active in Spain, Peru, Venezuela and Colombia.”

In this press release, Igualdad Animal offers its thoughts on PETA’s upcoming annual anti-bullfighting demonstration, “The Running of the Nudes.” Not surprisingly, the group is unimpressed, both with PETA’s animal welfare efforts, as well as their poor record vis-à-vis marginalized groups of humans, including women.

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Whale Wars, Season 2

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

…started last Friday on Animal Planet. (And yes, I’m way behind on my email, thanks for asking.)

I must admit to never watching Whale Wars; while, one the one hand, I recognize the need to support animal-friendly programming such as WW, I really can’t bring myself to watch the more graphic, gruesome stuff. I already know what a bloody, needless mess whaling is – no need to voluntarily witness footage of such, thus giving myself a week’s worth of nightmares.

That said, many thanks everyone who does tune in to these kind of shows, thus helping to keep them on the air!

Anyhow, Matt from Animal Planet provided links to several news season 2 Whale Wars videos on You Tube.

The Season 2 trailer is relatively blood-free, save for a brief shot of a whale being harpooned and pulled towards a whaling ship:
 


 

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June 20th marks the 1st International Day of Action for Elephants in Zoos

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

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On June 20th (that’s a week from this Saturday, folks), In Defense of Animals will be holding the first-ever International Day of Action for Elephants in Zoos (IDAEZ for short).

IDA describes IDAEZ as

a global event aimed at bringing mammoth attention to the plight of elephants in zoos and ending their suffering. On Saturday, June 20th, pro-elephant advocates will turn out en masse at their local zoos, holding outreach events and demonstrations to educate the public about the tragic effects of keeping elephants in small, impoverished zoo pens where they are suffering and dying prematurely.

Elephants are highly intelligent, complex and self-aware individuals who have evolved for long distance living. In the wild they range tens of miles a day, live in large, tight-knit family groups, and communicate with one another at great distances. Yet zoos keep elephants in tiny exhibits of a few acres or less, where lack of movement and standing on hard surfaces cause painful foot infections and arthritis, the leading causes of euthanasia in captive-held elephants. The stress and boredom of intensive captivity results in abnormal behaviors such as repetitive swaying and head bobbing. [...]

The elephants need your help! By participating in this event, you become part of a global community of pro-elephant advocates joined together on June 20th to end the suffering of elephants in zoos. We urge you to organize or join an event at your local zoo, write letters, educate your friends and family. It’s all about taking action. United, we are a powerful force for change!

Backed by an army of public relations personnel, the zoo industry has been largely successful in convincing the general public that zoos work for the public good: breeding endangered animal species which might otherwise go extinct; fostering in children a love and appreciation for nature and its inhabitants; throwing their weight behind sundry conservation efforts so that, one day, animals need not live in captivity for their species to survive. This is a lie.

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Kinship Circle: Friends of Kinship Circle Updates, June 2009

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – KinshipCircleInfo [at] accessus.net
Date: Sun, Jun 7, 2009 at 9:31 AM
Subject: Pig Massacre, Cat Labs, Black Market Asia Film…[Friends Of Kinship Circle]
To: “3) KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY”

FRIENDS OF KINSHIP CIRCLE, 6/7/09

http://friendsofkinshipcircle.wordpress.com

* KINSHIP CIRCLE DOES NOT WRITE OR RESEARCH THESE ALERTS.
* QUESTIONS? CONTACT ALERT WRITERS. PLEASE DO NOT HIT REPLY.

IN THIS ALERT:

1. Egypt: Mass Pig Slaughter During Swine Flu Panic
2. Stop Texas Tech’s Senseless Torture Of Cats
3. Support New Film On Illegal Trade In Wild Animals
4. Shield Polar Bears From Deadly Global Warming
5. End “Jumps Racing” Carnage For Good
6. Shocking Elephant Abuse Video From Greek Circus
7. Brookfield Zoo Elephant Deserves Safe Haven
8. Check Out Karen Dawn’s Blog
9. 50+ Years In A Lab – Save Elder Chimps From Hell

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Why this vegan feminist is red hot for Green Porno.

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

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I’ve heard mention of Isabella Rossellini’s latest project, Green Porno, here and there – ecorazzi, The Colbert Report, CNN even – but never bothered to follow up, seeing as I don’t get the Sundance Channel and all. But an article in Bitch magazine’s Spring ’09 issue (No. 43, appropriately titled “the buzz issue”) made me take a second look.

In “Wings of Desire: Bug sex as a gender revolution,” Katura Reynolds examines the subversive nature of Green Porno (as well as British evolutionary biologist Olivia Judson’s alter ego, Dr. Tatiana): by depicting (non-human) animal sex in all its kinky, decidedly non-vanilla glory, these projects challenge our traditional views of what “natural” sexuality and gender expression look like in the animal kingdom.

“Bug sex” is so much more then heterosexual, missionary style pairings: bugs may be male, female, or hermaphrodites; heterosexual, homosexual or asexual; reproduce through sexual activity, parthenogenesis, or an alternative combination thereof; etc. (Some, like the preying mantis, even engage in sexual cannibalism, consuming their partners during coitus.) The same holds true for many animal species, humans included; for example, in his 1999 book, Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity (which I highly recommend, by the way), Bruce Bagemihl reviewed existing evidence which points to observed homosexual behavior in nearly 1500 animal species.

Green Porno, which is currently in its second season and airs on the Sundance Channel Tuesdays at 9 PM ET, is a bit cheesier and cheekier than its British cousin, – which is so raunchy that it’s not even available on Region 1 DVDs, let alone running on U.S. television. (You can, however, view a few clips of the show on You Tube.)

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Writes Reynolds,

The eight short films in [season 1 of] Green Porno were written by Rossellini and codirected with Jody Shapiro. They feature Rossellini acting out the sex lives of flies, praying mantises, earthworms, dragonflies, gees, fireflies, snails and spiders. The films are simultaneously hilarious, scientifically accurate, unrepentantly corny, compellingly sexy, and completely bizarre. [...]

Rossellini strives for a simple, childlike atmosphere in the films. She starts each in a bodysuit, saying, “If I were a [type of bug],” and then her costumes gradually build as the film progresses: extra arms, compound eyes, snail shells, you name it. The props and supporting characters are made from giant cut-paper sculptures, like she’s wandered into a kindergarten classroom plastered in giant paper flowers.

The schoolroom setting is chosen very deliberately – it’s a foil for overtly sexual content. Rossellini gets it on with huge paper models of flies, mantises, and bees; she gasps and moans in orgasmic ecstasy as a firefly and a snail; she runs around waving hands covered in paper cutouts of sperm as a spider. As stated in the press release, “If human, these acts would not be allowed to air on television. [Indeed, Dr. Tatiana’s human reenactments and live non-human animal footage is not.] They would be considered filthy and obscene.” But the silly costumes and absurd props distract audiences from the flagrantly, graphically sexual content. Comedy often serves as a harbor for the unspeakable. By laughing at the silliness of it all, we can disarm the taboo.

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The easyVegan Weekend Activist, No. 6

Friday, June 5th, 2009

Action Alerts: Animal & Environmental Advocacy

American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS): Congress Must Act to Protect Former Pets from Research

Audubon: Help Save Our Migratory Birds! [The Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act]

Born Free USA: Keep Wildlife in the Wild Week — 1st of 5

Born Free USA: Keep Wildlife in the Wild Week — 2nd of 5

Born Free USA: Keep Wildlife in the Wild Week – 3rd of 5

Born Free USA: Keep Wildlife in the Wild Week – 4th of 5

Born Free USA: Keep Wildlife in the Wild Week – 5th of 5

Campaign for America’s Wilderness: Ask Pres. Obama to Reinstate the Roadless Rule

Center for Biological Diversity: Act Now to Protect Oceans From Acidification

DawnWatch: Time Magazine on city’s weekly veg day — June 8 edition

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Happiness is a ‘pumped and dumped’ gun.

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

First, the bad news: That rider to the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights, introduced by asshat extraordinaire Tom Coburn, which would allow visitors to carry loaded guns in national parks? Passed both the House and Senate – with the help of plenty of Blue Dog Dems, natch.

But on the bright side, Stephen and his fiancé, Sweetness, can take that honeymoon in Yellowstone that they’ve always dreamed of:
 

 
Also, this provides our park rangers an excellent opportunity to earn some extra funds, to prop up the crumbling national park system.
 

 
$20k on AK-47′s, anyone?

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Her milkshake brings all the boys to Carls.

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Okay, so this commercial advertising a new line* of “real milk / real ice cram” milk shakes technically comes from Hardee’s, but hells bells, they’re identical franchises (right down to the logo) belonging to the same company. *Shrug* So sue me.
 


 
The thirty-second spot shows a nondescript white dude – your normal Hardee’s customer, I would assume – “shaking” a “dairy” cow. The idea being, of course, that he’s whipping up the milk inside the cow in order to make a milkshake.

Or, to put it more succinctly, the cow is but a mere container for the milk inside her. She is a milk container. Nope, no sentience there! (Sound familiar?)

Of course, one can’t exactly pick up a cow and shake her like a milk carton, so nondescript white dude is instead forced to act out the “shake” on her body, i.e., by kind of shimmying her skin to and fro. Which he does while dancing – not with her, exactly, but on her – to a rap/R&B number. The result being that it looks as though dude is “housing” (or dirty dancing or whatever teh kidz r calling it nowadays; holy Jebus am I getting old) with a cow. It’s all strangely obscene.

To make matters worse, the short video features at least one gratuitous close-up of the cow’s udders (read: cleavage), and the dancer slaps her on the ass, to boot. And, um, did I mention that said slap is accompanied by the sound of a whip, BDSM style? *shudder*

But wait! It gets worse! Behold: the techno version!

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