Odds & Ends: Flu Factories, Shelter "Pets" & JVM

November 3rd, 2009 8:08 pm by Kelly Garbato

Here are a few links I’ve been sitting on for awhile. So much to discuss, so little time. Oh, the life of a B-list blogger!

In no particular order:

1. Flu Factories: Tracing the Origins of the Swine Flu Pandemic

Dr. Greger, whose Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching I reviewed several years back, was kind enough to send me a copy of his latest project, Flu Factories: Tracing the Origins of the Swine Flu Pandemic. Flu Factories is a one-hour presentation by Dr. Greger on the H1N1 influenza pandemic; it’s available for purchase on DVD, or for free viewing (in 40 parts!) on the HSUS’s website.

While I haven’t yet had a chance to view the entire video, if it’s anything like Bird Flu (and, judging from the chapter titles, there looks to be much crossover, particularly in the areas of biology and history), it’s bound to be both illuminating and terrifying. Although Dr. Greger doesn’t take an explicitly animal rights/vegan position in Bird Flu (nor do I know anything about his personal politics, his position at the HSUS notwithstanding), he does emphasize the role that factory farming – and, to a lesser extent, animal agriculture in general – plays in zoonotic diseases, including the influenza (avian and swine). If you can ignore the speciesism (e.g., in the quoted resources), it’s well worth a watch.

Embedded above is a clip from the presentation: Chapter 2, the 1918 Flu Pandemic.

2. The Shelter “Pet” Project

The HSUS, Maddie’s Fund and the Ad Council have launched The Shelter Pet Project (SPP), a PSA campaign to encourage animal adoption. Here’s a brief intro, in video form, that explains the project.

Of course, you and I know that rescue animals aren’t damaged or defective, but probably a large chunk of the U.S. population (President Obama included) could stand to be re-educated. Indeed, the Shelter Pet Project identifies its primary demographic as

The “Swing Voter.” These are the approximately 17 million individuals who will be acquiring a pet within the next year, but remain undecided on where they will acquire their pet from.

If you know someone who plans to start or expand their nonhuman family – but insists upon buying a shiny new puppy or kitten – please refer them to the Shelter Pet Project, along with Petfinder, Adopt a Pet, Pet Ark and similar. Google is also helpful in locating species- and breed-specific rescue groups.

You can view the Shelter Pet Project’s PSAs here; the Ad Council also has a dedicated You Tube channel, which hosts all of its PSAs. I’m especially enamored of the pro- (human) adoption ads, which are crazybittersweet.

3. Jane Velez-Mitchell @ Farm Sanctuary’s Walk for Farm Animals in NYC (October 4, 2009)

I have few Issues with the ever-awesome Jane Velez-Mitchell: She’s a woman of color, a lesbian and recovering addict. She’s progressive: feminist, anti-racist, pro-LGBT rights, green – and, vegan, too! As HLN’s 7PM anchor, she uses her soapbox to advance a progressive agenda: every night she covers what she’s termed “the war on women” (oftentimes arguing with her male guests about the war’s very existence, even as female bodies dominate the screen beside her), and she’s quick to denounce her guests’s speciesist language and attitudes. Simply put, she’s one of a kind – there’s no journalist like Jane on any other cable news network. Not even close.

Velez-Mitchell attended and spoke at Farm Sanctuary’s recent Walk for Farm Animals in NYC. Here’s the footage:

Now tell me you didn’t get a little chill when she proclaimed, “My name is Jane Velez-Mitchell, I’m the host of Issues on Headline News, AND I’M A VEGAN!” Total We Can Do It moment.

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