Book Review: Burn Baby Burn, Meg Medina (2016)

Monday, March 7th, 2016

Burn that mother down.

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free ARC for review through Library Thing’s Early Reviewers program. Trigger warning for domestic violence.)

The bruise on my neck is compact and the color of liver. It’s right at my voice box, too, so when I stand at the mirror, it looks like a bullet hole to the throat.

Mima pretends she doesn’t see it.

We’re in a secret club together. All those times I never asked about her wrists, about the fleshy part of her thigh, even the faint circle of teeth at her cheeks all those years ago after one of Hector’s tantrums. More recently, the days she uses my CoverGirl without my permission.

All too often, anti-rape campaigns focus on the victims rather than the perpetrators. Under the guise of “helpful advice,” women are told what we can do to avoid being raped: Don’t accept drinks from strangers. Don’t take your eyes off the drink you bought yourself. Don’t get drunk in public. Don’t drink in public, period. Don’t walk home alone. Don’t walk the streets at night, period. Sometimes the advice is downright contradictory: Wear pants, since they make rape slightly more difficult. But don’t wear skinny jeans because, in the event that you are raped, no one will believe you. (Skinny jeans are so difficult to peel off that your rapist must have had your cooperation and thus your consent.)

At best, these “tips” are given with good intentions and provide a false sense of control over a chaotic world. At worst, they’re a crass attempt to police the behavior of women – for our own protection, of course. *

Perhaps most alarmingly, these types of rape prevention campaigns contribute to the stereotype of the rapist as a menacing stranger, lurking in the bushes or an alleyway, just waiting for the perfect victim to come along; an animal prowling the urban jungle. Someone evil and unknowable. An anomaly.

In reality, 82% of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows. They are our partners, our dates, our friends, our coworkers, and our classmates. How does walking home in a group help to prevent rape when the rapist is waiting for us at home?

(More below the fold…)

Book Review: The Merman, Carl-Johan Vallgren (2015)

Monday, December 7th, 2015

“Fairy tales with tragic endings.”

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through Edelweiss. Trigger warning for violence, including bullying, sexual violence, and animal abuse, as well as offensive language.)

There is no beginning, and no ending. I know that now. For others, perhaps, there are stories that lead somewhere, but not for me. It’s like they go round in circles, and sometimes not even that: they just stand still in one place. And I wonder: what are you supposed to do with a story that repeats itself?

“There’s not much that’s been written about mermaids, you see. Mainly fairy tales with tragic endings.”

Petronella’s life is a lot like a fairy tale. Not the ending, when the lowly peasant girl has found her prince, the heroine has slayed the dragon, and everyone is free to live happily ever after for the rest of their days. Rather, Nella is the beginning; the nightmare that comes before the daydream. The raw truth that lurks under the Disneyfied facade, fangs and claws bared.

Nella’s is a family of three, occasionally four. She and her younger brother Robert live with their mother Marika in a maisonette (apartment) on Liljevägen in Falkenberg, Sweden; her housing is largely regarded as “a sort of slum where social service cases live.” An unemployed alcoholic, Marika is a neglectful mother at best. Her mom is more likely to spend the family’s public assistance funds on booze than food, forcing Nella into shoplifting to make up the difference. Sometimes the free lunch at school is the only meal Nella and Robert will see in a day; oftentimes it’s the one and only reason they bother to show up at all. That, and to get out of the house: no matter how much Nella tidies up, it’s not long before hurricane Marika sweeps through, leaving mess of dishes and vomit in her wake.

(More below the fold…)

Book Review: The Troop, Nick Cutter (2014)

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Things that make you go “EWWWWWWWWWW!”

four out of five stars

Fact One: a boat had arrived.

Fact Two: he and the boys were on an isolated island over an hour from home. No weapons other than their knives – blades no longer than three and a half inches, as outlined in the Scout Handbook – and a flare gun. It was night. They were alone.

It was supposed to be a last hurrah for the boys of Troop Fifty-Two.

At fourteen years old, the guys – Kent, Ephraim, Max, Shelley, and Newton – had come up together through Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, and Venturers, but most (save for the ever-nerdy Newt) now felt that they were too old to be running around in the wilderness, earning merit badges for activities as dorky as bird watching and first aid. And so the late-autumn camping trip to Falstaff Island was to be their final adventure together, much to Scoutmaster Tim’s disappointment.

Their peace and quiet is interrupted on the very first night, with the unexpected arrival of an emaciated and ravenous stranger in a speed boat. While Tim attempts to treat the obviously ill man (in his other life, the Scoutmaster is a GP), there’s no cure for what ills him. “Typhoid Tom,” as he’d later come to be known in the papers, is Patient Zero in an experiment gone horribly wrong…or horribly right, depending on which project backer you’re talking to.

(More below the fold…)

Book Review: The Ugly Princess: The Legend of the Winnowwood, Henderson Smith (2014)

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

ALL the scars! (Instead of stars! See what I did there?)

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Goodreads’ First Read program. Also, this review contains clearly marked spoilers towards the end.)

I wondered if in the history of the world there had ever been a Princess as ugly as me? I doubted it. But was there ever a Princess in the history of the world who saved their kingdom twice from annihilation by the time they were eighteen, and I doubted that as well. I gave myself a brave smile then attached the veil to my crown and appraised myself – well, it was a beautiful dress.

So there’s this princess named Olive, see.

But she’s also a magical creature called a Winnowwood – the last of her kind.

In addition to being troll-like in appearance, Winnowwoods can control nature, speak to animals, assume animal form, even heal their fellow earthlings. But every time a Winnowwood uses her magic to change something outside of herself – such as to heal her nonhuman friends – she becomes uglier on the outside: she sprouts a new boil or wart, for example. But to the animals she just grows more and more beautiful.

Hundreds of years ago, the lands were teeming with Winnowwoods. But a witch called Cassandra the Dragon Slayer cursed them with a knife, the Blade of Winnowwood, which tempts the Winnowwoods with physical beauty: should they use it to sever their crux (an extra joint on their pinky which is the source of their powers), they will lose their magics in exchange for youth and beauty. This is why all the Winnowwood save for Olive are gone – having long since died or succumbed to the curse. The beauty a Winnowwood will attain after “winnowing” is inversely related to how ugly she is at the time of the ceremony.

Beauty is all Olive’s younger sister Roseline ever wanted. As a child, she rarely used her magic, for fear of becoming uglier than she already was. But the day of her winnowing ceremony, she made a rare visit to the glen, where she spent hours torturing a doe – slashing her chest, breaking a leg with a hammer, etc. – so that she could heal the deer over and again, becoming uglier and uglier with each act of magic. And, ultimately, more and more beautiful that night. (Spoiler alert: Olive found the doe her sister left for dead and healed her – or her physical scars, anyway.)

The whole time I’m reading this, I’m thinking: yeah, but what about dinner time? You don’t eat your friends: cows, pigs, chickens. Awkward.

Turns out that Olive and her mom Opal are both vegetarians! (Roseline was, but not since her winnowing.) It’s not vegan, but I’ll take it.

Up until this point, I’d slowly been falling in love with The Ugly Princess: The Legend of the Winnowwood. But page 57? That’s when I gave my heart over to it fully. This is one beautiful story, people. Inside and out.

(More below the fold…)

Book Review: The Shadow Year, Hannah Richell (2014)

Friday, June 6th, 2014

A Tense Psychological Drama

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Goodreads’ First Reads program. Trigger warning for rape and violence. The second half of the review contains spoilers, which are clearly marked as such.)

The Peak District cottage couldn’t have dropped into Lila’s lap at a better time. Still mourning the death of her five-day-old infant Milly – and haunted by the accident that sent Lila into labor two months prematurely, the details of which still elude her – Lila needs a change of a scenery, a project to keep her busy, and (perhaps most of all) some time away from her husband Tom. Long since abandoned and falling steadily into disrepair, the remote, diamond-in-the-rough cabin certainly fits the bill.

Adding to the cottage’s air of mystery is its unknown origins: this was an anonymous gift. Lila’s father, recently struck down by a heart attack, is the most likely benefactor; but the lawyers are holding fast to their client’s wishes, leaving Lila to speculate about the cabin’s original owner and his intentions in gifting this beautiful and seemingly untouched piece of land to her.

This is in July. For the next twelve months – “The Shadow Year” – Lila’s story alternates, month-by-month, with the events that transpired in the cabin in the summer of 1980 through 1981. The beginning of the flashback story sees five college friends – Kat, Carla, Ben, Mac, and Simon – visit the lake one lazy summer afternoon. Newly graduated and facing the daunting prospect of finding employment in the face of a recession, the friends decide to claim the seemingly abandoned cottage as their own. Instead of jumping on the treadmill to adulthood, they embark upon a one-year project to see if they can rough it on their own.

(More below the fold…)

Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 11: Battered, Bruised & Consumed

Monday, November 9th, 2009

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Natalie Portman @ The Huffington Post: Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals Turned Me Vegan and

Carol J. Adams: A vegan-feminist lament

Natalie Portman – a newbie vegetarian-to-vegan convert, thanks to Jonathan Safran Foer’s welfarist Eating Animals (zuh?) – recently caused a stir when she compared the consumption of “meat” to the consumption of women, i.e., in the form of rape:

He posits that consideration, as promoted by Michael Pollan in The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which has more to do with being polite to your tablemates than sticking to your own ideals, would be absurd if applied to any other belief (e.g., I don’t believe in rape, but if it’s what it takes to please my dinner hosts, then so be it).

Naturally, Portman’s remark(s) unleashed a torrent of speciesism – to which Carol Adams responds with a vegan-feminist lament.

(This is the point at which I’d normally swoon over Ms. Portman – but I’m still somewhat heartbroken over her Jane Hancock on the “free Polanski” petition.)

Striking at the Roots: Carol J. Adams on Activism, Veganism and Models for Change

In what’s shaping up to be a series (see also: Mark’s conversation with Andrew Zollman of LGBT Compassion), author/activist Mark Hawthorne interviews vegetarian (vegan?) / feminist Carol Adams. The two touch upon sexism within the animal rights movement, masculine vs. feminist models of change, the gendered nature of animal exploitation, and guerrilla activism. Keep it coming, Mark!

Stephanie @ Animal Rights: Are American Rodeos More Acceptable Than Spanish Bullfighting?

Stephanie details an alarming trend: as Spanish animal advocacy groups work to bring an end to bullfighting, promoters of American rodeos are promoting the “sport” as a “humane” alternative. Clearly, the question she poses – Are American Rodeos More Acceptable Than Spanish Bullfighting? – is a rhetorical one, and the answer is a resounding hell no! Here, colonialism meets speciesism, and everyone loses. Save for the colonizers, of course.

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: Act/ Cop Shoots Deaf, 19-Year-Old Family Cat

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

Astute readers may notice that I linked to this particular Kinship Circle alert several weeks ago as part of my weekly link roundup. Even so, since this shooting occurred in Raymore, Missouri – i.e., in my neck of the woods – I formatted and posted the alert in full on the KC Freecycle blog, and figured I may as well repost it here as well.

This is just one of several animal cruelty cases highlighted by Kinship Circle in the past month; see also:

10/20/09: Two Dogs Shot At Point Blank Range In New York

10/13/09: Get Serial Cat Killer Off New York Streets

If you choose to contact officials in any of these cases, feel free to append this animal abuse reference list to your correspondence.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – info [at] kinshipcircle.org
Date: Sat, Oct 10, 2009 at 4:36 PM
Subject: Act/ Cop Shoots Deaf, 19-Year-Old Family Cat

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY / PERMISSION TO CROSSPOST
10/10/09: Cop Shoots Deaf, 19-Year-Old Family Cat

Kinship Circle - 2009-10-10 - Cop Shoots Deaf, 19-Year-Old Family Cat

Tobey the cat who was shot and killed by Raymore, MO police. (source)

(More below the fold…)

The Rodeo/Horse Slaughter Connection, Bullfighting & More: Recent Action Alerts from SHARK

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

In cleaning out my inbox, I found the following action alerts from SHARK; I’m including them all here for simplicity’s sake (and because I cannot find them to link to on SHARK’s website). These are all from the group’s most recent enewsletter, dated October 14, 2009.

Rodeos Send Their Horses to Slaughter

Love is a Slaughter Line???!!!

Rodeos claim to care about their animals, so why do many of their worn-out bucking horses suffer the horror of a slaughterhouse? SHARK’s 141st YouTube video is one of the most graphic we have released, making the connection between rodeo and horse slaughter. We didn’t do it to sicken people. We did it to let people know just how cruel rodeo is, and how much rodeo animal victims are suffering. It brings into focus even more sharply the role of corporate sponsors such as Coca-Cola.
 
I hope you will watch this video, and then call Coke (800-438-2653/800-Get-Coke) and let the company know just what you think. It is because of big money from corporate sponsors like Coke that rodeo stock contractors are breaking their horses down, as well as overbreeding, and then casting the foals who don’t make the cut into the clutches of the horrific slaughter industry.
 
Foreign companies are killing America’s horses — many of them rodeo horses — to be sent abroad for human consumption.

Call your legislators and ask them to vote Yes on HR503 and S727 – Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2009. For more information on what you can do, go to: http://HorseKillers.com

(More below the fold…)

Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 9: Rape is Torment (& also, The Death of Cake)

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

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Robert Melia & Heather Lewis:
accused child (read: cow/calf and human/girl) rapists.

I, Bonobo: There’s plenty more where this came from

veganprimate points to the case of Robert Melia – a former police officer who, along with his girlfriend, was arrested for sexually assaulting three girls – as a demonstration of the link between the exploitation of women and that of nonhuman animals. Melia’s misogyny only came to light because Melia was under investigation for engaging in “oral sex” (read: rape) with calves. Though the animal cruelty charges were dismissed by a judge – according to whom, a grand jury had no way of knowing whether the animals were “tormented” by the assault – police found

videos on his computer of a girl being “subjected to sexual activity” in addition to taped encounters between Melia and the calves.

While I’m glad the assistant prosecutor seems to be taking animal abuse seriously, the cynic in me can’t help but think he’s simply latching onto this “lesser” offense for leverage. Either way, it’s doubtful that Melia and girlfriend Heather Lewis will serve much time, as rape is too often minimized and excused in our kyriarchal society.

On that note, methinks New Jersey Judge James J. Morley needs to be schooled on animal abuse, interpersonal violence and intersectionality.

Judge James J. Morley
Burlington County Cts. Facility
49 Rancocas Road
Mt. Holly, New Jersey 08060
609-518-2965
Fax: 609-518-2551

Be firm but polite!

Lisa @ Sociological Images: A Summary Visual Of Women’s Objectification

In a could-be-vegan spin on the ever-popular women-as-meat meme, I bring you: women-as-cake! Sure, there’s a dudely version of the photo too, but as Lisa points out, it’s sans copy – and probably wasn’t plastered on the magazine’s cover, as were the woman’s sliced and dismembered buttocks.

(More below the fold…)

IDA: Dennis Zeglin Shoots and Kills "Pet" Parrot; Calls Needed!

Monday, September 7th, 2009

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I haven’t been able to find this alert on IDA’s website in order to link to it, and seeing as the deadline for taking action is this Wednesday, September 9, I’ve copied it below in its entirety.

For more on the case, search for “Dennis Zeglin” on Google news or at http://www.pet-abuse.com.

In particular, I find this snippet from the Bleacher Report extremely disturbing:

Mikey the parrot was instead autopsied by a local veterinarian. His owner was then charged with several counts of animal cruelty.

Since the filing of the charges, Zeglin has gone into counseling for his drinking problem. His attorney has also applied for Morris County’s Pre-Trial Intervention Program, which offers probation for first time offenders.

Zeglin is due back in court on Sept. 9.

Until that time, the local police have advised him that the next time another family pet, like his Labrador Retriever, or a family member bothers him during a NASCAR race, he should call animal control or the police instead of reaching again for his BB gun.

After brutally slaughtering the family’s “pet” bird, the local authorities left another “pet,” a dog, in Zeglin’s care, with advice to “call animal control” the next time he’s drinking, angry, and in possession of firearms. Jeez, officers, you’re beginning to make me feel as though you don’t take animal abuse seriously. I mean, WTF!?

While it’s great that Zeglin has sought counseling for alcoholism, animal abuse should preclude him from “owning” nonhuman animals, at least in the near future. Should Zeglin relapse, who will bear the brunt of his rage the next time around?

Zeglin, by the by, is from Morris County, New Jersey; methinks the local police need to be schooled about animal abuse as well.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: In Defense of Animals – idainfo [at] idausa.org
Date: Fri, Sep 4, 2009 at 1:16 PM
Subject: Man Shoots and Kills Companion Parrot – Your Calls Needed!

YOUR CALLS ARE URGENTLY NEEDED or Mikey’s cruel killer may get away with murder!

While Watching TV, New Jersey Man Shoots and Kills Companion Parrot.

Terrified Mikey who was isolated in a cage and had no way to escape, was Zeglin’s innocent target.

On June 7th 2009, 67 year old Dennis Zeglin brutally shot and killed his family’s African Grey parrot with a Daisy Powerline Model 93 C02-powered BB gun. His wife called police and animal control officers were summoned to investigate.

Dennis Zeglin admitted to animal control officers that he shot Mikey in his cage because the bird “irritated” him while he was watching the NASCAR races on TV. According to reports, Zeglin had been drinking and was intoxicated when he fired the three shots that killed Mikey. Since the animal cruelty charges were filed, Zeglin has been undergoing counseling for his alcoholism according to Zeglin’s Defense Attorney, Stephen Fletcher. Fletcher also claims that Zeglin is a first time offender and has applied for an Intervention Probationary Program. This may suggest that Mikey’s cruel assailant may get nothing more than a slap on the wrist for brutally murdering an innocent, and highly intelligent creature.

Undisputed, scientifically proven evidence supports the link between violence to humans and violence to animals and we believe that Zeglin’s violent act could have easily been directed toward a human family member or their family dog.

Every year millions of captive birds suffer from abuse and neglect like Mikey. It is estimated that the majority of captive birds suffer and die prematurely, secretly and silently behind closed doors, from horrendous abuse, malnutrition, and starvation, and live in deplorable conditions, with no hope for rescue. It is also estimated that the majority of captive birds who do survive, suffer an entire lifetime of agony and loneliness.

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: Louisiana Vet Marcy Miranov "Kills Without Cause"

Monday, September 7th, 2009

I’m a little late in forwarding this alert from Kinship Circle, and in the interim, there’s been a development in the case. Not surprisingly, it hasn’t resulted in justice for the animals killed by veterinarian Marcy Miranov (and Dr. John Edwards, as well).

Reports The Times-Picayune:

Raw emotions and poor record-keeping triggered whirling accusations of animal cruelty at Jefferson Parish’s animal shelters, according to the results of an independent study released today.

But no laws were broken when 51 cats and dogs were euthanized on Aug. 13 at the parish’s Elmwood facility, the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals discovered. […]

“Our report is not a glowing report about what’s going on in interoperation,” said Ana Zorrilla, chief executive officer of the state SPCA. “We certainly hope that it’s well received and we certainly hope that the public reads parts and pieces of it, that it’s really seen as an opportunity to improve those operations, not just as criticism or critique of what’s been going on there.”

The SPCA’s representatives worked in an atmosphere already emotionally charged by the abrupt resignation of the shelters’ director, Lee Ann Matherne. She quit the day before the animals were put down.

The most glaring problem appeared to be shoddy record-keeping and lackluster policy management, Zorrilla said. The shelters have four different written policies governing euthanasia. Each one says a different set of people need to approve each procedure.

As far as the SPCA could tell, none of them were being followed. But since none were being implemented, no policies were broken, Zorrilla said.

The SPCA report, however, dispelled several rumors that arose from that incident. Dr. Marci Miranov, the parish’s senior veterinarian in Marrero, had clearance to work at the Elmwood shelter, Zorrilla said. Her colleague, Dr. John Edwards, did not stop her from euthanizing the animals on Aug. 13, as some animal activists suspected. Rather, he assisted her in her work.

The cats put down that day had been sedated, Zorrilla said, contrary to reports that Miranov was lethally injecting the animals without killing the pain first.

The report also found the number of animals put down that day were average. Euthanasia sessions don’t occur daily, which accounts for larger numbers when one is conducted, officials said.

Zorrilla did say that the SPCA found that some of the animals killed that day were adoptable.

“Some were sick, some were feral, but some were strictly space conditions,” she said.

Parish President Aaron Broussard said he would be asking the Parish Council to enact several ordinances Wednesday that would go a long way to cleaning up the poor conditions at the shelters. Broussard has asked that the parish hire the American SPCA to take over the shelters for 90 days, that his administration begin searching for an outside group that could permanently run the facilities and that he enter negotiations to transfer the Marrero shelter to a new site – a former West Jefferson Medical Center clinic near the Oakwood Mall.

(Background here.)

If you choose to act on this alert, please take the SPCA’s findings and recommendations into account. In addition to turning control of the parish shelters over to an outside organization, please urge Jefferson Parish to work in concert with local animal rescue organizations in order to make NOLA a no-kill city. By “no-kill,” I mean truly no-kill – this goes for “feral” and “less adoptable” cats and dogs, too. While shelters may not have the time or resources to rehab animals with medical or behavioral problems, some rescue groups do; some even specialize in these cases.

Whether any human law was violated or not, this slaughter needn’t have happened. Judging from ARNO’s comments, little-to-no effort was made to place these animals in rescue groups prior to killing them – and this is simply unacceptable.

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: Updates, April – June 2009

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – info [at] kinshipcircle.org
Date: Mon, Jun 29, 2009 at 10:59 PM
Subject: Part 1/ UPDATES: APR – JUN 2009

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY / PERMISSION TO CROSSPOST

VICTORIES * SETBACKS * PROGRESS

PART 1: APRIL – JUNE 2009 / KINSHIP CIRCLE UPDATES

1. Pig Abusers At Hormel Supplier Get 1-2 Year Probation
2. Bureaucrats Reach No Decision On Whaling
3. Lax Officials Knew Travis The Chimp Might Attack
4. Kitten Killer’s Accomplice Is Now Charged Too
5. Pet Food Poisoners Plead Guilty And Face Jail Time
6. Foie Gras Producer On Trial For Cruelty
7. Atlanta Falcons Bid Michael Vick A Permanent Farewell
8. “Change” Doesn’t Look Much Different Under Obama
9. California Spay/Neuter Law Passes Senate, Moves To Assembly
10. Groups Sue Salazar In Effort To Save Delisted Wolves
11. Way To Go SAEN! Research Industry Meltdown
12. Cheyenne Frontier Rodeo Bans Video Instead Of Abuse
13. California Bullfight Busts Continue; Humane Officer Assaulted
14. Repression Of Austrian Animal Activists Worsens

PART 2: KC UPDATES / APRIL – JUNE 2009
RESEND PART #2 TO ME: info [at] kinshipcircle.org

15. HSUS And Michael Vick Team Up To Fight Dogfighting?
16. Armed To Kill In National Parks: Guns Allowed
17. Maine Is 6th State To Ban Cruel Confinement Crates
18. NC Pro-Gas Chamber Bill Gets A “No” Vote
19. USDA Cites New Iberia Primate Lab For Violations
20. U.S. Senate Passes Resolution Against Canada Sealing
21. Canadian Sealers Lose Biggest Customer — EUROPE!
22. EU Votes To Let Most Primate Research Continue
23. Karley’s Sociopath Killer Ordered To Stand Trial
24. Horse Slaughterhouses Now Legal In Montana
25. Michigan Pound Gives R&R Research The Boot
26. Big Surprise: Swine Flu, Born On U.S. Factory Farms
27. Los Angeles DA Drops Charges Against Dog Dragger
28. Obama Accepts Breeder Dog As Gift For Daughters

(More below the fold…)

WaPo: Boys Continue Stoning Geese to Death; Ask Police to Investigate

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Via Animal Advocacy:

Boys Continue Stoning Geese to Death; Ask Police to Investigate

The Washington Post reported that boys are stoning nesting geese to death in a park in Springfield, Virginia (Fairfax County). (source)

Please contact the Fairfax County Police and ask them to assign a detective to this case. Mention that these animal abusers are exhibiting severe psychiatric disorders and the FBI has found they often progress to crimes against humans. Make your request online here.

For ideas to include in your request, you may want to reference information found here.*

The letter is short, but heartbreaking:

Senseless Violence in Springfield

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A Canada goose guards his mate’s body at a pond in Springfield.
(Courtesy Of Tom Norato; photo via The Washington Post)

There is a pond near a bike path between the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station and the Greenwood Community in Springfield. Each year, Canada geese arrive at the pond in the fall to nest and raise their families.

Recently, some young neighborhood boys have found a new hobby: They have been stoning the geese to death. Above is a photo of their latest prize and his mate, standing over the body. The goose has been standing vigil for many days now, waiting for her to join him. They mate for life, you know.

He wards off all other geese that come near, as if he were protecting her in a nest. Her final repose does give that illusion. I am beginning to worry that he may himself expire for lack of nourishment, and I had thought of removing the body in the hopes that he might move on. But then I thought I’d just be making things worse. I have a tendency to think that his reactions are instinct and just nature’s way.

But nature didn’t cause this.

Perhaps the boys who did this will see this picture and reflect on what they have done. Perhaps not.

— Tom Norato, Springfield

While this instance of animal abuse is characterized as “senseless violence,” it’s no more (less?) senseless than slaughtering billions of animals for food annually, when a pant-based diet will do. Nor are geese the only non-human animals who feel grief and sorrow, or form deep family and social ties.

Just…remember that, before you start decrying the sociopathy of today’s youths. They’ve got to learn it somewhere, right?

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: Friends of Kinship Circle Alerts, March 2009

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – info [at] kinshipcircle.org
Date: Mon, Mar 2, 2009 at 1:59 PM
Subject: Greyhounds, Fur, Rodeo Shock, Cats Skinned… [Friends Of Kinship Circle]

Kinship Circle - Friends of KC Banner

FRIENDS OF KINSHIP CIRCLE / PERMISSION TO CROSSPOST
http://friendsofkinshipcircle.wordpress.com/

* KINSHIP CIRCLE DOES NOT WRITE OR RESEARCH THESE ALERTS.
* WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE VALIDITY OF FRIENDS OF KC ALERTS.
* CONTACT ALERT WRITERS. PLEASE DO NOT HIT REPLY. We will not respond.

1. Trouble For Greyhounds in South Africa
2. Jamaica Wants Greyhound Races Too
3. Jason Wu Puts Aside Fur, For Now
4. Tucson Rodeo Shocks Horses
5. Guandong – Cats Skinned And Boiled Alive
6. Fight Horse Slaughter State By State
7. Prosecute Bird Killers In Florida
8. Ask For End To NYC Horse Carriages
9. World Laboratory Animal Liberation Week

(More below the fold…)

Hunting "Tail" on Dollhouse

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

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Caution: Major spoiler warning below the jump!

I’ve been a Joss Whedon fan since his Firefly days, so when I heard that he was working on a new project, Dollhouse, I immediately got all giddy like a schoolgirl. That is, until I hear that Eliza Dushku would be starring. Ugh.

Even before the hunting flap, I disliked Dushku. Perhaps it’s because she came off like an entitled snot in a very early episode of Punk’d; even before she was faux “arrested” for “shoplifting” in a local retail boutique, she copped a huge ‘tude over all the free swag she was obviously owed for being a celebrity. That, and Tru Calling looked absolutely dreadful. Well, and I’m also weird like that; Dushku isn’t the only celebrity I have an irrational, knee-jerk dislike for. Take Ben Affleck, for example: clearly, he’s a funny, charming, altruistic guy, but there’s just something about him that I want to hate. He’s smarmy, but not. Did I also mention that I have a crazy aversion to feet? So maybe it’s just me, after all.

Anyway, the aforementioned hunting flap gave me a reason to dislike her – a good one, actually. In an August appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Show, Dushku discussed her love of hunting – you know, that sadistic leisure activity which involves murdering innocent animals for “fun”:

Here’s the gist of the interview (via ecorazzi), in case you don’t want to sit through the whole video:

A couple night ago on Jimmy Kimmel Live Dushku revealed that she loves to hunt elk and deer. Not only did she brag about it, but she also showed off her bow and arrow skills and boasted about killing a deer in Oklahoma last Christmas. WTF, Eliza? Why are you such a jerk?

Even the studio audience turned on Dushku forcing her to joke, “My mother called me herself and said, ‘You’re a liberal from New England, what the ‘f’ are you doing in Oklahoma shooting things.” Backpeddling later she said, “When you’re in a relationship with somebody you have to, like, experience things that they do. A lot of people eat meat… and I eat what I kill.”

Dushku’s hunting isn’t so much the point, though, as it is a set-up for the rest of this post. Despite my ambivalence, I started watching Dollhouse on my DVR last week. It’s alright, certainly no Firefly, but also not the complete stinker I was afraid it’d be. The second episode, “The Target,” is of particular interest from an animal rights standpoint.

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Fishermen as happy sadists: A new meme?

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Last month, I blogged about a series of ads for Hobie Kayaks, aimed at fishermen (“people,” I should say, except all the ads seem to depict men). The gist of the marketing concept is that the kayaks are so quiet that fishermen can stalk and overtake their prey with serial killer-like coldness and precision. Fittingly, shadowy fishermen in fedoras and trench coats are shown choking, knifing and shooting three very terrified fish. Fishermen as stone-cold killers, indeed.

As shocking as I initially found the ads, now I’m starting to wonder whether this is the beginning of a meme.

Take, for example, this ad series from Bass Pro Shops. The general concept actually isn’t all that objectionable; the three print ads are touting Bass Pro Shop’s camp sale with the slogan “Get the family ready. Bass Pro Shops camp sale.” (C’mon, who doesn’t love camping!?)

In the first ad, someone (Dad, presumably) has put some greenery around the toilet, in order to get the family ready to do their biz in the bushes:

Bass Pro Shops Camp Sale - Toilet

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Violence, compassion and vegetarianism on Lost.

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

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Proceed with caution: Moderate spoilers ahead. Specifically, I’ll be discussing Sayid’s flashbacks in the Season 3 episode “Enter 77” (3×11). There may also be a few small spoilers through Season 4, but none for Season 5 – promise! (Although the external links may lead to more current spoilers.)

The husband and I became Losties rather late in the game. We picked up Season 1 on DVD on a whim during the writer’s strike last winter; within the first five minutes of the pilot episode, we were hooked.

Lately, I’ve taken to consuming pop culture with a more critical eye. I’ve always been somewhat sensitive to how women are portrayed in the media; increasingly, I’ve consciously tried to expand my “circle of compassion” vis-à-vis pop culture to other marginalized groups, including non-human animals. While animal welfare issues rarely surface on Lost, one episode in particular has stuck with me – “Enter 77” (3×11), a Sayid-centric episode.

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Veg*n Videos: Blinders, Pit Bull Hysteria & the Chicken Justice League

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

My tubes are clogged with veg*n videos, so rather than post each separately, behold this handy dandy video roundup!

Via Mary at Animal Person, Blinders: The Movie is now available online, in its entirety. I’m fairly certain it’s the full documentary, anyway; with a running time of 50 minutes, I haven’t yet had a chance to watch the whole film. Tonight, maybe, while the Mr. records his podcast.
 


 
Mary urges us to watch and circulate the video; please do!

Next up: those charlatans at the Humane Society of the United States. Even as they profit off the publicity that comes from their admirable dogfighting raids and rescues,
 


 
the HSUS actively campaigns to have these rescued dogs murdered. What a warped idea of “rescue,” eh?

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Kinship Circle: Updates: Lucas & Karley – Cases You Asked About

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Note: You can find previous alerts about these cases here…

1/22/09 – Kinship Circle: Man Who Filed Dog’s Teeth To Gumline Belongs In Jail

12/27/08 – Kinship Circle: October-December 2008 Updates (Parts 1 & 2) – 6. L.A. Assistant Fire Chief Charged In Karley’s Killing

12/4/08 – Kinship Circle: Demo For Karley 12/03 + Comments Still Needed

11/15/08 – Kinship Circle: ACT/ Puppy Fatally Beaten By LA Firefighter & Demo Today 11/15

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Sat, Feb 14, 2009 at 2:57 PM
Subject: Updates: Lucas & Karley – Cases You Asked About

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY / PERMISSION TO CROSSPOST

UPDATES + MORE ACTION FOR #2:

1. 75 Days In Jail For Man Who Mutilated Lucas’ Teeth
2. Fireman Sues “Owners” Of Karley, The Dog He Killed

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY (only) posts quarterly UPDATES NEWSLETTERS. However, below are two cases many of you asked about, so we’re sharing news early.

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The Guam greyhounds & "free to good home" ads.

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

This morning, Mary at Animal Person blogged about the closing of the Guam Greyhound Park, a racetrack which was “home” to about 250 greyhounds. Animal rescue groups were not consulted beforehand or involved in initial efforts to place the greyhounds; instead, the owners/management of the Guam Greyhound Park simply gave the dogs away, for free, to anyone willing to take them.

From www.guamgreyhounds.org:

On November 7, 2008 the 32 year old Guam Greyhound Park, with approximately 250 greyhounds at the racetrack, abruptly closed. The closing was in response to the results of a failed initiative on the November 4 ballot which would have permitted casino style gambling on the racetrack property. John Baldwin, owner of the racetrack, who had tried to get similar initiatives passed three times in the past six years, claimed the racetrack was losing $100,000 a month.

On November 24,the Guam Greyhound Park started a public giveaway of 150 of the racetrack’s greyhounds. Dogs were given away free to anyone who came to the track. None of the greyhounds were spayed or neutered. No record was kept of who got the greyhounds, how many each person took and no legal transfer of title was made. Obviously, no standard adoption process was in place: no home check and no information about greyhound behavior or care.

It has been reported that many people took the free greyhounds believing they would make good guard dogs. Some of the islands dog fighting “fans” took greyhounds to bait fighting dogs or to breed, thinking it would make the fighting dogs faster or quicker. It didn’t take long for the greyhounds to show up stray or in very bad circumstances. The following updates from Guam Animals In Need (GAIN) volunteers, Dave and Noni Davis, tells a vivid story of this immense tragedy. GAIN (the only animal rescue on the island) has now found these giveway greyhounds starved and even dead.

GAIN’s stories of trying to rescue these discarded dogs are striking:

We received a call from a passerby about two dogs tied to a boat in Umatac – down at the very southern part of the island. I spoke to the owner and he said he got them from the race track in the first week when they started giving them away. He took a male and female to breed them for later on and also to guard his fishing boat. They were both emaciated and when I questioned him about feeding them, he said he didn’t know how to care for them anymore, because they wouldn’t eat what he gave them. With some friendly persuasion I convinced him to sign them both over to GAIN. He wanted to be assured that we won’t use them to race and then ” make money out of them”. I informed him that they are now officially retired and will never race again.

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