Libby and Louie (a Valentine’s Day Love Story)

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Peaceful Prairie 2010 V-Day Vegan eCard

If you are lucky enough to find yourself in Deer Trail, Colorado this Sunday, stop by Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary for a Vegan Valentine’s Day Brunch. In a delightful re-imagining of an otherwise blasé day, filled with tired gender roles and patriarchal mores, the Peaceful Prairie celebration will include a commemoration of animal love – that shared by chickens Libby and Louie – told over a plate of cruelty-free waffles, quiche, tofu scramble, fruit and coffee cake, of course!

A lame, silent hen and a handsome, fire-red rooster, respectively, these rescued birds have sought solace in one another’s presence – and one another’s presence alone – for the past five years and counting. If anything, their story serves as a gentle reminder that human animals do not have a monopoly on love – nor on kindness, compassion, selflessness, sacrifice, devotion, and family.

In Libby and Louie, A Love Story, Joanna Lucas writes of a love so pure and so true, undying and never-ending, such that any human would count herself lucky to be caught in its bonds.

And there they were. Just the two of them in the world. A monogamous couple in a species where monogamy is the exception. Determined to stay together even though their union created more problems than it solved, increased their burdens more than it eased them, and thwarted their instincts more than it fulfilled them.

It would have been easier and more “natural” for Louie to be in charge of a group of hens, like all the other roosters, but he ignored everyone except Libby. He paid no attention to the fluffy gray hen, the fiery blonde hen, the dreamy red hen, the sweet black hen dawdling in her downy pantaloons, or any of the 100 snow-white hens who, to our dim perceptions, looked exactly like Libby. Louie, the most resplendently bedecked and befeathered rooster of the sanctuary, remained devoted only to Libby – scrawny body, scraggly feathers, missing foot, hobbled gait and all. It’s true that, with our dull senses, we couldn’t grasp a fraction of what he saw in her because we can’t see, smell, hear, touch, taste, sense a scintilla of the sights, scents, sounds, textures, and tastes he does. But, even if we could see Libby in all her glory, it would still be clear that it wasn’t her physical attributes that enraptured Louie. If he sought her as his one and only companion, if he protected that union from all intrusions, it wasn’t because of her physique but because of her presence.

It would have been easier for Libby too – so vulnerable in her stunted, lame body – to join an existing chicken family and enjoy the added comfort, cover and protection of a larger group, but she never did. She stayed with Louie, and followed him on his daily treks in the open fields, limping and gimping behind him, exhausting herself only to be near him.

What bonded them was not about practical necessities or instinctual urges – if anything, it thwarted both. Their union was about something else, a rich inner abundance that seemed to flourish in each other’s presence, and that Libby nurtured in her silence and that Louie voiced, sang out loud, celebrated, noted, catalogued, documented, expressed, praised every day of their 1,800 days together.

Should we all – humans and nonhumans alike – be so blessed.

(More below the fold…)

A hen is a mink is a dog is a boy.* Also: site updates and intersectionality links!

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

“Mother hen”: Resting in the grass, a mother hen carries/camouflages four+ chicks under her wings. CC image via topinambour on Flickr.

Along with The Simple Little Vegan Dog Book, the Book Publishing Company sent me a copy of Karen Davis’s Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs, which I’ve had my eye on for some time now. (The book is now in its second edition; you can download the first ed. for free as a .pdf file here, via United Poultry Concerns.) With five out of six chapters down, I’m not yet ready to offer a review, but I will say that it’s excellent – a must read, and a difficult one, at that. Not difficult intellectually, but emotionally: battery and broiler farms are the Seventh Circle of Dante’s Inferno come to life. You will need to read this book from the bottom of a dog pile – soft fur and warm bellies were the only things to keep me from breaking down in tears some nights. The scale and depth of suffering is simply unfathomable.

Anyhow, whether intentionally or not, Davis writes quite a bit about issues of intersectionality in Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs. The gendered nature of egg production is an obvious topic, but the shared suffering does not stop there. For example, Davis explains what becomes of “spent” laying hens – that is, hens whose bodies are (prematurely, tragically, needlessly) depleted of calcium and other nutrients, such that they’re no longer capable of laying eggs. Their fate is a gruesome one, however, it’s only one link in a long chain of abominations:

At slaughter, spent laying hens are a mass of broken bones, abscesses oozing yellow fluids, bright red bruises, internal hemorrhaging, and malignant tumors. They’ve lost 40 percent or more of their feathers, and because they are economically “worthless,” they sit in transport cages in all weathers at the slaughterhouse “until all other birds are dealt with – up to 12 hours.” The slaughtered birds are shredded into products that hide the true state of their flesh and their lives: chicken soups, pies, and nuggets, commercial mink and pet food, livestock and poultry feed, and school lunches and other institutionalized food service and government purchase programs designed by the egg industry and the Department of Agriculture to dump dead laying hens onto consumers in diced up form. **

In order to mask the abuses inflicted upon the bodies and psyches of egg-laying hens, the industry dismembers – nay, grinds – them into unrecognizable bits. These bits are then fed to the most vulnerable among us: enslaved and exploited nonhuman animals, including the dead hens’ kin; “pets,” including dogs and cats; children who attend public schools, particularly those who rely on the school lunch system; “institutionalized food service and government purchase programs,” such as those that “feed” incarcerated men and women; and working-class and impoverished Americans, whose only access to food may come in the form of fast food joints. One injustice fuels the next, with no end in sight. (Sigh. Where’s that dog pile?!)

(More below the fold…)

"One man’s trash is another man’s delicacy,"

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

joked CNN HLN correspondent Jennifer Westhoven, while discussing Chinese/American “trade wars” on yesterday’s edition of Morning Express with Robin Meade.*

The so-called “trash”? Chicken feet:

China is threatening to cut off imports of American chicken, but poultry experts have at least one reason to suspect it may be an empty threat: Many Chinese consumers would miss the scrumptious chicken feet they get from this country.

“We have these jumbo, juicy paws the Chinese really love,” said Paul W. Aho, a poultry economist and consultant, “so I don’t think they are going to cut us off.”

Chicken exports were thrust to the forefront of American-Chinese trade tensions on Sunday when China took steps to retaliate for President Obama’s decision to levy tariffs on Chinese tires. The Chinese announced that they were considering import taxes on automotive products and chicken meat, a development that some trade experts feared could escalate.

I’m pretty sure the ten billion chickens slaughtered annually view their feet as anything but “trash.”

Wordplay FAIL.

(More below the fold…)

Sexy Meat, No. 2: Flirty Fish & Beefy Chicken

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

Updated, 11/18/09: Ben @ Suicide Food has an absolutely pornirific take on McCormick’s sexy fish centerfold.

It’s been a few months in the making, but here’s entry No. 2 in the “Sexy Meat” series. This set of advertisements from McCormick is unique in that it features explicitly female and male “meat.”

Let’s start with the female, who is represented by a flirtatious fish (again with the fish, oy vey!).

McCormick - Fish

The ad above features an obviously female fish: she has oversized, cartoonish eyes; long, lush eyelashes (seemingly curled, even); and wispy fins, one of which she touches to her lipsticked, collagen-enhanced lips in a flirtatious gesture. She rests, splayed out, on a platter, as if being presented for your pleasure and consumption. Not as if; exactly like. Her tail is raised in the air, giving the appearance of an arched back (or raised buttocks? It’s hard to tell; she’s a fish, after all!). An anonymous, faceless consumer – also obviously female – hovers above, pouring a stream of McCormick’s mustard on the fish’s head. The scene vaguely resembles a, ahem, money shot.

Though not relevant to determining her gender, it’s worth noting that the fish’s skin is gruesome in appearance, to say the least. She appears to have grilled or roasted, to the degree that her scales are almost unrecognizable as such; they’re dark tan in color and even bear dark burn marks from the grill. And yet, she seems so happy and…aroused.

The text reads, “Tu comida se va a poner más buena,” which Google translates into “Your meal will bring more good”…though I’m guessing that’s rough at best.

(More below the fold…)

"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.

(More below the fold…)

PETA takes a page from the Fred Phelps playbook.

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Update, 6/4/09:

Well, then:

Anti-Abortion Protesters Crash Vigil For Slain Doctor

About 10 members of the Westboro Baptist Church bearing signs with messages like “Baby killer in hell” were an unwelcome presence at a vigil for murdered abortion doctor George Tiller.


Oh, no, no, no. Just, no:

WICHITA – A national animal rights group plans to erect billboards in Wichita urging people on both sides of the abortion debate to go vegetarian.



One version of the billboard says, “Pro-Life? Go Vegetarian.” The other says, “Pro-Choice? Choose Vegetarian.” Both feature a photo of three baby chicks.

Lindsay Rajt, campaign manager for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said the billboards were prompted by the recent shooting death of abortion doctor George Tiller, who was killed Sunday at his church.

“The discussion of the value of life is front and center right now in the public conversation,” Rajt said today.

“We think we would be irresponsible if we don’t talk about how we’re all guilty of extreme cruelty to animals every time we sit down to a meal that includes meat.” […]

Rajt said the timing or content of the Wichita billboards may be controversial.

But, “If our billboards leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth, we just think they might give a thought to what animals feel when they go to the slaughterhouse,” she said.

“We want to remind people that no matter where they come down on the abortion issue, each and every one of us can spare a life every time we sit down to eat.”

Frankly, the actual content of the proposed billboards is rather inoffensive – and downright blasé when compared to 75% of PETA’s other ads. In fact, I think the “pro-life” version is rather cute – and, on a subtle level, calls so-called “pro-lifers” out on their hypocrisy and ethical inconsistencies. The pro-choice one, meh, not so much; it just strikes me as a forced corollary to the “pro-life” billboard. A reach, albeit a harmless one.

But the timing – the timing is beyond crass and tactless. Fuck that shit, it’s downright amoral.

(More below the fold…)

"…even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings…"

Thursday, May 21st, 2009


Sound of a Battery Hen


You can tell me: if you come by the
North door, I am in the twelfth cage
On the left-hand side of the third row
From the floor; and in that cage
I am usually the middle one of eight or six or three.
But even without directions, you’d
Discover me. We have the same pale
Comb, clipped yellow beak and white or auburn
Feathers, but as the door opens and you
Hear above the electric fan a kind of
One-word wail, I am the one
Who sounds loudest in my head.

Over the past few months, I’ve written a series of posts on the themes of motherhood, maternal exploitation and deprivation, and the intersection of speciesism and sexism in Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson’s The Pig Who Sang to the Moon: The Emotional World of Farm Animals. Previously, I discussed examples of these vis-à-vis “pork production” and the “dairy industry.”

While Masson also explores the exploitation of sheep, goats, ducks and chickens in The Pig Who Sang to the Moon, the mother-child bond between a mother hen and her chicks receives the most attention of these remaining groups – so I’ll conclude my discussion with a look at “egg production.”

Photo via Jeanette’s Ozpix

In previous posts, I noted how female non-human animals (like their human counterparts) are especially vulnerable to exploitation because of their reproductive systems. Their ability to give birth – oftentimes referred to as a “miracle” in humans – makes them particularly valuable as the producers of future “commodities.” Their value, unfortunately, does not lead to preferential treatment from their captors. Instead, they suffer especially brutal and prolonged abuse.

As such, females become machines, assembly lines, destined to produce milk, eggs, flesh – and a replacement generation of baby-, milk- and/or egg- machines:

By the mere fact of their sex, sows, hens, ewes, does, nannies, cows and heifers – not to mention mares, bitches, jennies, jills, etc. – are ripe for especially brutal and prolonged exploitation. Oftentimes, this involves a constant cycle of pregnancy, birth, nursing and baby-napping, culminating with the female’s own death when she’s no longer able to breed or “produce” to her “owner’s” satisfaction.

Certainly, we recognize that the theft of a mother’s child is an atrocity when the victims are human mothers and children. At the same time, we argue that non-human animals deserve no rights because they are mere brutes, “lesser” beings, ruled by instinct and instinct alone. Yet, what is the drive to reproduce and parent if not an evolutionary instinct? And if we follow the popular line of reasoning – i.e., animals are creatures of instinct – does it not stand to reason that the maternal instinct is especially powerful in non-human animals?

Many – if not most – non-veg*ns find it difficult to relate to non-human animals, who (supposedly) are so different from us. At a fundamental level, our differing modes of communication make cross-species communication more difficult, particularly when one species (that would be us) has little interest in communication (and mutual understanding and respect) to begin with. Even so, many humans live with “pets,” the majority being dogs and cats; and, as we’ve come to recognize certain expressions and non-verbal cues in these mammals, such empathy can be extended to other, similar species – such as cows and pigs.

(More below the fold…)

On being someones, not somethings.

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

I’ve heard mention of these campaign/outreach materials from Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary from time to time, but it wasn’t until I received a Mother’s Day action alert from the sanctuary that I clicked on over to check them out. Now that I’ve had a chance to look the materials over, I think I can honestly say that Peaceful Prairie’s fliers and pamphlets – particularly the “Milk comes from a grieving mother” series – are some of the most powerful I’ve seen.

Throughout its materials, PPS stresses the family ties of the (more often than not) nameless, faceless creatures we exploit for “meat,” milk, eggs and the like. When you eat meat, you’re eating someone’s father, brother or son. When you drink milk, you’re drinking milk that was stolen from a grieving mother and was meant to nourish her murdered baby. The exploitation of farmed animals necessarily involves the manipulation and severing of these familial relationships, so fundamental to their (and our) emotional and social well-being and survival. How do YOU say, ‘Don’t kill my baby!’? Should any mother have to?

PPS also gives these animals names and faces, by emphasizing their unique individualities, as well as their relationships to one another: Lillian is more than “just a pig,” more than “pork,” more than the sum of her animal parts. So much more! Lillian is both someone and someone’s daughter. Someone’s sister. Someone’s aunt. Someone’s mother, perhaps. Lillian is important and valuable and unique because she’s Lillian the individual – there is no other quite like her! – and because she’s Lillian to so many others. Like you or I, Lillian is irreplaceable.

(More below the fold…)

Rachachuros Seasoning, Redux: Zombie Cannibal "Meat"!

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

As a follow-up to last week’s Sexy Meat post, I bring you another series of advertisements for Rachachuros Seasoning.

(Courtesy of Ben at Suicide Food, who covered these ads last year. Timely, I am not.)

Rachachuros Seasoning - Chicken 2

(More below the fold…)

Sexy Meat, No. 1

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Apropos my reintroduction of the “consuming women” series last week, I decided to create a second series of similar images I like to call “sexy meat.”

“Sexy meat” is a sort of hybrid of “consuming women” and “suicide food.” Whereas the “consuming women” series features women who are posed to resemble “meat” (or other consumable animal products), “sexy meat” is just that – “meat” that’s been sexed up, usually in a traditionally “feminine” manner (women, of course, being the sex class). Oftentimes, this “sexy meat” is flirtatious in appearance, seemingly beckoning the audience to devour her, hence the “suicide food” angle.

Possibly, the two types of images are so closely related – each is essentially an inverse of the other – that they might be grouped together, but I chose to tease out the differences for maximum visual impact.

The first series of photos I’d like to share is a collection of three adverts for Rachachuros Seasoning. Each ad features an animal corpse, arranged in a pornorific pose for the camera (i.e., the male gaze), a concept which is reinforced by the product’s tag line, “The Temptation of Taste”:

Rachachuros Seasoning - Chicken

(More below the fold…)

"Useless eaters"

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

While compiling my final post about the intersections of misogyny and speciesism – which are evident in Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson’s The Pig Who Sang to the Moon: The Emotional World of Farm Animals – I stumbled upon this memorable exchange, in the chapter on chickens. It doesn’t quite fit with the post I’m writing, but it’s such a powerful piece that I’d like to share it anyway.

In addition to highlighting another type of intersection, it also helps to illustrate how similar processes are at play in the animalization of humans and the objectification of animals (both humans and non).

I had wanted to see how broiler chickens are raised commercially for some time. Not easy to do. Such places are off-limits to the general public. Chicken suppliers do not want people to know the intimate details of how their cheap chicken comes to the dinner table. Recently, though, Tony – a friend of a friend of a friend – said he would let me visit his chicken farm, as long as I did not identify him with a last name or say exactly where the farm was. A few weeks ago, I drove to Tony’s. He took me to four shed-like barns secluded behind giant cypress shrubs, well out of view of the public.

“We are expected to keep them out of sight,” he said. […]

As I walked in, I was almost blinded by the sight of 25,000 pure white chickens, packed up right against one another as far as my eyes could see. […]

Every day, Tony explained, he walks through this stiflingly packed room and picks up the dead and the dying chickens and disposes of them. He eyed me warily.

“You’re not from one of those crazy animal rights groups, are you? Okay, then, well, I guess I can tell you, I also take out the ones that are not growing. It wouldn’t pay, would it, to keep them there? No profit, they are just useless eaters.

Masson places the following thought in parentheses, but it’s so important an observation, I think it deserves more. Instead of parentheses, bold type:

The phrase resonated for me. “Useless eater” was used by the Nazis to describe the inmates of psychiatric institutions whom the Nazis wanted dead, and indeed did kill.

(pages 91-93)

(More below the fold…)

Book Review: The Pig Who Sang to the Moon by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson (2003)

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

I know I offered a semi-review of The Pig Who Sang to the Moon a few weeks ago, but I wanted to write something more appropriate for Amazon, Library Thing and the like. Posting positive reviews of animal-friendly books, television shows and films is a good way to help such media garner more exposure and business – and support the team, too! As is voting for positive review of animal-friendly materials – hint, hint, wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

The Pig Who Sang to the Moon by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson (2003)

A beautifully tragic look at “food” animals


My first introduction to Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson’s work was in high school, when I read his 1996 book, When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals. At the time, I was a newbie vegetarian, just becoming involved in animal advocacy. When Elephants Weep helped validate my decision to go veg, and reinforced my resolve to stay that way.

Fast-forward thirteen years. I picked up Masson’s latest ethology tome, The Pig Who Sang to the Moon: The Emotional World of Farm Animals, on a whim. Remembering his earlier work, I expected a beautiful, brilliant, touching look at the inner lives and experiences of farmed animals. I was not disappointed.

In The Pig Who Sang to the Moon, Masson lays out the evidence – from the highly scientific to the folksy anecdotal – which points to a wide range of emotional experiences in farmed animals, including love, grief, sorrow, joy, empathy, altruism, fear, trust, friendship, contentment and the like. Far from being unfeeling brutes, the billions of animals bred, farmed and slaughtered for human consumption (10 billion annually in the U.S. alone) have complex emotional and intellectual lives. Some of their emotions – such as the strong maternal instinct – mirror our own, while other emotions and intellectual abilities far surpass those of humans. For example, when suffering egregious cruelties (such as those found on modern factory farms), non-human animals can’t always identify the source of or reason for their pain and abuse. This serves to heighten their fear, such that some species of non-human animals may actually have a greater capacity for suffering than humans. Clearly, this could – should – have profound implications vis-à-vis our treatment of non-human animals, particularly those of the “farmed” variety.

Masson structures the book so that each chapter covers a different species of farmed animals: pigs, chickens, sheep, goats, cows and ducks, in that order. He juxtaposes information about the animals’ emotional lives – thoughts, feelings, sentience, capacity for joy and sorrow, etc. – with the brutal reality for the vast majority of these “owned” animals. Treated like milk and meat machines, dehumanized and objectified, their individuality obscured and their needs ignored, farmed animals suffer the worst of humanity’s whims and wants.

(More below the fold…)

UPC: Chicken Run Rescue Photo Contest

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: United Poultry Concerns – news [at]
Date: Tue, Mar 17, 2009 at 2:20 PM

United Poultry Concerns
17 March 2009


Submissions are being accepted for this year’s Chicken Run Rescue Photo Contest.

To view entries so far and vote for your favorite – visit and vote often:

You will join Chicken Run Rescue and United Poultry Concerns in recognizing May as International Respect for Chickens Month by capturing the beauty, joy, intelligence, dignity, agility and zany exuberance of your birds in a photograph. Each year, twelve winning photos will be published in a calendar and winners will receive a free calendar. An exhibit of the winning photos will also be shown at the Justice for Animals Exhibition Space in Minneapolis, Minnesota. All calendar sales proceeds will enable Chicken Run Rescue to continue helping chickens for another year.



Photograph everyday activities that are natural for your birds – no costumes, staged stunts or props. Chicken Run Rescue reserves the right to decline any images that conflict with our mission to promote the adoption of homeless chickens as companion animals and discourage breeding or buying. There are never enough homes for displaced animals.

Submission Deadline: May 15
Voting: Ongoing thru May 15
Winners Announced: June 4

Send HIGH RESOLUTION DIGITAL PHOTOS to chickenrunrescue [at] Include your name, title or bird’s name, address, phone number and email address.

(More below the fold…)

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?

(More below the fold…)

Paul McCartney & The Chicken Council duke it out on The Colbert Report!

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

Update, 2/5/09:

Here’s some extra web exclusive goodness from the McCartney interview – Sir Paul explains the art of vegetable hunting to Stephen:


OK, well, not really. Paul McCartney appeared on Wednesday’s episode, the same episode wherein Stephen “broke” the “buffalo wing” shortage crisis story. But Stephen didn’t interview the obligatory white dude from the National Chicken Council until the next night, so he and McCartney never met. I doubt McCartney was even privy to the Superbowl/”buffalo wing” story, since his interview was pre-recorded. Still, catchy title, dontchathink?

Plus, vegetarianism did come up during McCartney’s interview. Check it:

Now for the “buffalo wing” shortage, which spanned two segments. The Richard Lobb interview is by far the more interesting of the two clips, so if you watch only one video, make it the second one below.
(More below the fold…)

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

(More below the fold…)

Says KITS Live 105 & "The Woody Show": Racism & speciesism brings the lolz!

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

pattrice jones, writing at the Eastern Shore Sanctuary Blog, alerts us of an alarming stunt that a team of San Francisco radio hosts have planned for Barack Obama’s Inauguration Day.

MON: The Woody Show is off for MLK Day . . . or as Woody & Ravey call it…the day after the Steelers beat the Ravens to go to the Superbowl.

TUES: Tony (in a chicken suit) will try to catch chickens in the studio! Plus The Woody Show wants to find out if chickens will eat….chicken.

THURS: Comic Doug Benson will stop by during SF Sketchfest!

pattrice notes,

Without doubt, being carted to and then chased around a radio station will be extremely distressing to the birds in question. Moreover, mockery is a means by which people distance themselves from animals, in order to make their abuse less ethically troubling. Thus, this event, if allowed to go forward, will not only harm the two birds but also contribute to the callous disregard for animals that facilitates both everyday and extreme abuses of animals. […]

There is, of course, one more cause for concern about this particular event. Why, on the day that our nation’s first African American president will be inaugurated, will radio hosts be making jokes about eating chicken?

The answer is obvious, but allow me to state it anyway. Clearly, by introducing chickens into their Inauguration Day “joke,” the hosts of “The Woody Show” are invoking an age-old stereotype involving African Americans and chicken:

(More below the fold…)

"Fruit, like beauty, is fleeting."

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

All I know is that, when I went out into the chicken yards early yesterday morning, I actually staggered, made drunk by the intensity of a floral scent that filled up all of the air in my head, sending my brain into paroxysms of surprised delight. Can you imagine: A chicken yard that smells like a perfume factory? Even though it happens every year, I kept looking around for the source of the scent, almost unable to believe that I could be lucky enough to experience something like this accidentally.

Maybe that was nature’s way of bracing me for what was coming. My favorite bird had died the day before and I had to face the first morning of doing my chores accompanied by her absence. […]

“Broiler” hens are like wild blooms, having a ragged beauty that you sometimes must look closely to perceive and always living less long than you would like. Bred by the poultry industry to have heavy flesh that burdens their organs and stresses their skeletons, they often perish abruptly due to heart attacks, heatstroke, or the enigmatic cause of sudden death known as “flip over syndrome.” The metabolic acceleration that allows the industry to “grow” birds to slaughter weight in only six to eight weeks continues throughout their lives. […]

The New Mosselle was older than two, a great achievement for a “broiler” hen. At first, she had no way of knowing I had a special affection for her, as I tend to dote on all of the “broiler” chickens (by, for example, bringing treats right to them so that they won’t have to compete with with the faster birds). But as she got older, I started whispering, “you’re my favorite” whenever she happened to be close by. On what I had no idea would be her last day, I told her that first thing in the morning and again when I happened to pass her resting by a water bowl at midday. A couple of hours later, when I went out to put straw in the coops, I saw her sleeping in the shade and then looked more closely and realized she was dead. I howled.

That was Monday. Today is Wednesday. My favorite hen is buried with some blueberries and a sprig of honeysuckle underneath the plantain she and her friends so loved to munch. Right up the road, thousands of birds like her are choking in crowded sheds. They will never smell honeysuckle or taste a blueberry.

Go read the whole damn beautiful thing.

And, if you can, consider sending some money pattrice’s way. She cares for hundreds of discarded “food” animals at the Eastern Shore Chicken Sanctuary, dontchaknow.

(Crossposted to.)



Celebrating Mothers of all stripes.

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

Saluting Animal Moms on Mother’s Day

According to writer Anne Morrow Lindbergh, the trials of motherhood make moms the great vacationless class. Although she may have been talking about the human variety—the moms who are near and dear to us—other animals show the same tireless dedication to their children. PETA hopes that this Mother’s Day, while you are praising your family’s matriarch, you’ll also remember that some of the best moms in the world are found in the animal kingdom.

Northern Fur Seals

Human mothers tuned in to Channel Mom may find themselves responding to anybody’s child when they hear someone calling the M word, but fur seals never make this mistake. Fresh from foraging for food, moms have to find their young quickly in a sea of hundreds—or possibly thousands—of seals, so both mother and pup depend on their uncanny powers of vocal recognition to find one another. Both will call out and answer, responding selectively to one another until they are reunited.

(More below the fold…)

Everyday Activism: Viral Backdoor Action (i gives it to u)

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

funny dog pictures

awwwwwwwz, lookit teh dawgy, iz sooooo cuuuute!

The Cuteness. Must. Fight. It.


As silly as LOLDoggeh is, he (she?) comes bearing an important message today: think outside the box, veg*ns!

In this vein, tonight’s Everyday Activism tip is a fun one that I picked up from Mark Hawthorne’s Striking at the Roots. It’s so simple and so cute that I was really quite surprised that I’d never thought of it.

Here’s Mark:

Many activists create a special signature at the end of their emails, appended automatically each time they hit the send button, asking readers to take a specific action for animals or including a link to a video.

Thanks to email, digital media has the ability to go viral. Viral marketing is word of mouth for the twenty-first century, but rather than telling one person at a time, you can spread the word (or photo or video or Web link) to thousands of people, all over the world. The emails with the most viral potential are those you can’t wait to share with your friends – the “you’ve got to see this” email that can take on a life of its own. […]

You can create your own viral email with an animal-rights angle. Site like feature countless images and video clips of animals. Pick any of them […] and blast it out with a brief note explaining that this is just one example of the sentience of animals, and direct readers to a link with more information.”

People love the fuzzy wuzzies, and that goes double for fuzzy wuzzies spouting lolspeak. Sites such as Cute Overload not only post pics of super-cute animals, they also often encourage readers to pay the cuteness forward. Many have a built-in email function, wherein readers can email the pic to their friends, along with a brief message. So find a cute photo, attach a relevant animal rights message or link, and get viral! This can be anything: a link to a news story, fact sheet, video, or website; a personal message; an eloquent animal rights quote – you get the idea. If you’ve got extra time to burn, search around for a photo with an explicitly animal rights message – you might be pleasantly surprised at what you find.

For example, I posted this photo a few weeks back (the lolz, we needs ’em):

funny pictures

It’s just crying out for a link to or, dontcha think?

If you’d like to give it a try, here are some of my daily fixes: is another popular one, but they don’t seem to have an email option (oh noes!)., on the other paw, allows for email but doesn’t have a field for personal messages.

Got a favorite site? Share your lolz in the comments!