Book Review: Waiting for the Machines to Fall Asleep, Peter Öberg, ed. (2015)

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

A Mostly-Solid Batch of Swedish Speculative Fiction with a Few Standouts

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic copy of this book for review from the publisher. Trigger warning for rape and violence.)

Short story collections are always a little tricky to rate, especially when there are a number of different contributors. In Waiting for the Machines to Fall Asleep, there are exactly twenty-six. The unifying factor? All are Swedish authors, and the anthology has a speculative fiction/scifi/fantastical bent. Keeping with the title, most of the contributions are science fiction, or at least science fiction-y, with robots and AI figuring into many of the plots. As promised, steampunk horses (in an old timey Western setting, no less!) and sassy goblins also make an appearance.

The result is a mostly-solid mix of speculative fiction, though the odd fantasy/fantastical stories felt a bit out of place and disrupted the overall feel of the collection. As usually happens with anthologies, I enjoyed some stories more than others; there are a few that I absolutely fell in love with, and will no doubt revisit again in the future (“The Rats” in particular) and, on the opposite end of the spectrum, I DNF’ed two of the tales (“Melody of the Yellow Bard,” which is way too wordy and could benefit from a more ruthless round of editing; and “The Philosopher’s Stone,” which seems like a perfectly fine story but just wasn’t for me).

Many of the pieces fall somewhere in the middle, with quite a few 3- and 4-star ratings, and a smattering of 2-stars.

(More below the fold…)

On peace (/of mind)

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

Now I can look at you in peace.
I don’t eat you any more.
– Franz Kafka, to a fish


 
Tomorrow marks the 28th annual International Day of Peace. The UN describes the holiday as

an annual observance of global non-violence and ceasefire. Every year, people in all parts of the world honour peace in various ways on 21 September.

Naturally – given that the observance was established by an anthropocentric organization – nonhuman animals are almost always excluded from celebrants’ circles of compassion. For example, the day’s “ceasefire” most certainly does not include the millions of cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, horses, dogs, rats, seals, foxes and other domestic and wild-living nonhuman animals who will be slaughtered for food, clothing, vivisection, entertainment and the like. Quite the contrary: humans’ exploitation of nonhumans will continue, unabated, throughout the day and across the globe.

Even so, that shouldn’t discourage animal advocates from observing the day with an emphasis on our nonhuman brothers and sisters. Indeed, it’s all the more reason to stress a truly inclusive and nonviolent day of peace. If not us, who?

When I think of “peace,” the first thought to come to mind is the above quote from Franz Kafka, a Jewish writer and vegetarian whose three younger sisters (and only surviving siblings) all perished in the Holocaust. Now I can look at you in peace. I don’t eat you any more. So simple, so beautiful, so true.

Peace in actions brings peace of mind. And what more fundamental actions do humans engage in than eating, feasting, consuming? Peace begins (but does not end!) on your plate.

Through its Roots & Shoots program, the Jane Goodall Institute has been celebrating its own Day of Peace since 2004. The idea began when the UN appointed Jane Goodall a Messenger of Peace in 2002:

Another action of the U.N. was to designate Messengers of Peace. People who are selected as Messengers of Peace are widely recognized for their achievements in music, literature, sports and the arts. Dr. Jane was appointed a Messenger of Peace on April 16, 2002 by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. To commemorate Dr. Jane’s appointment, Roots & Shoots members at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point first conceived of and created the Giant Peace Dove puppets through Puppet Farm Arts. Since then, Roots & Shoots members and friends have flown doves in more than 40 countries around the world.

Dr. Jane created Roots & Shoots Day of Peace in 2004 in honor of U.N. International Day of Peace; each year, Roots & Shoots Day of Peace is observed in late September. Roots & Shoots groups around the world fly Giant Peace Dove Puppets to celebrate Roots & Shoots Day of Peace for its symbolic meaning. They also plan and implement peace project initiatives to help make the world a better place for animals, the environment and the human community.

This year, the Roots & Shoots Day of Peace falls on September 20th; next year, it will be celebrated on September 18th. Though it’s too late to plan or attend an event, you can see what others are doing on the campaign’s events page. 2007’s activities are captured in a colorful ebook, available for download here. (‘twould be awesome if the JGI encouraged more specific and practical anti-speciesist actions, such as a vegan or even vegetarian diet, but I suppose merely mentioning nonhuman animal in the day’s festivities is a good start. Certainly, it’s a step beyond what the UN has done for our nonhuman kin.)

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The not-so-curious case of Santino the chimpanzee.

Friday, March 13th, 2009

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Santino the chimp with a stone in his hand. Photograph: PA

Many of you have no doubt already heard the story of Santino, a chimpanzee being held captive in a Swedish zoo who, in gathering rocks to throw at visitors to the zoo/prison, evidenced abstract thinking and planning for the future.

STOCKHOLM (AP) – A canny chimpanzee who calmly collected a stash of rocks and then hurled them at zoo visitors in fits of rage has confirmed that apes can plan ahead just like humans, a Swedish study said Monday. Santino the chimpanzee’s anti-social behavior stunned both visitors and keepers at the Furuvik Zoo but fascinated researchers because it was so carefully prepared.

According to a report in the journal Current Biology, the 31-year-old alpha male started building his weapons cache in the morning before the zoo opened, collecting rocks and knocking out disks from concrete boulders inside his enclosure. He waited until around midday before he unleashed a “hailstorm” of rocks against visitors, the study said.

“These observations convincingly show that our fellow apes do consider the future in a very complex way,” said the author of the report, Lund University Ph.D. student Mathias Osvath. “It implies that they have a highly developed consciousness, including lifelike mental simulations of potential events.” […]

Osvath said the chimpanzee had also been observed tapping on concrete boulders in the park to identify weak parts and then knocking out a piece. If it was too big for throwing, he broke it into smaller pieces, before adding them to his arsenal.

“It is very special that he first realizes that he can make these and then plans on how to use them,” Osvath said. “This is more complex than what has been showed before.” […]

For a while, zoo keepers tried locking Santino up in the morning so he couldn’t collect ammunition for his assaults, but he remained aggressive. They ultimately decided to castrate him in the autumn last year, but will have to wait until the summer to see if that helps. The chimpanzees are only kept outdoors between April and October and Santino’s special behavior usually occurs in June and July.

“It is normal behavior for alpha males to want to influence their surroundings … It is extremely frustrating for him that there are people out of his reach who are pointing at him and laughing,” Osvath said. “It cannot be good to be so furious all the time.”

I’ll try to not rehash what others have said, but if I may, a few points:

I’ve noticed that a disturbing number of news articles refer to Santino as “belligerent,” “anti-social,” and the like. His behavior is characterized as unreasonably antagonistic and hostile, as if it’s wholly unprovoked. On the contrary; Santino’s actions are defensive, not offensive. How would you respond if, day in and day out, naked apes invaded your space, gawked, laughed and pointed at you, and occasionally even assaulted your person, both verbally and physically? (Anyone who’s taken even the occasional trip to a zoo has witnessed humans – adults and children alike – harass the animals, usually with words and noises, but also with improvised weapons.) Probably you wouldn’t like it. Probably you’d become fed up and eventually lash out. Santino is 31 years old; though I’ve no clue how long he’s been held captive in a zoo, probably it’s been years – possibly, decades. How would you handle 31 years of captivity and slow torture?

In regards to the zoo keepers’ efforts to control Santino’s “belligerent” behavior by castrating the poor bloke, I say this: isn’t the obvious answer to remove him from the gorram display? That’s the real issue at play here, not his aggression or excessive levels of testosterone.

And also: humans often invoke our superior intellect – whether this is defined as a sense of self, ability to plan for the future, ability to craft and use tools, what have you – as an ethical justification for our exploitation and enslavement of non-human animals. So what do we do when a non-human animal exhibits human-like intelligence? Why, we (try to) castrate it out of him, of course! Can’t have a dirty, filthy ape acting like a person now, can we? Oh, the irony.

I can only hope that Brother Kwan – another forward-thinking primate – escaped his captors after his own attempt at freedom. Brother, described only as “a monkey,” killed his abusive owner by throwing a coconut at the man’s head. Slave owner Leilit Janchoom died instantly.

Perchance Brother Kawn will make an appearance on a future segment of TCR’s “Monkey on the Lam“?

(More below the fold…)

NEAVS: Great Ape Protection Act Update 3/11/2009

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Release Chimps – releasechimps [at] neavs.org
Date: Wed, Mar 11, 2009 at 4:16 PM
Subject: Great Ape Protection Act Update 3/11/2009

Release and Restitution for Chimpanzees in U.S. Laboratories: Legislative Update 3/11/2009

Great Ape Protection Act Continues to Gain Bipartisan Support

Three things YOU can do right now to help!

The Great Ape Protection Act (H.R. 1326) is currently in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. As of today, the bill has the support of 28 cosponsors including all the original sponsors. It is vital we continue to work hard to add even more cosponsors to ensure the bill’s success.

1. If you have not already done so in 2009, contact your legislator and ask them to sign onto the Great Ape Protection Act (H.R. 1326) as a cosponsor, or, if they already have in 2009, please thank them. Then ask at least three of your friends or family to contact their legislators too! Email us for legislator postcards to help make contacting them fast and easy (releasechimps [at] neavs.org).

2. Please contact the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and let them know that you no longer want your tax dollars going towards research on great apes. Tell them you want funding allocated to:

* Retire chimpanzees currently in U.S. labs to sanctuary.
* Alternatives which are not only more humane but are safer and better science.

3. Recently there has been important media coverage (ABC’s Nightline) on primates in research. As a result, thousands of comments are being posted on social networking sites such as Twitter, blogs, Facebook, etc. Please add your voice to this debate with positive, informative and reasonable comments to help educate the public.

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In which Sean Delonas & The New York Post wallow in racism and speciesism.

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Update, 2/20/09: The New York Post offered a half-assed apology for the Delonas cartoon today; by “half-assed,” I mean of the “we’re sorry if we hurt your delicate feefees” variety.

Naturally, the “apology” only addresses the racial aspects of the cartoon, while completely overlooking the speciesism inherent in comparing marginalized human group x to marginalized animal species y as a means of insult – and in mocking chimpanzee Travis’s needless and tragic death.

If you’d like, you can comment on the “apology” here, or submit a letter to the editor here.

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The above cartoon ran in today’s issue of The New York Post.

In one tidy little panel, cartoonist Sean Delonas – and, in printing and defending such trash, The New York Post – happily wallows in a toxic pool of racism and speciesism.

Here, President Obama is likened to Travis, a captive chimpanzee and former “animal actor,” who escaped from his “house” and attacked his “owner’s” friend on Monday. He was later shot and killed by police.

In bestializing Obama, Delonas engages in both racism and speciesism. Comparing people of color to nonhuman animals – particularly primates, such as chimps and monkeys – is a familiar, age-old racist meme. Denying the humanity of people of color – again, by likening them to nonhuman animals, which are presumably “sub-human,” “lesser beings,” “wild” incapable of intelligent thought or emotion, etc. – was used to justify slavery and segregation, and is still employed as a rationalization for current social inequities such as the disproportionately high rates of poverty, hunger and incarceration among people of color.

These comparisons are also speciesist, inasmuch as they rely upon and reinforce our (collective) stereotypes and prejudices re: nonhuman animals, as well as our utter lack of regard for their sentience and interests. Just as the above cartoon derides Obama by tying him to Travis, it also vilifies Travis (and, by extension, chimpanzees) for being “stupid,” “wild” and “vicious” – “less than.” To add insult to injury, Delonas turns Travis’s tragic death into the butt of a joke. (This didn’t have to happen: Travis should have been living in a sanctuary, with his own kind, not in the residential home of an elderly woman.)

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: Monkeys – Stolen From Trees, Sold For Research

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Dec 29, 2008 8:56 PM
Subject: Monkeys: Stolen From Trees, Sold For Research

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY / PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST

12/29/08: Cambodia Monkeys: Stolen From Trees, Sold To Research
FOR A FORMATTED LETTER (WORD DOC), EMAIL: kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Easily modify letter. Copy/paste it into an email or print letter to fax or mail.

Kinship Circle - 2008-12-29 - Stolen From Trees, Sold For Research 01

LT: Cambodia’s long-tailed macaques are stuffed into mesh bags and crammed into the bottom of a boat.

Kinship Circle - 2008-12-29 - Stolen From Trees, Sold For Research 02

RT: Babies clinging to each other in small barren cages await their fate.

SOURCE: http://www.buav.org/e_projecty.php

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Veg*nism & Pop Culture: Animal Rights Terra-ists on The Mentalist

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

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Proceed with caution: Spoilers galore!

Ten episodes in, and already The Mentalist has jumped on the animal rights terra-ism bandwagon.

Let me preface this by saying that I’m addicted to cop tv: The X-Files, CSI, NCIS, Law & Order, Criminal Intent, Life, NYPD Blue – I just love ’em. And my love runs extra-deep for the serialized cop drama/mystery/thrillers with a season/series-long story arc. Throw in a lead character who just so happens to be an atheist, and I’m hooked. Hello, The Mentalist!

That said, the latest installment (Season 1, Episode 10: Red Brick and Ivy) just wasn’t up to snuff.

The plot line is all too familiar: a scientist who experiments on non-human animals is murdered; the prerequisite, SHAC-like animal rights group which has been “terrorizing” said scientist (or said scientist’s university/lab/company/employer) for months is suspect numero uno. Cue the crazy!

In The Mentalist, the scientist in question is an up-and-coming neuroscientist who, along with his colleagues, has been conducting invasive research on animals (most notably, chimpanzees – unfortunately, a baby chimp does have a role in the episode) in order to locate the structures in the human brain which govern morality. The end goal? Finding a way to manipulate these structures and thus, magically, turn all of humanity into moral beings. Whatever that means.

(More below the fold…)

"Multiple Stab Wounds May Be Harmful To Monkeys"

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

The title pretty much says it all.

What *will* the mad scientists at NIH spend your tax dollars on next?

(Via Alex @ That Vegan Girl.)

(Crossposted to.)

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Tagged:

VeganMoFo, Day 31+: King Kong, Vegan Junk Food & Reflections on VeganMoFo

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

Spoiler alert! – Namely, for Peter Jackson’s King Kong (2005). Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

OK, so perhaps this post is six days late, but I’ve been busy enjoying the last throes of warm, sunny weather here in the Midwest. Plus, there was this minor matter called the presidential elections on Tuesday…maybe you’ve heard of it?

As I mentioned previously, Shane & I have a longstanding (three years now?…maybe four?) Halloween tradition: namely, we spend the day watching horror movies and scarfing junk food. This H-day was no exception, although we didn’t get though as many scary movies as we usually do; we watched three flicks, compared to the normal five or six. Probably because the first film, Peter Jackson’s King Kong, ran three and a half hours! Also on the roster were Identity and Untraceable.

Aside from some dreadful “primitive tribal heathen” stereotyping early on, King Kong is an incredible film. There’s definitely a strong (albeit most likely unintentional) animal welfare message underlying Kong’s story, and it’s handled beautifully by director Peter Jackson and actor Naomi Watts. Jackson’s Kong is the last of his (her?) kind, living a life of solitude and loneliness on Skull Island – that is, until Carl Denham (Jack Black) and crew arrive in order to film a movie. Leading lady Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) is kidnapped from her ship by the island’s natives and sacrificed to Kong (cue awful stereotypes), presumably to keep the “beast” happy, content, and out of their camp. Kong, instead of devouring Darrow, initially keeps her as a sort of “pet.” (Kong is taken with her comedic vaudeville stylings, it seems.) Darrow soon escapes, but finds herself lost on a prehistoric island filled with rampaging dinosaurs and giant bugs. Kong, distraught at his only companion’s disappearance, tracks Darrow down, just in time to save her from two raptor-like dinos. Once Darrow is safe, Kong skulks off, injured both physically (from the battle) and emotionally (at Darrow’s desertion). Whether from fear or compassion (or, most likely, a combination of both), Darrow rejoins Kong.

Meanwhile, in the face of stampeding brontos and an angry Kong, Denham’s crew has abandoned their search for Darrow. Instead, they leave Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody) to continue the search for Darrow (with whom he’s fallen in love), while the crew heads back to the ship in order to set a trap (unbeknown to Driscoll) for Kong, who’s sure to pursue the pair. Driscoll manages to find Kong’s den, which is littered with the bones of Kong’s long-dead relatives. Darrow is asleep in Kong’s palm; the two, who have formed a reciprocal, interspecies bond, watched the sun set and then nodded off together. Driscoll wakes Darrow, and the two attempt to sneak away without rousing Kong. Kong awakes in time to see the two creeping away together, and in the ensuing scuffle, a hoard of bats stir from their cliffside perch and attack the trio. Driscoll and Darrow manage to hitch a ride on one of the bats’ backs, and Kong runs after them in frenzied pursuit.

Naturally, this is where the story becomes a tearjerker. Kong is tranquilized, captured and caged during his attempt to retake a regretful Darrow. Back in NYC, Kong becomes part of a grotesque monster display, wherein Darrow’s sacrifice to the beast is reenacted for the entertainment of “horrified” audience. Darrow, who during her time with Kong had come to recognize his humanity, intelligence and sentience, wants nothing to do with the circus act, so director/showman Denham hires a Darrow lookalike to play the part. Kong begins the show partially sedated; as he comes to, he initially starts at the blond actress: I know her! Kong reaches out to Ann – only to become enraged when he realizes that it’s an impostor. Now furious, he rips free of his shackles and storms New York in search of his Ann. On the streets, he scoops up any and every thin blond he can find, only to toss the women aside when he realizes they aren’t the ones he wants.

Performing in a small, low-budget vaudeville hall, Darrow hears the commotion and runs towards Kong while throngs of flee in the other direction. Once Kong is reunited with his Jane Goodall, the two enjoy a few brief moments of reconnection. Kong, who hails from a tropical island, has never before seen ice or snow, and he delights in skidded across a pond in Central Park with Darrow perched safely in his hand. This playful scene is interrupted by a hail of gunfire; Kong, though he hasn’t intentionally harmed anyone (and is in fact a captive slave in the city, there against his will), must be destroyed! You probably know the rest: Kong is pursued by the police and military to the top of the Empire State Building, from which he is eventually gunned down.

Kong dies for our stupidity, greed, selfishness and speciesism.

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: ACT/ Nepal’s Monkeys Sold To Experimenters

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Tue, Jun 24, 2008 at 10:17 PM
Subject: ACT/ Nepal’s Monkeys Sold To Experimenters

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY – PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST AS WRITTEN

6/24/08: Nepal’s Monkeys Sold To Animal Experimenters

EMAIL kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net FOR WORD DOC OF A FORMATTED LETTER.
Easily modify letter and copy/paste it into an email or print out to fax or mail.

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Kinship Circle: ACT/ Demand Haven For The Lehman 6

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Tue, Apr 8, 2008 at 8:32 PM
Subject: UPDATE/ Demand Haven For The Lehman 6

UPDATE: Victory! Reprieve for NYU Monkeys

This update is from PETA — NOT Kinship Circle:
http://blog.peta.org/archives/2008/03/victory_repriev.php

Kinship Circle has no further information at this time.

“After asking some pointed questions of both institutions, PETA received confirmation last week that Lehman College had thought better of their decision to sell these animals to NYU where they may have had their brains butchered. They’re now working with NYU to get them transferred to a sanctuary instead.

Last month, a whistleblower contacted PETA about six monkeys who were about to be retired to a sanctuary from City University of New York’s Lehman College — but instead were sold to New York University for invasive neurological experiments…”

http://blog.peta.org/archives/2008/03/victory_repriev.php

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Sun, Mar 30, 2008 at 3:18 PM
Subject: ACT/ Demand Haven For The Lehman

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY – PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST AS WRITTEN

Be counted. Send a letter.

3/30/08: Demand Haven For The Lehman 6
http://www.KinshipCircle.org

Wanda (left) and Jada (right)…and the rest of the Lehman 6 — Holly, Sophie, Samantha, Lilly — were sold to New York University for brain experiments, despite the wishes of the original Lehman College researcher who sought their retirement at a sanctuary.

EMAIL kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net FOR WORD DOC OF A FORMATTED LETTER.
Easily modify letter and copy/paste it into an email or print out to fax or mail.

(More below the fold…)

The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation UK: Give Orangutans a Voice

Sunday, March 9th, 2008

—– Original Message —–
From: Michelle Desilets
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Sent: Saturday, March 08, 2008 6:53 AM
Subject: primfocus: Take Action: Give Orangutans a Voice

Dear Friends of the Orangutan,

The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation UK would like your help on behalf of our endangered, red-haired cousins. One of our supporters recently had the idea of sending our YouTube video to her MP and received a prompt response, proof that a simple email can have a significant impact, especially when accompanied by effective imagery. Here is the MPs response to this concerned supporter:

Dear Ms McEntee,

Thank you for your email.

The video is indeed shocking and I agree with you about the importance of conserving the remaining forests in Indonesia and the fears expressed in the film that an unintended consequence of the rush to biofuels has been the destruction of forests to make way for palm oil.

Yours sincerely,

David Liddington

So please do take a moment to copy and paste the short message below and send it to any of the following:

MP for your constituency

your MEP

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Hilary Benn MP

or direct to 10 Downing Street.

(More below the fold…)

Contact NBC about abuse of "Whiplash" the Rodeo Monkey

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

Contact NBC about abuse of “Whiplash” the Rodeo Monkey
Posted by: AnimalAdvocacy [at] yahoogroups.com
Thu Jan 31, 2008 1:47 pm (PST)

Contact NBC about abuse of “Whiplash” the Rodeo Monkey

On January 31st, both the early Today show and channel 4 showed video/photos of this poor capuchin monkey “riding” a border collie at a livestock show/rodeo in Colorado as their “funny” photo of the day. Obviously they don’t know or care that the monkey is not riding the dog voluntarily and is strapped onto the dog, unable to get off. The video showed Whiplash almost falling off, flopping to one side, obviously bound to the animal while he ran wildly around the rodeo yard. Channel 4 has posted the photos on its website at http://www.nbc4.com/entertainment/15178021/detail.html

Please contact channel 4 and NBC to let them know referencing “the January 3oth Whiplash the Rodeo Monkey segment.” Mention that this is not the upbeat event they seek to portray it as and perhaps they would do a serious story on how this monkey is kept, trained, and then forced to ride the dog.

Submit your comments online at: http://www.nbc.com/Footer/Contact_Us/ (click on “other” in the menu box in the middle of the page) or by phone at: 202-885-4000.

PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY AND CONTACT NBC TODAY!

— Our task must be to free ourselves …by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. – Albert Einstein

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Tagged:

Kinship Circle: ACT/ Smoking Monkeys In Absurd OHSU Lab

Friday, January 11th, 2008

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Jan 10, 2008 12:26 PM
Subject: ACT/ Smoking Monkeys In Absurd OHSU Lab

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY – PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST AS WRITTEN

1/10/08: Smoking Monkeys In Absurd OHSU Lab
http://www.KinshipCircle.org

Kinship Circle - 2008-01-10 - Thimble

PHOTO: Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) experimenter Eliot Spindel has been killing infant monkeys (like Thimble, pictured here) in nicotine studies for 24 years. But that’s not enough for him — Spindel has a ticket to ride the federally-funded gravy train and continue these needless experiments until 2012.

http://ga0.org/campaign/spindel?rk=Wd%5f5PAS1KwRCE

EMAIL kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net FOR WORD DOC OF A FORMATTED LETTER.
Easily modify letter and copy/paste it into an email or print out to fax or mail.

(More below the fold…)

Orangutan Island Episode 4 tonight on Animal Planet

Friday, November 30th, 2007

—– Original Message —–
From: Michelle Desilets
Sent: Friday, November 30, 2007 8:50 AM
Subject: primfocus: Orangutan Island Episode 4 tonight on Animal Planet

Please tune in…and let us know what you think! ORANGUTAN ISLAND: Lessons Learned, Lessons Lost

World Premiere Friday, November 30 at 8:30 PM (ET/PT)

The community now numbers 34 after an unexpected loss and the rainy season continues relentlessly. The inexperienced orangutans are still trying to figure things out – some learn new survival skills while others forget crucial lessons already learned.

Unexpectedly, Hamlet becomes a role model as the group learns to imitate his effective method of foraging for food in the flood waters. Meanwhile, Chen Chen keeps out of Hamlet’s sight on the platform, hanging out with his long-time friend Donald. But when Donald ventures out to look for food, the darkness and rising flood waters leave him scared and disoriented. Will Chen Chen realize Donald is missing and go searching for him? Cha Cha ignores vital lessons she’s learned and lets her curiosity lead her into a dangerous playdate with a snake. Then meet Jordan, a bit of a social outcast whose fond memories of being bottlefed could turn out to be deadly.

To find out more, please visit http://www.savetheorangutan.co.uk or our partner in the US, Orangutan Outreach at http://www.redapes.org.

Michelle Desilets
Director
Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation UK
“Primates Helping Primates”
http://www.savetheorangutan.org.uk

———————-

Tagged:

Kinship Circle: Urge Primate Testing Ban In Europe

Saturday, September 8th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Sep 6, 2007 4:37 PM
Subject: Urge Primate Testing Ban In Europe

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY
PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST AS WRITTEN

9/6/07: Urge Primate Testing Ban In Europe
KINSHIP CIRCLE ACTION CAMPAIGN
http://www.KinshipCircle.org

SOURCE OF INFORMATION:

Help Us Stop Primate Experiments – For Good
http://www.eceae.org/saveprimates/en/action.html

If you care about animals, urge signing of Written Declaration 40/2007
http://www.navs.org.uk/take_action/39/0/885/

Alternatives to Animal Testing / Dr. Hadwen Trust
http://www.drhadwentrust.org/

============================

SAMPLE LETTER & CONTACT INFORMATION

* Sample letters are prepared to give you ample background on an issue. Try to change some words, pare down letters, and make them your own.

* KINSHIP CIRCLE MUST REMAIN ANONYMOUS, for letter campaigns to have impact and to avoid legal problems under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA). Please NEVER REFERENCE KINSHIP CIRCLE when sending comments directly to letter recipients.

============================

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Oh, baby.

Saturday, June 9th, 2007

http://www.orangutans.com.au

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Tagged:

IDA Writing Alert: Feds exit the chimp breeding business

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: In Defense of Animals – takeaction [at] idausa.org
Date: May 29, 2007 2:41 PM
Subject: Writing Alert: Feds exit the chimp breeding business

The Orange County Register and many publications across the country published an article about the NIH’s announcement that it will end breeding chimpanzees for research. Please write a letter to the editor of the Orange County Register to support a ban on chimpanzee breeding. Call on the agency to go one step further by making a commitment to end chimpanzee research. Send letters to the Register at letters [at] ocregister.com.

Read “Feds exit the chimp breeding business” online.

Feds exit the chimp breeding business
Animal rights groups cheer the move by the National Institutes of Health.

By WILL DUNHAM
Reuters

The U.S. National Institutes of Health, which supports a variety of biomedical studies using animals, will stop breeding government-owned chimpanzees for medical research – a step animal rights advocates lauded.

The NIH’s National Center for Research Resources cited financial reasons for its decision this week to permanently cease breeding of government-owned chimpanzees for research. A breeding moratorium on NCRR-owned and supported chimpanzees had been in place since 1995.

The Humane Society of the United States said it suspects that ethical reasons also were involved in the decision. The group, which opposes the use of these apes as lab animals, said the decision on ending breeding likely also means NIH no longer will be acquiring new chimpanzees through other means.

(More below the fold…)

HSUS: Help End Breeding of Chimpanzees for Research

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

UPDATE, 5/25/07, via the HSUS:

I am delighted to share some great news! Thanks in part to your action on behalf of chimpanzees in laboratories, the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) announced on May 22 that “after careful review of existing chimpanzee resources, NCRR has determined that it does not have the financial resources to support the breeding of chimpanzees that are owned or supported by NCRR.”

This announcement means that there will no longer be any funding by NCRR to support breeding of chimpanzees for research. NCRR also indicated that it will honor commitments regarding the care and funding of the existing chimpanzee population, including approximately 500 NCRR-owned chimpanzees currently in research labs and 90 who are in a federal sanctuary for those no longer “needed” in biomedical research. While this doesn’t help the chimpanzees currently living in laboratories, it is a monumental decision and will spare some chimpanzees a life of up to 60 years in a laboratory.

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Via the Humane Society of the United States:

Help End Breeding of Chimpanzees for Research

Chimpanzees experience a range of emotions, including depression, anxiety, pain, distress and empathy. Their emotions and complex cognitive abilities make confinement of these animals in cages and their use in research highly questionable on ethical grounds. They are poor models for human disease because of biological differences, including in their immunology. Finally, chimpanzees are extremely expensive to keep in laboratories. Captive chimps can live to the age of 60, so any bred today could spend up to six decades living in labs—at taxpayer expense.

The current moratorium on the breeding of federally-owned and supported chimpanzees extends through the end of 2007. On May 22, the National Advisory Research Resources Council of the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) will meet to discuss, and potentially decide on, its renewal. Now is the time to let the Council and NCRR know that you do not want to see any taxpayer-funded breeding of chimpanzees for use in laboratories. The number of chimpanzees in labs could be reduced by halting the breeding of additional chimpanzees—a significant step in ultimately ending the cycle of chimpanzee research.

TAKE ACTION

Please take a moment to help by urging the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) to not only extend the moratorium beyond 2007, but to adopt this moratorium permanently to end the breeding of research chimps altogether.

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Meet these Mother’s Day animal heroes

Sunday, May 13th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Fund for Animals – news [at] fundforanimals.org
Date: May 9, 2007 12:58 PM
Subject: Meet these Mother’s Day animal heroes

THE FUND FOR ANIMALS UPDATE
May 9, 2007

Photo via mape_s

Animals cannot share their stories on their own, but we can do it for them. In honor of Mother’s Day, here are three accounts of valiant animal moms who overcame great adversity to care for their young:

Mother Rabbit — When Hurricane Katrina pummeled the Gulf Coast, thousands of animals perished. One amazing bunny survivor made it through the floods and was taken to a foster home. But before she could get to our Rabbit Sanctuary in Simpsonville, S.C., Mother Rabbit (as she was affectionately named) gave birth, nourished her infants, and prepared them for their lives ahead — alone. Too weak from the trauma, Mother Rabbit died, but she made sure her beloved babies, Camelia and Magnolia, would find sanctuary. Read more by clicking on the link: https://community.hsus.org/ct/a1S7Mss1gXUj/

Osprey Mom-to-Be — Mating season for a pair of osprey on Cape Cod was unceremoniously derailed when a powerful storm severed a portion of their carefully crafted nest and sent the female plunging headfirst into the sandy beach. And there she might have stayed — risking possible starvation, suffocation, and hypothermia — had an eager pair of storm watchers not been combing that very beach. The Good Samaritans rushed the sand-encrusted raptor to our Cape Wildlife Center. After three days of rehabilitation, the female was released at the beach and immediately joined by her mate. The ospreys are now busily repairing their nest in anticipation of the pitter-patter of their chicks. Read more by clicking on the link: https://community.hsus.org/ct/qpS7Mss1gXUu/

Red-Tailed Hawk Mom — In the wilds of southern California, a young red-tailed hawk fell from his nest in plain sight of several dedicated bird watchers. The rescuers brought the youngster to The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in Ramona, Calif., where he recuperated in the medical center before being released back to the nest. Mom flew in to welcome her healthy baby home, and the reunion resulted in squeals of delight. A few days later the situation was repeated with another sibling, and again, Mom swooped in and excitedly welcomed her second youngster back home. Read more by clicking on the link: https://community.hsus.org/ct/adS7Mss1gXUm/

In the human and animal worlds, the initial gift of life can be just the first of many treasures bestowed by a mother to her child. This bond is unique, whatever the language or species.

Thank you for caring about animals,

Michael Markarian
President
The Fund for Animals

P.S. If you’re looking for a gift for the mom who loves animals, consider a monthly sponsorship at the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in her name [click on the link to https://secure.hsus.org/01/ffa_monthly. This donation is used to directly help animals who have been abused or abandoned; your Mother’s Day tribute lasts all year long!

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