Book Review: Witch Child, Celia Rees (2000)

Monday, February 4th, 2013

“Words have power. These are mine.”

four out of five stars

Mary Nuttall was just sixteen years old when her grandmother Eliza – the only family she’d ever known – was murdered. Accused of practicing witchcraft, the old woman was tortured, stripped naked, bound, and “floated” – tossed into a river to sink or swim. Her buoyancy taken as a sure sign of guilt, Eliza was pulled from the water only so that she could be hanged in public. Once trusted to heal their loved ones, Eliza’s friends and neighbors in this rural English town proved eager witnesses to her execution.

Rescued from similar persecution by her long-lost mother, Mary is sent away to the “New World” in search of a better life. She’s to travel with a group of Puritans bound for Salem, where they’ll join their brethren and pastor. Upon arrival, the group is dismayed to discover that their kin have moved on, to the isolated town of Beulah. After much deliberation they decide to follow, forging ahead into the wilderness with two Natives – of the Pennacook tribe – acting as their guides.

Unsurprisingly, Beulah couldn’t be further from the safe haven Mary’s mother envisioned for her child. Ruled by a Puritan preacher so strict and demanding that he proved unwelcome in Salem, Mary is in constant danger, just by virtue of being a newcomer to the community. Though she tries hard to stay under the radar, her “transgressions,” real and imagined – which include befriending members of the opposite sex; spending time alone in the forest to gather food and herbs; harboring anything more than uncharitable thoughts about the “heathen” natives; and proficiency in transcription – don’t escape the notice of Reverend Johnson. When items suggestive of witchcraft are discovered in the forest and several of the town’s teenage girls start exhibiting strange behavior, Mary’s worst fears are realized.

All of this we learn from Mary’s journal, which spans roughly a year from 1659-1660. Urged to burn it by her protector/surrogate mother Martha – its opening sentences (“I am Mary. I am a witch.”) alone being sure proof of guilt – Mary instead hides its pages inside a quilt. Discovered more than three hundred years later by one “Alison Ellman” (one of Mary’s descendents, perhaps), Mary’s journal stands testament to the horrors she and her kind endured.

(More below the fold…)

Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 19: Brain Food (Vegan, Natch!)

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Vegan Brain Food

“Vegan Brain Food”: A mashup of book covers related to this latest edition of “Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs.” Clockwise from the upper-left: Sistah Vegan: Food, Identity, Health, and Society: Black Female Vegans Speak by A. Breeze Harper, ed. (2010); Terrorists or Freedom Fighters?: Reflections on the Liberation of Animals by Anthony J. Nocella II and Steven Best, eds. (2004); Sisterhood Is Forever: The Women’s Anthology for a New Millennium by Robin Morgan, ed. (2003); The Pornography of Meat by Carol Adams (2004); The Year of the Flood: A Novel by Margaret Atwood (2009); Penelope by Marilyn Kaye (2007); Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism by Melanie Joy (2009); and VegNews, March+April 2010.

Sistah Vegan Book: Win a Free Copy!

Editor Breeze Harper is giving away a free, signed copy of her upcoming anthology, Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health & Society. The catch? You have to answer a short essay question, which will (hopefully) get you thinking about issues of food, race, gender, and/or nonhuman animals in new (and fruitful!) way. The deadline is April 1st, so don’t delay!

Let Live Foundation: Food Justice w/ lauren Ornelas (3/21)

I’m so terribly jealous of all you vegan folks living on the east and west coasts; y’all always throw the coolest conferences and lectures! (There’s a reason I titled this link roundup “Brain Food,” yo!) This Sunday, March 21st, Let Live Foundation will be hosting speaker lauren Ornelas of the Food Empowerment Project. On the menu?: Food justice, veganism, and the intersections of human and animal exploitation. If you happen to find yourself in Portland this weekend, attend, take notes, and report back, mkay? (Pretty please? With an organic, raw, fair trade cherry on top?)

The Washington Times: Food For Life Global Is Coming Through Big In Haiti

Who says animal advocates only care about nonhumans, hmmm? Check out this nice writeup Food For Life Global received in The Washington Times, and then hop on over to Disaster Relief in Haiti: Animal Rescue & Vegan/Animal-Friendly Resources to see how else you can help with disaster relief efforts in Haiti (and Chile).

The Voracious Vegan: International Women’s Day: Why Feminism? and “Until We Are All Free”: International Women’s Day (@ Choosing Raw)

In honor of International Women’s Day (which took place on March 8th), the Voracious Vegan penned not one, but two posts. The first includes a short film that, in Tasha’s words explains why “women’s rights and feminism are still relevant and necessary in this day and age.” Additionally, in a guest post at Choosing Raw, Tasha discusses the intersections of feminism and veganism, including the shared ideologies and social systems which allow human, animal and environmental exploitation to thrive. It’s a lengthy piece but well worth it – she touches upon a number of salient points, including the objectification of women’s and animals’s bodies; the state’s (and businesses’) attempts to control the reproductive systems of females, human and nonhuman alike; food and environmental justice; and public safety and human health concerns.

(More below the fold…)

Whale Wars, Season 2

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

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

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

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

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

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


(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: Act/ Demand Whale Conservation Over Killing

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at]
Date: Sun, Mar 29, 2009 at 9:14 PM
Subject: Act/ Demand Whale Conservation Over Killing

3/29/09: Demand Whale Conservation Over Killing

Kinship Circle - 2009-03-29 - Demand Whale Conservation Over Killing 01

LT: Minke whale. Juergen Freund. OCEANS. Ribbon Reefs, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

Kinship Circle - 2009-03-29 - Demand Whale Conservation Over Killing 02

RT: A Bryde’s whale lies on the deck of a Japanese whaling vessel. The species is listed as “Data Deficient” on the IUCN Red List and current population numbers are not known. (Institute for Cetacean Research)

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: ACT/ Whale Bloodbath In Danish Faeroe Islands

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at]
Date: Mon, Nov 3, 2008 at 5:13 PM
Subject: ACT/ Whale Bloodbath In Danish Faeroe Islands


11/3/08: End Whale Bloodbath In Danish Faeroe Islands
Easily modify letter. Copy/paste it into an email or print letter to fax or mail.

2008-11-03 - Kinship Circle - ACT - Whale Bloodbath In Danish Faeroe Islands 01

Every year between 2,000 and 3,500 pilot whales are corralled by men in boats and forced into bays in the Faeroe Islands, a North Sea Danish Protectorate mid-way between the Shetland Islands and Iceland.

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: DUE 7/8: No More Makah Whaling

Friday, May 30th, 2008

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at]
Date: Wed, May 28, 2008 at 6:34 PM
Subject: DUE 7/8: No More Makah Whaling


5/28/08: DUE 7/8/08 – Tell NOAA: No More Makah Whaling

Easily modify letter and copy/paste it into an email or print out to fax or mail.

JULY 8, 2008 — 5:00pm (PDT)

(More below the fold…)

On the war on The War on Terra.

Saturday, January 19th, 2008

So let’s get this all straight. Two activists board a ship, with a letter of intent, because the whalers refused to respond to radio communications. Whalers rough them up, tie them up, and then Yasuaki Sasaki, the captain, makes a series of demands, including activists must stop filming the whalers’ activities and not come within 10 nautical miles of the whaling ship.

But the anti-whaling advocates are the terrorists?

Will Potter, commenting on the recent capture and subsequent release of two Sea Shepherd Conservation Society terrorists anti-whaling activists.

Is it just me, or does something stink?

Kinship Circle: ACT NOW To Free Captured Sea Shepherd Crew Members

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

UPDATE, 1/19/08:

Just read on Green Is The New Red that the two captured Sea Shepherd crew members have been released, relatively unharmed.

Here’s Will with the details:

Two anti-whaling activists that have been held hostage by Japanese whalers were released today, after the Australian government intervened. […]

Benjamin Potts, 28, and Giles Lane, 35, were transferred to an Australian vessel, the Oceanic Viking. According to a statement (and the video above), they were roughed up a bit when they boarded but otherwise weren’t harmed.

Gabriel Gonzalez, a spokesman for The Institute of Cetacean Research in Tokyo (the whalers, gotta love the misleading name) told The Telegraph that the two were initially tied up because they might have been carrying bombs or weapons.

“This is a terrorist organisation, let us be clear of that, and if they respond with aggressive tactics, who knows what might happen,” he said.

So let’s get this all straight. Two activists board a ship, with a letter of intent, because the whalers refused to respond to radio communications. Whalers rough them up, tie them up, and then Yasuaki Sasaki, the captain, makes a series of demands, including activists must stop filming the whalers’ activities and not come within 10 nautical miles of the whaling ship.

But the anti-whaling advocates are the terrorists?



(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: ACT/ Stop Whale Killers: Japan, Norway, Iceland

Friday, December 7th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at]
Date: Dec 3, 2007 8:02 PM
Subject: ACT/ Stop Whale Killers: Japan, Norway, Iceland


12/3/07: Stop The Whale Killers: Japan, Norway, Iceland

1. To JAPANESE Whale Killers
2. To NORWEGIAN Whale Killers
3. To ICELANDIC Whale Killers
4. To U.S. CONGRESS: Protect Whales


Ask the New Japanese Prime Minister to Stop the Whale Hunt

Endangered humpback whales – new target for whalers

Japanese whalers hunt humpbacks

International Whaling Commission

PETITION: Whales Revenge / Target: International Whaling Commission


(More below the fold…)

AWI eAlert: Illegal Whale Hunt Requires Independent Investigation

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: AWI eAlert – ealert [at]
Date: Oct 12, 2007 3:50 PM
Subject: AWI eAlert: Illegal Whale Hunt Requires Independent Investigation

Animal Welfare Institute

Illegal Whale Hunt Requires Independent Investigation

October 12, 2007

Last month, five members of the Makah tribe illegally attacked a gray whale in the Strait of Juan de Fuca in Washington State. Piercing the whale with five to 10 harpoons and firing up to 21 bullets, the Makah whalers violated multiple federal laws. Some 10 excruciating hours later, the whale died and sank into the depths of the ocean. Nicknamed “Kelpie” by local residents, the whale had a habit of playing in kelp forests and frequently surfaced covered with kelp. Kelpie provided countless hours of enjoyment to those who reside and enjoy recreational activities in the area.

The Makah Tribal Council and its whaling commission have said that they knew nothing about the illegal whale hunt. Yet, the tribe’s chairman has said that the perpetrators of this crime had been talking about the hunt days before it occurred, and the head of the tribe’s whaling commission approved access to the high-caliber weapon used to shoot the whale. In addition, two of the men who participated in the hunt were whaling commission members. Makah leaders have stated several times that those involved in the illegal hunt will be prosecuted in tribal court, but not a single charge has been filed, to date.

Though the Makah tribe has repeatedly referred to its cultural connection to whales to justify its desire to whale, the tribe does not have a legitimate subsistence need to whale and, therefore, can’t satisfy either U.S. or international legal standards to engage in aboriginal subsistence whaling. Whaling for only cultural reasons is not permitted.

Those responsible for the illegal hunt violated the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Whaling Convention Act, and a host of other federal laws, including the maritime laws administered by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and laws protecting public health and safety. The federal government, under the direction of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), is investigating and the U.S. Attorney recently announced that a federal grand jury had indicted the five whalers on three federal misdemeanor charges. Considering the ongoing efforts by NMFS to facilitate the Makah’s desire to whale and the appointment by NMFS of a Makah tribal member – John Haupt – as its lead investigator, the results of any NMFS investigation is highly questionable.

Please help us press the U.S. Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington to call for an independent investigation of this illegal whaling incident and to push for the prosecution of the whalers to the fullest extent for violating federal laws. Please send an e-mail (see sample e-mail below) or call them to insist that an independent investigation by the FBI or other non-partisan agency is essential because NMFS has an obvious conflict of interest and can’t both support Makah whaling and investigate an incident of illegal whaling by Makah tribal members. Please make calls and send e-mails as soon as possible, as an independent investigation must be initiated soonest before memories fade and potential evidence disappears.

(More below the fold…)

Defenders of Wildlife: Protect Cook Inlet Belugas!

Friday, July 6th, 2007

Via Defenders of Wildlife:

Protect Cook Inlet Belugas!

After decades of decline, hope is on the horizon for Alaska’s Cook Inlet belugas. Thanks in part to the support of more than 15,000 Defenders activists like you, federal officials plan to list Alaska’s beleaguered beluga as an endangered species. But they need to hear from you to make these vital protections a reality.

Take action now! Tell the National Marine Fisheries Service that you support their plan to protect Cook Inlet belugas as an endangered species!



NRDC: Tell Mexico’s President Thank You for Defending Whales

Friday, July 6th, 2007

Via the Natural Resources Defense Council:

Tell Mexico’s President Thank You for Defending Whales

Help us applaud the courage and vision of Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón for designating 109,000 acres of federal land around San Ignacio Lagoon for conservation.

Combined with the 140,000 acres of private and communal lands we’ve already protected, 249,000 acres are now off-limits to industrialization forever. We’re closer than ever to our ultimate goal of protecting one million acres around the world’s last untouched gray whale nursery!



WWF: Time to Protect Chile’s Blue Whales

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

Via the World Wildlife Fund:

Time to Protect Chile’s Blue Whales

The Gulf of Corcovado and Chiloe coast in Southern Chile is one of the most important feeding and calving grounds for the highly endangered blue whale, the largest animal ever known to have existed on planet earth.

Since the unique importance of the area was discovered in 2003, WWF and its partners have worked to obtain a government decree to protect an area that supports not only the blue whale, but dozens of other marine mammals including humpback whales and the Chilean dolphin.

However, rapid economic growth in the area and increasing fishing, tourism and marine traffic in the Gulf of Corcovado could now pose a threat to blue whales and the larger ecosystem they inhabit.

The approval of a new marine protected area has now been endorsed by the local governments in the region, the Chilean senate, and is strongly supported by conservation organizations and the scientific community. But approval by the Ministry of Defense and a Presidential decree are still needed in order for the area to be finally protected.

Following Chile’s positive role at the recent International Whaling Commission meeting, where the Government strongly advocated for whale conservation, we are now asking the Chilean President to protect blue whales and their habitat.

ACT NOW: Ask the Chilean President, Michelle Bachelet, to create the Chiloe and Corcovado Gulf Marine and Coastal Protected Area.



IFAW: 5 Ways You Can Help Protect Whales

Thursday, May 10th, 2007

Via the International Fund for Animal Welfare:

5 Ways You Can Help Protect Whales

Commercial whaling is both cruel and unnecessary. Here are five things you can do right now to help save whales from whaling and the increasing threats from ocean noise, ship strikes, entanglement in fishing gear and climate change.

1. End the Raw Deal for Whales

Write a letter to True World Foods, the premier sushi quality seafood distributor in the US, asking them to persuade its partner Kyokuyo Co. Ltd. to permanently cease the production, distribution and sale of all whale products.

2. Sign Up to Receive Mobile Text Alerts

Be the first to learn about breaking whale news when you join IFAW’s free mobile whale network. When IFAW needs your help to save whales we’ll let you know by sending an action alert directly to your mobile phone.

3. Host a House Party for Whales

Encourage others to join you in becoming an active member in the global campaign to end whaling by hosting a party to view the unique film “What to Do About Whales”.

4. Tell Others to Help Protect Whales

It only takes a few seconds to spread the word about the cruelty of whaling and our efforts to end it, yet the impact on the campaign is enormous. Please invite your friends, family, and colleagues to help save the whales.

5. Promote

Let others know about our campaign to end whaling by hosting our free whale banners on your site or by telling others about IFAW through MySpace.


Well, that’s #1, 4, and 5 down for me. Now, anyone wanna party?



WSPA: Tell President Bush to end commercial whaling

Monday, April 30th, 2007

Via the World Society for the Protection of Animals:

Tell President Bush to end commercial whaling

Many people believe that the whale has been saved but the sad and shocking truth is that the resumption of commercial whaling is closer to becoming a reality today than at any point over the past two decades.

Whales need protecting now as much as they ever did – perhaps even more so in the light of threats such as climate change – but over the past six years, President Bush’s team has failed to fight hard enough for that much needed protection. The United States ‘ once steadfast aim to protect the world’s whales has been replaced by a catalogue of compromises which, left unchecked, will undoubtedly pave the way for a resumption of commercial whaling.

This May, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) will meet on US soil for the first time in nearly two decades. There couldn’t be a better time for the US Administration to show the world that America does not support the resumption of whaling. It is unsustainable, unnecessary and inherently cruel.

Please write to President Bush and ask him to follow the strong examples of President Reagan, the first President Bush and President Clinton. If President Bush acts now, the damage caused by US neglect on this issue in recent years can be reversed. The United States must resume its role as a leader in the fight against commercial whaling.



Defenders of Wildlife: Belugas on the Brink!

Monday, April 16th, 2007

UPDATE, 5/23/07:

See also: Tell the Bush Administration to Protect the Last 300 Beluga Whales in Alaska’s Cook Inlet!, via the Natural Resources Defense Council.


UPDATE, 5/18/07:

See also: Take Action – Beluga Whales Need Your Help to Survive, via the Ocean Conservancy.


UPDATE, 4/22/07:

See also: Protect Alaska’s Beluga Whales by the Center for Biological Diversity. FYI: the action alert was released 4/20, so it appears that a decision was not yet reached as of Friday. Additionally, CBD gives an Campaign Expiration Date of June 19, 2007 – so get to it!


Via Defenders of Wildlife:

Belugas on the Brink!

The Cook Inlet once teemed with up to 1300 beluga whales — a genetically distinct population of these white whales. But sadly, their numbers have dropped to around 300 — and they could vanish forever within our lifetime unless we act now!

Federal officials will decide soon whether to list the Cook Inlet belugas as an endangered species. But they need to hear from you.

Urge the National Marine Fisheries Service to list Cook Inlet belugas as “endangered” and protect these creatures for future generations. A decision could come as early as April 18th — so please take action today!



ARA PSAs: March of the Penguins

Monday, April 9th, 2007

Prowildlife (Penguins)

Gives new meaning to the term “animal rights terrorism”, no? Ah, if only.

Make the jump for the rest of the photos in this series.

(More below the fold…)

SAPL eAlert: Help Us Stop U.S. Capitulation to Whalers

Monday, April 9th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Cathy Liss, Legislative Director – action [at]
Date: Apr 9, 2007 11:10 AM
Subject: SAPL eAlert: Help Us Stop U.S. Capitulation to Whalers

April 9, 2007

Help Us Stop U.S. Capitulation to Whalers

Japan and other pro-whaling countries are on the brink of overturning the 20-year-old moratorium that bans commercial whaling. Through aggressive vote recruitment, Japan is poised to take over the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Since the moratorium came into force in 1986, some IWC member nations have continued to whale commercially by exploiting loopholes in the whaling convention. For instance, Japan conducts lethal “research” whaling, and the meat ends up being sold in stores, Norway whales commercially under an objection it lodged when the moratorium was passed, and Iceland does both. In addition to the commercial killing of whales, aboriginal subsistence whaling conducted by natives in the United States, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Russian Federation, and Greenland is performed through the allocation of quotas by the IWC, based on recommendations by its scientific committee.

You may recall that, at last year’s IWC meeting, the pro-whaling nations achieved a simple majority on a single issue for the first time in decades. This year’s meeting is being held in Anchorage, Alaska, and the venue may turn out to be a bitter embarrassment for the United States, as it is being hobbled by Japan over its own “whaling needs.”

(More below the fold…)

DawnWatch: NY Times on whaling and on humane farming standards 4/1/07

Sunday, April 1st, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: DawnWatch – news [at]
Date: Apr 1, 2007 9:25 PM
Subject: DawnWatch: NY Times on whaling and on humane farming standards 4/1/07

Section Four, “The Week in Review,” of the Sunday, April 1 New York Times has two articles of interest to animal advocates. There is an editorial (the paper’s official opinion) about whaling, and an article about free-range meat.

The editorial, headed, “Japan’s Whaling Obsession,” (Pg 11) opens with:

“Humans should be careful when criticizing other humans about the industrial slaughter of animal species. It is hard to find moral ground.

“There was one small, bright spot of global consensus: whales. It took a very long time, but most of the world agreed that these wonderful, sociable mammals, at least, should be granted a stay of extinction. Most of the world, but not all. A few outlying countries continue commercial or dubiously scientific whale hunts, notably Japan, which clings to its whaling ways long past the expiration of any defensible reasons for doing so.”

(More below the fold…)

The Ocean Conservancy: Tell the Government to Stop Delaying Right Whale Protections

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

UPDATE, 7/11/07, via The Ocean Conservancy:

Ocean Conservancy is writing you today with great news for right whales and other endangered large whales in the Atlantic Ocean. As part of our concerted effort to save these majestic animals, Ocean Conservancy recently sued the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to end its years-long delay of a fishing gear entanglement rule. Today, we are pleased to inform you that we have won a settlement requiring NMFS to publish its ruling by October 1st.

Read our press release….


Via The Ocean Conservancy:

Tell the Government to Stop Delaying Right Whale Protections

One Right Whale Entangled, Another Struck By Boat

Right now, there are two critically endangered North Atlantic right whales in trouble off of Massachusetts. One is entangled, the other shows a ten-foot propeller gash from a ship strike. Entanglement and ship strikes are the leading causes of death for North Atlantic right whales, a species of which only 350 still exist. Please help us protect whales. Ocean Conservancy is currently suing the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to protect North Atlantic right whales from entanglement and ship strikes. Make your voice heard, too.

Please, sign our petition to force NMFS to take action >>