Archive for the ‘animal rights’ category

Cecil the Lion Slaughtered…

July 29, 2015

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I will always remember the occasion when I was taken as a boy of about ten to the den of a wealthy neighbor who was a “big game” hunter.  I was supposed to admire the heads of lions, antelope, and other exotic wild animals that stared at me from the walls, but instead I was filled with a sense of horror and revulsion; this was to me a charnel house, a mortuary. This “mighty hunter” had not done in my sight anything commendable to be worthy of praise or emulation.

The actions of my former neighbor, while I found them personally deplorable, were at least legal. Not so was the hunt of American dentist Walter Palmer of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, who paid at least fifty thousand to track and kill Cecil, a beloved and protected lion at the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe who was readily identifiable, the object of research, and wore a collar.  Cecil was lured off the National Park and then shot with bow and arrow. Wounded and suffering, Cecil lived and was tracked for forty hours before being cornered and fatally shot by the “mighty hunter.” Cecil’s ultimate fate was then to be skinned and beheaded, and his cubs will likely be killed by the next lion in the hierarchy to spread their bloodline.  

Since this despicable and stomach-churning act, the dentist will at least be charged with poaching and has begun to receive some well-deserved drilling himself. The Yelp page for Palmer’ s dental facility has been overrun with negative comments. “Wouldn’t it be clever to see how you would face Cecil without your tricks and tools?,” ran one comment.  That’s a fantasy I could well entertain.  Rest in peace, Cecil…you deserved so much better than you received.

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When Turkeys Attack!

November 27, 2014

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The Destination America channel treated us to some strange, tongue-in-cheek fare the evening before Thanksgiving with a special styled somewhat like numerous others airing on that network, and called “When Turkeys Attack!”  The show used home video footage depicting wild turkeys chasing children, grandmothers, and grown men; one chased and kept up with a bicyclist for a short distance, while others attacked mail delivery vehicles in a territorial frenzy.

Now wild turkeys should be distinguished from domesticated turkeys genetically engineered to be walking hunks of meat; these are the descendants of theropods, a carnivorous dinosaur.  A wild tom turkey can stand about waist high on a human, and can drop kick you in the head.  This could be a bad encounter as the males have razor sharp spurs on the back of their legs that are 1-1/2″ – 2″ long.  They can flog you with their wings.  Turkeys will try to strike at your head, have acute hearing, and can read subtle behavior rather well.

How then does one defend against a wild turkey attack?  It was suggested that you don’t run and flee from them, but rather try to put a physical object between yourself and the offending turkey.  Don’t try to fend one off with a flipped jacket, which they may interpret as an invitation to attack. Cover your head, and try to kick at them.  In the words of one expert, “Some turkeys are territorial, some defend their women, some are just crazy!”  

Artificial Meat…

August 8, 2013

artificial meat– – Few things are cool but creepy at the same time; artificial meat is one of them!  We had earlier posted about the possibility of artificial meat, a prospect which has now become reality…

Mark Post, a Dutch scientist, led the team that grew the meat from shoulder cattle stem cells in the Netherlands.  The cells were put into a nutrient solution to help them develop into muscle tissue, and they grew into small strands of meat, nearly 20,000 of which were used to make a 5-ounce patty, which was cooked and eaten by two volunteer tasters in London on Monday.  The tasters gave the hamburger good marks for texture but faulted it for taste, most probably due to lack of sufficient fat and commonly used seasonings.

The animal rights group PETA has gone in favor of laboratory-produced meat as it does not involve the slaughter of a complete living animal for food but rather the cloning of cells.  Lab-grown meat may eventually help feed the world and fight climate change, but artificial meat remains highly experimental and cost-prohibitive at the present time, however, so don’t expect to see it in your “Happy Meal” anytime soon…

Mike’s Hard Lemonade “Deer Head” Commercial…

August 5, 2013

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– – It’s kind of a “night of the living dead venison”  commercial; a guy is shown kicking back with three male friends in a comfy room, the mounted head of an antlered deer hanging on the wall.  The doorbell rings, and the guy answers the door.  There standing at the door is every hunter’s worst nightmare; the body of the slaughtered deer, minus its head!  It gets creepier; you can see the headless torso breathing! 

“Who is it?,” asks the head of the slaughtered deer from the wall; you can see its mouth move, and its eyes blink.  The guy is too stunned to say anything, so the deer head repeats its question; “Seriously, who is it?”  Again, the host is unable to answer, the headless body lingering in the doorway…end of commercial!

First airing in July of 2012,  this is creepy yet wonderful stuff, imparting the message that Mike’s hard lemonade is different, and that as the host tells a friend of the lemonade, “sometimes you gotta change things up.”  If every hunter was visited by an undead version of their slain prey, it might indeed make a world of difference…(Twilight Zone theme plays in the background)

“Diving Horse” Revival Scrapped…

February 27, 2012

– – In times gone by, New Jersey’s fabled Atlantic City featured at their Steel Pier a so-called “diving horse” act which began in the 1920’s, and was shut down five decades later.   In the stunt, a horse ascended to the top of a 40-foot platform, and didn’t as much dive as was tipped off it, plunging the animal and its rider into a 12-foot deep water tank below.   Animal rights advocates maintained that the act at the very least scared horses, and carried the potential for them to be injured or even killed.

A brief return of the act happened in 1993 with riderless mules substituted for the horses, but protests ended that revival.  Nostalgia for Atlantic City’s edgy past prompted recent plans for another diving horse comeback, but successful online petitions against the plan caused the revival rather than the horses to be tanked…

Rats Who Care…

December 20, 2011

 – – It’s OK to call someone a “dirty rat,”  as rats do get dirty;  it might not, however, be scientifically supportable to refer to rats as uncaring in light of a new University of Chicago study on empathy-driven behavior in rodents. 

Appearing in the prestigious journal Science, the results of this landmark study show that untrained laboratory rats will free restrained companions,  even when those restrained rats are not in pain.  Rats will even choose to free other restrained rats when offered the alternative activity of feasting on chocolate!  Greater love hath no rat than this…

The new study on rats sets a precedent for future research on sentient and empathic animals; it’s also safe based on what we know to assume that numerous other animals display empathy, which is thought to have deep evolutionary, biochemical, and neurological underpinnings. 

Findings of empathy in animals may force uncomfortable questions about how humans treat animals, especially with regards to horrific invasive research.  Birds, rats, and mice are presently excluded from some federal legislative definitions of animals, with only about 1% of the animals used in research in the United States currently protected by legislation.

McDonald’s Supplier Animal Abuse?

November 19, 2011

 – – Regardless of how you look at it, chickens do not live enviable lives.  They should not, however, be forced to live their entire lives in cages so small that they can barely turn around, or be swung around by their feet by their caretakers.  The animal rights group Mercy for Animals recently released video illustrating such conditions that was filmed over three months by an undercover investigator posing as an employee for Sparboe Farms, the fifth largest egg producer in the country and a major egg supplier for McDonald’s.   The FDA has also said that it discovered serious violations of a federal rule designed to prevent salmonella at five egg production facilities of Sparboe.

McDonald’s has dumped the supplier, who has said that the actions illustrated in the video are in direct violation of their animal care code of conduct and dismissed the workers involved.  McDonald’s is further studying the merits of traditional versus cage-free hen housing systems, which are already used by the company in Europe…