Thursday, December 31, 2009

Is the end in sight for the fur industry?

Is the end in sight for the fur industry? The most cruel and superfluous industry in existence has been targeted by both animal rights AND animal welfare groups (such as the RSPCA) for decades. And - especially within the EU - more and more cracks are appearing in this international framework of organized animal cruelty. Fur production has been banned in Ireland, Scotland, England, Austria, Croatia (not even a member state of the EU), ... partial fur bans already exist in traditional fur producing countries such as Holland, Denmark and Sweden.

The recent fur fashion 'outings' and extravagancies by celebs is supposedly bringing back fur, but to me it is now clear that the end is coming for this cruel and disgusting business.

Why am I so convinced? Well, in the wake of recent animal welfare scandals on scandinavian fur farms, an investigation was conducted by Danish officials, and the results of this investigation proves what animal activists have been saying. Yes, officials are agreeing with activists as far as I can gather.

So, now nobody can deny it: it isn't isolated, it isn't staged, sure as hell the animal activists didn't 'torture' the animals themselves to make pictures of it and blame it on 'innocent breeders'... or any of that other crazy nonsense.

Here is an intersting article (in danish): mink suffer on fur farms

If you want to read it in full, use google translate (or learn danish :D). I will translate only a segment:

På de farme, vi har besøgt, har jeg set mange eksempler på grov og uansvarlig behandling af dyrene, og avlere, som ikke følger enkle lovkrav, der skal forbedre minkenes velfærd, siger ledende dyrlæge for veterinærrejseholdet, Flemming Marker, til avisen.

Summary: On the visited farms, many animals were found that were treated in an unresponsible manner. Breeders were found not to follow the laws that were put in place to improve the welfare of mink (according to Flemming Marker).

The article also stated that the animals were clearly suffering and seemed to agree with the picture painted by animal activists of fur farms.

I think it is great that officials in a traditional fur country are speaking out against the practices in fur farms. This - to me - is a clear sign that we are heading in the right direction (to bad for fur fashionistas and designers).

Even better is that countries such as Norway and Danmark are supposed to produce the best fur in regards to animal welfare (and don't forget the so-called 'origin assured label'). Any honest, right thinking person cannot dismiss the facts: fur is cruel. The facts and reports are out there. Animal welfare activists are against it, animal rights activists are against it and even more and more vets and officials seem to be calling out the sector.

I hope this will one day happen in countries like the USA or Canada, where - as far as I can gather - the laws and control measures put in place, are far more lax than here in the European Union. What do you think? Is this the beginning of the end for fur? Or shouldn't we be celebrating just yet?

If you would like more information about the recent fur industry scandals in Denmark and Norway, I've written a post about it some time ago with much more information: Minkbreeders charged with animal abuse

Monday, November 30, 2009

Elizabeth Carlisle gets slap on the wrist

There you have it. Elizabeth Carlisle: the petland employee who drowned two rabbits, yelled at them because they didn't die fast enough, then had her picture taken with the two dead animals while smiling and who then posted it all on facebook so she could brag about her killing spree to her buddies got of with a slap on the wrist. (my previous post about Carlisle: drowning rabbits

probation for drowned rabbits

I have to say: I am pleased that she at least got a conviction in the first place. But a 250 dollar fine, some community service and a probation seems very little for the clear and utter disregard of both animal life and suffering. This was clear animal cruelty at its core to me at its. Even from a very traditional animal welfare point of view there was no excuse for this. And still she has many supporters and got off easy. The punishment should have been far sterner to send a clear signal.

But the signal that was sent appears to be the opposite of what was needed for the animals. And it becomes quite clear when you read some of the utterly retarded comments made on that newsarticle (they really make me angry).

jimrchrt wrote:

anyone that has grown up on or around a farm knows that this is a perfectly acceptable means of dispatching a tiny animal , next to ringing its neck,

Of course total nonsense. According to these folks who like to brag about 'responsible use of animals' they need to die quickly. Drowning them takes minutes. And he doesn't forget to mention the delicious taste of rabbit either.

Steve wrote:

People are putting there kids in the trash. Who cares about a couple f-ing rabbits?

And how does this defend blatant animal cruelty and breaking the law?

Apprasit wrote:

What a waste of my tax dollars ...all over a couple of useless rabbits, who multiply by the thousands if you'll let them, just another cute form of vermin,like deer..

This one says it all now doesn't it.

Reading those comments while taking into account what happened really depresses me. We still have a long way to go. But whatever you say or do...You can't talk empathy and compassion into people. It seems to me that there are many people out there who just want to act like monsters because they can. And they will enjoy it and brag about it as much as they can. Sometimes our entire struggle feels so hopeless.

This post will be crossposted on the vegansoapbox

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Roger Moore tackles foie gras

Sir Roger Moore has joined the batlle against foie gras and not without success. Selfridges has agreed to drop foie gras! This is a major victory for the animals. Lets hope that many others will follow soon.

Read all about it on ecorazzi: Selfridges drops foie gras


Moore even sent a private letter to Selfridges’ owner, offering to buy the company’s entire remaining stock if they agreed never to carry it again

Now, this is dedication! Way to go...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Peta ad: celebs speak out for seals

Here is a Peta video sporting a host of celebrities speaking out for seals. No more seal hunt!

And one of my favorite actresses Tricia Helfer is in it too. Tricia really has a heart for animals and isn't afraid to speak her mind about it. Great! I wrote a full blogpost about our favorite animal activist cylon here: Tricia Helfer speaks out against fur

Be sure to read this too: European Union bans seal fur

Monday, November 2, 2009

minkbreeders charged with animal abuse

Last week I made a post about the 'battle' between animal welfare / animal rights advocates and the fur trade. Recently Ireland banned the breeding of animals for fur and joined other European countries such as Croatia or England. The last few months gruesome images of the fur trade sparked a ferocious debate in Norway and Denmark (Denmark already banned the breeding of foxes for fur). Animal activists literally crawled over fences in both Norway and Denmark to be able to document the real conditions in which the animals live day to day (so no announced visits like you see on the news).

You can find my previous post here: hope for the future

If you haven't read it yet: do so now...and see with you own eyes how the fur industry responds to criticism (like putting out a bounty on animal activists and such).

The images were made by animal activists of animal rights group Anima in cooperation with Danish TV2 and Extra Bladet. After the images were aired it apparently became clear to the authorities that this could not continue any longer. And yes: fur breeders are being charged for animal abuse.

The fur industry tried everything they could to stop the broadcast of the documentary on TV2...and of course they seize the opportunity to claim how well their animals are being taken care of, never forgetting to mention how extreme and dangerous those vegetarian/vegan animal rights activists really are (fur folk love to do that to divert attention I guess).

But what seems to work in Canada or the US didn't work here in Europe.

According to the Danish newspaper 'Politiken':

De 34 avlere, som blev afsløret i dyremishandling, talte blandt andre Dansk Pelsdyravlerforenings formand, Erik Ugilt Hansen.

So, 34 breeders were charged with animal abuse...among others the chairman of the fur breeders association Erik Ugilt Hansen.

If you read some Danish, you can read it all here: Politiken article on fur

I hope these images and the discussions it will spark in Denmark and other countries will wake up some people to the reality of this unnecessary and cruel product.

Don't wear fur: You don't need it to keep warm, you don't need it to look good (and since when is that an excuse?), you won't die because you aren't wearing fur (animals will, for nothing)...

Here is some more information about the hideous conditions in which fur bearing animals live (danish): fur

Tricia Helfer speaks out against fur

We all know her: Tricia Helfer...better known as Caprica six (Battlestar Galactica). Turns out she is more then just a cold skinjob. This Cylon has a heart for animals and has demonstrated this on multiple occasions. I've covered this before, here is a link to my other blog (lies dormant these days): Tricia Helfer has a heart for animals: kitten rescue

Tricia is speaking up against fur (canadians can be against this sort of stuff too you know!):

Tricia speaks out against seal fur:

Tricia Helfer: save the seals

Tricia Helfer is calling on the Canadian government to end the annual seal slaughter once and for all.

Fur traders beware! You now have to deal with the Cylons...good luck!

Monday, October 26, 2009

hope for the future: but we ain't there yet

In Europe a battle is waging...the struggle between ethics and empathy on the one hand and profits, cruelty and indifference on the other. The last few years have been hard for animal activists, but not without result. Recently Ireland became yet another european nation that banned fur production: Ireland bans fur
Ireland now joined countries such as England, Scotland, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, ...

The struggle against fur is also mounting in traditionally pro fur countries such as Norway or Danmark. Recently Danmark outlawed the breeding of foxes for fur out of ethical concerns, and now the fur industry is again feeling threatened. Danish TV2 plans to air images taken of 32 different Danish fur breeders showing the deplorable conditions in which the animals live, newspaper Extra Bladet will also do an exposé. And just like in the US, the fur industry is going beserk. Norwegian Animal Rights group Nettverk for dyrs frihet (network for animal freedom) made a fitting post about it on their blog. (If you just happen to read norwegian, here it is: Danish minkbreeders panicking

Basically Danish fur breeders are trying everything to counter the truth about their bloody business. They issued a 'bounty'(crazy right?) for information about the people who took the images of the minkfarms,they linked the footage to illegal activities (releasing of minks in the area) ... and more of the same Shenanigans that also happen regulary in the US or Canada. But here comes the good part...Extra Bladet is actually defending the cause of the animals and is fighting back. Even better: journalist Miki Mistrati openly declared that the fur industry is just trying to divert attention from the terrible conditions in which the animals live.

Now why do I find this so exciting and important? Well, for starters this means that we are making progress and that opinions and views are shifting in our society. More so here in the EU then in the US (example: only +- 40% of US citizens are against fur). The climate is also quite different. I have never observed american/canadian reporters defend animal activists, causes or groups (or at least not as explicit as we get here).

What does all of this mean? For one thing: things are looking up for the animals. Now that fur is being tackled even in traditionally pro fur nations, vegetarianism/veganism is on the rise too. In Danmark alone the Danish vegetarian union doubled their memberships. In Ghent and other cities here in Belgium we know have one vegetarian day a week,... I can keep on going like this for quite some time. This tells me that there is hope for the future, and that a step by step approach is helping society evolve.

But what puzzles me is this: how come we don't see such results in Canada, Australia or the US? This is where you come in. I want to know. What do you think is the major difference between the animal activism and the 'climate' in Europe and the US/Canada or Australia. I often wonder about these things and I honestly find it staggering that with so much work and effort, there is so little result. What do you think: How come? Is a different strategy needed for certain countries? Are some countries just hopeless causes? Did something go wrong? Does the opposition (special interest groups) have more power or influence in certain countries and how do we stop them?

This post will be crossposted on the vegansoapbox.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Alannah Hill: intimidated till she ditched fur?

I just read a few blogposts on the Peta watch australia blog that caught my attention...(as usual not in a good way). You can read these posts here: Alannah Hill

Their 'balanced' form of communication made me think of a typical discussion concerning health care reform in the good old USA.

Peta watch blog:

A death threat has been sent to iconic Melbourne fashion designer Alannah Hill from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) or one of its rabid and unstable supporters.

Just one outtake from a hysterical bunch of posts... But how do they know it was done by a peta-supporter or *gosh* Peta itself? And what was in the mail?

contents of the mail:


So, we've got a typical bullshit mail in all caps sent by an anonymous idiot online. And what was the return adress?

According to peta watch:

The threat was sent via email from an address listed as: newsmanager@peta.

So, the newsmanager of Peta sent a mail in all caps threatening to kill somebody. Right...

Here is another theory: couldn't the return adress by forged and this whole thing be one of just a gazillion internet hoaxes performed every day? Anybody that knows at least something of computers, knows how easy it is to forge the mail adress to make it look like you are someone else. How about checking the IP adress instead of making wild claims?

Alannah Hill was of course also quick to blame Peta (if you make a living selling fur...). But I have yet to see real evidence.

It follows a recent demonstration outside the designers Chapel Street boutique where PETA followers dressed as Grim Reapers and stalked the designer and her clientele.

So this e-mail is now connected to a legal protest (freedom of expression). Interesting. You folks are following in the footsteps of Sherlock Holmes I presume?

They even play Sherlock in the 24th century. oh joy

And concerning the 'Grim Reapers' who were stalking the customers. Well...Read this (and pay attention to the pics!): Grim Reapers versus Alannah Hill

very violent and intimidating blokes!

PETA says the fur was believed to come from China, where there were no laws to protect animals on fur farms and many are killed cruelly.

PETA said it had attempted to talk with the designer about the issue.

No one from Alannah Hill was available to comment on PETA’s claims.

Alannah Hill eventually stopped her use of fur, and apparently had this to say about it:

After 4500 intimidating and abusive emails, the decision not to use rabbit fur AS A TRIM was made for me by the one that threatened my seven-year-old son, Edward. They wanted him to burn in hell.

1. 4500 abusive and intimidating mails? Really? As far as I know this was just an e-mail campaign. just like it said on the peta blog: peta blog

This happens often and is done by: animal rights groups, environmental groups, ... well just about any action group. You do get a lot of e-mails yes. The idea is to show how much support or lack of support there regarding fur or cutting down a forest, ...

Here is another example of such an e-mail protest: end seal slaughter

Very abusive indeed.

2. Even if it was really a peta supporter that sent the e-mail (and there is no way know), that doesn't mean that other peta supporters want Alannah her son to 'burn in hell'... But making distinctions and putting things in context is indeed quite difficult in certain conservative nations like the US of Australia. And that is of course something that comes in handy when you want to bring progress for the animals or the environment to a halt.

And why am I responding to older blogposts in the peta watch blog? Well, because it's happening again:

Gaill Elliot bows to peta pressure

*sigh* I'll guess I'll keep an eye on this story as well. More to follow!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Peter Singer

An interesting video I found:

Peter Singer on eating meat, climate change and world poverty. This is the first part of a seven part lecture. You can find the rest (and other lectures) on this youtube channel: Macquarie University

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

scare tactics: animal rights extremism

Vegetarian/vegan cookbooks...We all need them and we all love them. What would a vegan/vegetarian site be without giving the proper attention to the art of cooking? But it turns out that these cookbooks are nothing more than vile propaganda. What? Yes, that's right...propaganda!

Some time ago dutch politician Henk Jan Ormel attracted a lot of media attention with his requests to ban a vegetarian cookbook. According to him it was nothing more then a piece of propaganda that attempts to promote a 'vegetarian lifestyle'. To make things even more bizarre, the book was being published by the dutch government itself and was meant to inform people of proper vegetarian nutrition. This didn't bother Ormel apparently, who also demanded that the funds for the book be used to inform the public of the importance and necessity of animal testing! (for those who read dutch, here is a good blogpost about it by Tobias Leenaert of the belgian vegetarian union EVA: Tobias Leenaert )

This might seem strange and hard to believe, but this sort of weirdness is becoming more and more frequent in Europe the last couple of years. Just like in the US we are being branded as nutjobs, terrorists and criminals. The advancements the animal movement has made are being threatened by an artificially created hostile climate, and the real question we have to ask ourselves as a movement is: How do we deal with this?

This is an important question that affects the future of billions and billions of animals. How did we respond in Europe? Animal activists in Holland seized the opportunity to make it clear to the public that meat is bad for your health, the environment and the animals. That was the only positive thing that came from the negative and absurd media publicity we got, and I question if this had any effect. Holland, Belgium (my country) and other Western - European countries have seen good progress in the last decade or so when it comes to animal rights. Of course resistance has been mounting and the climate is getting dangerous and dark.

Two things that took place in Holland this year made this quite clear. Dutch minister Guusje Ter Horst announced that she wants to deal with 'increased' animal rights extremism by forcing all animal right groups (including animal protection groups such as 'de dierenbescherming', equivalent would be RSPCA) to sign a contract in which they vow NOT to use violence anymore. So, in fact all groups are considered violent untill they sign a contract that they aren't violent and won't break the law. So in essence you are considered guilty of breaking the law until you sign a piece of paper. This caused a small legal riot in Holland and eventually all animal rights and protection groups collectively decided to refuse to sign such a document.

Another example is a severely hyped interview in the dutch media of an 'ALF infiltrator' (Adrian Redford) who warned people on prime time TV not to donate to any animal right groups, because most of the money is used to fund terrorist ALF activities. Of course the usual suspects (meat industry, ...) loved this. In this case it was mostly the dutch blogosphere that responded (including myself). If you read dutch, you can read everything here: animal rights extremism (or you can use google translate)

The question is: how do we deal with this? In the US this has been going on for some time, but we see the same problem emerging more and more here in europe. How must we react as a movement against such a storm of scare-mongering, scare tactics and maligning of activists? What can we do? What do you think?

This post will be crossposted on the vegansoapbox: vegansoap box: scare tactics

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Gary Francione on sexism and animal rights: again

Gary is at it again...the sexism rant. And this time he isn't just ranting about Peta...he discovered a dutch ad made by animal rights group 'wakker dier'.

A playmate model apparently looses her attire to draw attention to the animal issue. I don't see a problem with it. Gary of course considers this 'exploitation' and one of the many forms of moral decay in our society (oh joy).

You can read gary francione's post here: abolitionist approach: sexism

Here is the clip in question: exhibit A

Playmate Ancilla Tilia strips for Wakker Dier from Revolver on Vimeo.

So, in short. We see a woman take off her clothes in a commercial (something men do as well on Peta posters, anti men in that case?) and then she gets brutally murdered...(unexpected turn of events)

So what does this do? Does this clip promote violence against women and sexism? NO

It is quite shallow to look at it in that way and everybody that logically dissects what is happening in this commercial will realize this. It is a fine piece of work, nothing more. It manages to captivate the audience (and yes nudity - both male and female - can do this) and then in an unexpected turn of events she gets killed. Of course people are shocked to see this...and then they are presented with some facts. Facts about what happens to animals every day.

Gary Francione obviously didn't get it, and made some strange remarks that can be taken in several ways. Here is one such remark:

Wakker Dier hired Dutch Playmate and fetish model Ancilla Tilia to play the part of a stripper who gets clubbed and stripped like an animal.

She got stripped like an animal. Yes, to draw attention to an important issue in an original and funny way (which works better then just blogging and accusing other animal activists FYI). So what is the problem? That she got stripped LIKE an animal. I find the 'tone' of this line quite strange...

In the many years that I have been doing animal work, I have never had anyone come to me to say that they had been moved to consider the animal issue because they saw a naked woman in a cage. Indeed, this is precisely the sort of thing that makes progressive people think that the animal rights movement is a pathetic joke to be dismissed and ignored.

And I have never encountered anyone that said they turned vegan because they had a discussion online or read an abolitionist blog about animal rights. People turn vegetarian/vegan for several reasons and over a certain period of time. I have never encountered anyone that turned vegan overnight because of one poster.

But yes, there could be people out there that get convinced by one message. Maybe I simply haven't met any of them yet. But that also counts for Gary Francione himself. Maybe there are people out there that see this and start thinking about the issue and turn vegetarian/vegan.

I am sure however that this commercial has more positive effect than blogposts on the abolitionist approach site claiming that vegetarians are worse then meat eaters...

The commodification of nonhumans is very similar to the commodification of women. But society has no problem with the commodification of women. Instead of opposing sexism and misogyny, a large segment of the movement actively promotes it. As long as we continue to think of women as meat, we will never see the problem with using animals as meat.

And as long as some people in the movement insist on cheap rethoric to help the cause of animal rights, animals will not be saved.

Both men and women are naked during the Peta protests that Gary Francione is troubled by. It strikes me that he only fixates on female nudity. Just like the media outlets do. But lets think of the running of the nudes in spain. Both men and women are naked.

Is it Peta's fault that both the media and 'anti-sexist' animal activists battling commodification only see naked women whom they need to protect? It is called tunnel vision. I just wonder what causes it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Peta watch australia and swine flu: update

Loyal readers of this blog will remember that some time ago I made a blogpost about the swine flu (H1N1) outbreak and raised some question about current meat production. I linked factory farming conditions (meat production) with the swine flu outbreak, because the conditions are excellent for the distribution of new pathogens, mutations and so forth...

Apperently the people over at Peta watch blog didn't get what I was trying to say and made a post indicating that I was 'misinformed'.

You can read all about it here: swine flu and meat production

It would appear however that I was indeed right linking meat production to the swine flu pandemic (duh)...

The science section of the danish newspaper 'Politiken' had an interesting article about H1N1. You can read it hear: Swine flu virus (the link is in danish!)

The article basically states that swine flu did indeed originate in swines and eventually infected the human population (something farmers don't like to hear)


Den nye pandemiske H1N1-influenza cirkulerede uopdaget i svin i mindst et årti, før den blev overført til mennesker, og der er behov for langt bedre overvågning, hedder det i en advarsel fra en amerikansk ekspert.

translation: the H1N1 influenza circulated unnoticed in swines for about a decade until it transferred to the human population.

This also makes it clear that the reality is far more complex then what the Peta watch blog portrays on it's blog...

according to peta watch

UPDATE: It's actually humans giving swine swine flu!

Nope, it was the other way around...but of course swines can catch it too, since it originated in swines...makes sense...

Monday, August 31, 2009

Andrew Linzey on animal rights

Here is a short video that's very interesting...Andrew Linzey on animal rights from his christian perspective:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Elizabeth Carlisle case: update 1

As I promised in my previous post, I am keeping you all up-to-date on the Elizabeth (Liz) Carlisle case. If you don't know who she is or what she did...just read my previous post about her: Elizabeth Carlisle: drowning pet rabbits is exciting

But just to give a quick recap: Elizabeth Carlisle is a 20 year old girl who worked at a petland store in Ohio (Akron). She thought it was a good idea to drown two neglected rabbits while cursing at them that they should 'die already', then she had a picture taken of herself holding the two dead animals while smiling. This one:

Then she posted it on her facebook account and bragged to all her friends about what she did. It seems to me she got off on it. My opinion: beyond sick!

Anyway: yesterday her case (two counts of animal cruelty) appeared before court, and you guessed it! She pleaded not guilty. This boggles my mind really: she admitted to doing it on facebook, we have a picture of her, she bragged about it and told everyone that she was screaming at the drowning rabbits to die faster (clearly indicating that they suffered horribly),...

The list goes on and on. But still she pleads innocent. This will be an interesting court case to follow indeed.

A local Ohio newspaper also featured the story: accused rabbit abuser faces protesters and pleads not guilty

Elizabeth's lawyer said this in her defense:

''I think when all the facts come out, I think people will understand who Liz is, not this monster that holds up rabbits and thinks it's a joke,'' he said. ''She doesn't. She takes this very seriously. She an avid animal lover.''

Ok: so she is an avid animal lover who drowns animals, takes pics while laughing about it and, shows all her friends and proudly tells all the gruesome details? Curious animal lover don't you think? This almost seems like an appeal to the public to sympathize with her...But what about the issues?

Legally an animal should be killed in a quick and humane way. Drowning it isn't quick and humane. And the condition the rabbits were in also indicates inhumane conduct at the store before they were killed by Elizabeth Carlisle.

I also find it odd that they refer to Petlands policies that might come into play in her defence. Petland denies that there are any policies allowing Liz her behavior. But even if there were, that just indicates that Petland itself and possibly other employees are also treating animals in a gruesome and unacceptable manner.

That doesn't let her off the hook. She did something wrong: period. If other people did something wrong too, then they should be punished as well if there is evidence to support it: period.

Liz is 20 years old. She knew what she was doing and she could have refused if she didn't want to drown these animals. She did it and she clearly didn't mind.

Several people came to the Akron courthouse to protest and demand punishment. Here is what one of them had to say:

Elinore Israel of Akron Voices for Animals was among the protesters. She said Carlisle's guilt is beyond question based on her Facebook entry alone.

''It was a horrid crime that she committed, and we're here to show people that there are those of us who are not going to stand for it. We're not going to stand back while animals are being abused. It's unforgivable and I hope they throw the book at her.''

Something else I would like to point out: retarded comments. Yes, totally retarded. It doesn't matter how sick something is or how horribly wrong. There are always going to be people willing to defend it. Especially when it comes to animals... It seems to me that many of those commenters are from Akron, I wonder why?

One struck me as very weak in argumentation: several of them asked why nobody was protesting at the courthouse when a case of homicide appeared before court involving a murdered child.

Well, if nobody was there...then that must mean that they weren't there protesting either. So, if they care about it and blame others for not being there, while they themselves where not doesn't make sense now does it? Or they don't care and just use it as a cheap argument. And that is a shamefull tactic.

It seems logical to me that people are protesting over these animals because there is a big problem when it comes to animal cruelty, and people seem to escape punishment because such horrid crimes aren't always taken seriously. And why? because there are always idiots who are willing to defend it with shady logic and bad ass talk.

I think it is time that a clear signal is given that animals aren't just emotionless objects that you can torture and kill at your very whim. This has to stop!

And this signal will have to come from society at large (this involves the law, politics, ...). It is time that something changes.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Elizabeth Carlisle: drowning pet rabbits is exciting

I was very disturbed by a terrible case of animal abuse in the US that has been the center of attention there for the last couple of days.

What happenend?

A 20 year old girl from Akron Ohio decided to work at a pet store.

What did she do at the pet store?

Treating everyone with a smile of innocence:

While drowning rabbits...

[sarcasm] And as Elizabeth Carlisle found out, it is fun. Of course, any sensible person equates drowning defensless animals with an amusement park why not take some pictures of this horrid animal abuse case and post it on facebook. To show how much fun you had! That is like so normal...totally not psycho![/sarcasm]

I hope your jaw has dropped an inch or two after seeing this picture, it should.

Animal rights group Peta was made aware of this terrible animal abuse in an Ohio Petland store (Akron) and quickly sounded the alarm. And thank God that they did.

In a few days time the pet store was closed down, Elizabeth (Liz) Carlisle got sacked and charges for animal cruelty have been brought against her.

You can read about it on the peta blog:

Bunnies drowned at Ohio petland

This is just one more piece of evidence for me that Petland employees are no angels indeed. And the way Liz seems to think about this cruel treatment is disgusting.

According to the Peta blog she stated the following to friends on her facebook account, when they asked her if she drowned these animals:

On Carlisle's Facebook page, she confirmed a friend's guess that she had drowned these two rabbits and wrote, "[T]he manager took the pic for me. [S]he reminded me that there were people outside as [I] was swearing at them to just hurry up and die but then she was so kind as to take this picture."

So, let me get this straight. She took a picture of herself smiling after killing two bunnies in a horrible way, laughed about it, then posts it on facebook and explains the world that while she was killing them she was swearing at the animals on top of it? And we all know how easy rabbits can be stressed and scared. So this increased the suffering of these animals even more.

The cruel life and death they had to endure at the hands of Elizabeth (or Liz according to some sites) is apparent on the pic.

It boggles my mind that anyone can even do that, let alone laugh and bragg about it. How can you even sleep at night? Of course, if you are devoid of any moral might not be so difficult I am afraid.

The PETA blog further states:

Other comments Carlisle posted made it clear that the rabbits were drowned after sustaining agonizing injuries when they were allowed to "attack and eat each other." The rabbits suffered from "deep wounds all over," "an eye missing," what Petland staff "suspected was a broken jaw," and paralysis from the waist down—injuries that would not have occurred had these animals been provided with proper care and supervision.

So she treated the animals like crap while they lived, while slowly killing them and afterwards...plain and simple.

And this isn't the first time this sort of thing happens in a pet store as far as I can remember. And Petland doesn't have a the best track record...(just google it up)

I am relieved though that charges have been filed against her, as we can read on the website of the Akron Municipal Court: charges against liz carlisle

According to the weekly vice blog Elizabeth carlisle's case will come to court on the 17th of August:

Elizabeth Carlisle as bunny undertaker

Carlisle was booked into jail on two counts of harming a companion animal. She is scheduled to be arraigned on August 17.

The way her father defends me also bothered me:

Carlisle's father, Joe Carlisle, defended his daughter, describing her as a respectful young woman simply working her way through college.

"She is a good, good person who is innocent totally as a human being of any and all wrongdoing," insisted Carlisle.

What she said and did wasn't innocent...I hate to break it to you. The picture doesn't seem very innocent to me. To me she seems about as innocent as Sarah Palin is when she is standing next to a Moose with a smoking gun in her hand and blood all over her face.

The weekly Vice is spot on the money by making this statement:

I'm not sure what bothers me more. The sadistic look on this creepy chic's face as she holds the corpses of two dead animals - or the complete disregard of this vile act by the woman's father.

Elizabeth Carlisle may not get of the hook! She deserves to be punished for this blatant cruelty. We need to send a clear sign that this sort of behavior is not accepted in a civilized society.

We should evolve towards a society where animals are no longer treated as if their lives and their suffering has no meaning. We need to evolve to a world where there is more empathy for animals.

I think Liz should never be allowed to work in a pet store again, nor have pets or work in a pound. And if she needs to do some jail time and pay a couple of hefty fines: good! as far as I'm concerned.

Elizabeth: those animals you killed suffered and suffered horribly...for no good reason whatsoever. There is no excuse for this. How can you live with yourself? Do you even realize how evil it is what you have done?

a tv-segment about it:

Some more reading material: Elizabeth Carlisle may not be isolated incident

I will follow this case as it develops and write more about it in the future...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Swine flu and meat production

Recently I made a blogpost concerning the recent Swine flu (H1N1) outbreak, in response to some statments made by the Peta watch blog.

Today I came to the conclusion that they have read this blogpost...and that they didn't get what I was saying.

They even dedicated a blogpost to it. Read it here: Empathy for the uninformed

This is a quote of mine...

'Did Peta state that you are going to catch the H1N1 virus from eating meat? Not that I know...'

Their response:

Depicted above is the billboard PETA erected in Glasgow, which at our count lists the words Swine Flu at least five times.

A billboard? Ladies and gentleman: exhibit A

Yes, Peta said: Meat kills...

Now, again: does this billboard state that you will get swineflu from eating meat? Where exactly? I don't see it.

I have on the other hand dedicated my previous post on this topic linking meat production - meat - with the development of this recent Swine flu pandemic that already killed about 1000 people.

So in that sense: yes, meat kills...both people and animals.

You can read the previous blogpost here: Swine flu and vegetarianism

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Do invertebrates feel pain?

I got into a little comment discussion on the vegan soapbox blog yesterday about bees (the 'is it vegan question'), insects and pain,... I promised Elaine in the comment section to make a blogpost explaining my views on this topic, so here it is.

You can find the blogpost and discussion here: vegansoapbox: regarding bees and honey

To make things clear: I hold the view that insects in principle don't feel pain and don't have any interests to take into account. Therefore they don't have rights.

I come to this conclusion in part through the argument of analogy and part through a text by Steve Sapontzis.

The text regarding this question, is only available in french as far as I know. I will provide translations while quoting to make things easier.

Cahiers antispecistes: Steve Sapontzis

By the way: for anyone who speaks french. This site is a good ressource on animal rights theory. Check it out!

According to Sapontzis:

Ainsi, le critère qui détermine si un être est en ce sens moral un « animal » n'est pas le même que le critère biologique qui distingue la faune de la flore.

Here he makes a distinction between the meaning of the word 'animal' in the ethical/moral sense and the biological sense.

Suivant ce critère, proposé semble-t-il la première fois par Leonard Nelson dans A System of Ethics, tous les êtres qui ont des intérêts, et eux seuls, peuvent détenir des droits moraux

In short this states that only those living creatures that have 'interests' can have rights.

Quant aux insectes et aux plantes, tous ceux parmi eux qui satisfont au critère de possession d'intérêts doivent être inclus dans les préoccupations du mouvement de libération animale, si ses partisans se veulent cohérents. Cependant, à ce jour, il n'existe aucune donnée sérieuse montrant que les plantes possèdent des sensations de bien-être - en parlant de données sérieuses nous excluons les trop connus rapports sur la « vie secrète des plantes ».

Summary: When it comes to insects and plants, those among them that would have interests (as in: able to experience pain) have to be taken into consideration.

Until today there is no serious evidence that plants feel pain... According to Sapontzis the question is less clear with insects (but I disagree there, it doesn't seem unclear to me).

But from what I could gather while reading this text, he isn't convinced either that insects feel pain.

Steve Sapontzis further states the following:

Si parmi les animaux non humains il en existe qui possèdent des intérêts, alors les animaux que le mouvement des droits des animaux cherche aujourd'hui à libérer (tels les porcs, singes, ours, chevaux, etc.) en possèdent certainement. Une fois qu'auront été réglées les questions actuellement débattues concernant la manière dont nous devons (moralement) traiter ces animaux-là, le moment sera peut-être venu de nous demander si les insectes possèdent des droits moraux, s'il faut les libérer, et quelle forme doit prendre un tel code moral éclairé. Le fait de mettre en avant la question des insectes avant que ces problèmes actuels n'aient été résolus ne représente rien d'autre qu'une tentative d'éviter de faire face aux questions bien claires et réelles qui se posent.

Summary: Here he basically says that we shouldn't concern ourselves at the moment with the question of whether insects have rights or not. We should focus first and foremost on the other animals of which we absolutely know for sure. And once we have resolved all the issues concerning apes, pigs, chickens and so forth, then we can worry about the insects as a movement.

Now, I do agree with Sapontzis his distinction between the word animal in the biological sense and the ethical sense. To me it seems clear that it is the ethical sense of the word that is important when it comes to ethical vegetarianism/veganism.

So, are bees (or other insects) animals in the moral sense? I would say no. We know vertebrates feel. How do we know: because they have central a nervous system, a brain... The have the same structures we have that enable us to feel and experience.

Through the argument of analogy it seems only plausible to accept that animals that have the same basic 'systems' or 'hardware' also feel pain, have emotions and so on. There is no doubt about that when we take mammals into account.

When it comes to pain, stress, ... We can state with confidence that chickens, turkeys, ducks and other birds feel too.

But the futher we follow the evolutionary tree, the more difficult it - evidently - becomes to use the argument of analogy.

When we arrive at the world of bugs and other invertebrates, there is almost no evidence that these animals (in the biological sense of the word) actually feel anything. They do respond to their surroundings and do have some nerves, but so do plants, in order to react to their environment.

I haven't seen any evidence that insects feel pain. We can't forget that invertebrates also followed a different evolutionary path then vertebrates. Which is quite obvious when we examine the neural structure of the two groups. Ours is centralized, while this is not the case for inverterbrates. Amongst inverterbrates however there are also big differences in neural structures. One of the few invertebrates of which I am quite confident to state that they have interests is an octopus, thanks to their ganglionic brain that is far more complex then that of other invertebrates. But of course this is a sea creature and something very different from an insect like an ant or a bee.

Also important to note is that insects shouldn't only have some structures that are capable of transmitting 'pain signals', but they also need to be sentient. Sentient in the meaning of: being able to perceive conciously.

Here is a concise text that reflects some of my thoughts concerning this discussion:

insects and pain

Pain is defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) as “An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage”3. The subjective, emotional component of pain is considered its important aspect, not the activation of pain sensors (nociceptors) in the body. The IASP makes this clear “Activity induced in the nociceptive pathways by a noxious stimulus is not pain, which is always a psychological state, even though we may appreciate that pain most often has a proximate physical cause”.

I'll make my views on vegetarianism/veganism clear in other posts...And maybe I'll elaborate further on this insect discussion in the future.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Leona Lewis has a heart for animals

On my previous blog (which you can still find via my profile) I used to put celebs in the spotlights that are vegetarian and/or are getting active for the animals. Why not pick it up here again on this blog?

Let's start with Leona Lewis...She is a british national, vegetarian since she was twelve years old and has a big hart for animals.

According to ecorazzi: Leona Lewis rescues doomed rabbit

Leona Lewis has saved a rabbit from becoming a homeless man’s dinner and gave him $100 to buy other food.

Leona is a vegetarian and an avid animal rights supporter.

Don't you just love her?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Open letter to Shakira on vegetarianism

Shakira went vegetarian some time ago, but according to ecorazzi she couldn't 'cut it': Shakira couldn't cut it as a vegetarian

Times of India featured a story about Shakira and her short lasted vegetarianism. It seems she couldn't resist her meat cravings and gave in.

This is very disappointing.

Well, the empathy for animals blog decided to publish an open letter to Shakira in response to this:

Hello Shakira,

The empathy for animals blog recently became aware of your attempt at becoming a vegetarian. I am very pleased that you had undertaken to do this. This world lacks compassion and empathy for animals. And it is great you felt the need to bring your empathy for animals in your day to day life by becoming a vegetarian. It is a great and very meaningful thing to do!

The four pet chickens you have are not 'just' chickens. As you quickly became aware of while taking care of them. They are animals with a psychological and physical welbeing. They are not stones. They feel and experience the world. The can enjoy life or suffer. And it is commendable you didn't kill your pet chickens and even were prepared to expand your empathy to other farm animals.

But I was very disappointed to learn that you seem to be stepping back from vegetarianism right now. If you felt cravings for meat, I can only assure you that this is very normal when you become a vegetarian. But it passes with time. As many vegetarians can attest.

When someone gives in to isn't the end of the world. The journey towards vegetarianism and more compassionate living doesn't need to end there.

It happens to other vegetarians too when they are starting out. Why not give it another shot? In just a month or two you won't miss meat anymore. It is just an 'addiction'. And that addiction can be 'cured'. Just visit this great (and funny site): meat junkie

Don't be a meat junkie Shakira. Please consider giving vegetarianism another shot and help change the world for the better of all animals, improve your health and help the environment.

Kind Regards,

the empathy for animals blog

blogging about animal rights and animal liberation

PS: I really digg your music Shakira. You have a beautiful voice!

vegetarian robots on the march

Ecorazzi brought a wonderful new development to our attention...vegetarian robots!

future terminators may be vegetarians

Yeah, you heard that arnold? Time to go with the times and adopt a vegetarian diet! The future awaits you...

Somewhere in America, in a government-funded laboratory, far from the blinking eyes of average citizens, lives the Eatr – the Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot – and it’s hungry for your…twigs and possibly some wood chips. Yes, the US military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Darpa, has been working with several tech companies over the last decade to build a self-sufficient military robot

Yes, you read it: a robot powered by a vegetarian diet. How cool is that?

I remember I read this story before, but up untill know people were under the impression that this futuristic robot (Eatr) would also feast on animal flesh. Something anti vegan scumbags just loved to bring up. You know: the future being carnivorous and all (instead of the past).

Well, I knew it. They were wrong (when aren't these anti-vegans wrong really?)

The Guardian: Flesh-eating robot is actually a vegetarian

"We are focused on demonstrating that our engines can create usable, green power from plentiful, renewable plant matter. The commercial applications alone for this earth-friendly energy solution are enormous."

Now that the inventors of this futuristic contraption have come forward and set the record straight...I am more convinced then ever that the future is vegetarian. Even the robots are going green!

So, as I said in a comment on Ecorazzi: Meat industry...consider yourself terminated!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Swine flu and vegetarianism

Peta watch responded to this post: read my thoughts on it here: swine flu and meat production

Update: swine flu does indeed come from swines (go figure) peta watch and swine flu

Peta Watch Australia doesn't seem to agree with the link Peta made between swine flu or the H1N1 virus and factory farming (of course they never agree).

Scottish professor refutes PETA swine flu lie

And again, notice the neutral title Peta watch Australia uses. If it wasn't in such a serious context, it would make me laugh!

So according to Peta watch Hugh Pennington refuted the lies of Peta concerning the link between swine flu (H1N1 virus) and meat consumption.

So what did he say really?

According to Peta watch:

"You do not catch swine flu from animals. It is an airborne flu that passes from person to person and has nothing to do with eating meat or being vegetarian," he said.

And this was Hugh Pennington's response to these statements made by Peta:

The professor also hit out at animal rights group PETA, who put up a poster outside Glasgow's Southern General Hospital saying "Meat Kills - Go Vegetarian".

The protesters claim intensive pig farming is behind the swine flu pandemic.

Full article: Swine flu fatality

Did Peta state that you are going to catch the H1N1 virus from eating meat? Not that I know...Animal activists are saying something very different, just like many other people/groups who are concerned about this situation. Our current meat production and meat consumption (something that we could do without anyway) is responsible for this disease.

How dare they say that? Well, read this article by Caroline Lucas: Swine flu: is intensive farming to blame

Some quotes that speak for themselves:

But as Dr Michael Greger, director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States, has pointed out, this is not the first time a triple hybrid human/bird/pig flu virus has been uncovered. The first was found in a North Carolina industrial pig farm in 1998, and within a year it had spread across the United States.

In 1998, North Carolina's pig population had hit ten million, up from two million just six years before. Yet the number of hog farms was decreasing, with more and more animals being crammed into fewer and fewer farms. Since the primary route of swine flu transmission is thought to be the same as human flu, the increased potential for the spread of disease in such conditions is clear.

How diseases can develop and evolve:

But in damp and cramped conditions, a series of mutations can occur resulting in a highly pathogenic form. Within crowded chicken factory farms, the mild virus can evolve rapidly towards more dangerous and highly transmissible forms

I advise everybody to read the entire article. It is quite interesting.

And for those of you that persist in denying the link between swine flu, factory farming and the breeding of billions of animals in disgusting conditions. You might want to read this: 2009 swine flu pandemic

On June 23, the New York Times reported that U.S. federal agriculture officials, "contrary to the popular assumption that the new swine flu pandemic arose on factory farms in Mexico," now believe that it "most likely emerged in pigs in Asia, but then traveled to North America in a human." They emphasized that there was no way to prove their theory, but stated that there is no evidence that this new virus, which combines Eurasian and North American genes, has ever circulated in North American pigs, "while there is tantalizing evidence that a closely related 'sister virus' has circulated in Asia."[123]

So perhaps it isn't the mexican swine flu after all, but the Asian swine flu. I recall SARS, bird flu and other diseases. Oh yes there is a link there aswell with factory farming practices and live animal markets (1000s of animals packed together,...

Our results show that this strain has been circulating among pigs, possibly among multiple continents, for many years prior to its transmission to humans." The research team that worked on this report also believe that it was "derived from several viruses circulating in swine," and that the initial transmission to humans occurred several months before recognition of the outbreak.

With this in mind, read this statement made by Peta watch:

wake up to the fact that your organisation capitalizes on any event or tragedy it can to promote a fringe vegan agenda that most will never agree with.

This tragedy is being produced by corporations ( and farmers) who breed animals in disgusting conditions that serve as the perfect breeding ground for new diseases. To make a profit human lives are put at risk, the environment is put at risk and billions of animals suffer and die horribly.

And on top of it, if anyone dares to speak the truth: then those people are called liars and extremists. What our society is doing is madness! Today it is the mexican/swine flu, but what will it be tomorrow? And why? Because pork chops bring in money?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Marylène Patou-Mathis: vegetarian ayatollahs

I thought it might be interesting to share some european media stories relating to vegetarianism/animal rights from time to time.

The honour today goes to Marylène Patou-Mathis (a french historian). And yes, she positively pissed me of...and oh yes, the title says it all now doesn't it? Prepare yourself for a shocker of a news 'story', which will also make it quite clear to all of you that france sucks!

This is no place for an animal activist or ANY animal to live in (and the abolitionists running around there aren't helping much either, but you already know I don't like 'em and that they aren't effective if you read my blog).

sans viande, pas d'humanité

title: without meat, no mankind


Coup dur pour les ayatollahs du tout végétal.

First sentence of the story already sets the tone: they refer to vegetarians/vegans as ayatollahs and nicely make the reference to religous extremism and terrorism in this manner. That's fair isn't it?

l'être humain serait sérieusement en train de faire fausse route. Une route «dangereuse» d'ailleurs, qui l'amènerait à rompre avec la dimension fondamentale de sa personne: son humanité, estime la préhistorienne française Marylène Patou-Mathis

summary: Mankind is going down a wrong and dangerous path according to Marylène Patou-Mathis. We are in danger of being seperated from our humanity??? yep, that's what she says...

The article also mentions how mankind (with us the evil ayatollahs spear-heading of course) is treating animals as 'sacred' and how we are in danger of treating animals better then people.

A quick search on youtube - type in: molokai pig hunt, killing chickens or any other sick nonsense - will show you otherwise...So I'm guessing that we are still to humane, maybe we should starting skinning animals alive like they do in China?

«La consommation de viande a été le catalyseur de la séparation entre les grands singes, principalement végétariens frugivores, et les Australopithèques, les premiers hominidés, lance-t-elle à l'autre bout du fil

Summary: She states that the eating of meat was the katalyst that made the human species come to be. This is also the topic in her book: Mangeurs de viande (meat eaters)

If you fail to see how this is relevant in an ethical debate: that makes two of us...Hang on to your bootstraps! Lets keep tumbling down the rabbit hole.

The news story further mentions how first man hunted for its food, learned to cooperate and became a social animal, while herbivores are supposedly individualists and don't work together. I suppose that is why there are so many herds of herbivores out there...but let's not think about...right?

Then she defends her idea that we need to find the 'animal' within ourselves again (who is worshiping nature now?)

la consommation de viande et son préalable, la chasse, s'accompagnent donc d'un corollaire simple: sans elle, pas d'humanité. Et notre ère moderne semble un peu mal à l'aise avec cette réalité, déplore Mme Patou-Mathis.

Summary: The consumption of meat, and hunting: without it, no humanity. And she regrets that in our modern times people don't seem to confortable with this idea.

Apparently it is a bad thing to think for yourself, to have a sense of morals and not worship nature...I doesn't matter whether nature intended us to eat meat or not. That is just pseudo-intellectual rubbish.

«Nous sommes devant un grand paradoxe, lance la préhistorienne. Ces gens-là, en cherchant au nom d'un certain respect, à sacraliser la nature, finissent par nuire à cette même nature qu'ils ne reconnaissent plus comme telle. En fait, ils veulent faire de la nature un monde culturel. C'est dangereux. Ça va finir par nous rendre complètement schizophrènes et nous conduire à poser des gestes pathologiques.»

Summary: Marylène Patou-Mathis claims that there is a 'paradox' because of people like us (yep, animal activists). People like 'us' are apparently in the name of respect sacralizing nature, while ignoring our own nature that is a part of us. Of course this is very dangerous and we are running the risk of suffering from a form of schizophrenia and acting in a pathological manner...

My response: HUH?

So we are worshiping nature, we are dangerous because of it...because we don't act like nature intended us to be according to her? Who here really acts like nature is sacred? And this is a defense to kill 60 billion animals a year to serve as steaks and pork chops? To go out and kill animals on hunts for the kicks?

Nature 'intended' mankind to live in caves and fight amongst each other for land, food, ... Maybe wars aren't such a bad thing after all. Hey, we have found remains of 'first man' with their skulls bashed has been killing each other since the dawn of time. This is nature, so it must be right. We can't deny nature...right? Lets not think about morality => FAIL

Who worships nature? This says it all I guess:

dit-elle, et il faut aussi renouer avec notre dimension naturelle, ancestrale, en mangeant de la viande

Translation: we need to find our natural and ancestral dimension again and eat meat.

Right! That makes perfect sense. Just throw in some rhetoric, say it is natural and that our ancestors did it. That makes it all fine. Our ancestors destroyed entire forests too (I'm gonna get me a axe and take down all the trees in the park!)

It is really depressing to read this sort of stuff. And the comments on that article. I'll spare you those. It comes down to this according to those über intelligent commentators: vegetarianism is a religion, eating meat is natural, we worship nature, ... Yep: more nonsense. It is like nobody is capable anymore of having a serious discussion.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Gary Francione: evidence for reformism

I've blogged about Gary Francione before, and if you have read my previous blogposts...then I'm guessing you know already why I don't like his all or nothing abolitionist approach.

If you haven't read my previous posts about Peter Singer, Martin Balluch, Gary francione and the whole reformism - neo-welfarism as Gary likes to call it to try and show the world that we are supposedly not true animal rights activists - versus abolitionism debate: you can find it here:

Why this vegetarian celebrates meat-out day

A rather recent post made by Gary Francione on his abolitionist approach blog peaked my interest: another welfarist revolution that wasn't

In it he again tries to convince the already converted (animal activists) that they are not really converted and that their methods are not effective. Basically he claims we shouldn't be campaigning to improve the lives of animals in farms, research and so on...but we should try and convince as many people as possible to go vegan untill animal abolition is attained. So this means: untill we convert all 6,5 to 7 billion people on planet earth one at a time via blogs, leaflets, commercials and books. Good luck, what makes you think a 1000 years of this is going to be succesfull?

I look at it this way. We can do vegan outreach and at the same time try and improve living conditions for the animals and make animal welfare laws stricter. Abolition is a goal that if it is ever going to be reached, will take decades if not centuries. So, what are we supposed to do in the meantime? Let the animals suffer on factory farms?

But are animal welfare laws effective to reduce animal suffering or even to abolish certain practices that are cruel (and by this I mean even more cruel and sickening then 'normal')?

Gary Francione has this to say:

I am sure that my friends at HSUS, PETA, etc. think that they are doing the right thing by pursuing these welfarist campaigns. My question to them is how much empirical evidence do they need before they see that they are in error? Putting aside the matter of moral principle, the bottom line is that the welfarist strategy simply does not work.

He further states:

The resources of those who really want to see the abolition of animal exploitation are better invested in clear, unequivocal, creative, nonviolent vegan education.

Evidence? How much evidence do we have to shove down the throats of the abolitionists before they accept our victories. The animals win. And here is some I promosed some time ago, I will now bring news fresh out of Denmark and Holland.

As you might have been aware, campaigns to outlaw fur farms are on the rise in the EU. Because of animal welfare concerns (yes welfare) and because of the publics concern for animal welfare, seal fur has been illegalized in the entire EU. Just like all other seal products.

In Denmark (a traditional fur country) the breeding of foxes for fur has been banned. This means that Denmark is now following in the footstepts of Sweden, where fox farming has been banned several years ago.

A key role was played by Danish animal right groups such as Anima (Francione would probably call it a welfarist group as well). Here is a blogpost of them about their victory: Forbud mod rævefarme vedtaget (danish)

Lovforslaget var fremsat af justitsministeren, der begrundede det med et etisk hensyn til ræve, der ikke kan anvises passende indhusningsforhold, da der er tale om vilde dyr, som ikke kan tilpasses et liv i fangenskab. Rævefarme er tidligere blevet kritiseret i udtalelser fra Det etiske råd vedr. husdyr i 1989, der kaldte produktionen ”uetisk” og Dyreetisk Råd i 2003 gentog en skarp kritik.

to summarize: it was outlawed because foxes are wild animals and cannot be kept in appropiate conditions in captivity. Fox fur farms have also been critized by the ethical council that called fox farms unethical.

another important quote:

Spørgsmålet er hvor længe der skal gå, før vi forbyder pelsindustrien helt, som bl.a. England og Østrig allerede har gjort?

Here Anima asks how long it will take untill the entire fur industry in Denmark will be outlawed (like in England, Austria,...). So it doesn't stop here either...but they acheived an important milestone for the animals.

We can help the animals now.

In Holland it started as well with outlawing of fox farms. Now a bill is being passed to outlaw mink farms as well (and Holland is one of the biggest producers in the world). This also shows that these campaigns are having an effect and public opinion is shifting.

In the EU, animal rights and animal welfare are starting to seep into the highest political circles. Here is some more evidence from Anima: Folketinget forbyder Marys pels

Anima beder de kongelige følge lovens ånd og ikke støtte en produktion Danmarks Folketing mener er uetisk.

In this blogpost the group requested the royal family not to wear any fox fur anymore, now that breeding of foxes for fur has been outlawed.

Some time later the royal family indeed did respond and let the citizens of Denmark no not to wear it again. Because of their function many people look up to them (like celebs). So it can only be applauded that they took a step back from fox fur.

I can keep going like this for quite some time. It is clear that reformism (neo-welfarism) does work and that public opinion (as in: society as a whole) is starting to shift. Albeit slowly...but not as slow as it would be if we were to go the Gary Francione way of abolitionism.

I think what really needs to be adressed is: why doesn't it work in the US or Canada? What are you doing wrong? Next to the infighting, protesting each other, making one public relation blunder after the other,...

nor vegan outreach nor anything else seems to have much effect out there.

just think about it. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Katinka Simonse and my dearest cat Pinkeltje: Part 4

And again I find myself blogging on the topic of animal abuse/killing in the name of art. For those of you who don't know who Katinka Simonse is(also known as Tinkebell, or Katinka Van Bruggen). Here is the basic info:

She is a dutch artist who strangled/broke the neck of her supposedly depressed cat and turned the poor animal in a cat fur bag in the name of art. She then gave workshops where she adressed 1000s (her first presentation was to an audience of about 2000 *sick*) on how to kill and skin your own pet cat to turn in into a bag. She also found everything very funny and many in Holland seem to think she is brave for doing this. (It would seem that the level of dutch society is sinking steeply). She also abused hamsters in the name of art, seems to consider herself as an animal activist, then attacks the animal rights movement and portrays us as a bunch of hippies,...

Anyway: the world has gone completely nuts.

I ran into an interesting post on the provoked blog about this. Link: fur expressions and leather art

The author asked what the difference was between what Katinka Simonse did (and those of her kin) and a leather bag. I promised to make a blogpost about it, and since I am a man of my it is.

The reasons why it is not the same as someone who has a leather bag:

1. The connection between pet and the rest of the family is normally very important. If this connection is lost in society, then we can kiss animal rights goodbye. If people don't have pity or empathy with the animals we share our lives with, then all hope is lost for chickens or pigs.
This is quite evident in countries such as South Korea or China, where basically anything goes in regard to animals (including the skinning alive of cats and dogs).

So a fur bag made out of strangled cats is an even worse thing then a leather purse made from a cow. This doesn't mean it is ok that cows are killed. But the catbag is even more 'evil' and will cause even more animal suffering, misery and death in this society if this becomes accepted.

2. Humanism: To me it is evident that if you have a conscience, this sort of behavoir doesn't fly. Of course in Holland she is greeted with cheers and applaus, so again I say: I'm glad belgium became independent because of the war over a century and a half ago.

3. animal welfare and classical animal protection: companion animals always played a big role in this framework and this argument is closely tied to reason number one. And if even animal welfare isn't accepted, what makes anyone think people will entertain the idea of animal rights?

4. By stating that this cat fur bag and the workshops she gave (probably resulting in even more animal deaths and cruelty) are the same as any other leather bag, you are actually helping Tinkebell/Katinka Simonse. She likes to shift blame and defend her actions by pointing the finger at someone else: you wear leather what is the difference (answer: reason number,1,2,3), people kill cats for less, so why would I be wrong. Is everyone wrong then? (see reason number 3),... I don't think it is wise to actually help her. People won't turn vegan because of this. Only one thing will happen: they will be silent...or accept what she has done (a very bad thing for the animals)

I have seen several vegans actually defending what she has done in comment sections of newspapers: and that is very stupid. Some even think that she really cares about animal rights: I doubt it. Unless necksnapping cats and telling people on internet boards that there is nothing wrong with the import of cat and dog fur from china because they are bred for it anyway...well: that doesn't sound very animal righty now doesn't it?

It isn't even animal welfare. It is just NUTS as far as I can see...

Those are some of the reasons why a cat fur bag and a leather bag aren't the same... If more reasons come to mind: I will add them to the list...But I have had my fill of this topic. The cruelty and madness of what society is willing to accept to animals is sickening. But it is clear some countries are worse then others. I can't help but notice the connection between this artist and the fact that Holland is one of the bigger fur producers in the world!

More information can be found in my previous post about this: Katinka Simonse and my dearest cat Pinkeltje

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Why this vegetarian celebrates meatout day

I came across a post on vegansoapbox about vegetarianism VS veganism.I can only agree with the post. You can read it here: vegetarianism is a step towards veganism

This blogpost was a response to an article written by Adam Kochanowicz on vegetarianism. You can find it here: why this vegan doesn't celebrate national meatout day

Some statements I want to respond too:

Unfortunately, time has shown popularity for an Animal Rights message is not what saves animals, but what gets donations and members.

And these donations and members help fuel the animal rights struggle and save lives and help to reduce suffering (the battle against the seal hunt, banning of fur in more and more european countries,...)

In fact, some are telling their supporters to become "consciencious omnivores" and even help the animal industry to market their product with "humane" labels for negligible reforms in the way animals are killed, tortured, and exploited.

The reforms are far from negligible. This is surely the case in the European Union, where we have made much progress (to the dismay of the meat industry). I will not discuss this here though. I already did in previous posts.

Read this:

Peter Singer versus Gary Francione

Very important is the discussion between Martin Balluch and Gary Franione, where as far as I am concerned Martin Balluch made his points quite clear and with his reforms he has the factual evidence to back everything up. Gary has no evidence...

You can find the links on the bottom of my blogpost about gary francione and peter singer.

Instead of educating consumers to view animals as moral rightholders, consumers are convinced they can exploit animals in an ethical way.

They are already convinced of that. But because of welfare reforms, awareness is growing. 100 years ago the banning of fur would have been impossible. Now, the production of fox fur is illegal in Denmark (one of THE fur countries in europe, I will make a post about this soon with translations from danish sources). Things are changing.

And how are we going to educate people on animals as moral rightholders? Do you think that people don't shoot other people because they have been convinced in a debate that humans are moral rightholders? The world doesn't work that way.

People will stop killing and abusing animals when they care about them on an emotive level. There is a big difference between activism and academic theory. You can't export theories into the real world and think that this will change everything.

Even slavery wasn't stopped like that (it took a war, not debating). And even today slavery is still happening. Despite the universal declaration of human rights (which was only proclaimed after world war II => another emotive shock).

Vegetarians should feel positive for making an act of discipline, one which may have sincerely caused you to step out of your comfort zone, but I cannot lie and say there is any ethical difference between your diet and that of an omnivore.

To me there is a big difference between vegetarianism and eating meat. I am a vegetarian, not a vegan (I don't drink milk either by the way). I am a vegetarian because I think animals should not be killed or made to suffer if there is another way. It is that simple. And my viewpoint to a large extent is utilitarian. I am responsible for far less animal suffering then a meat eater. Since I don't drink milk, I am still even less responsable for animal suffering. Since I am not a full vegan, I still have some responsibility perhaps. That is true. But to say that it is the same as eating meat is far from the truth.

I am reducing animal suffering and animal deaths and I (such as all ethical vegetarian/vegans) do take a stand against what is happening to animals and reduce profits for the industry.

Now, first things first. Why am I not a vegan? Well, I almost became one. But I decided to remain vegetarian for now. The reasons for my vegetarianism? I made a youtube video about it some time ago. Please watch it here:

Rather, a diet devoid of meat and fish causes a vegetarian to simply eat different animal products while allowing for any sort of non-food animal consumption like clothing and entertainment.

That is simply not true. Many vegetarians don't wear leather or go and enjoy a bullfight (entertainment). If people turn vegetarian, this doesn't mean that in stead of a steak they will eat some eggs and a big lump of cheese with every meal.

So a vegetarain could potentially be supporting the animal industry more in the form of animal by-products and may actually be consuming animal flesh by putting it on their bodies rather than in their mouth.

No they couldn't. It is practicaly impossible.

The argument could be made that a vegetarian may consume more plants as a result but there is nothing inherent about vegetarianism that would cause someone to consume less from the animal industry

There is something inherent about ethical vegetarianism. And not every vegan is an ethical vegan. Some people are 'vegans' for health reasons (I know such people), but not ethical vegans and don't give a damn about animal rights. Sometimes quite the contrary... And I make a difference between ethical vegetarianism/veganism and 'just' vegetarianism/veganism.

strong abolitionist movement to declare rights for animals by setting veganism as the starting point.

I think that vegan outreach has little to no effect and that reformism is the way to go. The results are there, vegan outreach on the other hand doesn't help much.

Some people see 'meet your meat' and decide to go vegan. But that doesn't last long and before you know it they turn back to eating meat because of social pressure, lack of support and so on. Human beings are social animals. There is little hope of succes by trying to 'convert' one person at a time. Because people are strongly shaped by their surroundings, culture,...

Society as a whole must evolve, but that takes time. and it works in little steps. Not absolute step one person at a time. But little steps in the right direction made by society as a whole. This is also why I think meatout and other initiatives will have a positive effect.

Hell, one day this debate of vegetarianism versus veganism might be no longer necessary => in vitro meat is also lurking on the horizon. That would be a big step forward too for animal rights...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Katinka Simonse and my dearest cat Pinkeltje: Part 3

I'm getting tired of blogging about this, but here I go again. The german media still hasn't got it...fine.

I've blogged about this before, and I will not cover everything again here. But you can find the links to my two previous posts about Tinkebell at the bottom of this page...

As I said before: the german media doesn't get it at all. The süddeutsche Zeitung even had an interview with this 'artist'. On the other hand, this interview practically proves just about everything I have been saying about her all this time...

Link: Skandalkünstlerin Tinkebell (scandal artist Tinkebell)

Here are some important quotes:

In der westlichen Welt werden Tiere ja wie menschliche Wesen behandelt. Von Erwachsenen, die mittags in der Kantine ein halbes Hähnchen verspeisen. Und um dieses Thema geht es mir. Als Mensch und als Künstlerin. Manche Tiere essen wir, andere verhätscheln wir. Das ist doch krank. Das sollte man doch noch offen aussprechen dürfen. Auch in einer Zeit, da Tierschutzorganisationen immer reicher und mächtiger werden.

She says: the way we deal with animals in the west is sick. Some animals are treated like humans and others we eat. She thinks we should be able to 'discuss' this. Even in a time where animal protection groups become more powerfull and rich.

This already says it all to me. The animal movement is getting more rich and powerfull (perhaps it's a conspiracy?). The question I ask though is, discuss what?

In one interview she claims to try and make people aware of animal suffering and doing something about it, and in this interview...she is complaining about the 'power' of my movement. I would say that animal welfare/animal rights groups aren't 'powerfull' enough. Certainly not in Holland...

On top of that: traditional animal welfare organizations have had to intervene because of her art. This isn't just about us 'evil' animal rightists, this is about animal welfare as well.

No wonder that the german anti vegan community likes her. If you read german, here is their thread about Tinkebell: Antivegan

And by the way: someone on that board said that the making of cat fur bags isn't illegal. I just want to point out: Yes it is. Cat and dog furs are illegal in the European Union. She just made her 'art' before this law was in place.

The interviewer ask Katinka Simonse if she fears that animal activists will harm her (nice to see that scare mongering is again common place in this 'discussion').

This is her reply:

Ich habe nur Angst vor einer Gesellschaft, die sich mehr um Tiere kümmert als um Menschen.

Her words: I only fear a society, that cares more for animals then people.

My response: WTF???

Just look at the video at the top of this post. People are laughing and applauding her for her immoral acts. She laughs about it herself on tv and seems to be very proud of what she has done...Does this look like a society where animals count more as people?

Because of her actions, animals now count even less then they used to. She gave workshops for crying out loud, explaining people how to kill their pet cats and turn them into cat fur handbags.

Is this the reason for her disgusting actions? She is afraid that animals will be treated ethically in the future (hopefully), so she attempts to counter it like this?

Nice to note, that this totally undermines what she previously said: namely that she wants to make people aware of animal suffering...

Which I already believed, since I discovered forum posts of her where she stated it would be a good thing to import cat and dog fur from china, since the animals are bred for it anyway. And on top of that: she didn't seem to care that other people would become more cruel towards animals either...I covered that in my previous posts in more depth.

Just an observation: the interviewer asked her if she had even more cats. This was Katinka Simonse her answer:

Ich habe drei Katzen. Fleisch esse ich nicht.

Katinka: I have three cats. I don't eat meat...

Whether she eats meat or not, hasn't got much to do with the question. But interesting that she throws that in. Now it would almost seem that she is an 'animal activist'. Of course, I have heard people call themselves vegetarian before. But on her own site she posts a recipe for rabbit meat with red wine? I don't know...vegetarian.

Well, I don't eat meat, fish, poultry, don't strangle/neckbreak cats, don't abuse hamsters, don't wear leather, don't run around with a cat fur handbag, don't incite other people to kill their pets and make fur bags of them, don't laugh about this sort of insanity on tv, don't applaud anyone for this sort of nonsense,...


Another remark I would like to make. Katinka Simonse also made the following statment about her cat:

Ich bitte Sie! Wieso denn? Meine Katze war todkrank, nach Meinung des Tierarztes lag sie bereits im Sterben. Da habe ich sie halt erlöst.

Translation: My cat was very ill. The vet believed she was dying. So, I euthanized it myself.

My reaction? Tinkebell her story seems to change, now doens't it? First there was no mention of there being anything wrong with the cat, then it was depressed, now it was dying. And if the vet said it was dying, then I take it she went to the vet with her cat. So, why not have the animal put to sleep if that cat was really dying? It would surely be less painless than what she did to that animal. But, it would make less of an entertaining story and 'art work'? Even more stunning: I remember her saying once that she killed her own cat, because she wanted to save her 'poor cat' the trip to the vet. And now, she has gone to the vet with her cat? It just doesn't make any sense at all.

My previous posts about Tinkebell:

Katinka Simonse and my Dearest cat Tinkebell

Tinkebell: woman kills cat for an art project