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