A Chicken Liberation Manifesto

Kathleen Stachowski  Other Nations

UPC photo

“Yo, birdbrain!” “Hey, what are ya, a chicken?” Rather than taking offense to these common put-downs, I’m going to take them as compliments. Birds–let’s focus on chickens here–are smart. Social. Brave. They think and feel. In a lot of ways, they’re a lot like us. But it’s easy to forget that–if, indeed, we ever thought about it at all. Let’s think about it now.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011 is International Respect for Chickens Day, and the entire month of May is dedicated to growing greater respect for this much-abused, intensively factory farmed bird. Launched in 2005 by United Poultry Concerns (UPC), the day is designed “…to celebrate chickens and protest against the bleakness of their lives in farming operations.” Continue reading

“Now where did I put my animal cruelty laws….” Selling live animals as keychains

Margaret Maigret

An earlier post about fur farming in China reminded me of the heinous animal offenses that people will overlook to possess something as silly as a rabbit’s foot keychain. I remember reading the post and thinking, Wow—could there possibly be a more constant reminder of animal cruelty than a rabbit’s foot keychain?”

Well, you can now buy live animals to attach to your keys so as to help you not be so forgetful in the mornings. That’s right, for the U.S. equivalent of $1.50 (plus a visit to the streets of Beijing), you can purchase a small fish or turtle to carry with you throughout your day, hang from the steering wheel as you drive your car, keep in your purse while you are at work, and throw on the counter after a long day at the office. How else to respond to criticisms that killing animals for useless trinkets is too harsh? Manufacturers in China have now outsourced their cruelty to consumers.  Continue reading

Horse-Drawn Carriages Are Wrong

Margaret Maigret

Maybe it is the ridiculous outfits that they have no idea they’re wearing.  Maybe it is the fact that I live near one of their “stables” by the West Side Highway– that location is unnatural enough for me, let alone an animal. Or maybe it’s because whenever you see them, they’re walking, walking, always walking.

For one or all of these reasons, horse-drawn carriages in New York City have always struck me as inherently and blatantly wrong. I am not a “horse person.” I did not grow up with horses, I never begged my parents for one, and I know next to nothing about them.  But I do know that I get a distinct feeling when a horse-drawn carriage passes by: guilt.

Maybe that guilt is because I accept them as a part of the city, without ever investigating the answers to very natural and obvious questions. Why are there so many horses in New York City? How often do they get out to pasture? Aren’t they ever afraid of the cars? Aren’t drivers ever afraid of them? Would they have any interest whatsoever in walking that many miles a day if there wasn’t someone making them? Why are they dressed up like circus animals? As always seems to be the case, I feel like I am on the outside, looking in at the animals when they clop by.

That guilty feeling is kind of ironic, considering it is the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene who happens to be in charge of monitoring and licensing New York City’s horse-drawn carriages and stables. Yea. The only thing that makes less sense than that is that the Department of Consumer Affairs is the co-supervisor of this operation. In 2007, an audit done by New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr., found that:  Continue reading

Wolf Delisting Op-ed

David Cassuto

Between Kathleen and me, we’ve taken up a lot of blawgwidth on the wolf issue and yet there’s so much more to be said.  Here’s my bid to bring it into the mainstream media.

Circuses: Quit clowning with animals’ lives!

Kathleen Stachowski
Other Nations

Running away to join the circus! What a call to liberation–beckoning kids for generations. An escape to freedom from nagging parents, onerous chores, meaningless homework. Restless adults still hear that siren song—now merely an escape fantasy—and imagine leaving the past behind and starting over as someone new.

While the human version is all about free will and freedom, for other species—whether captured from the wild or bred into captivity—the circus means bondage. Captured animals are abducted away from everything good and natural—family, home, accustomed diet, comfortable routine. Chained or caged (some once roamed 30 and more miles a day!), they’re transported a world away, forced to start life anew in slavery. Captive-bred animals, never having experienced the life nature intended, know only the exploitation: abuse, crushing boredom, perpetual confinement. One wonders if they aren’t the “luckier” of the two. Continue reading

U.S. Senate passes wolf delisting rider

Wolf advocates accuse Sen. Tester (D-MT) of politically intervening in a scientific decision

MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks photo

From this morning’s local paper:

“Our provision does not undermine the Endangered Species Act,” said Montana Sen. Jon Tester, who led the effort to delist the wolf in Congress. “It recognizes the ESA as a success.”…

“Wolves in Washington, Oregon and Utah will also be put under state control by the rider. Those states have relatively tiny wolf populations, numbering in the low dozens.”…

“With the bill’s passage, however, legal experts warned the Obama administration’s support for lifting wolf protections opens the door to future meddling by lawmakers catering to anti-wildlife interests. Continue reading

Animal abuse–what’s going on?

Kathleen Stachowski    Other Nations

Pet-Abuse.Com & The AARDAS Project

It keeps running through my head–the great Marvin Gaye asking, “What’s going on?” This was a 1971 antiwar and social justice song, but the question applies to the war on animals, as well. “Don’t punish me…with brutality…what’s going on?” If you know the song, chances are good it’s in your head now, too (you could do worse). If you don’t know it, there’s always You Tube. Continue reading