Sunday, April 29, 2012

Stopping Animal Cruelty in the Home

Image Detail
I found this poster last week, and I decided to write about it today. I've actually felt this way about family violence, and even just occasional shouting matches, for a long time. The animals are hurt when people hurt each other.
The most extreme kind of violence towards animals (beatings, whippings, etc.) might be the most obvious version of animal abuse. If you ever witness this happening, in your household or elsewhere, be sure to contact your local humane society or SPCA immediately! Animal cruelty can not be overlooked, even if a loved one is the perpetrator. Another reason to be concerned is that animal cruelty is linked to cruelty towards humans: for example, a psychologist in Denver reported that "over 70% of battered women he has studied said that their partners had abused, threatened to abuse, or had killed a pet." (As stated in Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat by Hal Herzog.) If you love both the animals and humans in your life, preventing violence towards animals is the only humane thing to do!
There are also the less obvious kinds of violence, however. Has your family gotten into a heated argument recently? Many families do. But I believe that this sort of selfish debate hurts the household animals. Many people compare animals to very young children with regards to mental functioning. I disagree with this point-of-view; I think that animals are much smarter than that (there is ample evidence that some animals are even smarter than many humans!). But either way, if you have a companion animal, next time you get into a loud argument with your parents/spouse/siblings/children/relatives (depending on your age and who you live with!), ask yourself whether you would feel comfortable having this argument in front of, for example, your neighbour and their family. Ask yourself if you would be very happy to find your other family members arguing loudly while you were trying to sleep in the next room, or worse, trapped in a cage in the midst of the fight! If you ever want to cool an argument, a great way to do it is to say, "Shh! You're bothering the dog."
No creature should be subjected to constant tension and rivalry, especially if they can't do anything about it and it isn't even their problem to begin with. Of course, fights between people should be avoided even if there is no animal present. Read How to Be Compassionate by the Dalai Lama if you don't believe me!
Here is another poster that sums up an important point:

All the name-calling doesn't help. If anyone you know has a habit of saying things to their pets like "dumb dog" of "shut UP!", get them to stop! Tell them that their behavior only hurts the animals. Everyone loses their temper sometimes and lets a few mean words fly, but doing it regularly is abusive.
Since animal abuse can start in childhood, it's good to take prevention measures for children and teenagers. If you are still in high school, see if you can arrange for the local humane society can speak at your school or the local elementary school. If you have kids of your own, you'd better start teaching them respect for animals if you haven't already! And no matter what, never agree to participate in animal cruelty, even if it's "just a game". Stand up to peer pressure, please!
That's all I have to say for now. Check back next Sunday for my next post!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Animal Rights Blogs, Action Alerts, Newsletters, and Events to Sign Up For

This week, I'm just going to post a long list of different things to sign up for. These things can effectively help you become a better volunteer/person/activist by engaging you in reading and activity. I think that there isn't a list that gives a list of animal rights blogs, newsletters, and action alerts as comprehensive as this one on the ENTIRE web!

List of Animal Rights Blogs, Organizations, Action Alerts, and Events

E-Newsletters/Action Alerts

Do you have anything to add? Please contact me at rabbit-cat (at) or comment below.
Next week, I'll be talking about the cruelty of circuses. Until next week, then!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

How to Help End the Seal Hunt!

Baby seals are annually hunted for their soft fur and meat in the Canadian Arctic-- and the seal hunt is, indeed, going on right now!
Seals are clubbed to death or sometimes dragged off the ice by their eye sockets (with a metal hook in their eye). The babies are always the ones who are taken because of their light coats:

Baby seal
Courtesy of
 Honestly, the people who hunt these seals should just go out and buy a puffy winter jacket if they want to keep warm!
Things you can do to help end the seal hunt:
  1. Send a letter to Prime Minister Steven Harper demanding that the seal hunt be abolished. I got a message from peta2 a while ago with this idea, suggesting that I add this picture: to the letter. Although the Prime Minister may not actually read your letter, the constant flow of such letters will definitely raise his attention to the seal hunt.
  2. Sign one or all of these petitions:
  3. Boycott the following companies:
    1. Costco, which sells seal oil capsules
    2. fashion houses that sell furs: Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Birger Christensen, New Vogue, and Vogue Furriers
    3. Terra Nova, Canomega, and Omegavite, which all sell products made from seals
  4. Spread the word! Tell people about the seal hunt and how we can work together to stop it.
I'll be back with more information and tips next week!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Why Honey is Cruel

You may be wondering why us vegans don't eat honey. Is it some vague moral idea? Sheer stubbornness?
No, and no. While the exact reasons vary from person to person, here is a list of the main points:
  1. Honeybee cultivation destroys the colonies of honeybees. They have been dying out at a very fast rate worldwide due to Colony Collapse Disorder, which is supposedly the result of poor nutrition and inbreeding. Since modern beekeepers breed for desirable characteristics, the gene pool has been shrinking. If honeybees go extinct, we will lose 80% of our major food sources and one quarter of the world's flowering plants. In other words, we would totally destroy the biodiversity of the planet, condemning it and ourselves to slowly die. Honeybees should be kept wild, not penned away to die a painful death. Which leads to my next point...
  2. Bees die off in large numbers when they try to defend themselves against the beekeeper. They die simply by using their stingers once. Sometimes beekeepers use a "smoker" to flood the hive with smoke, which prevents the bees from stinging. The smoker makes them groggy and eat too much honey.
  3. Commercial beekeeping is even worse than backyard beekeeping. It pretty much boils down to factory farming.
  4. Queen bees have the potential to live for  five years, but they are killed after two years alone so that the hive does not "swarm" (divide into two parts with half of the hive leaving to start a new colony elsewhere). The bees are not free to leave when they want to due to the nature of swarming (read for more details).
  5. During cold months, the beekeepers put a mouse guard at the mouth of the hive to prevent rodents from entering. Unfortunately, the bees, who would naturally drag their dead out of the hive, are unable to remove the bodies, so they slowly build up in the hive.
  6. As you will find on, "Some beekeepers kill off their hives before winter. This practice can make economic sense. Unfortunately, it is not the small backyard beekeeper, but rather the large, factory bee farmer, so a lot of bees are killed even if most beekeepers don't use the practice. Also, in the process of checking up on the hive and taking the honey, some bees get squashed by the frames or stepped on. Bees who sting the keeper in defense of their home necessarily die. If two colonies are combined, the queen of the weaker colony is killed. So that the honey can be easily removed from the comb, it is often warmed prior to removal. "Bees brought into the warming room with the supers will fly to a window where they can be trapped to the outside by a wire cone or bee escape. If there are no windows in the room other methods such as an electric grid can be used to dispose of the stray bees" (Root, 121 emphasis added)."
  7. There is also the concept of bees as slaves in general. Animals are not ours to exploit.
  8. Bees make honey for themselves to eat over the winter. When beekeepers take it from them, the bees don't have their own food to eat. Remember this when you wonder whether to use honey or another sugar source in your food. Honey isn't human food; it's meant for bees. So please don't eat it!
As cited above, please see for a lot more detailed information on the subject.
Bye for now!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Cut Out Dissection!

My biology class will most likely have a dissection in the next few weeks. The other students may willingly chop up frogs or worms, but I will not! Nor will I agree to saw away at little rabbits or cats once I reach "higher" levels of science education.
Dissection is immoral for more reasons than you may think. Animals who are destined to be dissected are bred from biology supply companies, fur farms, and factory farms. There have been records of animals being severely abused while there. And did you know that cats have been stolen off the streets to provide for school and university science projects? Many (or most, according to the Humane Society of the United States) animals are taken from the wild to be dissected, including frogs, which are actually threatened with extinction! I also believe that either cutting up an animal or merely watching an animal being dissected somehow takes away part of your morality. I use the word "desensitization" a lot, and I think it would apply here, too, don't you think?

Here are some things you can do:
1) Students: When your teacher announces that your class is going to have a biology lab that involves dissection, let them know that you won't be participating. In most places, you have the right to refuse. In Canada, this right is protected by the Charter of Personal Rights and Freedoms. In the United States, there are laws and guidelines that let you refuse. Don't agree to stand there and watch, either-- that's still participating, because you'll be expected to take notes and inspect the animal, too.
2) Students: Get your friends to refuse dissection, too. If they don't particularly care about the animals, educate them about it. I know that it might not work (friends can be so apathetic nowadays!), but it's worth a try.
3) Students: Start an animal rights club at school and tackle the topic of dissection. You may even succeed in getting it banned!
4) Parents: Let the school board, teachers, and principal that you disapprove of dissection and that you want the students to be able to choose an alternative. This may not actually change anything immediately, but if enough parents start saying this, the school might cut out dissection completely! You can also rally the other parents to go to the school board with the same complaints. If you get the school's environment club/ animal rights club to join in, you might be starting a schoolwide revolution (without the physical fighting)!
5) Teachers: Don't make your students do a dissection; in fact, don't buy any dead animals at all! If the curriculum or the school or the principal tells you that you must "teach" a dissection, tell them that it goes against your values and that you'd be happy to provide alternatives, such as computer programs, 3-D plastic models, and diagrams.
6) By-Standers: All of you who aren't involved in the messed-up school system can make a difference, too. You can let the students know of their right to refuse by putting up posters on telephone poles near the school and post anti-dissection blog entries, among other things. Sign any anti-dissection petitions that come your way, and maybe get involved in an anti-dissection group.

Remember, people are often the only ones who can right the wrongs of other people. And, well, you're a person... So what are you waiting for?
See you next week!