Sunday, June 24, 2012

Oh My Word, What Are They Doing?

What are they doing by making animals work for us, free of charge, no more than mere slaves?
I know that this will sound controversial, and, well, it is: the breeding and training of animals to help handicapped persons and public institutions is wrong. Today, I'll be talking about guide dogs and ponies, police dogs, and many other animals who are "employed" by humans to do work that we couldn't be bothered to do ourselves.
You may say that blind people will not be able to go anywhere by themselves if they don't have a guide dog or another guide animal. This isn't necessarily true. People who are visually impaired can use a cane, take mobility classes (and they would have to take a course if they had a guide dog anyway), and technological aids. One of my friends is blind; she does not have a guide dog, and yet I sometimes see her walking by herself on the sidewalk.
And what about "pet therapy"? Another friend of mine has engaged in pet therapy. She actually didn't like it at all! Knowing an animal personally is one thing, like when you have an adopted companion animal, but having an unknown animal be brought to you in hopes of making you feel better is sort of dumb. If an animal came up to you on his/her own to cheer you up, that would be nice, but it doesn't happen very often. Why ruin the experience with all these forced encounters with dogs who would rather be somewhere else?
What about other animals who are trained to help the handicapped? There are still other ways to go about helping people, but I am not going to list all the various treatments for different impairments and diseases-- there are too many to list!
As for police dogs-- you know, the ones who sniff out drugs and chase criminals-- I think that this is downright cruelty. These dogs must be trained extensively to make sure that they will never disobey a command. I really doubt that the police dog trainers use gentle approaches, but even if they did, working with police is no life for a dog.
All in all, enslaving animals to make our lives easier is wrong. If you ever have a say in whether animals are used for any of these purposes, please make the compassionate choice and decide against it. All I can do, though, is spread the word!
Image Detail
Ouch! Is that leather, too?
Photo courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Guide_dog_equip.jpg

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Pig Out on Something Other Than Pigs, Please!

Okay, today I am going to talk about why not to eat pigs-- and the alterntatives to it. Long before I became a vegetarian, I felt uncomfortable eating salami, bacon, and hot dogs. I did sometimes, but it just seemed so grotesque to eat part of a pig. My family never ate much pig meat, so I guess that made it easier for me to connect with pigs than it was to connect with chickens and fish, who, unfortunately, I used to eat almost every day!
Pigs are fascinating, gorgeous, and completely lovable creatures. If you ever have the privilege of getting to know one, you'll (hopefully) never even consider eating him or her. In fact, some people keep pigs as pets, and there are many scientific claim that pigs are smarter than dogs! Contrary to popular belief, pigs are actually very clean, and they're fast. According to Dr. Donald Broom, pigs "have the cognitive ability to be quite sophisticated. Even more so than dogs and certainly [more so than] three-year-olds". (http://www.chooseveg.com/pigs.asp)
So why would we eat a pig, but not a dog? Is it merely because dogs were domesticated first, long before humans thought of the "bright idea" to domesticate animals for food? Whatever the reason, it's not a good excuse. We've got to stop eating these fantastic, sensitive creatures.
In commercial factories, pigs are kept in pens with metal bars, where they often develop repetitive coping behaviours (hmm... just like zoo animals!), such as grinding their teeth, chewing on the bars, and rubbing against their water bottles.  Mother pigs, shown below, are kept in "gestation crates" for their whole lives, in which they can barely even turn around.
Courtesy of chooseveg.com
Still pining for a hot dog? Think again. You can satisfy your tastes with "veggie dogs" (vegetarian hot dogs, which, by the way, are NOT gross!), use vegan "mock meat" and vegenaise in your sandwich, and go to the grocery store to buy a tofu ham. Personally, I don't like the taste of meat, so naturally, I wouldn't like these things, but if you like the taste of meat, then you are in for a pleasant surprise.
If you worry about getting enough protein, opt for soy foods, beans, chickpeas, lentils, nuts, nut butters, and whole grains, instead.
When you start to think of pigs as friends instead of food, you start to fully appreciate their beauty and uniqueness.
See you next week, everyone!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

What do YOU want to hear about?

Hi everyone! I would like you all to briefly comment below on what sorts of posts you like the best. If you don't know what to say, here are some prompts:
  1. What topics are the most interesting? Food, clothing, entertainment?
  2. What sort of information are you looking for? Information on how animals are treated, action how-to guides, ways to animal-friendly-ify your lifestyle, recipes, personal thoughts?
  3. What have I done well on for my blog, and what could I improve on?
By answering this, you'll be helping me improve my site. Thanks!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Zoo: Compassionate or Killer?

Zoos are both environmentally-friendly and -harmful, and the same goes to how they treat animals. Since there is so much information on zoos out there, I've decided to make a pros and cons list:

Pros ("zoos are good")
  • They save certain species from extinction, and through breeding, they can gradually release the animals back into the wild again.
  • They teach people about wild animals and nature, while getting them away from a screen!
  • They help injured animals get back to full health.
  • They are great meeting spaces for conservationists, and a great way to encourage sustainable living.
Cons ("zoos are bad")
  • They treat animals as "products". If one animal isn't wanted in a certain zoo, he or she is shipped away to another zoo-- surely a very traumatizing experience.
  • The only thing they teach people about animals is how desperate any creature will act when confined to a cage.
  • Many animals at zoos become so bored and upset that they develop emotional disturbances. They often have absolutely nothing interesting to do, so they make up movement patterns and obsessions to continually go through. Some people call this "stereotypic behaviour" or "zoochosis". This psychological torture must be abolished.
  • Zoos rarely can get an animal back into the wild. The difference between zoos and the wild is far too big for a zoo animal to successfully be re-integrated back into a natural environment.
  • Zoos sometimes even take animals out of the wild!
In my opinion, zoos are very often "bad", for the reasons I've listed above. They make me very angry, especially con #3; read more about it at http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-zoochosis.htm. The following video is rather disturbing, but, well, it tells you a little more visually what I'm talking about.

Conservation is great, of course, but that should take place on wildlife reserves-- not behind bars.
If you do go to a zoo, take pictures and send them to me at:
rabbit-catATvegemailDOTcom. However, my best advice is to avoid zoos. There are so many better things you could be doing: taking a tour of real nature, for example!
Please share this information with everyone who you know. Thanks, and come back next Sunday for my next post.