Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Animal-Friendly Alternatives for Common Expressions

"There are many ways to skin a cat." "Kill two birds with one stone." Expressions like these can potentially cause humans to be more violent towards animals because speaking about our fellow creatures in this way desensitizes people to the idea of hurting animals. Why not use animal-friendly alternatives, instead? Slowly, we can work to change the English language to make it reflect society's changing values towards compassion and justice.
Here are some common phrases, along with my suggestions for alternatives:
  1. "Kill two birds with one stone."
    I like the way NCVA board member Erin changed this expression to “feeding two birds with one scone” in this blog post. However, there is the fact that scones are junk food for birds. In The Vegan's Daily Companion, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau suggests using the phrase, "Cut two carrots with one knife". I think it would make the most sense to use the expression, "Feed two birds from one hand". There are plenty of variations to come up with, though.
  2. "There are many ways to skin a cat."
    Instead of using such a horrid expression, why not settle for something sweeter, such as "There are many ways to eat a kiwi" or "There are many ways to climb a tree"? I found on one website someone even replaced "cat" in this expression with "eggplant"!
  3.  "Human guinea pig".
    This, of course, refers to a human experimental test subject. However, there is really no need to use the word "guinea pig" in this expression at all! After all, we're trying to move away from using guinea pigs as test subjects. It would make sense to simply use the term "human experimental test subject" instead, or, if you want to sound humorous, you could say, "human science experiment".
  4. "Sweating like a pig!"
    This expression doesn't even make sense, because pigs apparently only have a few sweat glands that they hardly use anyway. This expression comes from iron smelting. Still, since it's likely to confuse people into thinking that pigs are big on sweating, we should probably stop using this expression and instead opt for "sweating buckets" or "sweating a lot".
  5. "Go the whole hog."
    This could be replaced with "Do the whole task", or even "Go the whole watermelon" (if you're really hungry!).

If anyone reading this has any more suggestions for replacements for common phrases, please feel free to comment below and share your ideas!
Have a nice week!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Have A Heart-- Adopt Damon the Cat!

Hello everyone,
If you want to bring a sociable cat into your home and help out a kitty in need (and you are in Ottawa ON or the surrounding area), please consider adopting Damon! His adoption advertisement page can be found at: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15435633/Damon/Damon.html.

Damon is a cat who was foster-cared for by Erin from the National Capital Vegetarian Association-- but now the Ottawa Humane Society has put him in a cage in PetValu on Greenbank Road :(
As Erin points out in her blog post on the NCVA website, by responding to the plea of a fellow activist to adopt an animal (or simply get the word out that this animal is adoptable),
"You’re helping the animal. Just one in the sea of desperate creatures you probably see in your facebook feed each day, but he or she is as deserving of a break as anyone.
...You’re helping ease the pain of a fellow activist. As some of you may know first hand (and as I know from studying animal activists from a sociological perspective), being an animal activist in a world that treats them as chattel can be emotionally draining if not downright debilitating.
...In addition to relieving the activist’s short-term pain, you are giving her hope. Hope that there are others out there that feel as she does. Hope that when she reaches out for help on behalf on her non-animal brethren, someone will heed the call. In other words, you help her remain an animal activist. And that helps the animal protection movement flourish."

Damon outside with a harness and leash
Photo of Damon. Photo Courtesy of https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15435633/Damon/Damon.html
Erin is right. Even though we aren't able to save every single animal we hear about, helping out just one does make a difference in that animal's life.
So please consider adopting Damon, or at least letting others know that he is adoptable.
Have a nice day!