August 1, 2014

A Whale of a Conversation

I spoke with an acquaintance recently who confessed that she had gone to Sea World in San Diego. She said she felt sad when she remembered some of the things I had told her about wild animals in captivity, but she wanted to know where else people would learn about killer whales if not from marine mammal parks.

I asked her what she had learned at Sea World about the whales. Did she, for example, know anything about their diet?

“Fish,” she said excitedly.

“You mean, dead, frozen fish,” I pointed out to her. [Read more...]

Reflections on the Normal Majority

I’ve never met a more righteous group of people: animal rights activists. Occasionally, I’ll take a step back from the work we do and study the way we’re perceived by the general masses. And it isn’t pretty. There is no compromise, no “I’ve been there before myself so I understand how difficult it is for you to stop eating animals, to give up your cruelty-filled products and clothing, to avoid the circus and the zoo, to be as sickened as I am at the mere sight of burnt flesh on a dinner plate.” But no. We want animal rights and we want them now. Not tomorrow, not next week. Today. And we’ll take no prisoners.

I’m at the brunt of activists’ wrath sometimes myself. “Is that leather?” someone will ask, fondling my shoe. And even I get righteously indignant. “Leather? Do you have to ask?” They do. They’re relentless — excuse me, rabid. I mean, let’s face it, if I can be annoyed by some of the “in-your-face” accusations, questions, implications, and such, shot at me from the “lunatic fringe,” then how does the mainstream — a group considering itself the “normal” majority — perceive the way we struggle for the rights of animals? [Read more...]

For They Know Not

The steel bin was loaded with meat hooks — giant, heavyweight, shiny, perfectly curved hooks. There must have been six dozen of them. They were clean, bloodless, and soaking in sterilized water in the outside hallway of the meat processing building at the nearby state university “animal farm.”

I guessed then that I’d found the place I was looking for. For the past hour or so, I had wandered the campus in a photographic discovery. I took panoramic pictures of the line of dairy cows standing in wait outside the milking parlor. Their big heads poked through the metal fence slats when I approached. Their large eyes seemed so forgiving. As a member of the human race, I didn’t deserve the sentiment. [Read more...]