Good news for cats

The Mummy’s Bracelet wrote that the use of cat and dog fur has finally been banned across the EU from the start of 2009 (BBC story). More than two million cats and dogs are said to be killed for their skins in China every year. Many shoppers buy goods made with the fur unknowingly, as exporters attach false labels.

This is not only false marketing but really rather gross.

That's just sick

Via Neatorama came a small report about the artist Wim Delvoye who has done lots of cool stuff. The towards the end of the article was this:

Wim is a vegetarian, but he has a pig/art farm outside of Beijing in China. He’s not thinking of bacon, however – Wim has other plans for his swine: he tattoos them! (He said that the pigs have better, longer lives than those raised for food).

I realise that this may make statements about the consumer society and the way in which we treat animals but I still really dislike the fact that the man tattoos animals. This, to me, is another example of an artist using animals to create “shock value” in order to move the jaded art scene into a reaction. It still does not make it art not does it make it right. And what the hell was the monoumentaly stupid comment that the pigs were happy and that he was a vegetarian about?

That an animal is more happy than another animal (how is this measured?) does not make abusing it a legitimate act. The fact that the artist refuses to eat meat does not legitimize his torment of animals. Just sick. As it happens it also may be pointless from a novelty point of view since he is not the first artist to tattoo pigs.

Why should work like this be dignified with the name art – isn’t it just animal abuse on a more premedited and cruel scale?

Apes more deserving than Bulls

Last month Time Online reported that Spain is to become the first country to extend legal rights to apes. This is the result of a long process (I blogged about this in April 2006) but I had missed the news that Spain had implemented the proposal.

The Declaration on Great Apes consists of three main points:

  1. The Right to Life
  2. The Protection of Individual Liberty
  3. The Prohibition of Torture

Let’s start by saying that this is an excellent initiative. BUT it is amazing that this initiative comes from a country so closely associated with bullfights. Naturally animal rights acitivists must be very confused by these results.

Bullfight 1“, photo by Jiddle_L (CC by-nc-nd)

It’s obvious that Spain has decided to be strangely selective to which animals are worth protection and base the need for rights not on the ability to feel pain but rather with the animals closeness to humans (in genetic terms?) This approach is discriminatory and clearly a form of specie-ism, and the worst thing is that the only defences for the conservation of bullfighting is tradition and entertainment.

On this day

Here is a weird anniversary I came across on Wikipedia. On this day 164 years ago, the last known pair of Great Auks were killed. Not only is this a strange anniversary but the individuals who were responsible for the final extinction were Jón Brandsson, Sigurður Ísleifsson and Ketill Ketilsson.

The last population lived on Geirfuglasker (“Great Auk Rock”) off Iceland. This island was a volcanic rock surrounded by cliffs which made it inaccessible to humans, but in 1830 the rock submerged, and the birds moved to the nearby island Eldey which was accessible from a single side. The last pair, found incubating an egg, were killed there on 3 July 1844, with Jón Brandsson and Sigurður Ísleifsson strangling the adults and Ketill Ketilsson smashing the egg with his boot. (Wikipedia)

Seafood is Politics

Eat fish, don’t eat fish, don’t eat cod, eat salmon, shellfish is bad, or good. Giant prawns help developing countries or screw up the environment.

Fish is confusing. Since I don’t eat meat or poulty fish is the main source of food confusion. It should be easier since I don’t have to worry about so may foodstuffs… its not I am confused and I have, I admit, been avoiding the issue.

Some help in this tangle of issues is the the booklet Fish Dish: Exposing the Unacceptable Face of Seafood published by the WWF (2006).

  • Illegal fishing
  • Overfishing
  • Wasteful fishing
  • Unselective fishing
  • Destructive fishing
  • Unfair fishing

The text does not make life easier but it does inform in a brutally honest way. Treat your next plate of sushi with respect – read Fish Dish.
(Via Lunkens Blog)

Does anyone have a spare?

[pdf, 3.08 MB] The Living Planet Report is WWF’s periodic update on the state of the world’s ecosystems. Pdf file over here.

And it is not good news. The Living Planet Report 2006 confirms that we are using the planetâ??s resources faster than they can be renewed â?? the latest data available (for 2003) indicate that humanityâ??s Ecological Footprint, our impact upon the planet, has more than tripled since 1961. Our footprint now exceeds the worldâ??s ability to regenerate by about 25 per cent.

The consequences of our accelerating pressure on Earthâ??s natural systems are both predictable and dire. The other index in this report, the Living Planet Index, shows a rapid and continuing loss of biodiversity â?? populations of vertebrate species have declined by about one third since 1970.

The report describes the changing state of global biodiversity and the pressure on the biosphere arising from human consumption of natural resources.

It is built around two indicators:

  • the Living Planet Index, which reflects the health of the planet’s ecosystems; and
  • the Ecological Footprint, which shows the extent of human demand on these ecosystems.

These measures are tracked over several decades to reveal past trends, then three scenarios explore what might lie ahead.The scenarios show how the choices we make might lead to a sustainable society living in harmony with robust ecosystems, or to the collapse of these same ecosystems, resulting in a permanent loss of biodiversity and erosion of the planet�s ability to support people.

Find out how you can reduce your ecological footprint.

Meatrix II

Its food politics and awareness served up by Sustainable Table in the form of animated flash films. Sustainable Table wants to make consumers aware of the problems with factory farming and to promote sustainable food.
The followup of the brilliant Meatrix movie is out now. Watch the new movie here!

In an age characterized by mechanization, there exists a large gap between our illusions about where food comes from and the stark reality of industrial meat and dairy production. Enter the Meatrix films. The Meatrix II: Revolting is the sequel to the original smash hit, the critically acclaimed exposé of industrial farming, The Meatrix. Simultaneously spoofing the popular Matrix films while educating consumers about the evils of factory farming, The Meatrix brings the concept of sustainability to a wide audience of mainstream consumers. With a growing audience of over 10 million viewers worldwide, translations into over 25 languages, as well as a 2005 Webby Award, the Meatrix has been an incredibly successful tool for raising interest in Sustainable Tableâ??s unique goals and projects. and

Check out their earlier movie the Grocery Store Wars.

(via Peter Forsberg)

The Way We Eat

Question Technology always recommends the great books. He has increased my library with some interesting choices. Now he pointed out that Peter Singer & James Mason have a new book out: The Way We Eat – Why our food choices matter. Prepare to be saddened, angered and hopefully goaded into action.

Excerpt via Animal Liberation Front:

Most Americans know little about how their eggs are produced. They don’t know that American egg-producers typically keep their hens in bare wire cages, often crammed eight or nine hens to a cage so small that they never have room to stretch even one wing, let along both. The space allocated per hen, in fact, is even less than broiler chickens get, ranging from 48 to 72 square inches. Even the higher of these figures is less than the size of a standard American sheet of typing paper. In such crowded conditions, stressed hens tend to peck each other — and the sharp beak of a hen can be a lethal weapon when used relentlessly against weaker birds unable to escape. To prevent this, producers routinely sear off the ends of the hens’ sensitive beaks with a hot blade — without an anesthetic.