Thursday, September 30, 2010

Building a More Humane Society. Carpe diem. Little Things Add Up.

I am a bit of a hypocrite. I dislike people who proselytize although I am guilty of it to some degree. It is especially irksome when religion is the issue, and I am quick to dash hopes and shut the door on any chances of conversion. I will, on the other hand, preach the benefits of a meatless diet. I will save the heathens from their meaty diets. And I find nothing wrong with that, only good. Such is the nature of bias.

Assuming an open and fair mind, I should not come down hard on the agents of change. They are just fulfilling their mission. How else will they get the word out to the people if they don't try?

My Facebook friend recounted her run-in with a confirmed meateater at "the morgue"---my term for the meat section of a supermarket. A suggestion was made to view the slaughterhouse videos on the web. The steak-lover listened but there was no confirmation that he actually viewed the videos afterwards. Nevertheless, a seed was planted and that is enough to make any proselytizer happy. One works with what she's got, and homeruns don't usually occur on demand.

I am reminded of Alexander's conquest of Tyre where the people sought safety in a walled citadel on an offshore island. They sneered at him, ridiculed him, thumbed their noses at him. Well, Alexander decided to stay. Passing on Tyre would compromise his reputation for invincibility, not a good idea when enroute to conquering the Persian empire. Alexander ordered his men to drop stones in the water between the shore and the island. A causeway was created after six months, and Alexander sacked the citadel and slaughtered the once proud and defiant defenders. Victory belongs to the most tenacious (Napoleon), and often success is built incrementally, brick by brick.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Animals Commune. Humankind's Flawed Existence.

This photograph speaks to me. It suggests a certain communion between farm, presumably slaughter-bound, animals. It portrays a kind of camaraderie, a we're-all-together-in-this brotherhood, a recognition of a common fate. Surely, if people can have it, animals also possess a sense of being and community.

Love thy neighbor. Animals, instinctively or consciously, know this more profoundly than our species. Unlike the animals, we are capable of plotting the murder of a fellow human for revenge and material gain. At one end, we produce profound scientific minds and persuasive moral philosophers. But at another end, there are the serial killers, animal torturers, and mass murderers. We raise other living beings for slaughter and consumption, disregarding their sentience. We organize armed forces to destroy societies opposed to us and justify it as inevitable, necessary, as the right course of action. Who are we, but a flawed species. Our dominion over animals is utterly wrong and our control of the Earth, undeserved.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New Jersey. Demo Against Live Animal Markets. Marzigliano's in West New York (NJ).

Please speak out for the all-too-often forgotten animals at live markets--chickens, ducks, turkeys, rabbits, turtles, quail and other innocents who are sold as "food".

Call (732)693-9044, or email for more information about this event.

WHEN: Saturday, September 18th, 2010.
TIME: From 1pm through 4pm.
WHERE: Marzigliano's Live Market , 5217 Bergenline Avenue, West New York, NJ, 07093-5512.

PARKING: *There is metered parking all along Bergenline Avenue, however since this demonstration is on a Saturday, finding a spot close to the demo location might be a problem. For those driving in and unfamiliar with the area, J F Kennedy Blvd is one of the main thoroughfares running through the town of West New York. Take J F Kennedy Blvd to 52nd Street, where you will see a large PC Richards on the corner. Turn onto 52nd Street, and drive down approximately 3/4 of a block, you will pass a long/large brown building. Just beyond this building on your right hand side is a sign "West New York municipal parking" turn right and park. It is quite close to the demo location, though be advised to bring QUARTERS since the metered parking here accepts only quarters at the rate of .50 (fifty cents) per hour. From the Municipal Parking Lot, it is literally a 50 foot walk to Bergenline Ave. Making a left onto Bergenline Ave, you will see Marzigliano's Live Poultry another 50 feet up the street.

**Note to NYC activists--there is a bus directly from the Port Authority,NYC which drops you off in front of Marzigliano's Live Poultry Market. NJ Transit bus # 159 toward Fort Lee/Linwood Park.

Suzanne Dragan LPN, BA certified Plant-based Nutrition, T. Colin Campbell Foundation, Cornell University Food for Life, Directora program of Animal Protection League of NJPO Box 174 Englishtown, NJ 07726 732-446-6963

"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of Life on Earth as much as the evolution to a (plant-based) vegetarian diet." Albert Einstein

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Santo Domingo. Stray Animals. What is their real status?

It might be the area I am staying at, the juction of Avenida Mexico and Avenida Maximo Gomez, but I have seen less stray animals than I expected before coming to Santo Domingo. Many of the stray dogs I have seen are full-bodied with good fur on them. Only a few fit my image of a stray animal---thin, mangy, having only clumps of matted fur, a body spangled with festering wounds. Stray animals also have that look of being on a constant search for food. This is a very sad image. These are certainly not the strays that I meet at the shelter in New Jersey. Our strays escaped from their homes and lost their way, ending up at the shelter. The strays in Santo DomingoI make the streets their home. They live and die on the concrete pavements of the city. Frequent visitors to garbage dumps, these dogs consume rotten, maggot-infested leftovers. I have seen them in Santo Domingo, but not many. Is this good?

Well, I don't know for sure. As I said, it could be the area I am residing at. However, I have done a good amount of driving in the city and even a day's trip East of the city to a small seaside town called Bayahibe. Along the way, when I was slowly making my way through the busy main street of La Romana, I got a glimpse of this little fellow who fit the description. The other dogs I saw hung out in front of bodegas, unleased and with no collars, sleepy from the afternoon heat and sun. I think some Dominicans allow their dogs to wander off into the neighborhood, trusting that they will come home unharmed.

Does the city government of Santo Domingo have a strict policy against stray dogs and cats? Does it do a great job at rounding them up? Is there a dogmeat trade in the country? I am afraid to ask, but I will when I get a chance. I am hoping that it is just a matter of effective and humane animal control.

Santo Domingo. Fresh Coconuts and Meat.

Greetings from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. I arrived here three days ago and I must say that the Dominicans have been friendly and helpful. My Spanish is close to nil, but I get by quite well. I visited Zona Colonial, a small district in the city, where visitors can see the earliest structures built by the Europeans in the New World ( early 1500s). The other part the zona reminded me of the French Quarter of New Orleans. There were some pesky street vendors, but no one that I would categorize as a problem.

The other day, I did something I haven't done in decades--I bought a whole coconut from the pushcart man who expertly chopped it up with his long and exceedingly sharp machete so I could drink the juice and eat the meat. This is a throwback to my younger years in the Phiippines. How simple, innocent, and inexpensive! Yet, you get to consume a fresh fruit untouched by human hands; the juice and meat are inside the husk. I don't think I will ever see a coconut pushcart vendor in New York. The image will offend our sensibilities which tend to put a high value on attractive and clean packaging. Maybe, it would only be a matter of an attractive-looking truck with a uniformed vendor. My vendor wore rags and had a haggard look to him. Well, he's hard up. I gave him a huge tip.

Fresh coconuts on a pushcart would be too tacky, some might say, although we have those smoky meat vendors at some corners of the city. I find them repulsive, and I try my best not to walk by them. The smell and sounds of sizzling dead flesh offends me. Meateaters do not investigate how their meat got to their plate at home or at a restaurant. Don't you think that they are running a higher risk of contamination when the meat ends up at a street corner in New York? Holy Mother of God! I'd rather have fruit that I can wash myself, or one that nature herself sealed off from human contamination.