Guest Post: Outraged Over Oreo

Many have heard the tragic story of Oreo the dog who survived being thrown off of a building by her owner and who was recently euthanized by the ASPCA. The ASPCA has been criticized for putting her down. The following is a response to some of the criticism from someone who loves animals and works with shelter dogs everyday…

First of all, euthanasia is defined as “easy death” and occurring in a “relatively painless way as an act of mercy”. The accusation that the man neglectfully, cruelly, and dishonestly, chose instead to kill Oreo using a drug called “Fatal Plus” (the brand name, not the actual drug name of Sodium Pentobarbital) is misleading and manipulative. You can be upset that the dog was euthanized rather than transferred to a no kill facility, but please, make your argument solid by representing facts instead of bias.

I take personal offense at the statement that large shelters are in reality staffed by those who would rather “perpetuate the violence and betrayal by killing”. As a staff member responsible for performing euthanasia, I can tell you that euthanasia is never easy, far from enjoyable and an unfortunate reality for many of these shelters.  We are an open admission shelter (unlike no-kill facilities). Which means, we never turn an animal away. Because we choose (and yes, it is a choice) to evaluate animals and not rehome -or allow the animal to spend the rest of its life in a kennel as can happen at no-kill facilities- for aggression, we are able to take in on average 65 healthy, behaviorally sound dogs and puppies per week. Dogs and puppies that were facing euthanasia at other shelters due to lack of space and resources. I agree that everyone has a right to their own opinion, but starting a smear campaign against an animal welfare organization due to a difference in philosophy only leads to a further lack of public support, ultimately resulting in more euthanasia decisions. Until there is not an animal shelter left in the country who daily faces euthanasia of perfectly easy and rehomeable animals, I will defend the decision to euthanize aggression rather than transfer to another facility. Once every behaviorally sound dog/cat/ferret/parrot/rat/rabbit has a home, then the animal welfare community should begin making those great strides in behavior modification and rehabilitation.

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NYC Garment Workers: A Rags to Riches to Rags Story – Working In These Times

Most of the time I’m ok not having cable, but I really, really want to see this…

“In These Times features award-winning investigative reporting about corporate malfeasance and government wrongdoing, insightful analysis of national and international affairs, and sharp cultural criticism about events and ideas that matter.”

via NYC Garment Workers: A Rags to Riches to Rags Story – Working In These Times.

vegan jailbirds in the UK

what rights does one have when one is imprisoned and also happens to be vegan? here are some links that provide information about what is, or might soon be, available to vegan prisoners in the UK, and some info about, you know, human rights and stuff:

~ article from Telegraph;

~ VPSG website;

~ VegNews;

~ Prison Vegetarian Project;

~ Vegetarian Journal.

~~~

there’s a lot to digest here… it’s a complicated issue.  frankly, this doesn’t seem to be black and white to me, and i’m not sure how i feel about it.  i think we’re going to start seeing a trend here as far as how it is i go about posting, but, really, this brings forth a lot of questions.  namely, what exactly is the purpose of imprisoning someone?  to what end is the system working toward, and is the system effectively achieving that end?  are we seeking to reform these individuals?  are we seeking to punish them?  or are we seeking to isolate them from a society in which they fail to function at a level at which they are not a danger to themselves or others?

if imprisonment is all about punishment, then i would suppose providing prisoners with vegan or fair trade chocolates would be absolutely ridiculous.  but it doesn’t seem ethical to me to create a system into which the citizens of the world pump millions upon millions of dollars solely for the purpose of making someone’s life miserable.  i was, in my half-hearted, incredibly lazy attempt at research, not able to find any statistics on the world’s prison population that detailed exactly what it is people are being imprisoned for, but… isn’t it true that a lot of these folk are probably imprisoned because they stole a car or something?  i mean, i would be totally pissed if someone stole my car, but i don’t think that means they should have every human right stripped from them.  on the other hand… murderers?  rapists?  child molesters?  i’m absolutely on board for these folk to have everything taken away from them; chances are, they took everything away from someone else, and you bet if someone hurt someone i love in this fashion, i would be out for blood.  maybe that’s not very ‘liberal’ of me, but it’s the truth, and i would probably be absolutely livid were i to discover that the man who raped my sister or the woman who molested my son was being provided these amenities for which people ‘on the outside’ have to work so hard.  that being said… i’m having a difficult time imagining a vegan rapist, and maybe that’s also totally off, but, sort of strange, don’t you think?

essentially, if the goal of the prison system is to rehabilitate, which i think it should be in those circumstances in which rehabilitation is an option, ain’t nothin’ wrong with giving them law-breakin’ vegans something to hold on to.  i work for a transitional home for ‘at-risk’ teens – they get to leave the house and use the phone and smoke cigarettes, and i know how hard it is for them to be penned in… i can’t imagine how difficult it must be to literally be locked away from everything you once knew… if having a few creature comforts keeps your head screwed on tight, keeps you feeling like a person, then what’s the harm?  even more importantly… let’s imagine we live in a world where the prison system actually does at least attempt to rehabilitate people – and, let’s imagine we had a bad day and we stole our ex-boyfriend’s car – and, let’s also imagine we got our ass busted for stealing that car, and we suddenly find ourselves locked behind bars.  assuming that the act of rehabilitation has to focus on repairing or restoring or ’embiggening,’ if you will, one’s sense of mental health, or one’s sense of self… what’s to keep us interested or invested in rehabilitation if we have no control over our lives, and don’t have the ability to maintain at least some remote semblance of the self image we had before we made such a silly mistake?  people are easy to break; it’s not a simple thing to keep the long-term effects of one’s actions in mind when one is trudging down a long, mundane, monotonous, soul-sucking path, and, it seems that not providing people with a few small things here and there might actually mean we’re pumping more money into the system, or that we are preventing people from having the ability to rehabilitate.

this is all theoretical.  but that’s my schtick.  it would be awesome to see some actual research about some of this, or to hear other people’s thoughts on the whole vegan prisoners thing.

Quick Note: DOL Releases List of Goods Produced with Child Labor

After years of keeping this info under wraps, the Department of Labor has yielded to public pressure and released a list of goods produced using child or forced labor.  From the End Human Trafficking blog:

“This list was mandated by anti-trafficking legislation back in 2005, but the Bush administration dragged their feet for years. Now, thanks to your voices and the hard work of NGOs like Polaris Project and the International Labor Rights Forum, it’s finally here. This list is a huge boon for consumers who want to choose slave-free products. With this list, we as consumers can finally hold companies and countries accountable for the slavery they use in making the goods we buy, and we can decisively take action to prevent slavery in the production of consumer goods.”

I’d Rather Go Naked Until I Get Paid More to do Otherwise

No one is surprised because, well she’s not exactly known for her compassion, but it still kinda bites that Naomi Campbell is appearing in these new fur ads after doing the PETA “I’d Rather Go Naked” campaign many years ago. After all, it is possible to be a less than sweet individual and still find fault with fur (look at Martha Stewart for goodness sake! Didn’t she run over her gardener or something?)

The fur industry is really pretty nasty. Anal electrocution, live skinning, and other animals, such as family pets, being caught in traps…for a coat? Or some fluffy trim?

Boo! Hisssss…… nao

Origins Update

A happy ending to my post from August 15th:

Apparently feeling the pressure from customers and animal welfare organizations, Origins has removed the “swim with dolphins” session from the grand prize package of their “Leave it all Behind” sweepstakes. Please drop them a quick note to thank them for standing by their animal friendly philosophy. You can read the full press release here.

I am going to slather myself in my favorite Origins body cream to celebrate.

I didn’t really want to blog about Michael Vick, but…

The neighbors who live behind me are selling pit-bull puppies. I spent most of Sunday explaining to my daughter that we can’t get another dog right now-trying to convince myself that it was a bad idea at the same time. I would love another dog but I’m limited by finances, by the fact that I rent my home, by our senior Akita who gets a little grumpier as time goes on and may not welcome a young dog onto her turf, etc. I also promised myself a while back that I would not “buy” another companion animal, but would visit a local shelter or rescue and adopt  if I ever was able to take another dog into our home.

But, I feel guilty…after all that discussion I’m left wondering about the fate of those puppies who were being sold at the low, low price of $200 each. I really hope that they will be given loving homes and will not be snatched up by dog fighting enthusiasts or individuals who are only interested in projecting a “tough” image. I’ve spoken briefly with the man who is selling the puppies. It was several months ago, but at the time I remember thinking he seemed a little sketchy-not the type of person who is going to care much about where these puppies end up. Sigh.

Michael Vick’s “60 Minutes” interview aired on Sunday as well. I didn’t watch it until the next day. I don’t know what I expected to hear from someone who drowned and electrocuted dogs, but he doesn’t seem truly sorry to me. I guess time will tell if he is effective at preventing others to go down that  same, horrible path. For now, I am just hoping that Vick’s ordeal has convinced any local would-be dog fighting ring operators to find another, more humane way to spend their $200.