Category Archives: In the News

This is the World We’re Living In

This morning in Burlington, a city located about an hour’s drive west of Toronto, a truck overturned on a side road.  The truck was headed to Fearmans Pork plant, a slaughterhouse that “processes” around 10,000 pigs per day.  The driver suffered minor injuries and as of this posting, police are still investigating what exactly caused the crash.

The truck was carrying approximately 180 pigs and 40 were confirmed to have died as a result of the crash.  The over 100 pigs that survived were either euthanized on the spot or, if they were “lucky” enough to still be able to walk after having already endured being in a steel trailer that flipped with them inside of it, were – unbelievably – walked the remaining distance to their deaths. Since their ultimate destination was Fearmans anyway, the company decided it wouldn’t be worth changing trucks for and instead had its employees herd the bloodied, injured and scared pigs to an even greater terror. Continue reading

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This week, the news and social media have been saturated with the story of Harambe, the 17-year old gorilla who was shot to death on May 28, 2016 at the Cincinnati Zoo after a little boy climbed, and then fell, into Harambe’s enclosure. I’ve been reading a lot of articles on it, as I’m sure many of you have, and still trying to process it in my own mind. Like Cecil the Lion who was killed last year, this animal’s death has created a lot of discussion, speculation, and sadly, revealed a lot of ugly hatred and public shaming. 

First off let me state: I reject parent/child shaming. It’s toxic, at best misguided, and extremely unhelpful. It’s especially disturbing when it comes from people who weren’t there to witness what happened and even if they were, no parent is expecting to find their child in a gorilla enclosure on a day at the zoo – there is no way of knowing what any of us would do or how we would we react in that same situation. Public displays meant to humiliate are a grotesque side to humans that the world does not need.  It also feeds into this “blame the mother/woman” trend that repulses me to no end. Enough. Continue reading

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The Reasons Mount

In late October of this year, I read the headline – as I’m sure many of us did – that the World Health Organization (WHO) published a report that the consumption of both red and processed meats can increase our chance of certain cancers due to the carcinogens contained in them.  The report was based on, “an analysis of more than 800 epidemiological studies,” which was evaluated by 22 scientists, from 10 countries, at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

Apparently there are several designations of carcinogens that are the biggest threats to causing cancer, with Group 1 being the highest and most dangerous. To put it in perspective, tobacco and asbestos are both in Group 1 and now, according to the report from WHO, so is processed meat, such as hot dogs, bacon, sausages and even, “meat by-products, such as blood“.  The report placed red meat (beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse, and goat) in a Group 2A category and found these products to be “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Continue reading

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The Unspoken Prejudice

I generally don’t write a lot about cruelty cases towards cats and dogs unless it’s to compare the difference in how cruelty towards them versus the animals we eat is generally viewed.  It’s not that cats and dogs don’t need the attention or are immune from suffering at the hands of their owners – far from it.  It’s just that when they are found to be abused, it’s one outcry I don’t feel I need to add my voice to. Stories of animal cruelty that make the headlines involving dogs and cats are usually met with an instant public outpouring of anger and a call to action, having been long-established that it is socially unacceptable to abuse them. What I’m more interested in is A) despite it being socially repugnant to abuse cats and dogs, why do people still do it? and B) why do we continue to view the mistreatment of “pet” animals as any different from the animals we consider to be otherwise? Continue reading

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Understandable Outrage, Undeniable Hypocrisy

So, Cecil the lion is now a household name, right?

For those of you who may not be aware, last week a story broke about Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota, who went to Zimbabwe in June of this year for some recreational hunting of big game animals and killed a lion named Cecil. Cecil was a 13-year-old lion living on a conservation reserve and was being studied by scientists from Oxford University. According to the news story, Dr. Palmer paid a professional Zimbabwe hunter, Theo Bronkhorst, $50,000 to help him kill a lion with a bow and arrow.

Long story short, the two men lured Cecil out of the national park and shot him with a cross-bow. Cecil ran and hid in the bush and the men tracked him for forty hours. They eventually shot him, beheaded him and skinned him (and took a photo, as you do).  It was only when the hunters found the tracking collar on Cecil that shit hit the fan and the general public began to react en masse as the story spread.  Theo Bronkhorst is facing charges of failing to prevent an unlawful hunt and Dr. Palmer and his wife have gone into hiding as people have vandalized their home, picketed outside his dental office and some even left several pickled pigs’ feet on the driveway of one of his homes, an illogical message at best but also an example of the hierarchy we place animals in: lions are the white and affluent of the animal kingdom, pigs are the non-Caucasian and marginalized.  Continue reading

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Our Contrary Relationship with Animals

A recent story came out of Florida where, on May 3 of this year, a landscaper who was mowing lawns on behalf of a company came across a mother duck and her 11 ducklings and deliberately ran over nine of her babies with the lawnmower leaving their body parts, “scattered all over the lawn.”  He was charged with nine counts of animal cruelty and is currently in jail on $27,000 bail.

At least two residents ran out to stop him and naturally they were shaken by what they had seen.  One resident was interviewed in what looked like her backyard, visibly upset by what she had witnessed.   As she sat in a chair recounting to the reporter what had happened, I couldn’t help but notice the stainless steel barbeque prominently displayed in the background.  Here was a woman who actively tried to prevent cruelty and bloodshed and was horrified by the landscaper’s senseless actions.  Yet I wondered: if she found out that millions of baby male chicks are killed in a similar way every year by a large grinding blade in a high-pressured macerator all because they are male and lack the capacity to breed, would she react the same way?  More to the point, would she actively do something to prevent it by refusing to eat chicken? Continue reading

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