Family & Children

Humans, you are bigger and stronger than cats.

The headlines read, with a snicker, 22-Pound Cat Takes Family Hostage; Family Calls 911 For Help. The cat, it turns out, is in a family with a new 7-month-old baby. Lux scratched the baby and was kicked. He began hissing and growling and cornered the family including the dog in a bedroom for a short period before presumably making friends again. In this comment thread, someone says, “Don’t kick cats!” and a lot of people are all like, “Why not? He scratched the baby!”

facepalm

My thoughts:

  1. This story is not funny, it’s sad.
  2. Humanity’s amusement about this story says a lot about our collective lack of compassion for beings of other species.
  3. Cats and dogs and children all depend on us and all love us. We don’t have to place them in some kind of hierarchy of importance.
  4. Cats get jealous. They are often very disrupted by the arrival of children. Since we first made a commitment to the cat, we should continue to honor that commitment.
  5. Cats scratch when they’re threatened or upset. Kicking them doesn’t make them feel any less threatened or upset.
  6. Kicking those who are less powerful than you are does nothing but show how cruel and ignorant you are, and sets a terrible example for children.
  7. Next time maybe try apologizing to the cat, protecting him from the baby, and NOT KICKING ANYONE.

As an aside, because I happen to be jumping through the hoops needed to become the second adoptive parent of my own baby son: I can’t believe that people are allowed to just go buy cats and make babies, when adopting them is so difficult (and is done with so much positive intention). Our species will take a great leap forward the day we realize that caring for children and non-human animals is a great privilege as well as a right.

Awesome events coming up in Ithaca

If you liked these links you may like these too! More events and workshops, these ones all in Ithaca:

Humble Teacher Shocks Community By Leaving $8.4 Million To Charity

Awesomeness:

A retired teacher who worked with special-needs kids, the late Margaret Southern drove a 1980s Cadillac, lived in a modest home and had just one indulgence in life: taking her friends out to eat from time to time.

So when the Greenville, S.C., community learned that the humble resident, who died at age 94 in 2012, had left $8.4 million to the Community Foundation of Greenville, a group that provides grants to targeted programs, they were pretty shocked to say the least, Greenville S.C. News reported…

It’s the largest gift the Community Foundation of Greenville has ever received in its 56-year history and Southern requested that the money be spent on the causes she cared about most — children’s education, special needs programs and the humane treatment of animals, the organization said on its website.

Half of the funds will be given to the Greenville Humane Society, a no-kill adoption center, and the rest will be distributed among a number of other organizations.

The Greenville Humane Society was particularly grateful for the gift since it hasn’t been able to keep up with public demand since it opened a new facility, Director Kim Pitman told the Greenville Journal.

Pitman just regrets not having had the opportunity to meet Southern.

“She strikes me as a kind of person I would like,” Pitman told Greenville S.C. News, “doesn’t put on airs, smart, loves her animals.”

Should animal lovers eat Peeps?

Did you know that Easter Peeps are made out of boiled skin and other byproducts of the farming industry? Please find out where gelatin comes from if you’re supporting its production – it involves animals suffering and losing their lives.

Never fear, vegan Easter is sweet! You can get vegan marshmallows and easter candy. You can make Devilish Potatoes (via Mercy for Animals) instead of deviled eggs, dye and hunt for vegan eggs, or make a vegan Easter basket. Start some seedlings for a spring garden or plant a tree or flower bulbs.

Easter is supposed to be a celebration of renewal and new life, and is often celebrated in a very child-centered way. Rather than objectifying and exploiting rabbits, chickens, cows, pigs, and other animals, why not set an example for children that demonstrates our respect for others of all species, and for the earth that we all call home? In the words of William Blake, “For Everything that lives is holy, life delights in life.”

Masculinity in the kitchen

In Do We Have The Courage To Raise Our Sons More Like Our Daughters?, Lynn Beisner tells a story about how changing gender norms have allowed her to continue a treasured family tradition of passing on a beloved (presumably non-vegan, but that’s not the point here!) toffee recipe — because her son was ready to take up the torch when her daughter wasn’t. She writes,

I love how my son is challenging all of the gender assumptions I didn’t even know I still had. I love that somehow, against all odds, I managed to raise a guy who cannot have his masculinity threatened because it does not reside in what other people think of him.

As I read this lovely post, I thought of all of the amazing vegan men I know, who are willing to stop eating animals, though so many human cultures seem to equate meat eating and dominance over nature with masculinity. I love that so many men are becoming so willing to help build a more equitable, peaceful, cooperative culture, in these different ways. Maybe the kitchen is a good place to start, since it’s a place where women and animals have been oppressed for a long time.

Maybe one day women won’t fear men, and animals won’t fear humans. Can we make that happen, together?

Fourth of July Pignic at Farm Sanctuary

Freedom and compassion, two of America’s founding values, are habitually supplanted by exploitation and quick profit in the country’s treatment of its farmed animals. On Monday, July 4, at its annual Fourth of July Pignic, Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization, will celebrate a nation’s nobler principles and demonstrate how their extension to farmed animals— the largest group of abused animals on Earth— is in keeping with the true spirit of America.

This free, festive event will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the organization’s bicoastal sanctuaries for abused and neglected farm animals, located at 3100 Aikens Road in Watkins Glen, New York, and at 19080 Newville Road in Orland, California. Offering guided tours, plenty of one-on-one time with hundreds of lovable pigs, cows, sheep, chickens, and other farm animals, and veggie hot dogs, the Fourth of July Pignic is an irresistible day of summer fun the entire family will enjoy.

“The way animals are treated on factory farms is out of line with American values,” says Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary. “Farm animals are every bit as interesting and full of feeling as dogs and cats, yet on factory farms they are treated like inanimate machinery and denied the most basic freedoms we hold dear. As Mahatma Gandhi famously said, ‘the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.’ We invite everyone to come celebrate America’s birthday in a way that truly reflects the greatness of our nation.”

This year’s event promises to be even more celebratory than in years past, as it marks the midpoint of an important milestone for Farm Sanctuary: the organization’s 25th anniversary year. More information and directions can be found by visiting farmsanctuary.org or calling 607-583-2225 ext. 221.

Save the Date: VegStock in July!

Save the date! VegStock is happening July 2nd, 2011 on farmland near Ithaca/Watkins Glen, NY.

A FREE gathering just for FUN and recharging with a vegan theme. Includes: Music Entertainment (featuring Kyle Vincent and others), activities for children and adults (and adults who think like children :) ), music and drumming jam sessions, face painting, vegan food sampling & samples, vegan food and wares vendors.

Free and open to all interested attendees. (Suggest attendees bring lawn chairs/blanket to sit upon, if desired)

Click here for updates, directions and contact information.