Farmed Animals

Another ethical grey area: Duck cuddling

duck and veteran

Image description: On a suburban street, a burly man in sunglasses and a trucker cap tenderly cuddles a white duck in his arms, talking to him or her and scratching his/her tummy. The duck is relaxed and cozy-looking. Three more ducks walk around behind them, among chain link fencing and an orange construction fence.

This is one of those things that I see as a vegan and wonder if it could be done ethically. The story behind the image is that this guy is a veteran living in Ohio who keeps ducks for therapy. According to this short Gawker post and the AP article it links to, this “keeping” apparently consists of caring for them, watching them, and spending time with them. It doesn’t say anything about taking their eggs or feathers, or eating their bodies, or breeding or selling them. Maybe some of that is involved; maybe the particulars of this situation are in some way exploitative. My guess is that these animals weren’t rescued from a factory farm, for example.

But what I’m seeing here is the potential for a very sweet and symbiotic way for veterans and other humans to take a lot of solace in the company of animals who need homes. If sanctuary animals in need of adoption were paired with humans who need their company, that seems like a smart, benign, and even beneficial relationship. Could the concept of “therapy animal” be expanded to become an explicitly mutual, respectful relationship intended to benefit both parties?

Read the article and tell me what you think about this subject.

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One of those very rare moments when I regret not living in NYC anymore

Design and Violence Debate: Debate III (MoMA):

Design and Violence is an ongoing online curatorial experiment that explores the manifestations of violence in contemporary society by pairing critical thinkers with examples of challenging design work. Contributors’ weekly essays have been published since November 2013, creating a body of opinion and a set of case studies that spark discussion and bring the ambiguous relationship between design and violence to center stage for designers and the people they serve—all of us.

Design and Violence is organized by Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, MoMA; Jamer Hunt, Director, graduate program in Transdisciplinary Design, Parsons The New School for Design; and Michelle Millar Fisher, Exhibition Coordinator, Department of Architecture and Design, MoMA.

The third debate will center upon Temple Grandin’s “serpentine ramp,” a slaughterhouse design modification that attempts stress reduction and a more humane death for animals. Professor Gary L. Francione (Distinguished Professor of Law, Rutgers, and author, Eat Like You Care: An Examination of the Morality of Eating Animals) and Nicola Twilley (editor/author of Edible Geography.com, co-founder of the Foodprint Project, and director of Studio-X NYC) will deliver debate motions, moderated by Design and Violence co-curator Paola Antonelli.

Postable intersectional social response graphics

I don’t know what else to call these? They’re very specific, what can I say. I made them to post on Pinterest and Twitter. I suppose they’re a little passive aggressive, but I’m not as confrontational as I used to be back in my Flickr heyday, and I like the idea of these perhaps being reusable and less direct than having on-the-spot dialogues. I don’t like making folks feel attacked or making them feel obliged to engage in dialogue. But I don’t mind if they see something I post.

This one is for Pinterest. I admit it, I like tipis. But they are not cool. Consider this a PSA. #cultural appropriation #racism

This one is for Pinterest. I admit it, I like tipis. They’re beautiful. But they are not something white people should use decoratively. Tents are fine, tipis, not fine. Consider this a PSA. #cultural appropriation #racism #interior design

This one is also for Pinterest. I never want to call anyone on these things, and I can't hide or block particular images (I think?). I guess I just wish folks cared more about whether interior designs include corpses. #fur #skin #rug #hide #leather #head #hunting #throw #sheepskin #lambskin

This one is also for Pinterest. I never want to call anyone on these things, and I can’t hide or block particular images (I think?). I guess I just wish folks cared more about whether interior designs include corpses. #fur #skin #rug #hide #leather #throw #sheepskin #wool #sheep #animal #lambskin #vegan #violence #ethics

Dudes, please. Just do this. I shouldn't have to say it. #mansplaining #sexism #patriarchy #privilege #communication #microaggressions #equality #feminism

Dudes, please. Just do this. I shouldn’t have to say it. #mansplaining #sexism #patriarchy #privilege #communication #microaggressions #equality #feminism

I’m going to go post these on Pinterest right now, and will probably continue to do so whenever I’m feeling annoyed by photos of tipis and sheepskins, and whenever I’m getting particularly tired of the #mansplaining.

(I love everyone, by the way. I live by Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s words, “We should regard those who point out our faults as if they were pointing out treasure” and work hard at rooting out and working against my own racist cultural appropriation, my own whitesplaining, and my own oppression of animals of many species, including sweatshop workers and other humans. So call this a cultural critique, not a personal one. Please know that I’m taking issue here with actions and not people, and that I critique my own actions even more critically. These graphics are offered in a spirit of good humor and arty experimentation, as a public way to work out a frustration with something happening in a public forum. Peace and love!)

I have more of these planned, I think. Let me know if you have any intersectional gripes you want drawn / written, or make your own and tell me about them. If you know of other art like this I’d love to hear about it.

And please tell me what you think of these. I’m deciding if I want to be at all negative; I’d been trying so hard to be positive for a while that I was lacking in honesty, but I’m still very much up in the air about it. Thanks for your opinions and ideas!

“the fate of most livestock is that they are murdered by their benefactors”

Charlottes-Web-Terrific-Garth-Williams1Read E.B. White’s poignant explanation for writing Charlotte’s Web (io9):

A farm is a peculiar problem for a man who likes animals, because the fate of most livestock is that they are murdered by their benefactors. The creatures may live serenely but they end violently, and the odor of doom hangs about them always. I have kept several pigs, starting them in spring as weanlings and carrying trays to them all through summer and fall. The relationship bothered me. Day by day I became better acquainted with my pig, and he with me, and the fact that the whole adventure pointed toward an eventual piece of double-dealing on my part lent an eerie quality to the thing. I do not like to betray a person or a creature, and I tend to agree with Mr. E.M. Forster that in these times the duty of a man, above all else, is to be reliable. It used to be clear to me, slopping a pig, that as far as the pig was concerned I could not be counted on, and this, as I say, troubled me. Anyway, the theme of “Charlotte’s Web” is that a pig shall be saved, and I have an idea that somewhere deep inside me there was a wish to that effect.

Solution: Go vegan.

Metaphor and climate change

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Elevator Music and Art Gallery

@New Roots Charter School (116 North Cayuga Street/The Clinton House)

new roots Opening Friday 7th: 5 to 7PM

Still Life with Calving Iceberg

By Maria Driscoll McMahon

“Still Life with Calving Iceberg” is an installation incorporating sculpture and drawing which explores the adolescent condition and identity formation through a central metaphor taken from the natural world: an iceberg that is falling apart, or “calving,” evoking not only catastrophic environmental destruction, but through a metaphor within a metaphor, a baby animal domesticated almost exclusively in rural areas.

Visit newrootsschool.org or call (607) 882-9220.

Will you stand up for animals in this year’s Ithaca Festival Parade?

Just saw this on Facebook:

Please join Finger Lakes Animal Rights on Wednesday May 29th, to march in the Ithaca Festival 2013 Parade, themed “Where the Heart Is”. We’ll be walking resources — carrying signs displaying titles of books, podcasts, films, etc. related to making the world a better place through veganism. Anyone is welcome to join in. A great opportunity to show our community that it’s a win-win situation to Wear a Heart for ALL animals.

Finger Lakes Animal Rights parade banner

Finger Lakes Animal Rights parade banner

More info and ongoing updates: www.veganedu.org/parade/

Contact & RSVP: fingerlakesanimalrights@gmail.com

If you’re not vegan yet, I bet this movie will convince you

Or maybe not, who knows! But this movie does seem to be very convincing to a lot of people. See if it works for you, maybe!

Community screening SATURDAY in Ithaca:

DOVE (Demonstrating Our Values Through Eating) & Club Veg Film Series
FORKS OVER KNIVES: Join the Conversation That’s Changing the Way America Eats

Saturday, April 13th, 7 – 9 PM

At the First Unitarian Society of Ithaca ANNEX Building, 208 East Buffalo Street, 2nd floor, Ithaca

FORKS OVER KNIVES examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods.

“A film that can save your life” ~ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

“I Loved it and I need all of you to see it” ~ Dr. Oz, The Dr. Oz Show

“Great movie” ~ Mark Bittman, New York Times columnist

“Convincing, radical, and politically volatile” ~ John Anderson, Variety

Who: Open to the public, childcare available
Cost: FREE (optional desserts and popcorn available for sale)
Reservations: Reservations for childcare REQUIRED by Wednesday April 10th.
Reservations for attending helpful for setup purposes. Reserve by emailing clubveg@gmail.com. For more information call 272-1126 before 10 PM
Make sure to include your name, number in your party, if you want to reserve childcare (and how many children and what ages).

DOVE & Club Veg planning meeting precedes the movie starting at 5:30. If you would like to get involved with DOVE (Demonstrating Our Values through Eating) an Action Team of the Unitarian Social Justice Council OR Club Veg as a volunteer, come to a meeting for volunteers. Delicious vegan dinner available for $10/each. Reservations required if you would like to order a dinner. See reservation information above.

New vegan book club starting up in Ithaca

Via the Ithaca Vegans group on Facebook:

For those of you not on the meetup website I am starting a vegan book club and discussion group. The first date is for Sat. May 4th at 3:00. I suggested the first book, The Lucky Ones by Jenny Brown founder of Woodstock farm animal sanctuary. We will also discuss what else everyone wants to read. If you are interested let me know. – Stephanie