Oppression

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.

Linktown

Here are some links. Catching up.

Yes to Grandmas, No to Drones

From the Syracuse Peace Council: Drone Resister Sentenced to One Year in Prison Base’s Order of Protection Begs Judgement:

On July 10, grandmother of three, Mary Anne Grady Flores was sentenced to one year in prison for being found guilty of violating an order of protection. A packed courtroom of over 100 supporters was stunned as she was led away, and vowed to continue the resistance.

These orders of protection, typically used in domestic violence situations or to protect a victim or witness to a crime, have been issued to people participating in nonviolent resistance actions at Hancock Air Base since late 2012. The base, near Syracuse NY, pilots unmanned Reaper drones over Afghanistan, and trains drone pilots, sensor operators and maintenance technicians. The orders had been issued to “protect” Colonel Earl Evans, Hancock’s mission support commander, who wanted to keep protesters “out of his driveway.”

Mary Anne began her sentencing statement with, “Your honor, a series of judicial perversions brings me here before you tonight.” She concluded that the “final perversion is the reversal of who is the real victim here: the commander of a military base whose drones kill innocent people halfway around the world, or those innocent people themselves who are the real ones in need of protection from the terror of US drone attacks?”

The orders of protection are being challenged on many legal grounds.

Mary Anne had been issued a temporary order in 2012. The next year, she photographed a nonviolent witness at the base, not participating herself because she did not want to violate the order. The irony is that those who actually participated in the action were acquitted, while Mary Anne was charged with violating the order.

Even though the pre-sentencing report recommended no jail time, Judge Gideon sentenced Mary Anne to the maximum of a year in prison. As he imposed his sentence, the judge referred to his previous Hancock decision. He had stated then and insinuated now, “This has got to stop.”

In addition, Mary Anne was fined $1000 plus a $205 court surcharge and a $50 fee to have her DNA collected.

Her verdict is being appealed.

How you can help

  1. Send letters of support to Mary Anne Grady Flores c/o Onodaga County Department of Correction, PO Box 143, Jamesville, NY 13078.
  2. Mary Anne’s lawyer is appealing this case and financial support would be gladly accepted. Make checks out to Ithaca Catholic Worker (with Mary Anne’s name in the memo) and send them to 133 Sheffield Road, Ithaca, New York 14850.
  3. Help spread this Democracy Now link around: Grandmother Sentenced to 1 Year in Prison After Protest at U.S. Drone Base — and ask your local media to cover this situation. Write something yourself if you can.

These suggestions are amended from a Facebook post by Ellen Grady. She can be reached at demottgrady6 at gmail dot com for more information on upcoming trials and related support efforts.

Free Food in Tompkins County

Food pantries, hot meals, farm-fresh local vegetables, and other healthy sustenance is very available in Tompkins County – never let yourself or your family (or your neighbors) go without!

If you don’t know it already (or if you know people who might need this information…) please check out Friendship Donations Network. Here is a listing of pantries and meals and pick-up points, with eligibility information.

For more info on local surpluses and resources, connect with Shira and I via Share Tompkins. We have an active email list and Facebook Group where folks in the community can help get out the word about sharing / mutual aid opportunities, and free housing and food and so on.

If you’d rather give than get at the moment, you could click here to contribute to Friendship Donations Network or here to support Greenstar Community Projects. You can also help to get out the word about FDN’s new Food Hubs, front porches where you can pick up fresh produce. I’m pretty sure there’s a food donation box at Greenstar, though I’m not sure which group is running it. If anyone has good info about food donations and hunger reduction efforts, please leave a comment – thanks!

New Talking Circles on Race and Racism in Ithaca

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Ithaca’s Multicultural Resource Center is having a new round of Talking Circles on Race and Racism and I can’t recommend them highly enough! I am so grateful to all of the organizers and participants of this amazing program. I know it helped me to open my eyes (again and again and again…)

Quick links from awesome people

Here are some of the very cool things that have landed in my in-box in the past few days. Had to share!

  • Reverend Billy Vs. Robobees: ‘This is a film by Stop Shopping Choir member and Ethiopian-American activist Theodros Tamirat. In it, Reverend Billy & the Stop Shopping Choir marched bee-pollinated food into the Micro Robotic Lab at Harvard University. The lead researcher in this project has received public accolades and money from Navy, Air Force and the notorious drone designers DARPA. His scientists are designing a HoneyBee robot that would artificially pollinate the factory farms of the future, while its possible military uses stop at the word “Surveillance.”‘ Help finance the Third HoneyBeeLujah RoboBee Exorcism here.
  • Astraea Foundation is seeking donations. Help support their excellent work for queer folks here.
  • Video: “Why Are We Stuck in Climate Denial?”
    “This salon-style event was hosted by Gay Nicholson of Sustainable Tompkins. To begin the discussion, Nancy Menning (Philosophy and Religious Studies) of Ithaca College, and Dave Wolfe (Horticulture) and Lauren Chambliss (Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future) of Cornell University provided some insight into the complex and often subtle explanations for denial, and approaches for moving beyond denial to address important questions regarding solutions.” Other talks: May 8: Can business and technology save us? May 29: Will government intervene? June 19: Is it up to the citizenry? Click more info on the video for details on upcoming events.
  • Queer Women Who Tech Summit New York JUNE 19-22 // NYU LAW SCHOOL // NEW YORK “The Lesbians Who Tech Summit is the only event focused on increasing visibility and tech participation in two historically underrepresented communities: women and LGBTQ. The Summit brings together hundreds of queer women in tech (and the people who love them), for the most unique technology conference ever. We’ll highlight incredible queer women who are the next generation of technical leaders, and the people who have paved the way.”
  • Information Session: NY State of Health Marketplace: “Come and learn about how the Affordable Care Act affects you, your family and your community please come to this information session on Thursday, June 26 from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at GIAC… Refreshments will be served.”
  • The New Black is airing on PBS’ Independent Lens, and is up for an Audience Award. Click here to vote! “Centering on the historic fight to win marriage equality in Maryland, this documentary takes viewers into the pews, the streets, and kitchen tables to look at how the African American community grapples with the gay rights issue.” Click here to view a TED Talk by the director, Yoruba Richen.

Hm, that was a lot of stuff! Sorry for the long post. Hope these sorts of posts are of interest to folks; let me know what you think!

Juneteenth coming up in Ithaca

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Southside Community Center will conduct its annual Juneteenth Festival on Saturday, June 21st from 11am to 6pm. Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration of the legal emancipation of enslaved Black people in the United States. Not only is it a celebration of remembrance of the rich history of African Americans in this country, but also a celebration of our achievements in the continued struggle against oppression. This year’s theme is Ujamaa: Economic Empowerment and Entrepreneurship. The festival will include games for children, a bounce house, face painting, live music, food, arts and crafts, and workshops on financial literacy, starting a business with no money down, designing sneakers, and protecting intellectual property. More