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.


Linky McLinkpants

Also: Responses to Jack Halberstam’s “You are Triggering Me”:

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!

One million images of the inhabitants of a threatened ecosystem

One million images of the inhabitants of a threatened ecosystem

endangered-gorillasHuffington Post reports that the wildlife camera trap network from TEAM has captured its one millionth animal photo. TEAM, or Tropical Ecology Assessment & Monitoring Network works to provide comprehensive, real-time data about our world’s remaining forests.

Click here to see more images from daily life in the forest.

If you too care about our world’s forests and their residents, please, help stop deforestation. Go vegan, reduce/reuse/recycle/repair, and try to reduce your negative impact on the environment. You might not save the forest all by yourself, but you’ll know you tried to help. As Albert Einstein said,

A human being is a part of the whole, called by us the ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.”

Click here for action suggestions from Greenpeace.

SLIDESHOW: Vegan Ithaca in photos!

Photos can be a great way to show folks how delicious and fulfilling a vegan life can be. If you tag them well so people can find them easily, you can even get them featured in the news or on websites.

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If you have photos of local vegans, potlucks, vegan food, animal rights activism, and so on, consider adding them to our Vegan Ithaca photo pool on Flickr. You can add a limited number of photos to Flickr each month for free, or if you’re a photo geek like me, you can pay a small fee for a pro account. We welcome your images – post away, and tell your photographer friends!