Archive for December, 2008

December 29, 2008

-Of what is considered a “waste of time” when it comes to animal rights-

a little baby lamb on a farm sanctuary.How much of an animal rights organization’s budget should go on saving dogs and cats during a crisis when this money could have been spent on education, teaching children and adults how to treat animals in the first place. The catch, in my opinion, is that sometimes, help must come immediately. For example: the attacks on the south of Israel from Gaza has made many leave their homes and forsake their animals, just like in the north during the summer 2006 war and during the ‘disengagement’. These cats and dogs are often left to starve or die of thirst. Some are strays who feed on leftovers and when the shops, factories and houses are deserted, no food is left for them to feed on. Should we then come in and feed these animals? And what of the ones who are here in Tel Aviv or in the other parts of the country who are in dire need of help? And if we consider the numbers, should we spend thousands on saving hundreds or should we spend the same amount on saving millions in the food industry, by explaining to people how animals are treated in the industrial farms?

How can we find better use for the money which is donated to animal organizations?

The problem is, that many organizations receive donations because they save dogs and cats, and not because they save chickens. In this way, organizations that wish to deal with the fundamental problem of how people perceive animals, must take on other projects in order to get money in. And as they grow, they forget their initial plan, or choose to concentrate on other matters, knowing that most people prefer Fredi-A, the puppy than Fredi-B, the lamb who was just taken from his mother, to be slaughtered. Since most people can be good to some animals, as long as it doesn’t interfere ideologically with what’s on their plate. With one hand they will sign a check for Fredi-A, while with the other they will eat their goat cheese pizza (‘organic pizza made with milk from free ranged goats’), with milk taken from Fredi-B’s mother, who got impregnated only in order to lactate for people.

And that is the fundamental problem we should work on  – People who choose not to think of how a dog and a pig have the same awareness, and feel fear and pain and love. That in order to produce food (“but I can’t go vegan, I just loooooove cheese!”) we deprive them of their most basic rights.

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December 22, 2008

– Of Changing Our Views or Changing Our Friends –

“If you have a racist friend, now is the time for your friendship to end. Change your views or change your friends…,,

Tocotronic.

Many people would agree with this song, but only a few would say the same thing about meat eating friends.

Obviously I wouldn’t share a table with a person who tells me that “Jews control the American economy”, then why be friends with someone who believes that factory farms are a necessity? That drinking milk from a cow, who’s children were taken from her to be slaughtered is something we, in this world, must have because this person “really loves cheese”?

We meet new people all the time and choose who to befriend. We should influence our friends and our family. We should have vegan holiday meals and show how easy and fun it is being a vegan, not some sacrifice we must make, cause it really isn’t.

Many new vegans come to the point in which they have to deal with their old meat eating friends and think twice before they make new ones. Should we depart from our old meat eating friends since our views have changed? Or should we have faith that they too, will change? Because it’s not really about whether or not seeing meat on the table bothers us or not, it’s about knowing that this person, which you call your friend, has speciesist views.

So just how tolerant should we be when it comes to speciesism? Sadly enough, I just don’t know.

December 21, 2008

– Of how horses and donkeys in the city fall through the cracks –

Working for an animal rights organization in Tel Aviv, I organized an event for horses and donkeys, to try and ban a primitive practice of using them to pull carts to transport Altesachen. in Yiddish, ‘Altesachen’ means ‘Old Stuff’, and though most don’t know what this word means, for Yiddish is not usually heard on Tel-Avivian streets, it is to this day yelled by the owner of these miserable creatures, calling people to give him their ‘old stuff’.

For some people (too many), the use of horses in the city for cart pulling is something nostalgic and romantic. While for the “hard core” animal rights activists the subject is almost meaningless when is compared to the suffering of billions which are used in the food industry. People do not identify with donkeys and horses like they do with dogs and the subject is not a media attractor like fur is. People regard it as a luxury for us to deal with this, like a German woman visiting Israel, who asked if Israelis have “nothing better to do than to worry about a couple of horses and donkeys in the city” or as one of the club owners who hosted us for the event noted, he’s having a “real hard time with it”, since it’s “just not sexy”. And that is how sometimes, these animals fall through the cracks.

It is important to understand that in suffering we are all equal, that animals suffer just as we suffer (even though it’s hard to understand why people insist on having to identify with another living being only to relate to his or her suffering), that we all share the same basic rights.

It is true, that in numbers, the horses’ situation in Tel Aviv is a small, insignificant percentage, in comparison to the number of people who starve around the world or animals used in laboratories, but still – we each have to work to reduce the pain and the suffering around us. No matter how small the numbers may be, the pain is the same, and we all must fight to stop it. Whether it’s by calling the municipality or writing letters about a horse we see on our street, or if it’s in the choices we make when we buy groceries. Every single time we choose, we can make a difference.

To find out about the struggle to stop skinning animals for their fur, go here.

Written on the day before the longest Night of the year, 2008.