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1700 animals are slaughtered in abbatoirs or sacrificed in research laboratories in well under a minute, every minute, of every day.

The Vermont Supreme Court Considers “Loss of Companionship” Damages for a Dog’s Death

A Prisoner Seeks Vegan Food in Prison: Why Refusing Him is Both Illegal and Foolish

What Vegans Can Learn from the Gay Rights Movement’s Successes

Language must be raked, the secrets of slaughter-houses and infamous holes that cannot front the day, must be ransacked, to tell what negro-slavery has been.

from: Emerson, Ralph Waldo., Joel Myerson, and Len Gougeon. Emerson’s Antislavery Writings. New Haven: Yale UP, 2002.

Vegetarian criticisms will be likely to assume as their work either one of two tasks. Perhaps most obviously, vegetarian criticisms will seek to ameliorate the suffering of nonhuman animals at the hands of especially human ones by documenting as best it can the facts, complexity, intransigence, and adverse consequences of that suffering. Another possibility is that vegetarian criticisms will seek simply to document the vicissitudes in the ongoing emergence, circulation, and ramification of vegetarian identities, cultures, practices, and discourses.

Crucially, these two projects will often appear to be at odds with one another.

[ . . . ]

For me, vegetarian criticism must actually take as its point of departure the inevitability of human/nonhuman animal demarcations, an inevitability that is continuous with the concomitant inevitability of ongoing demarcations among animals, human and nonhuman. And this vegetarian criticism should take, then, as its tasks, both the perpetual troubling of these demarcations and the documentation of their transformations and effects. This would seem to me to be a critical practice that comports well with a sense of the political that has as its constitutive anxiety the simultaneous recognition of the necessity and the impossibility of eliminating violence altogether from public life, a sense of the political which provokes a seriousness the strictures of which afford not purity, but, it is to be hoped, among other things, perhaps a real measure of pleasure.

Breed-Specific Banning? Not A Chance

By Kim Wolf (Philadelphia Weekly)

“They are just dogs. I repeat: They are just dogs.” This description of pit bulls was repeated by Donald Cleary of the National Canine Research Council during a panel discussion held March 8 at Drexel Law School titled, “The Importance of Creating Safe & Humane Communities for All People & Animals.” But judging by PW ’s March 9 editorial, “Banishing Acts: It’s a Pitty; Maybe it’s time for Philly to consider outlawing pit bulls,” this message still needs repeating.

Despite significant increases in both human and dog populations, Philadelphia has seen a dramatic decrease in the number of reported dog bites, including those inflicted by pit bulls. In 1971, Philadelphia had nearly 8,500 reported dog bites, compared with about 1,100 in 2006, according to the National Canine Research Council.

And although more than one in four Philadelphians currently has a dog, the unfortunate incidents that took place last month represented Philadelphia’s first fatal dog attack in more than a quarter century. A tragedy indeed, but hardly comparable to the 300-plus homicides our city had in 2009 alone. Not even close to the number of Philadelphians killed by cars, falling construction debris, bad weather or even bad food.

And who are these pit bulls anyway? Simply put, there is no such breed. Rather, the term “pit bull” describes an ever-expanding group of dogs that includes American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, Cane Corsos, Dogo Argentinos, bull terriers, bulldogs, boxers and bullmastiffs, as well as any mixed-breed dog presumed by a dog warden or a cop, on the basis of appearance, to be a “pit bull.”

That being said: We do have a problem. However, the problem is not the “pit bull” belonging to Jacob Lambert’s neighbors—the dog he described as “friendly and enthusiastic” and “sits when he is told and generally heeds his master.” The problem is the system.

Philadelphia has failed to address the real villains who threaten our public safety— not the dogs, but the negligent humans who are responsible for them. These are the people who obtain dogs for unsavory tasks (e.g., guarding, fighting); who chain them in backyards or basements; who do not spay or neuter (a symptom of irresponsible ownership and one of several factors overwhelmingly correlated with dog attacks); who deprive them of adequate food and vet care; or who fail to exert control over their animals (and their children).

 Why aren’t politicians enacting anti-tethering laws? Why isn’t City Council providing more public support for spay and neuter facilities? Why don’t judges sentence dogfighting ring leaders and animal abusers to the fullest extent? A large part the problem, quite frankly, is the media.

 Contrary to what they’ve led us to believe, pit bulls are not inherently vicious, unpredictable, ticking time bombs. In fact, it wasn’t long ago that America embraced pit bulls as “America’s dog.” Remember Petey, the famed pup from Little Rascals? How about Sergeant Stubby, our nation’s beloved World War I mascot who was honored by three U.S. presidents? When the news portrays a particular breed or type of dog as “dangerous,” there is an immediate increase in the number of sub-standard owners who obtain those dogs and subsequently keep them in environments that are ripe for disaster. We’ve all seen the guy with a Napoleon complex who paid $1,500 for a “Broad Street Bully” with big balls and cropped ears. I adopted one of these “time bombs” (he was rescued by humane law-enforcement officers from a fighting operation). Where is that dog now? He’s a certified therapy dog who visits nursing homes and elementary schools. And he’s neutered.

So should Philadelphia consider outlawing pit bulls? For one, it’d be legally impossible, thanks to a Pennsylvania statute that preempts any local ordinance attempting to prohibit or otherwise limit a specific breed of dog. Paying for it presents another challenge. Best Friends Animal Society estimates that the annual cost for Philadelphia to enact breed-discriminatory legislation, which would impact an estimated 26,330 pit bull-type dogs, would be a cool $2,275,020.

And what do the experts say? It’s unanimous: The American Veterinary Medical Association, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Animal Control Association, the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, and almost all animal-welfare organizations oppose breed-specific regulation.

Finally, history holds too many examples of humans using certain traits (e.g., skin color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, country of origin) as the basis for categorizing the “differentness” of another group to justify the subjugation, abuse or annihilation of that population. This psychological ploy is now being used against pit bulls, and both the dogs and their human companions suffer the tragic effects. And regardless of one’s feelings toward pit bulls, please think carefully before granting government officials the power to enter a person’s home, seize his property and then kill that property— which is precisely what happens when cities outlaw pit bulls.

Dear Dylan,

Thank you.

(I will have to see American Beauty again.) And as you can see I hold Primo Levi in deep regard but less obviously am a big fan of Coetzee.  The new book “Summertime” is pretty good.  If there are links to more of your writings please send them along.


from — “eyes wide shut”, 2010

“It is because the mind cannot confront the possibility of its death directly that survival becomes for the human being, paradoxically, an endless testimony to the impossibility of living.” (25)

from website:

The Zookeeper’s Wife
~Sylvia Plath

I can stay awake all night, if need be —
Cold as an eel, without eyelids.
Like a dead lake the dark envelops me,
Blueblack, a spectacular plum fruit.
No air bubbles start from my heart. I am lungless
And ugly, my belly a silk stocking
Where the heads and tails of my sisters decompose.
Look, they are melting like coins in the powerful juices —

The spidery jaws, the spine bones bared for a moment
Like the white lines on a blueprint.
Should I stir, I think this pink and purple plastic
Guts bag would clack like a child’s rattle,
Old grievances jostling each other, so many loose teeth.
But what so you know about that
My fat pork, my marrowy sweetheart, face-to-the-wall?
Some things of this world are indigestible.

You wooed me with the wolf-headed fruit bats
Hanging from their scorched hooks in the moist
Fug of the Small Mammal House.
The armadillo dozed in his sandbin
Obscene and bald as a pig, the white mice
Multiplied to infinity like angels on a pinhead
Out of sheer boredom. Tangled in the sweat-wet sheets
I remember the bloodied chicks and the quartered rabbits.

You checked the diet charts and took me to play
With the boa constrictor in the Fellow’s Garden.
I pretended I was the Tree of Knowledge.
I entered your bible, I boarded your ark
With the sacred baboon in his wig and wax ears
And the bear-furred, bird-eating spider
Clambering round its glass box like an eight-fingered hand.
I can’t get it out of my mind

How our courtship lit the tindery cages —
Your two-horned rhinocerous opened a mouth
Dirty as a bootsole and big as a hospital sink
For my cube of sugar: its bog breath
Gloved my arm to the elbow.
The snails blew kisses like black apples.
Nightly now I flog apes owls bears sheep
Over their iron stile. And still don’t sleep.

Sunaura Taylor

Sunaura Taylor, Sunnys In Chicken Cages (2008)

See more of here work an an extremely illuminating conversation on feminism and disability: