Thursday, November 19, 2009

Why I’m sad this week.

I’ve been in a funk lately. I think that, while there’s certainly not more cruelty than usual, I’m hearing more about it, or it’s affecting me more deeply, or I’m just going off the deep end.

You may have heard about Oreo. She was an abused pittie girl whom the ASPCA nursed back to health after she was thrown from a sixth-floor roof this summer. When she demonstrated aggression that didn’t abate after several months, they put her down on Friday despite a massive public outcry and a sanctuary willing to give her a permanent home. I emailed Ed Sayres, President of the ASPCA, asking him to reconsider and give Oreo to Pets Alive so she could have a chance at a happy life. I know that thousands of other people also emailed and called and blogged and tweeted and mobilized their resources to save Oreo. I frantically monitored Pets Alive’s Twitter feed, hoping for a definitive answer until word came that she had been put down. That a dog who had never known safety or comfort was killed by the very people who had promised to advocate for her saddens me so deeply.

Oreo during her recovery. ASPCA photo.

Mercy for Animals keeps tearing it up on the undercover front, and I’m so grateful for their work. You might remember their hatchery video. This time, they infiltrated a so-called family farm that raises pigs for slaughter. No new atrocities were brought to light, but that’s the most telling part: These things happen every day, in huge feedlot operations and on the small, cozy “family farms” that aim to make us feel better about the animals killed for food. I haven’t watched the video, so I may be a hypocrite in suggesting that you do. I did, however, read excerpts from the investigator’s journal:

“There was another dying pig lying in the hall today, gasping for air. My coworkers stepped around him and went into a room to continue working. When we finished and went back into the hall, a worker kicked the dying pig hard in the chest, and he flew back into the wall, leaving a trail of blood from his mouth. He continued to breathe as the workers walked away.”

“I saw firsthand how clever and empathic pigs can be. A sow and her entire litter had escaped their crate and gathered in the hallway. I examined how they'd escaped and discovered that the sow had loosened steel pegs in two different places. I told a co-worker this story and she said that when a sow figures out how to unlock her crate, she often goes around unlocking all of the other crates as well.”

“The gas cart was filled to the brim with pigs today, a total of 39, including 9 large pigs that were at weaning age. They were left in the cart all day to trample each other, before being gassed all at once.”

Now, you know how much I love my dog. Lucy is crazy-ass smart, so smart that sometimes I think she’s just waiting for us to leave, convinced in our silly human way that she’s just going to curl up and nap on her futon, so that she can concoct elaborate plans for world domination. She’s got nothing on a pig. They’re smarter than dogs and arguably cleaner (I doubt they lick their own butts). Hell, they’re smarter than three-year-old children. They can learn to play simple video games. They love to be scratched and petted. They’re not bacon receptacles just waiting for you to get hungry.

Harry and Bobby are best friends and live at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary.

And then there was this. That, my pretties, is a HuffPo video of a deep-fried fish being eaten while he is still alive. I have not watched it. Braver people than I on the PPK have, but the thought of it makes my eyes close and my stomach hurt. The knowledge that this sort of base cruelty exists and is being distributed as entertainment just…I just ache. That’s all.

On a happier note, Red and I will be attending Vegan Drinks tomorrow, and Poplar Spring’s Thanksgiving with the Turkeys on Saturday. If there’s anything I need after all this misery, it’s good vegan alcohol, then snuggles with a chicken or sheep or a few dozen. In case you’re too lazy to clink on that first link, Baltimorons, there will be vegan Bailey’s. And soy White Russians. The Dude abides.

Thankfully, he does. Photo ripped from TFC Journal, who ripped it from somewhere else.


  1. Ooof. This was a hard post to read but thank you for doing it. I'm glad you made the point that all those undercover investigations and brutal videos are NOT one time acts of abuse, they go on EVERY SINGLE DAY. It is the norm, not the exception.

    That is what is so hard to make people understand. They think that the animals THEY eat are treated well and with respect, especially if they are free range or cage free. They simply refuse to believe the truth.

    I propose that before anyone can buy or consume an animal product they have to watch a short clip of where the meat/egg/dairy came from and how the animal was treated. No looking away.

  2. I know the funk. I'm in the funk. I struggle against it daily. I keep reading that we need to put our energies into fighting the good fight for the animals instead of letting the negative energy get us down. But it is so hard. I was just watching an interview with Tim Gunn, runway manager, about not using fur in fashion. The video cut away to a 5 second segment of a fox (I think it was a fox, it was hard to tell) that was lying there totally skinned, still blinking and who turned his head to look at the camera. I am still reeling, crying, and my head feels like it might explode with the headache that has begun to pound.

    I have quit watching animal suffering videos because I respond this way. I'm already vegan and supporting animal causes financially, but I feel so impotent. I don't understand how people can become aware of these circumstances and be fine with it. How do you deal with your funk?

  3. Thanks, Ingrid. I haven't found that it gets any easier. I just try to take it one day at a time, as simplistic as that sounds. Yoga and mindful breathing sometimes help too. When all else fails, I read gossip blogs and look at pictures of baby animals on Cute Overload!