Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
This article frightens the crap out of me. Does anyone else think this law is a throwback to apartheid days, when the government decided for you what you were allowed to see or hear? Can you say "unconstitutional"?
It is bleeding obvious what the aim of this law is - to protect our corrupt and incompetent officials against exposure. I can't help seeing in this yet another, and an ominously significant, deviation from that promising path of freedom and democracy that lay before us in 1994. The longer the ANC is in power, they more they resemble the Nats L
Monday, August 24, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I have recently gotten myself into numerous veganism-related discussions, some more amicable than others. I felt that perhaps I should clarify why I feel so strongly about the vegan lifestyle, and why I will not shut up J
Yes it is a personal choice. But while omnivores exercise that choice, animals suffer and die. People attack vegan ideology from economic, cultural, personal liberty and other perspectives. And whereas I feel that the facts stand up for themselves in these matters, the plain and gory truth is that, for you to eat an animal, the animal must die. For you to eat eggs, a chicken must lay them. For you to eat dairy, a cow must become pregnant, have a calf, and be milked.
This is where Mr James LaVeck's brilliant quote comes in:
"There is a reason why human rights groups do not endorse 'humane' methods of executing political prisoners, and why children's rights advocates do not collaborate with the pornography industry to develop standards for films that make 'compassionate' use of runaway teens. To do such things is to introduce moral ambiguity into situations where the boundaries between right and wrong must never be allowed to blur."
Yes I completely subscribe to that. Even if slaughtering methods were humane (which it simply cannot be due to the overwhelming demands for meat, and let's for one minute forget how animals are raised), it is my honest opinion that taking away a sentient being's life – except in extremis, such as a dog with a terminal illness – can never be anything but cruel.
As for eggs and dairy, is it possible to provide these to a 7-billion strong population in a "humane" way? No, again the demand is too big. We simply do not have the space for truly free-range chickens, and cows do not produce enough milk to be viable if their calves are left with them. Besides that, as long as animals are exploited for their "products" they will remain a commodity, in the same way that slaves were still a commodity no matter how well they might have been treated by some of the slave owners. And being a commodity means not having universal, inalienable rights. It means being vulnerable to abuse, it means never being free, and it means that when you are no longer economically useful, you will be discarded by the cheapest means.
Gary L. Francione calls our relationship with animals morally schizophrenic, and I feel this is accurate. We accord some rights to companion animals and all decent people are horrified when cruelty is inflicted on these companion animals. But most of the same people seem blissfully unaware that similar cruelty is perpetrated against "food" animals every day. And of course people generally do not feel that animals should have rights like humans do, forgetting how the same rhetoric, the same excuses were used to subjugate black people and women, to excuse the horrible abuses of religious inquisitions and in the early lunatic asylums.
We are told that anthropomorphising animals is bad science, but is it? Animals, especially mammals but to a large extent birds, have similar brain structures and similar neurotransmitters, and their brains behave in similar ways to ours when similar stimuli are applied. So how different can their emotions be? Even here our beliefs about animals display a certain logical disconnect. We accept that animals can feel fear, but not that they can experience love, or grief. Except maybe a dog, right?
When these things are brought to people's attention, those doing so are usually seen as "extremists" and all-round unpleasant people. But knowing how animals – whom I passionately love – suffer every day, for every egg or slice of bacon someone eats, how can I be expected to remain silent? I do not judge nor do I seek to prescribe. What I want to do is to challenge misconceptions, but perhaps more importantly, I want to challenge why people hold the opinions they do. Is it truly your opinion or did you inherit it?
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
...or have at least misplaced it. For a while now I haven't blogged because I couldn't think of anything to blog about. Now I have realised why. I am too happy. My life is going quite smoothly. I have a decent job, family life is good, I have actually been out a couple of times, etc etc. Generally life is very good. So I am not angry enough.
While I am certainly not complaining (I am quite satisfied with my life being this good thank you very much), the rest of the world is pretty much the same as always and there's plenty to be angry about.
So to start off with I have today's WTF moment - I mean who would want their daughters to be armed with knowledge about sex, right? And who actually sits down with their 13yr olds to see what they're watching on TV?? Shocking *rolls eyes*
But even better, read this. Seriously, when is this crap going to stop? How can this madman and his evil camarilla be allowed to continue destroying Zimbabwe? And will our president actually do something for a change??
Only time will tell, but of one thing you can be sure: I am back, and pissed off as ever ;)
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Pretty soon I shall have a wedding blog up and running, and Malcolm will have a vegan food blog. I shall share addresses here.
While I'm at it I shall wish everyone a happy Imbolc.
And finally, although it's a bit late for this year, I reckon Maybe Day should be celebrated annually (shout out to An Unquiet Day for the link). Just so we can all remember that no-one really has a clue.
As you were.
Friday, June 19, 2009
First off examine your motives and ideas. If you approach this as a huge sacrifice, you will probably endure pain. If you approach it as a conscious, "fcuk you I won't buy what you tell me" decision, you'll have a lot more fun.
Bear in mind that a. this list is hardly exhaustive and b. I have been vegan for a total of 6 months, so I am hardly an expert. And of course the links here are rather lazily added, I'll add more when I can be bothered.
- Let's get the worst out of the way. Say goodbye to cheese. This is the one thing you probably will miss. Few cheese replacements are any good although Bute Island Cream Sheese is awesome, and Free Food's No-D Cheese (available from Fresh Earth) melts well in white sauces etc.
- You gotta like veggies. This may seem obvious, but I hear whispers of people who don't like vegetables. I feel sorry for them :)
- Meat is actually quite expensive so going vegan means you can afford to buy awesome stuff like cashews and capers and other tasty things you can eat instead of meat and animal products.
- Learn to cook. If you can toss up a nice veggie meal you will a. save money, b. eat less frankenfoods, c. have a prettier plate and d. still get all those nutrients people are forever quizzing you about. Find lots of recipes here.
- Don't let all your food consist of substitutes but do make use of them when convenience is an issue. Some substitutes (e.g Fry's, Bassets' Tofu Treats Ice Cream) are as good as the oringinal.
- Pack a lunchbox. Even if you have a work cafeteria, the chips and/or green salad will seem a bit samey by the third week.
- Get recommendations from people about restaurants, or go there and check out the menu. Don't be afraid to ask waiters, caterers etc what is in the food. They will usually be quite helpful, considering that some food allergies can be fatal they will usually be happy to tell you exactly what goes into a dish. Shahi Khana in Norwood and Sho Ming in Kensington, for example, are very understanding and helpful.
- Be prepared to get flak from people. The majority of people are cool with veganism but some people seem genuinely offended that a person may not want to eat dead animals.
- Arm yourself with knowledge. Read up on nutrition. Neutral sources like Patrick Holford will be a good start, as will veggie websites and recipe books. Also read up on general facts. E.g. if someone tells you that the Amazon is being cleared to grow soy for vegans, tell them that "85 percent of the world’s soybean crop is processed into meal and vegetable oil, and virtually all of that meal is used in animal feed. Some two percent of the soybean meal is further processed into soy flours and proteins for food use…" . Even better, refer them to Livestock's Long Shadow, published by the FAO.
- Join the Vegan Society.
- Do not be discouraged. Be assured that however small the difference *you personally* make, the cumulative difference made by all people who try, will have an effect.
- Remember that veganism is not really just a dietary preference. It is a lifestyle choice, and in some cases a political statement. It includes boycotting companies who test on animals (and trust me the bastards are everywhere), boycotting fur, boycotting products with animal ingredients. In a similar vein I avoid buying clothes made in China. It's that "fcuk you I won't buy what you tell me" approach again. No I'm sorry I will not buy your factory farmed chicken, your cosmetics tested on helpless animals, your tissues made from old-growth forests' trees, or your branded crap made in a sweatshop.
I responded to the article (and the commenters):
"Firstly, in the context of polygamy, virginity testing, women being violently abused for wearing trousers or short skirts, dry sex, jackrolling, female genital mutilation, and voting against the UN declaring rape an act of war, I am going to be so bold as to say that Africa has some serious problems when it comes to the issue of women's rights, and men's sense of entitlement. This does not mean that Africa is the only place where this is true, but many of these sexist practices are socially sactioned. If you do not oppose the practices I've listed, in my opinion you do hold that problematic ideal of masculinity Prof Jewkes refers to.
Secondly, my studies tell me that rape (by and large) is not a problem of "sick people". It is a problem of a society with skewed beliefs about women and sexuality. Be honest, how many of the men (even women) on here truly believe that an incident was rape if the woman did not physically resist and scream? Even if there was a weapon involved. How many people would say that a drunk woman in a bar was "asking for it"? All cultures have been subjected to pathological ideas about women's rights and about rape for centuries. As Gareth said, marital rape, "corrective" rape, date rape etc are not seen as rape. I agree with Delia that a more in-depth study of the motivating behaviour and the thinking behind rape would be beneficial, but such studies have been conducted on convicted rapists and the results are not particularly surprising. Entitlement and sexual myths play a huge role.
Thirdly, do remember that the study (if not the newspaper article) is peer-reviewed and the raw data, workings etc must be published and *will* be ripped to shreds if not rigourous. I am not sure about the provinces and the age group apparently used, but the sample size seems reasonable. The stats don't literally imply that if I'm on a bus with 4 men that one of them *is* a rapist.
Has any of the commenters actually read the report? And why do some of the men here seem so precious about this? Kind of like that ad with Charlize Theron. Can anyone deny the seriousness of the problem?
Oh and finally this is not a race issue. It's a gender rights issue."
Mysogyny should never be confused with traditionalism.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Not quite. Circus animals are trained from a young age, and are taught how to behave by domination and punishment. They spend most of their lives either in tiny travelling cages or performing in noisy, crowded environments.
Recently this lion was removed from a circus and is currently in recovery at the Drakenstein Lion Park. Please consider donating to this worthy cause. In any event please consider not supporting circuses featuring animal acts.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Therefore, if you want to do one thing that can make a difference on numerous levels, all of them important, eat less meat.
 Of course this only applies if you eat sensibly, cook most of your veggies, grains etc from scratch (or even better, have them raw in a nice salad) and don't live off only polystyrene-packaged take-aways and factory-produced substitutes.
 Don't believe the PETA link? See the movie Earthlings. It will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about whether the animals that end up on dinner plates really frolic happily on wide open fields until they are humanely and painlessly killed, or whether the reality is slightly darker.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
Please call and/or forward this to as many people as you know who will be likely to attend and object to greyhound racing
Your help is needed now to stop dog racing and we only have a few weeks left to do it. However, it is not in the form of an e-mail, SMS or petition but your presence is needed at a hearing to state your objection to the introduction of greyhound racing.
The DTI is holding public consultations so that members of the public and interested groupings can submit their input. The process is neither confrontational nor a debate, and all that citizens are required to do is give their name, state whether or not they support greyhound racing, and why.
Simply by attending the hearing nearest to them and participating in the process and saying NO to greyhound racing. In this instance as your presence and input are required inside the actual hearings to make a difference.
Where and when?
13 FEBRUARY 2009 : 09h00-12h30
PROTEA SEAPOINT HOTEL
20 FEBRUARY 2009 : 09h00-12h30
PROTEA MARINE HOTEL
26 FEBRUARY 2009 : 09h00-12h30
GARDEN COURT HOTEL
27 FEBRUARY 2009 : 09h00-12h30
PROTEA MANOR HOTEL
EAST LONDON (ESPLANADE)
6 MARCH 2009 : 09h00-12h30
GARDEN COURT HOTEL
13 MARCH 2009 : 09h00-12h30
WILLOWS GARDEN HOTEL
BE THERE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
WHY CONDEMN DOG RACING?
The introduction to South Africa of abhorrent practices that surround this activity as they exist in other countries globally ultimately would result in enormous untold suffering and deprivation of welfare for thousands of animals in the future. Empirical research shows that the greyhound racing industry is in rapid decline around the world, for good reason, in that progressive societies are realizing the extent of cruelty involved in the sport, and thus a greater lack of support for the practice.
Global evidence reveals that ultimately only a few interested stakeholders will profiteer enormously off the back of suffering not animal amongst the animals, but amongst the millions of impoverished citizens for whom gambling merely adds to their economic deprivation. If South Africa is to thrive both economically and as a prosperous democracy, both government and its citizens should be engaging in positive economic opportunities, not encouraging a lose-lose industry whereby both the poor and the animals will be the resultant casualties at the hands of a few profiteering opportunists. In so many other respects, South Africa continues to hold its head high globally for its extremely progressive constitution and democratic practices, which many fought and sacrificed so much in order to achieve. It would be a very sad day indeed if South Africa slid back to darker days involving oppressive practices that involve causal suffering, both economically and socially.
As a country, we should continue to serve as an example to the rest of the world as a thought leader and that we reject all forms of regressive practices, however lucrative they are to a small pool of self-interested business proponents who have no self-regulatory system to combat welfare issues or concern for the poor.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Bekkie was a baby Cape White-eye that had fallen out of her nest no more than a day or two after hatching. My mom found her on Friday, 5 December and gave her to me. She was still naked and blind but immediately opened her mouth for food - hence the name Bekkie. It was love at first sight. I fed her Avi Plus and she slept (with a hot water bottle) next to my bed. She travelled everywhere with us and countless waiters and shop assistants told me that "God would bless me" for taking care of the little bird.
We started taking her outside so she could catch insects and nibble on flowers. She started flying in rapid bursts, and liked nibbling on our hands. We had to bathe her once or twice after she'd jumped into her food bowl. She would sit with us in the evenings, flitting over my notebook or nestling in my lap, or lie on her back in my daughter's hand while we tickled her tummy.
On Thursday, 22 January, we found Bekkie lying dead on the floor of her cage. No warning, no sign of anything wrong. Just a life ended, without reason, without warning. All that promise, all that hope, all the love and care come to naught.
Luis was a 7-year old boy from Guayaquil, Ecuador. He was an orphan, living with his older sister and other siblings in absolute poverty. He was about to start his second year of school, and had learned to write beautifully in his native Spanish. He drew pictures of his friends and of animals, and enjoyed learning reading and sums. On 8 January, he complained about abdominal pain and was taken to hospital. The doctors treated him for pancreatitis but he passed away that same evening.
Luiz was involved with an organisation called Children International. They do wonderful work with children in impoverished communities. Please check them out.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
19.What are your feelings on "semi-nude" pictures of women, specifically in public areas? Do you think it objectifies women? why?
One person responded that women objectify women, citing the fact that women's mags, like men's mags, have women on the cover and that women are always checking out each other's hair, clothing etc.
My response was as follows. It was quickly dashed off, but more or less got my point across:
"In the 18th and 19th centuries women of “gentle” birth were not allowed to work, except maybe as a governess (which was a k*k job), and therefore the sole object of a girl’s education was to render her “marriageworthy” for lack of a better word. This basically meant squeezing every bit of self-reliance and natural curiosity out of her and interesting her only in her own appearance and “accomplishments”, such as embroidery or, if the parents were daring, playing the piano. Ms Wollstonecraft said this better than I but you get the gist. In order therefore, for a girl to have a semi-decent life she had to marry well, and in order to marry well she needed to be pretty, meek and generally “feminine” i.e. interested only in girly stuff. That hasn’t gone away, especially considering that women are still paid less than men and are still almost discouraged (by their socialisation and education) to do “masculine” work like being a pilot or an engineer. Hence looking at what other women are dressing like etc., is almost to make sure you are able to compete for resources. In a similar vein to men reading up on investment, flashy cars or how to last longer in bed ;)"
I will expand upon this post later, but it gets the point across. In fact this poem does, too http://themagazineanalysts.blogspot.com/