Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happier new year to animals

A new year, a new decade, a fresh start -- at least in concept. Wouldn't that be great? I'm wishing for it, meaning that all the ills and evils mentioned here since last May might stop or at least finally show some sign of diminishing. Will people grow more aware of non-human animals as living beings with needs and feelings and rights? Will they pause in their relentless (and so often thoughtless) cruelty?

Wanting to get rid of reminders of animal abuse, I'm now throwing away stories I clipped from publications or jotted to myself to remember for post possibilities here. Either they'll stop -- or they'll happen again, and I'll simply clip the stories again to write about in 2010.

* Out with the story about the Lipizzaner stallions, who are taught over 6-8 years (!) to dance in a "choreographed equestrian ballet set to classical music. " Oddly enough, Gary Lashinsky, the story's spokesperson for this idiocy said, "the stallions live to entertain." Oh? Or did he mean they live because they submit to training, a la circus animals?

* Get rid of a story about humans learning to slaughter the animals they'll then eat. The extensive coverage last October 25 in the NYTimes was surprising in its detail, sickening in its content. By learning to slaughter and butcher, these carnivores say they "can honor their pigs and eat them, too." Did anyone consult the pig?

* Then comes the issue of farm animals and antibiotics. "The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that 70% of the antibiotics used in this country are fed to farm animals," a July 24 editorial reported. This is done routinely as a feed supplement, to increase growth and lessen the chance of infection in crowded industrial farms. Needless to say, the farm lobby objects to any curb on the practice because it would make it much harder to "crowd thousands of animals together in confined, inhumane and unhealthy quarters."

* And finally, for now, the use of animals in laboratory experiments continues on a grand scale, despite proof that other, animal-free methods of testing drugs and techniques would work far better, and that what may be true for animals is not necessarily true for humans. (It must take a "special" kind of scientist to confront these facts about his/her work . . . and continue with animal experimentation.)

We can only hope this year will be a better one for animals.

1 comment:

Troy said...

Hi, Pat. I have great respect for anyone who protects the rights of anmals,..but when you go afer the lipizzaner stallions, you are totally wrong.
I am that spokesperson you mention. I have narrated their production for 20 years. I have witnessed only humane and just treatment of these noble animals. Their "dancing" is a centuries old tradition, using their NATURAL ability. In fact, everything they do in the show, they do before they have had any training. Not every horse does every move, and that's okay. Trainers work within the natural ability of each horse. Their schooling begins at age 4, and is never more than 45 minutes a day, for 6 to 9 years, simply teaching them to do on cue what they already do naturally. These traning sessions are bonding times between horse and rider, something both look forward to. Circus "Tricks" are about teaching an animal to do something unatural to them, like teaching a bear to ride a bicycle. That's not what we do.
These horses are our livelihood. They are also our family, and as individual as the people you know.
They are treated very well. So well, that when they retire between age 21 to 23, (They typically live to be 30 to 35)about 50% "fail" refusing to eat or mate, until we put them back in the performance and ease them slowly into retirement.
The performance, as with the training, is all about the PARTNERSHIP between horse and human, and it's a beautiful thing.
Please keep up the good work for animal rights,..but do your homework.