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Revealed: No Country For Animals

  • July 30, 2010 11:38 am

A very powerful and hard to watch documentary was aired in Canada this past Wednesday July 28th on Global TV: Revealed: No Country For Animals
I’m not terribly proud to be a Canadian knowing how far behind we fall in the welfare of animals. Dedicated investigators such as Twyla Francois have documented, video- taped proof of the abuse and cruelty that takes place in public and behind institutional doors. Some of the most outrageous cruelty happens at farm auctions in plain sight! And don’t even get me started about what goes on in agri-farming…the conditions these sentient beings are forced to live and die in, the unbelievable pain and suffering that goes on in transporting these animals to slaughterhouses…driving to their destination sometimes as long as 52 hours – 52 HOURS!! – without a break, food or water…crammed into trucks in all kinds of weather conditions…prodded, poked, beaten and thrown into trucks!
Where is the disconnect here? How does this happen? How can we on the one hand kiss and cuddle our pets, buy them expensive gourmet food and toys and clothing (!!) and yet buy meat and dairy at the supermarket that has been the result of suffering animals? Animals that feel pain, loneliness, fear…animals that have just as much a right to a peaceful, well adjusted, HUMANE life as any other living creature. There is also a whole other focus of this documentary surrounding puppy mills…I will say no more, seeing is believing.
We have a long way to go as a species, but thanks to a growing number of caring, conscientious, awake- to- the- plight- of- animals humans there is a shift taking place. For many, myself included, this shift isn’t happening fast enough. Another day that any creature has to suffer at the hands of humans for food, entertainment and money is a day too many. How can we turn our minds and hearts away from the truth? And if we are able to…for how long?
I urge you to watch this documentary. If you have ever loved, felt compassion for another, known kindness…you cannot help but be affected by stories like these. It’s through these awakenings that change can happen.
CLICK HERE to watch and learn what you can do.
Thank you.

We Animals: Photography of Jo-Anne McArthur

  • June 8, 2010 5:02 pm

I attended a vegetarian/vegan event this past Sunday called Compassion Marketplace at the Wychwood Barns Artscape event space. There were vendors with yummy veggie food, books and info about going veg, and promoting kindness and compassion for our fellow animals.
Although I fully support that there be more events like this, I couldn’t help this little voice inside me that kept saying- ‘This is great- but it’s kind of like preaching to the converted.’ I felt like the majority of people were there because they’re already compassionate towards animals, humans and the planet. An event like this one needs exposure in an everyday setting, smack dab in the middle of town, maybe at an event completely unrelated so perhaps those not so inclined might stumble upon this wealth of information.
One vendor in particular caught my eye, Jo-Anne McArthur . Her space was filled with powerful photographs of animals and humans. Her work has made a lasting impression on me. I find it hard to get certain images out of my head, (also, I don’t want to dismiss them!). She shoots footage of unbelievable abuse and hardship that is inflicted on animals by humans. She exposes what goes on in factory farms, in research labs, the streets and backyards of our world’s cities, animals being used for our medicine, our entertainment, our greed. It’s not easy to digest, but how can we turn a blind eye to what goes on all around us? Wake up!
She also documents incredible acts of kindness and compassion carried out by humans towards animals. For example, the wonderful work of the those at the Farm Sanctuary.
It’s not all doom and gloom, but for me, a very clear message is being conveyed here: these horrific occurrences cannot continue. I believe it makes the viewer question our very humanity. I hope that looking into the eyes of these sentient beings will affect you in your core. Animals need and deserve our respect and the right to live out their natural lives unharmed by human animals.
Bravo Jo-Anne!

Anouk Bikkers

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Global Exotics’ Appeal Denied: 26,000 Animals Won’t Be Returned Jasen and Vanessa Shaw

  • February 5, 2010 9:54 am

I receive daily posts from a great site called Care2 . They cover a wide variety of world issues such as animal welfare, global warming, environment and wildlife, human rights, politics, and more.
I am compelled to comment on a story I read this morning about the outcome of a 7 month undercover PETA investigation. As I was reading this horrific news of animal abuse I was eager to learn what sort of punishment Jasen and Vanessa Shaw—the owners and operators of an Arlington based company called U.S. Global Exotics ( USGE ) were going to get. They were divested of the exotic animals and cannot run such a facility again…..that’s it?!?! Please tell me they are getting jail time…huge fines… Something!! What is wrong with this story ( besides the unforgivable abuse and deaths of innocent animals ) !? Nowhere is it indicated that the Shaw’s have to pay for their crimes. So, they can’t operate such a business again….ah, that really sucks, poor things, they’re out of work – for now. THEY should be crammed into a tiny windowless room with no food and water filled with dead and decaying people!!!
This is another positive achievement for PETA and I applaud all their hard work….but there needs to be a huge overhaul of the legal system and ‘industry standards’.
This is simply unacceptable.

Today’s Toronto Star

  • December 8, 2009 2:40 pm

I opened my morning paper and on the front page, top right corner was a picture of a gecko with the heading: “XMAS exotica-Pet presents don’t have to come wrapped in fur.” – pause – hmmmm….excuse me, what?! Let me think about that for a minute. Ok, now I’m curious and little warning bells are rapidly firing off in my head….So I go to to Section E1 to read on.

A story about buying pets for your kids for Christmas. Oh! the whole family better be on the same page when it comes to committing to something as major as a dog. You don’t want Fido to end up back at the pet store on boxing day. Then it suggests alternatives to dogs – why not look into smaller, easier to care for pets such as snakes, or turtles – or hey! – cute little geckos (!!!). I could go on and on about what this article says but I want to shout about what it doesn’t say.

First- why on earth is this reporter writing about buying puppies, or ANY pet from a pet store? I wish there were no pet stores that actually sold pets. Please, let’s just buy pet food, toys and other supplies – not actual live animals! There are plenty of rescue organizations where one can adopt a beautiful pet. There are rescues for practically any type of “pet” you could want. It has been well documented that many puppies found in pet stores come from puppy mills. So, given that a dog is such a big commitment, she suggests looking into exotics instead ?! What is the Toronto Star thinking? There are tons of articles out there on endangered species, climate change, environmental issues ( the whole world is focused on the Copenhagen Climate Conference right now, for pete’s sake!). Why promote going out and purchasing a turtle or a gecko? Even if the animals mentioned are not endangered- the mere indication of buying an exotic pet makes my head explode. In case the world doesn’t know – there is a thriving illegal pet trade out there. THIS ARTICLE IS NOT HELPING.

So, go buy little Tommy a Western Hog Nosed snake ( PLEASE DON’T! ). It’ll teach him some sense of responsibility ( GIVE HIM A PLANT OR A PAPER ROUTE! ). This poor snake will get handled by people, live out its life in a glass aquarium – no taste of freedom to live in its natural habitat. What if Tommy loses interest in his snake? What then? Back to the pet store? Neglected ? Or worse…!

It appears to me we still have a long way to go to change the way some people see animals and our relationship with them.
It’s news articles like this one that reinforce my sense of purpose and spur me on to try harder to be a voice for these creatures that can’t speak for themselves.
Thanks for listening.

Crikey-ridge tailed monitor-commission for Earth Rangers


© anouk bikkers 2010