A Smattering of Things to Do
This week has brought many interesting suggestions of things Animal People can do to get the word out–whatever your word is (after all, we are not clones).
Bea informed me that Dirty Jobs, on The Discover Channel, will feature . . . .
Inside an Indiana dairy farm, Mike learns how to milk a cow and use a blow torch to clean her udders. Then, Mike gets the inside scoop on how to inseminate a cow. Finally, Mike gets an up-close look at fatherhood as he helps deliver baby calves.
I accidentally saw several minutes of the episode where Mike gleefully, and to romping, silly music, checks the sex of day old baby chickens, and tosses the males to their deaths. This is a popular show, and millions of people are now aware that male chicks are killed on Day 1 or 2 and I haven’t heard anything about egg sales plummeting as a result, so though the audience might be upset about some of what they see (and it is likely to be presented in a delightful manner), I suspect dietary and consumer habits will not change. And that’s not the intention of the show, anyway. I’d be curious to see who the advertisers are for that episode.
If you are so inclined, watch it, deconstruct it, and let me know how it all goes. Write to Mike Rowe and the producers of the show and let them know what you think (here’s a message board).
Next, I didn’t follow Pope Benedict XVI’s US trip, but I hear that 100 white doves were released at his New York and Washington DC masses. The New York Bird Club was aflutter regarding this information, particularly considering the Pope’s (alleged) love of cats is well known. There’s some confusion over whether the birds were doves or white homing pigeons, as if they were the latter it would be acceptable. There are six pages of discussion on the board, including suggestions for what you can do if this is something that offends you.
Penultimately, if you haven’t visited Water Footprint.org and calculated your individual water footprint, do so and then use your results in discussions with vegetarians and omnivores and anyone else interested in the environment. Do NOT use the quick calculator , as it doesn’t distinguish between
vegetarians and vegans, and your results will have an enormous dairy
component to them that you cannot control. You might want to rethink your coffee consumption and quit said habit (it takes 140 litres of water to produce 1 cup of coffee, compared to 35 litres for a cup of tea). And you’ll need to know that 1 kilogram=2.20462 pounds.
Also, there are slides that provide very useful tidbits on the home page, but Safari apparently doesn’t support them (yet doesn’t say anything about their existence), while Firefox does show them. This tells me that there might be other parts of the design that I’m not seeing with Safari.
I’m a bit confused about "Industrial goods consumption" being judged by my gross yearly income. That enormously skews my water footprint, yet I purchase far less than the average person. And to use gross income rather than net makes no sense to me. It appears that there’s a lot of judgment factored into the equation. Nevertheless, the information on the site is useful for conversations with meat and dairy eaters, as it helps them see that if they call themselves environmentalists, they might want to change what they call themselves or change their behavior.
Finally, Deanna wrote me asking for help with:
. . . finding a way to stop the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City, UT from building a proposed new polar bear exhibit. The Hogle Zoo had a polar bear several years ago that died from an intestinal blockage caused by ingesting a glove that had been thrown into his cage. I had seen that polar bear in person and it was a most depressing sight. This was Salt Lake City in the summer which is blazing hot! The poor bear was in a really small concrete and bar cage and it was just pitiful. Now they want another polar bear and are campaigning for donations for a new exhibit. They have already received a $3 million grant from a local philanthropic
organization. It will probably be several years before the exhibit has enough funding, but I would like to marshall some resources to stop it before it gets started. There are so many logical arguments against building this exhibit, not the least of which is that the money it will take to build it could be put to better use protecting the Arctic. I know it always comes down to money and power and I am not at all sure where to start. . . .
I am not choosing one animal over another to focus on. I think zoos of any kind should be abolished. The reason for my focus on this particular zoo and this particular exhibit is that it does not yet exist and has the possibility of being stopped and the possibility of educating the public about protecting the polar bears’ natural habitat if they are to be saved – not putting them in zoos in the high desert. It just seems that stopping this exhibit would be a huge step in making people sit up and take notice and realizing that zoos are not the conservation havens that their PR people try to make them out to be.
- Does anyone have evidence that starting online petitions actually works? I just signed one against budget cuts for child welfare in Florida (they will dramatically affect funds available for foster and former foster youth), because a good friend asked me to, but I do wonder about their efficacy.
- I suppose Deanna could start a blog or an organization dedicated to stopping this endeavor, and/or partner with the local animal welfare groups or animal rights groups.
- Writing letters to the editor could be helpful.
- And writing to city commissioners (that’s how it works down here–it’s all about the city commissioners).
- Going to council meetings with a group and getting on the agenda to publicly discuss this, unless the zoo is private.
- Contacting the Utah Zoological Society Board of Directors, which runs the zoo, is definitely a good idea.
- If you know any big donors–or can even amass a bunch of smaller ones–who can let the zoo know that its customers aren’t happy with its plans, that could be helpful.
As I run around today I might think of others, and I’ll be in and out to publish comments if anyone has any ideas.
Thanks, as always, for reading and writing.