Anguish: Ewe Mourns The Death of Her Lamb

“Sheep are able to experience emotions such as fear, anger, rage, despair, boredom, disgust, and happiness.”
 Dr. Isabelle Veissier et al., Animal Welfare1

The engraving below is entitled Anguish (Angoisses) 1879 artist Unknown, after August Friedrich Albrecht Schenck

The following is the original painting  (c. 1878) August Friedrich Albrecht SCHENCK

True benevolence, or compassion, extends itself through the whole of existence and sympathizes with the distress of every creature capable of sensation.
Joseph Addison (1672-1719) (English essayist, poet, playwright and politician)

When I first saw the engraving above, I had not up until then seen the painting,  I was profoundly moved, the artist has captured the anguish of the grieving ewe at the death of her tiny lamb.

Detail from the painting Auguish

Standing in the bleak snowy landscape of winter with large back birds (crows) waiting to devour the flesh of her newborn her sorrow is palpable. I find that in fact the engraving more keenly portrays the bleakness of despair than the painting.

I mostly appreciate art for aesthetic reasons but since seeing this work anguish most certainly conveys a meaningful message, particularly in view of the time of year and the recent death from exposure, pneumonia and hyperthermia of an estimated million tiny lambs here in the UK.

Schenck 1828 – 1901 was known for his paintings of animals, many of which were thought to be allegorical .

In Anguish, Schenck has given his distraught ewe an expression suggestive of despair mingled with stoic determination. Recognizing these decidedly human responses, the viewer might be expected to identify immediately with the animal’s grim predicament. The ewe’s bravery in the face of the threat posed by the murderous circle of crows is perhaps, however, somewhat overstated in her defiant stance above the bleeding lamb.

There is little subtlety evident in this work. Although Anguish has a sentimental quality, Schenck did not intend this to be overt. Indeed, his sincerity in portraying the nobility in animals was not lost on his contemporaries, with a critic for Le Figaro describing the artist in 1878 as ‘One of our finest animal painters. He is one of those originals of the species not yet extinct who prefer dogs to men and find more sweetness in sheep than women’. This is by no means a derogatory statement, but is, rather, a testament to Schenck’s abilities as a painter. Interestingly, if we accept that there is an anthropomorphic quality in Anguish, then the surreal massing of the crows may well be Schenck’s method of alluding to the inhumanity prevalent in society

Read More:
http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/explore/collection/work/4344/ –  Incidentally I don’t see the “stoic determination” only the despair.

Here is a philosophical interpretation:

“A mother has just lost her child; it is winter, and there’s no food. She knew he was in danger, she tried to feed him, she tried to keep him safe but in the end, after yet another bitter night, he succumbed. Her grief feels all the more real, all the more like ours, for being inarticulate and wordless; pure anguish. The crows are unbearably cruel. They gather when another is in agony; they sense the opportunity opened up by the problems of others. They are like the people we most fear – those who like it when we are miserable. The scene reminds us of a possibility we glimpse perhaps only in our own worst moments: that we won’t always be able to protect what we love, our children, our homes, our dignity… That they might win.”

Read More:
http://thephilosophersmail.com/virtues/painting-alleviates-anguish/

While the above perspectives treat this mostly as a metaphor for Human anguish and despair such of course can be manifest in animals, and sheep have emotions similar to our own.

Consider the following:

Sheep are capable of compassion and will help others even those of another species

Jeffery Massom in this book ‘The pig who Sang to the moon’ tells the story of Rammo, ” a macho two-year old Ramouillet ram” who formed a special and compassionate bond with Whisper, a cow who was born blind.

“Rams tend to be loners, and he was a pretty tough ram, so it seemed unusual that he would take up with a blind member of another species. But he did”

“He would graze next to her all day and guide her about the field, making certain she did not bump into the fence or posts…When she had a calf , Shout, sired by an Angus bull, Rammo behaved paternally toward the young animal, more so than even to his own offspring, several bouncy lambs. Whisper lived to be four years and than died in 1996 of a viral infection. Rammo mourned her a long time, standing by her dead body, calling and calling.”

Sheep grieve for their loved ones

10 Things Most People Don’t Know About Sheep

“Research has shown that many animals grieve for their lost loved ones, but did you know that sheep do too? When they lose someone they love, it can completely shake their world and leave them feeling lost and unsettled for months. Sheep have been known to cry out for their lost friends and family in a desperate attempt to understand why they are no longer here.”
http://www.care2.com/causes/10-things-most-people-dont-know-about-sheep.html

Sheep fall in love and have best friends

(A) study showed that ewes fall in love with rams, have best friends and feel desolate when those close to them die or are sent for slaughter. The discovery could have important implications for the way farm animals are treated.
Jonathan Leake, Science Edito

So it can be established that sheep are capable of grief, therefore it is reasonable that the artist was actually portraying the anguish of the sheep and there was in fact no philosophical implication relating to human beings as such, though of course it can be implied. I am not inclined to accept artistic interpretations if they do not originate from the artist his or herself.

http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/school_resource/art-start/image-bank/august-friedrich-schenck/

Maybe the art should be taken at face value which may be to convey the agony/anguish of a ewe for her dead lamb.

Personally I rather like this description with the exception of the reference to sheep being the humble servants of man:

” All the world to-day regards Schenck as one of our first animal-painters. He is one of those originals, of a species not yet extinct, who prefer dogs to men, and finds more sweetness in sheep than in women. With such fancies one leaves the city for the fields, and has only to do with animals. Our artist has taken this part after having profoundly studied his fellow-creatures. Retired to Ecouen, to a farm, he lives in the midst of oxen, dogs, goats, asses, horses and sheep of all types, races, and species ; cares for them, cultivates them, loves them, and above all studies them, as never artist studied his models. He knows better than any one their habitual behavior, their favorite poses, their preferred attitudes, and the mobile play of their physi- ognomies. By means of studying closely the joys and griefs of these’ modest companions and humble servants of man, he has penetrated the inmost recesses of their souls, which he knows how to show us in pictures of striking truth. His animals’ heads are portraits particularized with all the care which Cabanel, Uubufe, and Bonnat gave to the human mask. The picture which he exhibits to-day under the title of ‘Angoisses, ‘ is pathetic to the last degree. A lamb is wounded, lying on the ground, losing its blood, which pours out of a” horrible wound. The ravens, with their infallible instinct, scent the approaching death, and await their prey; their sinister circle is closed in, — the unfortunate little beast cannot escape them. The mother is- there ; she comprehends it, the poor creature ! the fate which awaits her dear nursling, and broken-hearted, full of anguish [it is the title of the picture, and it is just], she bleats for the shepherd who comes not. It is a little drama, this picture, and as poignant as if it had men for actors and victims.”

Reference:

Catalogue of Mr. H.L. Dousman’s gallery of valuable paintings
by George A. Leavitt & Co

Published 1884

https://archive.org/stream/b1494157/b1494157_djvu.txt  or https://archive.org/details/b1494157

Below another poignant painting by the same artist entitled The Orphan. Below is a print of this painting.

A similar subject but in reverse the Orphan Lamb left to fend for his or herself.

His animals’ heads are veritable portraits. In the picture of The Orphan (which is a companion to Anguish, exhibited with it) the mother is dead or dying, and the ravens with their infallible instinct scent the soon-to-be carrion and close their sinister circle round the sheep and lamb. The poor living helpless lamb will hardly escape them. It is a tragedy, and as poignant as if it had a mother and child for actors and victims. There are few artists more popular than Schenck and we find the reflected judgment of the connoisseurs confirming the instantaneous verdict of the multitude.”

http://www.searlecanada.org/schenck/albertschenckdata03.html

Anguish and animal rights

While the whys and wherefores, interpretations, history and so on are all very interesting; it is the subject of the art that rings so true. Both paintings depict the despair and anguish of these creatures extremely well. According to this article the painting has also been called Agony and indeed the agony of fear and sorrow is expressed on the sheep’s face and indeed on the face of the orphaned lamb. Amazing art, so powerful, so moving.

The lot of sheep left to fend for themselves in the bleak cold uplands of the UK and elsewhere the worldover has changed very little. You can read in a previous entry about the suffering of sheep and lambs who die from exposure:
https://rantingsfromavirtualsoapbox.wordpress.com/2017/03/23/lambs-the-cruel-side-of-spring/

Tiny fragile lambs born too early as a result of human manipulation to ensure they are ready for Easter. Very much like the paintings, no shepherd comes.

Apparently in a very literal way a bird similar to crows; ravens, are harming/killing newborn lambs, yet another hazard to contend with. Hundreds of lambs die as a result of conservation gone wrong, even 10 to 12 ewes have died as a result of attacks by ravens.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/01/death-from-above-the-ravens-slaughtering-newborn-lambs/

Time to stop interfering with nature, time to bring an end to farming and the enormous suffering not only to sheep and their vulnerable lambs but all farmed animals of course.

More paintings dramatically depicting the hardship of sheep:

Above is a print of Lost: Souvenir of Auvergne (which may be a religious metaphor)

http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/437637

An unknown work

http://www.searlecanada.org/schenck/albertschenckdata24.html

Unfortunately there is not a lot of information about this artist or this series of paintings. Some of the information and graphics came from the following website:

http://www.searlecanada.org/schenck/albertschenckdata03.html

It Is Hard to Believe That People Can Be So Cruel: Fish Fights For His Last Breathe While Being Eaten Alive

“Fish are more intelligent than they appear. In many areas, such as memory, their cognitive powers match or exceed those of ‘higher’ vertebrates including non-human primates”
Culum Brown University of Edinburgh

Fish do not get a lot of sympathy in quite the same way as other animals, yet their lives are just as important. Fish are sentient creatures who suffer both physically and psychologically. The poor creature in the video below struggles vainly for breath, an horriffic way to die and as the article which follows says, it is the stuff off nightmares

Please watch the video which you are advised is difficult to watch.

“Fish Gasps for Air While Being Eaten Alive

BUT I JUST EAT FISH

Fish are tortured in so many ways from being cut apart alive on the fishing boats to being cut apart alive in restaurants…. DON’T TAKE PART IN THIS BARBARITY TO ANOTHER LIVING BEING…..Leave them and ALL Sea Life off of your plate!

The fish in this video isn’t the only animal who has had to live through this horror: Frogs, lobsters, octopuses, and other animals are eaten alive by humans all around the world.”

Please continue reading:

https://www.peta2.com/news/fish-gasps-air-eaten-alive/?utm_campaign=0317%20bi%20weekly%20recap%20march%20twenty%20six%20EA&utm_source=peta2%20E-Mail&utm_medium=Alert

Please take the actions suggested in the article including sending the message linked below to Urge legislators in California and New York to introduce laws that will stop restaurants from mutilating and serving live animals :
http://campaigns.peta2.com/restaurants-hack-apart-and-serve-live-octopuses-and-other-animals/

Fish are sentient creatures.

Watch Some Screams Can’t Be Heard

Fish feel pain and suffer psychological distress. Below is an excellent article by Marc Bekoff with links to numerous essays and studies which validate the fact that fish feel pain and are sentient beings like any other animal.

Science Shows Fish Feel Pain, So Let’s Get Over It and Do Something to Help These Sentient Beings

A set of essays in the new journal Animal Sentience concerning the question of whether fish feel pain is a must read. Fish are not mere streams of readily available unfeeling protein.

Continue reading:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marc-bekoff/fish-feel-pain_b_8881656.html

If you don’t think fish are intelligent watch the following video. While I don’t condone making animals perform tricks this video nonetheless shows how intelligent fish are. Yes a fish is an animal. Obvious to most people right? Unfortunately there are those who do not consider fish to be an animal. I had a friend who insisted she was vegetarian regardless of the fact she ate fish. You could not convince her otherwise. A fish is an animal along with other aquatic creatures such as jelly fish, crustaceans and so on.  If you eat fish and other sea creatures you are neither a vegetarian nor a vegan. 

“Leading scientists are in agreement that fish feel pain. As biologist Victoria Braithwaite writes, “there is as much evidence that fish feel pain and suffer as there is for birds and mammals” – a conclusion hardly surprising to anyone who has seen a fish struggling and fighting for his or her life when pulled from the water.”

Read more and please take the pledge to go Vegan

Fish and Sea Animals
http://www.peta.org.uk/issues/animals-not-eat/fish/

Fish are intelligent animals who lead complex lives that rival those of your dog and other mammals.

Dolphins and whales are accepted without doubt as intelligent creatures, sensitive, aware, conscious: sentient. But what about other aquatic creatures, the myriad species of fish, 27000 in all, which is more than all vertebrate species combined, are they sentient? Approximately three new species of fish are discovered each week! And even more vast are the huge numbers of species of invertebrate creatures such as molluscs – Octopuses, squids, snails, slugs, do they possess sentience? The ocean is a vast habitat teeming with life, astronomical in number and diversity, creatures dwell even in the most inhospitable of environments.
Read more:
http://www.think-differently-about-sheep.com/Sentient%20Farm%20Animals%20Aquatic%20Animals%20Fish.htm

Stop the cruelty to fish and other aquatic animals and go vegan:
How to Go Vegan:
http://features.peta.org/how-to-go-vegan/

If you can’t resist the taste of sea food try vegan alternatives which taste much the same but are cleverly prepared and flavoured but do not contain the flesh of a dead animal.

Here is PETA’s  list of the best places in the UK where you can eat faux fish and chips and other Vegan sea food.
The UK’s Best Vegan Fish and Chip Spots:
http://www.peta.org.uk/blog/uk-best-vegan-fish-and-chip-spots/

Eating at home? Why not try  VBites  fish streak, fish cakes and fish fingers, these products and others may be available at Holland and Barrett in the refrigerator section or in any health food store. Yes they really do taste of fish, though frankly I have never been that keen on fish. Ever noticed the stench of fish at a market or a seaside town, not pleasant. The stench of death in one small fishing village in Scotland was so overpoweringly awful I never visited again. Over so many many years millions of sentient beings met their deaths here and out in the sea, caught in nets they were dragged aboard a fishing vessel and left to die gasping for air.

We do not need sea food to be healthy, we do not need the flesh or any other derivative from any animal, it is neither natural nor humane.

Credit fish graphic:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Barracuda_laban.jpg

Help Stop the Cull of Grey Squirrels

Life is life–whether in a cat, or dog or man. There is no difference there between a cat or a man. The idea of difference is a human conception for man’s own advantage.
Sri Aurobindo

I would like to add to the above quote that there is no difference between a Grey squirrel’s life and that of a Red squirrel – not to the squirrels that is.

Please sign and share the following petition to stop the killing of Grey Squirrels

“Urge the Wildlife Trust not to cull the Grey Squirrels

“Urge the Wildlife trust to seek out alternative methods to save and protect the Red Squirrels, a method that does not involve the destruction of the Grey Squirrels by bludgeoning them to their death!

Wildlife Trusts’ biggest-ever recruitment drive will see volunteers bludgeon grey squirrels to death. An army of 5,000 volunteers is being sought to save the red squirrel from extinction by monitoring populations, educating children – and bludgeoning grey squirrels to death.”

Please read more and sign and share the petition:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/931/766/296/

Further Action

You may wish to contact the Wildlife Trust and ask them to find an alternative method to save and protect the Red Squirrels, which will not involve killing Grey Squirrels.

Please write, telephone,Tweet and leave a message on their Facebook page. Please be polite.

Postal Address

The Wildlife Trusts,
The Kiln,
Mather Road,
Newark
United Kingdom
NG24 1WT

Twitter: @wildlifetrusts
Facebook: wildlifetrusts
Registered Charity Number: 207238
http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/who-we-are/contact-us

General enquiries

Phone: 01636 677711
Fax: 01636 670001

Email: enquiry@wildlifetrusts.org

Full contact details which includes a form:
http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/who-we-are/contact-us

I prefer not to use the word cull: slaughter, kill, massacre or murder seems more appropriate . Yes I know grammatically speaking you can only use the word murder in reference to human beings. Ignoring such rules here I use this word and the others as they are more descriptive of what is taking place to animals, in this case Grey squirrels who have as much right to life as you or I or any other of the millions of species who inhabit this planet! Bludgeoning them to death no less is an appalling act of cruelty which caring sensitive people should not tolerate.   I have to wonder what type of person will volunteer to bludgeon to death helpless Grey squirrels. Not the sort of person I would wish to associate with that’s for sure. Violence breeds violence, any such cruel act to an animal increases the possibility of violence to humans and escalates the misery that abounds in the world. One also has to ask what kind of education they will be providing children with reference to eliminating Grey squirrels! Again not something I would want a child of mine exposed to.

What people who propose such barbarity do not understand is that to a squirrel his or her life is as import to them as ours is to us, either that or they simply do not care. What right have we humans to control the environment, to decide which animal should live and which animal should die. Whether it’s the slaughter of badgers in a misguided attempt to control Bovine TB or the massacre of grey squirrels to protect red squirrels it is simply not our right, leave nature to take its own course.

Related Links

In Defence Of Grey Squirrels

“The North American grey squirrel was first introduced to the UK in 1876. If you live in the UK, you’ll be well aware of how vilified the grey squirrel is here; it’s been accused of a multitude of sins, from almost wiping out the native red squirrels to killing trees by stripping away the bark. Much as I love grey squirrels, I always assumed the accusations were true; it seemed that the squirrels’ destructiveness was a consequence of their introduction into a region where they didn’t belong.

My views changed when I attended a talk at South West Vegan Festival which aimed to debunk the most commonly-held myths about grey squirrels. I thought I’d share with you what I learnt in an attempt to establish the innocence of these beautiful creatures.”

Continue Reading:

In Defence Of Grey Squirrels
https://littlegreenseedling.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/in-defence-grey-squirrels/

Please Take Action to Help Protect Rhinos

Please sign and share the following petition:

South Africa: Protect Rhinos from Poaching – Don’t Legalize the Trade of Rhino Horn!

“In 2016, more than 1,000 rhinos were poached in South Africa. Rhinos are no longer safe even at zoos – rhino horn is in such high demand that poachers recently broke into France’s Thoiry Zoo, shot and killed a white rhinoceros, and sawed off his horn with a chainsaw. Zoos throughout Europe and reserves in Africa are now cutting off the horns of living rhinos to protect them from the criminal gangs determined to kill rhinos and acquire their horn.

Despite the immense threats rhinos face as a species, South Africa is considering a proposal to legalize the trade of rhino horn within the nation’s borders and allow some exports for “personal purposes.”

Please sign this petition urging South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs and the South African Parliament to protect rhinos by maintaining the moratorium on the domestic trade of rhino horn, and choosing not to legalize exports.”

Please continue reading and sign and share the petition.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/352/628/158/south-africa-protect-rhinos-from-poaching-don%E2%80%99t-legalize-the-trade-of-rhino-horn/

You can’t believe it can you? South African rhino breeders want the government to legalize the sale of rhino horns. Their bizarre and I must say dubious justification is that doing so will flood the market and bring down the cost of rhino horn!!!!!!!  “They argue that this would drive down demand for poached horns.”. I am serious read, the article included in the petition:
http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/03/13/519992083/south-africa-is-considering-legalizing-domestic-rhino-horn-trade

More about south Africa’s proposed legislation from Humane Society International

Proposed regulation to allow rhino horn trade and export in South Africa could worsen trafficking crisis, says Humane Society International
Audrey Delsink, Humane Society International/Africa executive director, says: “While the global community is working to save rhinos from poaching and to eradicate the illegal trade in their horns, South Africa’s proposed regulations will not only open a loophole for criminal syndicates to launder poached rhino horn, but also create an enforcement nightmare, both within the country and internationally. We do not have the luxury of time to spare when it comes to the fate of rhinos, and we have to focus on shutting down the illegal trade rather than endorsing legal trade in rhino horn which has significant enforcement challenges and poor capacity.”
http://www.hsi.org/world/south-africa/news/press-releases/2017/02/regulation-rhino-horn-export-021417.html

Please sign the pledge included in the above article and linked below:

Sign the Don’t Buy Wild Pledge!
https://e-activist.com/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=104&ea.campaign.id=18974&ea.tracking.id=website&_ga=1.268539057.1735457554.1491323662

There are five species of rhino all of which are under treat of extinction as a result of poaching. The horns of these endangered animals are used in Chinese medicine throughout Asia. Each year hundreds of rhinos lose their lives. In south Africa alone between 200 to 300 rhinos per year have been killed by poachers which is three times more than it was back in the 1990s. Regardless of whether or not there is any curative properties in Rhino horn, and I rather think there is not, rhino horns belong to…well rhinos.

Further information

Reducing Demand for Rhino Horn in Viet Nam.

Warning! Disturbing images

Published on Jan 9, 2015

In August, 2013, HSI launched a campaign to reduce demand for rhino horn in Viet Nam, in partnership with the Vietnamese government. The campaign is working with key stakeholders such as women’s groups, business leaders, students, scientists and traditional and Western medical practitioners to develop and implement demand reduction strategies within their communities. By reducing demand for rhino horn in key consumer nations, we can help put an end to the poaching of rhinos.

Read more from the Humane Society International about the threat to Rhinos from poaching and what measures need to be taken to save them from extinction:

“Africa’s black rhinos are critically endangered, with a population under 5,000. The 3,000 one-horned rhinos of India and Nepal are endangered, while Southeast Asia’s Sumatran and Javan rhinos number only in the hundreds and tens, respectively and are also critically endangered. At around 20,000, the southern white rhino is most numerous, with the vast majority living in South Africa.”

Continue reading

Rhino Poaching:
http://www.hsi.org/issues/rhinoceros_poaching/?referrer=https://www.google.co.uk/

As you see from the video poaching is an appalling vile act of cruelty. Is there nothing human beings will not do to gain material wealth? It is as though no animal is safe from the insatiable greed of people who are even willing to kill these amazing sentient creatures for their horns. Even Rhinos in zoos are not safe, showing the level of determination by these vile people.

Links to more information

Save the Rhino
https://www.savetherhino.org/?gclid=COq50pKPi9MCFUORGwodg-kJpQ

Stop Rhino Poaching
http://www.stoprhinopoaching.com/ Warning this website has some disturbing images right from the start.

The following link to United for Life discusses the threat not only to rhinos, but also to other wildlife including elephants and a less well know animal the Pangolin

“Whole species are being hunted to extinction, as part of an illegal trade that benefits organised criminals and armed gangs. We want you to add your voice to ours and say “enough is enough”.

https://www.unitedforwildlife.org/?gclid=COXI6ZaGlNMCFYgW0wodZToHKg#!/the-facts

 

 

Can We Really Make a Difference?

Graphic Credit: http://www.picturequotes.com/there-are-no-passengers-on-spaceship-earth-we-are-all-crew-quote-927

“Donald Trump’s presidency is bad for black Americans, bad for Muslim Americans, bad for Mexican Americans, bad for any woman in America, bad for anyone who needs healthcare in America and bad for any working person in America.”

“His foreign policy will undoubtedly be bad for the rest of the world. We all have an interest in making this the shortest ever US presidency.”
John Rees quoted in the Morning Star

The world is in turmoil, the rise of right-wing political agendas, rampant racism, bigotry, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitism, anti-migrants, anti-refugees, homophobia, sexism … I have I missed anything, it seems that everyone hates everyone else. Many people feel lonely and isolated. Most of us want a better world though it might not seem that way. We feel lost not knowing what to do. Petitions seem ignored. Letters and e-mail to government officials may receive a polite response but are rarely acted upon. Demonstrations are a sensation for a day or two than fade away and become just a memory.  We get on with what lives we struggle to make for ourselves, our children and those we care about while the onslaught of social injustice goes on. Achievements in human rights and equality swept under the carpet, freedoms won after hard campaigns disappear into the annals of history.

And it not just about humans either, the fight to procure rights for animals, improve welfare have become more difficult to achieve and we are taking steps backwards, particularly in the USA where animal welfare is threatened by Trump’s presidency. The environment: all the gains to secure environmental protections to save the planet for future generations and the other creatures with whom we share this world are under threat. As is the abandonment and active undoing of all the efforts to thwart climate change in recent years.

It not only the big issues that effect the majority it is the small issues also, which are of course important to those they affect. It seems Trump seeks to undo every positive, fair, and just social progress made during Obama’s time in office. In his pettiness Trump even seeks to over turn Obama guidelines on transgender toilets. Absolutely pathetic, backward thinking and shows that Trump’s commitment to protect LGBT rights was just empty promise.

No doubt about it, the world is undergoing drastic change and none of it for the better and without the consensus of the majority.

What we can do? Can we really make a difference?

Do all the petitions, letters/e-mails/ phone calls to government representatives and others really bring about change? What about demonstrations, how effective are these? How about Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other social media?

If nothing else social media keeps us informed: the significance of what is unfolding in the world today would have been far less apparent a couple of decades ago. The strength of feeling and solidarity on social media is supportive and the information disseminated extremely useful in the quest to bring about change. Even Trump’s compulsions to Tweet gives us first hand an insight into this person that would otherwise not be available.

So yes! most certainly we can bring about change, after all said and done everyone who cast his or her vote in the USA elections and indeed any elections including the disastrous Brixit referendum here in the UK made a difference, not a good one of course in the above examples, but a difference nonetheless. Now it is up to us, if each of us is capable of making a negative difference we can certainly make a positive one even if in only a very small way, and as with votes every action counts. Maybe if more democrats came out to vote for Hillary Clinton, Trump would not be president. If more people had familiarised themselves on all the issues in an election or a referendum instead of voting on one issue and a negative one at that, such as immigration or blatant racism, than Trump may never have been elected and we might still be a member of the EU.

While it may all seem overwhelming and we can feel powerless against the onslaught I consider that the following actions make a difference, maybe not in the immediate future or in the way we would expect, but every action however small helps to bring about change.

Can demonstrations make a difference

If you are in doubt for instance of the effectiveness of demonstrations consider the following examples:

Gandhi’s Salt March across India in 1930 was instrumental in bringing about Independence from British Rule. The Salt March was was a notable example of resistance, and one which was non-violent, that had a significant impact.

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on 28th Auguest 1963 , was another example of a peaceful demonstration that brought about change. It was one of the largest Political rallies for human rights in American history. More than 200,000 people participated in the March for Jobs and Freedom in the USA’S capital.   During this event, Martin Luther King delivered his famous speech ‘‘I Have a Dream’’ .

“The march is credited with helping to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and preceded the Selma Voting Rights Movement which led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”

Continue Reading:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_on_Washington_for_Jobs_and_Freedom

The article below cites ten further examples of demonstrations that had a huge impact and brought about significant changes worldwide.

Ten demonstrations that changed the world
http://www.counterfire.org/articles/analysis/17835-ten-demonstrations-that-changed-the-world – the article gives interesting information about the following demonstrations :

The right to vote  6 May, 1867  Clerkenwell to Hyde Park, London

‘Women’s Sunday’  21 June 1908  Embankment to Hyde Park, London

Toppling the Tsar  23 February 1917  St Petersburg

Breaking British rule  17 March 1919  Cairo

For more details concerning the above and six other demonstrations that changed the world please click the link below
http://www.counterfire.org/articles/analysis/17835-ten-demonstrations-that-changed-the-world

So yes demonstrations can make a difference and often without recourse to violence.

How about petitions?

Here is a recent example of the success of a petition as permission to breed rabbits is denied:

“So when Spalding, U.K., resident Christine W. learned that someone had made an application to build a facility to breed pet rabbits and guinea pigs close to her home, she immediately created a petition in protest. At first she feared that the farm would be used for vivisection and started a petition against that. Then she discovered that this was a farm for pets, and so she created a second petition about why breeding pet rabbits is bad for animal welfare.

Fantastic News For Rabbits!

“The petition garnered over 84,000 signatures, and Christine submitted it to the South Holland District Council’s office. The council included the Care2 petition in their report, which denied planning permission for the farm.”
http://www.care2.com/causes/success-permission-to-breed-rabbits-denied-2.html

Here is a list of successful Change Org petitions 

Below are just two examples:

End the sale of eggs from caged hens in Morrison’s and Asda – “Over 185,000 helped Lucy convince Asda and Morrison’s to stop selling the eggs after she won with Tesco”

https://www.change.org/p/sean-clarke-david-potts-end-the-sale-of-eggs-from-caged-hens-in-morrisons-and-asda

Fund 12 Years of Education for Girls Around the World

“…the Global Partnership for Education has announced that it plans to expand its focus to support a full 12 years of primary and secondary education for the poorest girls around the globe.”
https://www.change.org/p/stand-withmalala-for-girls-education

Read more victories as a result of thousands of people signing Change org petitions

“Every day, Change.org members win people-powered campaigns for social change”
https://www.change.org/en-GB/victories

Also

People power: 10 online petitions that changed Australia in 2015

The UK on-line campaigning organisation 38Degrees lists 244 Successful Campaigns

Social Media

Social media has enormous potential to galvanise action and is the best way to disseminate information fast. News spreads quickly and often news of events and campaigns about which most of us prior to the internet would have been ignorant.

Concerning animal welfare and animal rights, before the internet unless you were a member of an activist group you would most likely not know about the vast number of atrocities which are perpetrated on animals let alone take action to stop them.

The link below will take you to a few examples of how social media has been instrumental in bringing about a positive result concerning the abuse and mistreatment of animals

How Social Media Comes Together for Animal Welfare
Read four stories about how social media has helped improve life for animals
http://www.business2community.com/social-media/social-media-comes-together-animal-welfare-0699762#QOszlDFrPV3kZ7E1.99

Below are hints and tips how to use Facebook for exposing the cruelty of factory farming and promoting vegan eating.

Mercy For Animals: How to Dominate Facebook
http://www.mercyforanimals.org/dominate-facebook  – Some of the advice could be adapted for blogs and other social media platforms

Lets not forget the Gadhimi festival now banned as a result of global outrage galvanised by social media.

Animal rights campaigners will recall the struggle to being to an end the barbaric Gadhimi Festival of animal slaughter where, demonstrations,  petitions and social media all played a role in its cessation.

Gadhimai Festival Slaughter Is Banned In Nepal, Saving Millions Of Animals

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/07/28/gadhimai-festival-animal-sacrifice-banned_n_7886638.html

Ways to make a difference – 

There are just so many groups campaigning to being about change it is of course not possible to list them all. The small selection below concerns ideas to bring about change including but not exclusively the current situation concerning the election of Donald Trump as this is an immediate threat to us all worldwide including animals and the very earth itself.

There are a lot of ideas below for action you may take, no one could take them all most certainly I have not. But different people are better suited to different types of actions. For instance not all of us are able to demonstrate but may be able to sign a petition, post a tweet, send an e-mail and so on.

Petitions. A good place to find Petitions relating Trump and so many other issues is Care 2 a community of 38 million people standing together for good.

Two petitions you might like to sign today.

Stop Keystone XL Once and For All

President Donald Trump is trying to overturn one of the biggest environmental victories of the past 5 years by approving the Keystone XL pipeline.

“KXL would be an environmental nightmare on a global scale, allowing unprecedented development of dirty Canadian tar sands, and exacerbating global warming pollution.”

Please read more and sign and share the petition:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/823/975/075/stop-keystone-xl-once-and-for-all/

Browse Care2 petitions :http://www.care2.com/

 

Keep informed

“There is a link between inflammatory statements by politicians and racist attacks and hate crimes on the street. There has been a rise in such crimes in Britain, following the EU referendum and a similar pattern has emerged in the US. Now is the time for people of goodwill to unite and stand up to racism.”
Diane Abbott quoted in Stand Up to Racism

Download the free e-book

The Anti-Inauguration: A Free Ebook

Featuring Naomi Klein, Jeremy Scahill, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Anand Gopal, and Owen Jones on resisting Trump’s agenda and building the future we need.

“Just a few hours after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, a thousand people joined Jacobin, Verso Books, and Haymarket Books at the historic Lincoln Theatre in Washington, DC, for “The Anti-Inauguration,” a night of discussion on how Donald Trump came to win the election, how we can resist him, and what kind of future we should be fighting for.” 

Read more and download the book

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/01/anti-inauguration-verso-haymarket-naomi-klein-keeanga-yamahtta-taylor-jeremy-scahill/

Speak out

10 Ways To Make Positive Change In The World

Read More: http://www.trueactivist.com/10-ways-to-make-positive-change-in-the-world/ – This information focuses on general ways to make an all round difference.

The next link targets Trump’s presidency and suggested action you can take if you live in the USA to bring about change to the current situation.

11 Simple Ways to Change the World That Won’t Totally Overwhelm You

“We have four long years of President Trump ahead of us. For anyone who is concerned about the nomination of a far-right conservative to the Supreme Court or the embattled travel ban, four years feels like a lifetime.

What’s the best way to address a huge, unwieldy project? Break it into bite-size pieces.”

Ideas include Flippable –  a campaign to “flip” Republican-controlled states by zeroing in on local races where a Democrat has the potential to win an upcoming election.

Daily Action ” is an easy way to engage with your elected officials. It works like this: Text the word dailyto 228466, provide your zip code, and then voilà, you will receive a text message every weekday with a link to a prerecorded audio piece about a political issue relevant to the area where you live. After listening to the audio, it will then reroute you to a phone call to your elected official’s office, during which you can, as Daily Action puts it, “conscientiously object” to whatever urgent matter is at hand.”

For more excellent activism suggestions:
http://www.glamour.com/story/these-11-apps-make-it-super-easy-to-make-a-difference

Want to make a difference in the world, but you’re just not sure how? Here’s what you can do:
http://www.dochas.ie/our-work/european-year-for-development-2015/want-make-difference-world-youre-just-not-sure-how-heres-what-you-can-do

Support the Human Rights Campaign is “The largest national (USA) lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights organization, HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.”

Visit their take action page
http://www.hrc.org/take-action

Here are ideas for actions you can take, some of which could be adapted to fit any cause.
http://act.hrc.org/ea-campaign/action.retrievestaticpage.do?ea_static_page_id=5614

Action Against Trump

The following is a list of resources that either recommend or discuss concrete actions citizens can take against President Donald Trump.

http://www.actionagainsttrump.com/

Weekly actions against Trump
http://www.weekly-resistance.online/

The last concerns a mass march here in the UK.

PLEDGE TO MARCH AGAINST TRUMP’S VISIT TO BRITAIN

Donald Trump’s presidency is turning out to be every bit as dangerous and divisive as we feared. The rhetoric of his campaign, and his early executive orders, have sparked a wave of fear and hatred. Those who are often already marginalised and discriminated against – particularly Muslims – have been particular targets for Trump.

Read More and make the pledge to attend a mass march against Trump to “oppose this state visit to the UK and commit ourselves to one of the biggest demonstrations in British history, to make very clear to our government, and to the world, this is not in our name.”

https://www.stoptrump.org.uk/

Contacting government officials and other influential people

For instance writing to politicians in your country if it is a national matter or the respective politicians regarding international issues.Don’t be hesitant when writing to politicians of other nations. I have written to politicians in Australia, China, Canada, Nepal,  and of course here in the UK. Also the Dali Lama concerning self immolation in Tibet. Ministers of the Nepalese government concerning the Gadhimi festival.  CEOs of various corporations mostly food producers about animal welfare.  Also retailers including Aldi’s about the sale of reindeer meat, Tesco about the workfare scheme, I even sent my points card back as a form of protest. I have written to  the American Psychiatric Association concerning the DSM. Universities about animal testing. Write to anyone who is associated with whatever you are campaigning for or against. It’s best to always be polite.

Yes you get replies.  I recall a reply from a Canadian government official concerning the seal hunt, he did not agree with me and explained his position which I did not agree with but at least what I wrote provoked him to reply. The same with Aldi who replied concerning reindeer meat, again not favourable but who knows such communications might make someone think. Retailers often reply, I had lots of letters and e-mail in reponse to my communications concerning the many campaigns to ask retailers to stop the sale of Angora and many retailers have stop selling this product of cruelty as a result of a PETA led campaign which at the time of writing continues today. Postal letters get the best response, e-mail being the next. My MP responds to everything. Even if the person cannot agree you just never know maybe you have at least made him or her think.

I hope to include information about anti Trumps actions in future blog posts

Related Links

Anti Muslim:

If you think ani muslim hate is confined to the US think again

It’s not just Trump’s US. Anti-Muslim hate threatens Europe too
Joe Mulhall

The Islamophobic ideologues at the heart of the new US administration have allies on this side of the Atlantic. We must all fight the spread of their divisive lies

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/02/trump-us-anti-muslim-hate-europe

Do Political Protests Actually Change Anything?

https://www.bustle.com/p/do-political-protests-actually-change-anything-29952

Please Take Action to Stop This Years Yulin Dog Meat Festival

 “China needs to progress with the times. Preventing cruelty to animals is the sign of a mature, civilized society.”
Yu Hongmei, director of the VShine Animal Protection Association

Please sign the petitions below to stop the Yulin dog meat festival

Warning both the video and audio are very disturbing.The cries of these helpless animals is heart wrenching

Stop the 2017 Yulin dog meat festival

This video was taken by an animal rights activist personally as evidence at the yulin dog meat and lychee festival in yulin china. This “festival” is an event that starts on June 21st of every year during the summer solstice and it lasts for 10 long horrifying days in which 10,000–15,000 dogs are consumed. However, it is estimated 25 million dogs are stolen, sold, bought, and eaten every year with the illegal dog and cat meat trade

Please read more and sign the petition
https://www.change.org/p/do-not-proceed-with-the-yulin-dog-festival-in-2017

Stand With Us Against the Yulin Dog Meat Festival

“They’re just like your pets — eager to please, loyal, and trusting.

But instead of receiving love and safety in return, they’re tortured, stuffed into tiny cages, and paraded through crowded, noisy streets. Frightened and disoriented, they smell the cooking flesh of other dogs, hear their screams, and then feel the agony of cleavers severing their limbs. Many are skinned alive.

They are the thousands of dogs and puppies — and hundreds of cats and kittens — who are beaten and butchered annually as part of a grotesque summer solstice dog meat “celebration” in Yulin, China, scheduled this year for June 21.”

Please read more and sign the petition:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/368/248/701/

Stop the Yulin Dog Meat Festival in China Permanently!

“While watching Lisa Vanderpump’s popular reality show, I was sickened to learn about the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. This festival is cruel and hideous. It started in 2010 and has no religious or ceremonial value. The dogs are beaten and then skinned alive — crying out in agony as people cheer on the butchers. Then the poor creatures are fed to people all over the city.”

https://www.change.org/p/yulin-dog-meat-festival-will-happen-again-on-june-21-2017-10-000-dogs-will-be-tortured-and-then-eaten-this-cruel-festival-started-in-2010-and-it-must-be-stopped

 

Please sign and share all petitions including this video.

Warning! The picture contained in the next petition is very disturbing! It shows two dogs with legs cut off.This petition requires only another 300 signatures so if you are a sensitive person please consider carefully before clicking the link below

“A fate worse than death”

Stop the torture and killing of dogs and the festival of dog meat in China.
Last year over 10,000 cats and dogs were unjustifiably tortured, inhumanely killed and eaten in a savage meat eating festival in China. Sadly, many of these individuals have the misconception that beating, skinning, blow-torching and boiling these helpless animals alive increases the tenderness of the meat…… Specifically, there is the necessity to inflict and to sustain suffering as much as possible on the selected creature(s) in order to ‘improve the quality’ — read ‘taste’ — of the doomed animal(s).

Please read more and sign the petition:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/625/889/444/stop-the-holocaust-of-animals-in-asia/

Yes there have been petitions now for a number of years, I have been aware of this hideous festival for at least two. This event is however not some ancient festivity, not that that would justify it of course. No this brutal ritual to celebrate the summer solstice has only taken place since 2010!

This year will be the 7th time this event, which also involves the brutal slaughter of cats, has taken place amidst protests world wide.

You can read more about The Yulin festival here:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/explainer-yulin-dog-meat-festival-china-a6968861.html

While it may seem like there has been little progress in bringing an end to this cruelty we must not give up hope. Remember the campaign to ban the Gadhimi festival? The outcome of several years of campaigning by Animal Welfare Network Nepal, Humane Society International and other animal rights supporters resulted in a total ban of this barbarity. The same can happen with the Yulin Festival

 

Please Send a Message to ask Jaguar, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo to stop lining their cars with animals’ skins.

Please watch the video. I warn you though it is very disturbing.

“Heartbreaking footage from Brazilian ranches shows that calves are dragged from their mothers, are given electric shocks and writhe in pain as workers stamp their faces with hot brands.”

It takes an average of three cows’ hides to cover the interior of a standard car.

Please click the link below to send a message to ask Jaguar, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo to stop lining their cars with animals’ skins.

REVEALED: The Heartbreaking Abuse Behind Leather Car Interiors

http://action.peta.org.uk/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=5&ea.campaign.id=53661&utm_campaign=Brazil%20Leather%20Web%20Placement&utm_source=Website%20Placement&utm_medium=Promo  Scroll to the bottom of the above page to send the message

The cruelty behind Leather

Did you know that every year the global leather industry slaughters more than a billion animals and tans their skins and hides, in addition to this shocking cruelty there is danger to human health and damage to the environment:
In Bangladesh, which exports leather goods to the United States, chemical exposure and equipment accidents pose such a great hazard that workers (many of them children) aren’t expected to live beyond age 50.:
Read More:http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-clothing/animals-used-clothing-factsheets/leather-animals-abused-killed-skins/

Leather is everywhere, even in the most unlikely places. Our car has it on the steering wheel, something I did not realise until recently. Why I would like to know, there is no need for leather on a steering wheel, in fact in the modern world there is no need to use leather for any reason? As a vegan it can be  a difficult task though not impossible to eliminate leather entirely. Belts, wallets, bags, briefcases, sofas, footballs, books even -yes still today you might come across a leather bound book, in fact only yesterday I came across a leather bound notebook! –  and of course car seats. Footwear and clothing are the most likely products where we can encounter leather goods. Footwear being the most prolific. Yes there are non leather alternatives, I have managed not to wear leather during the past 25 years. Recently though looking for a pair of sandals in one store, M@S , proved difficult, even canvas sandals had the leather sign, the leather I assume lined the sandals for it was not obviously apparent. I found it quite depressing to see so many shoes, most if not all were made using leather. I think people simply do not think it through, do not realise what happens to animals in order for them to wear their skins. I know that previous to being a veggie than a vegan I did not consider this very much.

While it is shocking that the interior of a car is lined with the skin of a slaughtered animal who wished to live as you or I, we need to be aware of the ubiquitous use of leather in so many products which we may buy unthinkingly.

While in some cases it is difficult to eliminate leather entirely from your life and mistakes are made, however for someone to go out and intentionally buy a car lined with leather or a settee or chair is somehow shocking. The thought of sitting on what remains of another sentient being frankly disturbs me. I feel uncomfortable when from necessity I need to sit on a leather couch or chair when I am out.

Please be aware that expensive leathers of all kinds rather like the car lining above involve an added level of cruelty:

Did you know that lambs, calves and other animals in the womb may be aborted deliberately because the skin is supposedly more soft!

Lambskin is a younger version of sheepskin and thus softer and promoted as especially luxurious. It comes from lambs (baby sheep), many who are purposely aborted because their unborn skin is “extra soft.” Calfskin is frequently misrepresented (mislabeled) as lambskin.

If you buy an expensive pair of shoes for example you are likely wearing the skin of an aborted baby animal, torn from the womb of his or her murdered mother.

“What happens when a cow is pregnant at the time of slaughter? I almost wish I didn’t know. From the calves experiencing their mother’s death from inside her, while they too suffer or die their own terrible death, to live calves being cut from their dead mother’s womb, so that their blood can be drained for science while they’re still alive–it’s all horrific, and none of it is ever talked about, even though it’s a part of the dairy and beef industries and a part of how people get their “finest” leather.”

Read More:
http://www.all-creatures.org/articles/ar-pregnancy.html

Just horrific!  How many  people who buy expensive leather would do so where this cruelty more widely known. Indeed who would buy any kind of leather if the horrendous treatment of these animals was made more public. You should not fall for the nonsense that leather is a “byproduct” of another industry, the meat industry of course. Slaughtering any animal for any reason, meat included, is cruel as are the miserable conditions in which they live prior to meeting such a horrific end to their existence.

Please buy alternatives to leather. With footwear, at least here in the UK and no doubt elsewhere, it is all labeled with a guide such as the following:

 

                                                                                                              Shoe material chart

Alternatives to leather, include “cotton, linen, rubber, ramie, canvas, and synthetics. Chlorenol (called “Hydrolite” by Avia and “Durabuck” by Nike) is a material that is perforated for breathability and is used in athletic and hiking shoes. It stretches around the foot with the same “give” as leather, provides good support, and is machine-washable.”

Nike of course is expensive. I buy what I can afford, maybe sometimes it is not always comfortable, however with shoes this can be the case regardless of the material, but frankly I can’t remember as I have not worn leather for 25 years. Comfort is yet another reason used to try to justify wearing leather, however to caring people what matters is an animal’s life, not human comfort or convenience. My husband first found it difficult to make the change and wore an old pair of pre-vegetarian leather shoes for over two decades, but finally from necessity bought a pair of synthetic shoes which he says are the most comfy he has ever worn.

I have made mistakes with other items where it is not clear, but we all makes mistakes, the important thing is to keep trying.

Here is a useful list from PETA where you can buy alternatives to both leather and fur:

PETA’s Shopping Guide to Compassionate Clothing: Companies That Sell Some Leather and Fur Alternatives

http://www.peta.org/living/fashion/cruelty-free-clothing-guide/cruelty-free-clothing-guide-alternatives/?loggedin=1398369570

Though disturbing  this video from PETA sends a powerful message

“Ogilvy & Mather Advertising Bangkok teamed up with PETA Asia to launch this shocking pop-up shop in one of Bangkok’s hippest shopping malls to show consumers the suffering behind every exotic-skins bag, belt, jacket, and pair of gloves or shoes.”
http://www.petaasia.com/skinsen/ please sign the pledge.

More Action to take

Write a letter to retailers, let them know about the horrific suffering they perpetuate by selling leather. Include the information in the following Born free article:  http://www.bornfreeusa.org/articles.php?more=1&p=370

Please avoid leather and inform others of the cruelty to animals involved in this product by sharing links to information such as the links included above. Please always be polite, aggressive confrontational approaches rarely work.

Still not convinced? Please watch the the following video:

Leona Lewis Explains Why Leather Is Hell for Animals and Children in Bangladesh

“Bangladesh produces cheap products that are sold all around the world. But what about the impact that manufacturing these products has on animals, humans and the environment? Who is paying the highest price for leather?

Watch the video to find out, and then visit http://peta.org.uk to learn more.”

Warning disturbing images!

I think that it can be difficult at first for many people and mistakes are made and in some situations leather can’t be avoided such as sitting in a chair, it is my opinion if there is no where else to sit you should sit on a leather chair, not doing so appears extreme to others and may send the message that being vegan or vegetarian is simply too difficult.

Also it doesn’t help to make another person feel uncomfortable with the wrong attitude. Vegetarian/vegan shaming can make non veggie/vegans think it has to be all or nothing, and it may be seen by others as overwhelming and may drive people away.Sadly some vegans can be really aggressive in such instances, gentle persuasion is always the best course of action.

Finally please watch the following video

Surely these cows are sentient beings. We have no right to take their lives and the lives of other animals for a food and clothing we do not need.