Say goodbye to the polar bear »
Too bad, polar bears, but a bunch of us humans don’t want to stop selling your pelts on the open market, so you can expect to be hunted to extinction.
This issue is tied up with politics surrounding Canada’s First Nations, specifically the Inuit:
There are about 25,000 polar bears left in the world with an estimated 16,000 living in the Canadian Arctic. Canada is the only country that permits the export of polar bear parts.
Each year around 600 polar bears are killed there, mainly by native hunters. According to Inuit representatives, the pelts from around 300 bears are sold for rugs. Other parts including fangs and paws are also exported.
The Inuit say they get an average of $4,850 per pelt. They argue that this is a critical economic resource for a people that do not have much else.
The trouble with that argument is that in conjunction with global warming destroying their ecosystem, the bears won’t be around to hunt much longer. Say goodbye to polar bears, everyone; the next generations won’t even know what they are.
Yellowstone’s famous alpha-wolf shot dead :( »
From the New York Times:
Yellowstone National Park’s best-known wolf, beloved by many tourists and valued by scientists who tracked its movements, was shot and killed on Thursday outside the park’s boundaries, Wyoming wildlife officials reported.
The wolf, known as 832F to researchers, was the alpha female of the park’s highly visible Lamar Canyon pack and had become so well known that some wildlife watchers referred to her as a “rock star.” The animal had been a tourist favorite for most of the past six years.
The wolf was fitted with a $4,000 collar with GPS tracking technology, which is being returned, said Daniel Stahler, a project director for Yellowstone’s wolf program. Based on data from the wolf’s collar, researchers knew that her pack rarely ventured outside the park, and then only for brief periods, Dr. Stahler said.
This year’s hunting season in the northern Rockies has been especially controversial because of the high numbers of popular wolves and wolves fitted with research collars that have been killed just outside Yellowstone in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.
Also with her and killed was her bff, a wolf known as 754. Heartbreaking news, life is the worst. Also, total bullshit! Our national wolf populations can’t handle these state-sanctioned killings, and this just brings that sad fact into the light even more.
The first wolf hunts in decades were authorized in Wyoming this fall. 832F was the eighth collared by researchers that was shot this year after leaving the park’s boundary. Seriously, fuck everyone. We reintroduced wolves in the 90s and now hunting is OK because they’re fucking with the business of factory farmers and hunters?
Our human relationship with other animals is so sick, it makes me wish an asteroid would just hit us. Or some sort of plague comes unto humans and future reign is handed off to the gorillas — naturally vegan, fairly peaceful, and content to munch leaves all days and think wise thoughts. Take it away, gorillas!
Once you’re done sobbing, check out Defenders of Wildlife to see how you can help the wolves.
RIP, 832F and 754. I’m sorry.
Tell Your Senator: Hunting in National Parks is THE WORST IDEA! »
Don’t let this finger be a gun!! Photo by Furryscaly on flickr.com
Hunting: Not as terrible as factory farms on the spectrum of evil, but still not the favorite thing of we, the vegans. Hunting in National Parks where it’s been heretofore prohibited? SO NOT A GOOD IDEA.
But there’s a bill in the Senate right now that could open a bunch of national park lands (especially the weird ones, like “national historic parks”), to hunting. The National Parks Conservation Association is asking us citizens to contact our senators and tell them to fix it!
Here’s the thing: the NCPA is only worried about the national parks. They want the senators to just change a few words to make sure the parks are clearly excluded from this new hunting law. I’m on board with that, and it seems a battle they might actually win if they get enough people to call.
But they’re not opposing the Sportsman Heritage Act as a whole. Which is something you might want to consider. It makes it OK to import dead polar bears from Canada, and helps support hunting on other federal land. Either way, give a call/write your leaders so they know not to let people kill squirrels at the Frederick Douglass Memorial, so f-ed up!
There may now be slightly less bear-murdering in New York state.
NPR reports that New York state, which has allowed the hunting of black bears since governments started making laws regarding wild animal-killing, has just passed the very first regulations on the trade of black bear parts. Wildlife officials don’t want people killing black bears in neighboring states and selling them in New York; poaching bears “has been a problem nationwide for years,” which this law is designed to combat.
Now, anyone selling bear parts in New York must document that the bears whose bodies once held those parts—particularly gallbladders—were killed legally. That shouldn’t be too much of a problem in New York, where permitted hunters can kill black bears, easy peasy. See, they’re not mad about killing bears, they’re mad about killing bears illegally, only for the gallbladders and paws, for use in “Asian medicine.”
Yeah, “Asian medicine.” Remember how in some Asian countries, they farm bears for their bile, and it’s absolutely fucking disgusting? In the U.S., they poach wild bears, take their gallbladders, and leave their bodies. Man we are the BEST at animals, right, humanity?
Listen to the whole story, or read it at NPR. Obviously we hate all bear-killing, but if this law stops the murder of bears exclusively for a few of their parts, it’s not the most objectionable thing. Right?
Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday! »
You guys, I am getting old. I went to the doctor yesterday and he told me that my body is no longer able to process wheat in a way that will not give me the worst cramps in the history of cramps. (Can dudes take Midol for cramps? Please advise.) So today, instead of eating a delicious seitan sandwich, I am chugging potato-leek soup out of a carton and crying into my grapes (of which I have two varieties. I find that the added salt really gives them a kick!) while the people I often have lunch with look at me pityingly. Perhaps one day I will learn to enjoy a gluten-free low-sodium diet, but until then I am going to milk it for all it’s worth. Especially with Allen, who might buy me video games to cheer me up. (Note to Allen: Buy me video games!!)
Maybe not eating wheat will make me more pleasant to be around (according to my brother, King of Celiac Information), but I doubt it. I don’t even know how I will process that kind of change as being grumpy is part of my overall gestalt and is what makes me incredibly charming and fun to be around. However, there are cracks in my foundation already, as I found this video of penguins rolling around in first class adorable, as opposed to unsanitary or annoying to passengers who have popped a benzo before takeoff. Also, I didn’t even wonder whether penguins bite or scratch (side note: Allen and I were trying to clean Ms. Cleo’s cage this weekend and I was holding her so that we could chill. She was OK until she suddenly went into attack-rabbit mode and scratched my arms up in a way that looked like I had been cutting myself. I’ve had to wear long sleeves all week.)
Oh, here’s something adorable and more my speed: wild swine terrorizing plants and people. Watch out, upstate New York! I think this is partly delightful. I know that people’s crops are getting ruined and such (which sucks, especially now that I am only eating vegetables covered in my tears), but it seems a fair turnabout considering how many people eat pigs. Pigs are taking it back! (Wasn’t there a show about evil gangster street pigs in Saturday mornings in the ’90s? I really enjoyed that!)
Finally, I bring you the latest in a long string of reasons to hate the entire Trump family. If it’s not them being mean to Joan Rivers, it’s them hunting and then posing in front of their kill with douchey smiles. Awesome! Why doesn’t everyone travel to a foreign country to kill giant animals? Also, why is the defense of “the animal wasn’t even endangered” ever accepted by anyone? The Trumps aren’t endangered animals, but no one is shooting them! Also also: why does the young Trump on TV use so much product in his hair? Isn’t there a shortage of that?
That’s it for this week. Send me links for next time, and have a douchebag-free Wednesday!
Guest post: Black bears need your help in Connecticut! »
Black bears are in trouble in Connecticut! I know what you’re thinking: “There are bears in Connecticut? I thought Connecticut was just full of old rich people sitting around counting their money.” And you’d be RIGHT; that part totally sucks. But we have bears, too! They are awesome! And right now the State of Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has asked the governor to allow permits to some idiots to go out and shoot black bears dead because apparently we have too many now, even though we have had approximately NONE for the past 150 years since they went extinct in the state around 1850. EXTINCT, guys.
The government is basing this assumption on complete hearsay, rather than any actual scientific evidence of the number of bears that currently exist in the state. I think we have too many old rich people in the state and maybe they should provide permits for broke folks like me to—I digress.
Over the past couple decades the black bear population has totally rebounded, because bears are hardcore like that, and now people are all upset: They’re seeing bears more often, and occasionally one gets in someone’s backyard and rummages through their smelly garbage. Look, if you don’t want to see animals in your backyard, don’t have a motherfucking backyard; animals lived there before you and probably don’t give a shit whether you think you own the grass or not. And also, maybe don’t have such smelly garbage, NASTY.
Meat consumption is responsible for more human deaths per year (45,000 on average) than black bears (1 on average), so if you’re really that scared of shit and A=B and A+B=C then maybe stop chowing down on the steaks instead of shooting beautiful harmless bears that are just moseying around. Black bears are like the most docile of all the bears!
They’ve already approved this malarkey in New Jersey, without any scientific evidence of increased bear sightings there. Significant errors were found in the tally of reports, and hunters went all murder-happy and started killing mother bears and cubs and see what happens when you give morons permission to shoot stuff?
This is my drawn-out way of asking you guys to join me in telling the governor to NOT allow black bear hunting in Connecticut. Kids, the bears need our help, and every signature counts, so do me the biggest favor ever and sign my petition. I will love you forever and also I promise I won’t come after you when they issue the rich people hunting permits. Unless you own a pink KitchenAid standing mixer, ‘cause goddamn I really want one. The end. Sign the petition.
Rachel Gary is from Connecticut, where she spends most of her time hiking, reading, tricking her family into eating delicious vegan baked goods, and avoiding doing laundry. As her responsible adult alter ego, she is an editor for an environmental and engineering firm.
[image, “Cub’s first look at the world,” courtesy the North American Bear Center]
Idaho is a bunch of jerks, declares wolves disaster emergency »
Goddamn Idaho! The Idaho House has passed a bill that would declare the wolf population—a population protected as a fucking endangered species—a disaster emergency. That is so wrong! “Disaster emergency” is usually reserved for things like floods and wildfires—not animals doing what animals do. People are mad because wolves are stealing livestock from farmers and killing animals that I guess hunters think they should be killing instead. That’s called being a wolf! Maybe part of raising sheep is that some get lost to wolves. Maybe part of hunting is that you are in competition with animals that actually have to hunt and kill for food and only take as much as they need. I guess Idaho can’t wrap its bloodthirsty mind around that.
A federal judge is actually deciding now if wolves should be removed from the endangered list but I guess the Idaho House doesn’t have to wait around for silly things like laws; they can just declare a disaster emergency. Bingo! Open season on an endangered species. Congratulations, Idaho, worse state of the month.
You can read more about wolves and how you can help at defenders.org.
Hello, Friends! It’s WTF Wednesday! »
You guys, today is the first day of my last semester of grad school [Ed.: Congrats, Mark!]. I’ve been so nervous about finishing my master’s paper before May, I probably gave myself another ulcer during winter break (which is no break at all because internships do not take a month off! How happy I was as an undergrad!). This is not to say I worked on the paper at all, I just worried about it. Because that’s what I do. I worry. And I don’t just worry about my paper. I worry about everything. Like what if there’s a giant earthquake while I’m sleeping and I have to jump out a window (I don’t know why I’d have to jump out a window, I just would)? Or what if I accidentally (or not accidentally, people are assholes) get run over by a car when I’m crossing the street? And then I worry about the bad shit that happens to animals, because a lot of bad shit happens to animals.
Sometimes, though, animals get the upper hand. For instance, in Belarus, known for its delicious potato recipes (potato pancakes, even better without eggs), as well as its plentitude of beautiful outdoor places to kill animals, a fox shot a hunter. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective), the fox did not kill the hunter (because animals are hella cool like that), and so now he can spend the rest of his life talking about how awesome foxes are. Or, uh, apologizing for trying to beat this particular fox to death with the butt of his weapon after the fox didn’t die from the bullets the hunter shot at him/her. Th glorious and very smart fox escaped and is hopefully doing well, although I’m worried that the bullet wounds may prove fatal (as bullet wounds so often are). Let’s hope the hunter holds up his half of the bargain I just created for him. If he doesn’t take being shot by his prey as a wake-up call that he’s doing some heinous shit, perhaps it’s better if he exits the gene pool as quickly and gracefully as possible.
Tim (who is quickly becoming my favorite reader ever because A. he’s sent me two links already and B. my affection is won easily) sent me this delightful story about the U.S. Government poisoning birds. You would think the US government would have better things to do (LGBT rights, women’s rights, prison reform, make sure we’re all now owned by China tomorrow) but NO, they’re far too busy to deal with any major issues because they’re creating poison bait to murder birds who poop too much and too indiscriminately. 200 Starlings are dead as a result of the USDA’s decision that killing these birds would be the best way to stop them from defecating in a feedlot. Fortunately, the USDA also released a statement proclaiming that the now dead birds do not pose a threat to humans or animals. Because they can no longer expel excrement. This is a real thing. Also: I don’t know where you guys come from, but I come from Moldova*, and in Moldova when a bird pooped on you, we called it a present and took it as a good omen. To my knowledge, we did not poison the bird. Moldova was, at one time, named the world’s unhappiest country. If the world’s unhappiest country can welcome bird poop, we should at least be able to tolerate it without resorting to murder in America. Meave wrote more on this issue and I implore you to read it immediately and then get really, really pissed and hope all the birds go Hitchcock** on our asses. And I’m not talking about his signature lighting techniques!
I wonder what the USDA thinks about people eating fungus-encrusted silk worms in order to get their groove back? This delicious/disGARsting treat is referred to as “The Himalayan Viagra” and while it does not have an immediate effect (to which I say, what’s the point?), if you put it on your waffles or grate it into your bottle of Parma (OMG PARMA! I ATE A WHOLE BOTTLE OF IT IN ONE SITTING LAST WEEK!) and eat it for a couple of days, it is going to (allegedly) make you hornier than an, I don’t know, Horny Goat Weed (warning: vegan??). Allegedly, this is a trend in New York and people are paying hundreds of dollars for an ounce of these worms. The worms have also caused controversy because it’s not possible to tell if they work (duh) and because the people who collect them have been bludgeoning each other to death over control of the worms. This is not only disgusting and sad, but probably incredibly unsanitary. These are dead worms covered in fungus. Also: we have Viagra now and I hear it’s cheaper. Even if you don’t have insurance. Why not try some of that? No shame! Or, some shame, but it’s cool.
Please send me, your friend Mark, links for next week and have a safe and happy Wednesday. If you’re starting school today, I wish you godspeed and good luck!
*Moldova is basically like Kazakhstan but less charming. Laura wrote that.
**Or perhaps, Birdemic!
Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday! »
I usually stay away from new year’s resolutions because I always resolve to do more water aerobics and end up eating more cake, which isn’t really a problem for me because I love cake but it’s a problem for poor Allen who has a nervous breakdown when he opens the fridge only to be confronted with a dangerous amount of frosting and my mom spends every night over at our house chowing down on baked goods and talking with me about the old country. This year is going to be different, however. I was going to be more positive and stop thinking bad thoughts about people, but NeNe Leakes took that one from me. Then I was going to drink more water and less soda, but Laura felt that she should handle that one this year and god help me if I share a resolution with anyone (SOCIAL SUICIDE). Then I had this amazing idea of being a better boyfriend and treating my significant other to luxury resorts and extravagant surprises, but Allen beat me to THAT, so I’ve decided to stick with something simple and unique—to swear less, and cause the grisly demise of fewer people.
The second part of my resolution is already proving super-hard* because there are people like the South Carolina State Coon Hunters Association trying to get oh-so-clever “coon hunters” license plates in order to show their pride of hunting raccoons (why?) and ensure their hunting rights are not infringed upon. There are concerns that these license plates are racist, but there seems to be very little concern that these people are proud of killing raccoons. I pose this question to you, associated coon hunters: What is the point? I know that there is some reason you want to shoot raccoons, but I just do not understand it. I read Where the Red Fern Grows in school and while I found it heart-warming, I did not understand the point of the hunting. I read it again during a horrible break-up and still didn’t understand it. You want to make yourself a hat? For what? You don’t need a hat. You need a conscience!
What is wrong with this world? Is it bear-hunting, specifically? I think it’s bear-hunting. Yes, friends, there is no way to better celebrate the season than by bagging your loved ones a bear. Just think of the joy on their faces when you present them with a bear carcass. Who wants an iPod or a DSi when you can make your own bear oil—it’s great for culinary use AND soap-making? If you agree with me, you should really sign up for 2011’s Black Bear
Hunt I MEAN “HARVEST” EXTRAVAGANZA in New Jersey. Last year’s “harvest” of the state’s black bears was held from Dec. 6 to 11 and over 590 bears were successfully harvested by area hunters. A quick look at the FAQ provides one with delightful answers to all of the burning bear-harvesting questions you might have. For example, did you know that hunting (because seriously, “harvesting”?) a mother bear who is with her cubs is totally acceptable and encouraged? Hunters are supposed to take the first clear shot that comes their way so any one bear is fair game! Cubs, too? SURE! All classes and genders of black bear may be shot as long as you have the correct permit and will wait to quarter your bear until after you’ve checked it in! Wait, can I hunt the bears from an elevated position in order to give the Bears no time or means to defend themselves from my bullets? Are you an idiot? OF COURSE! As long as you buy the permit!
But that’s not enough! Let’s also subject bears to the same humiliations we subjected the other animals too during Halloween. Let’s stick a messed-up snowman in its cage at the zoo and see how happy it is!
Really? Does the look on this bear’s face not say it all? Is it not the saddest, most heart-breaking, “Oh, the humanity!” grimace that you have ever seen? Will I ever get a response to the question I ask every week: What is wrong with people?
Send me links for next week and have an awesome first Wednesday of the year!
Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday! »
Have you guys been watching this horrible Sarah Palin abortion that is on the television? Several questions: What is wrong with this woman? Also, what is wrong with this woman? And finally, what is wrong with this woman? I have never seen this show because my head would explode in a volcano of rage, but I have read about it and seen delightful pictures of Sarah Palin: with a shotgun! Sarah Palin: with a hunting knife! Sarah Palin: crouched over the remains of a caribou she has just murdered! I don’t know if I asked this before, but what is wrong with this woman? How can you be so clearly against things like abortion and not be against murdering innocent animals? And how could you think that aerial hunting is an acceptable sport? I was going to just say FUCKFUCKFUCK for the next several lines, but my mother told me that my swearing is getting to be a bit too much and that I really need to tone it down; so instead, I ask you again: What is wrong with this woman? And additionally, do you think that seeing herself murdering things on television will make her feel bad about herself? I can hope, but it seems that this woman lacks both shame and insight!
Man, I am about to get even angrier. Perhaps it is because this week is not getting off to a delightful start. It is cold, I am tired, and our heat is out again. Even when we turn it up to about 90, we still have to wear several layers and then cover ourselves with about 5 million different covers. This is what I got out of Russia for! Not to freeze to death in the winter. And of course Allen is no help. I’m all trying to cuddle up and steal some of his precious heat when he groans and kicks me while asleep! Why does his unconscious aggression toward me come out during the coldest nights? It’s times like this that I wish I had some fluffy animal friend to keep me warm. A dog perhaps, or some kind of large rodent (it would be so awesome if someone made like a giant hamster that I could cuddle with. No homo.). I used to chill with a rabbit that lives with my old roommate now. Perhaps I could borrow her for these cold winter nights. Know what I wouldn’t do to a rabbit, though? Crush it under glass while wearing a school uniform!
WHOOOOOOAA! HOLD ON THERE! THAT WAS NOT A SEGUE!
Exactly. Even after seeing “2 Girls 1 Cup” (OMG!) I was not prepared for the horror that was Chinese animal-crushing porn. Did you know that such a thing even existed? The video, which lasts about four horrifying minutes, is of a young woman dressed in a school uniform picking up a rabbit, stroking it, then mercilessly crushing it by placing it under a piece of glass and sitting on it. Sickening! And not even lucrative! This girl was paid $60 for killing a defenseless fluffball! And then stamping on it! Se claims that she didn’t know about what the job was going to be like because she found it on the internet, but really her innocence ends there. If I were a young woman looking for work and someone was all, “Yeah, you’re hot. Please come shoot this movie,” I would be wary. Perhaps I would go and see what it was about, but the moment the producer says something like, “Let me tell you my vision: You and three of your closest friends are chilling with Mei-Wen’s new rabbit, until you, in a cathartic act that exposes the cruelty of our society, grab the bunny, place it under glass, and slowly crush it with your posterior. Finally, you and the girls stomp the bunny with your stilettos in a meditation on futility as the screen fades to black,” I would be OUT OF THERE. It is just not OK! Actually, I would probably report these people, too and then firebomb their studio. I’ve actually been joking about firebombing a lot lately. I should really stop reading teen novels set in a dystopian future.
Speaking of teens (see what I did there? I am so pleased with myself!) There is a "Justin Bieber of Bullfighting." I didn’t even know that being a “Justin Bieber of” anything was now an accepted thing, but apparently what it stands for is being an annoying tween with an annoying talent. Like singing songs about “baby, baby, baby” or killing bulls because it is “fun.” Unfortunately, unlike Justin Bieber, who is merely ubiquitous, Michelito Lagravere is a horrible little monster who has slaughtered over 300 bulls. I wonder how this kid is going to adjust as he gets older—you can’t kill six bulls at a single time while wearing sequined pants and come out of it unscathed. You don’t just recover from that. I’m really angry at this kid, but I am even angrier at his parents, who not only encourage it, but seems to believe that this kind of behavior is condoned by god. It just doesn’t make any sense. I wonder if I could apply the same question that I applied to Sarah Palin to this kid. But then I’d also have to apply it to his family. And any place that allows something like bullfighting. And then any place that allows cruelty to animals, whether it be for pornography, sport, food, fun, or clothing. What is wrong with people?
Just thinking about this stuff is exhausting. Why don’t we call it a day and meet here again next week, when there might be happier news to report and less of my head exploding in a rage volcano? Send me links for next week, and have a safe Wednesday out there.