Religious festivals provide new and fun ways to torture Australian sheep!  »

Because Australian sheep don’t suffer enough (see mulesing), Australian farmers ship them live to the “Middle East”* so they can be brutalized and then killed for Eid al Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice. For this year’s festival, Animals Australia investigators were onsite in Kuwait and Bahrain to document the cruelty, and caught some really effed shit. Shipping live animals is awful all on its own, but then once they get there, these sheep are sold on the street and chained to cars and whatnot to bring home to “sacrifice.” The picture above is one of many shocking photos; here we have sheep being forced into the trunk of a car to transport to someone’s home to be killed. Seriously, this picture makes me ill.

The Jerusalem Post has a really great article on Muslim vegetarians and how they view the holiday. It seems people question whether one can be Muslim and be vegetarian but the Post writes, “Liberal clerics, such as American scholar Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, point to Islamic oral traditions to justify vegetarianism. ‘Traditionally Muslims were semi-vegetarians,’ Yusuf claimed in religious audio tape. ‘Umar [the second Muslim Caliph] said: “Beware of meat, because it has an addiction like the addiction of wine”.’” And Muslims are generally pretty down on wine.

In a bit of good news, it looks like vegetarians aren’t the only people skipping the sacrifice; according to the article, some meat-loving people are forgoing the sacrifice for purely economic reasons—meat is expensive and prices have gone up. Still, they say 800,000 sheep were shipped from Australia this year for the festival. If they really want sheep, can’t someone raise them closer to Kuwait or something? And if they really want to sacrifice sheep, can’t they treat them with some decency before they kill them? If an animal is being murdered for you, you could at least be grateful.

*I don’t think we call it that anymore? I couldn’t find a definite preferred term. [Ed. The term has become pretty firmly entrenched, even in the area itself. Maybe West Asia as a substitute?]


Sharks of Kuwait, sharks of D.C.  »

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) spent the second-to-last day of the Senate before its “autumn recess” complaining about Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) attempt to pass, among other animal protection legislation,* S. 850, the Shark Conservation Act. This is the Senate’s version of H.R. 81, which passed the House in March 2009; both bills would “prohibit removal any of the fins of a shark (including the tail) and discarding the shark carcass at sea,” and make even possessing shark fins unattached to shark bodies illegal. This is good stuff! But could Sen. Dr. Tom “rampant lesbianism” Coburn allow the Senate to save hundreds of thousands of sharks? What are you, new? Apparently the bill has “been proffered for special interest groups,” but not special interest groups that give Tom Coburn money, so it’s not worth his precious time.

All over the world, actually, sharks are being slaughtered at an obscene rate. In this episode of Witness, Al Jazeera’s documentary show, a small crew chums the waters of the Arabian Gulf off Kuwait looking for sharks. It’s narrated and filmed in an almost emotionless manner, but some of the scenes are heart-wrenching. Shark embryos are said to be a source of virility, so even though adult sharks aren’t usually eaten, the unborn babies are. It’s 22 minutes long, and completely astonishing. As one of the researchers says, anyone can go to South Africa and see a white shark, but who even knows to go to Kuwait? Definitely watch it in full screen.

[can’t see the video? watch it at]

For further information on international work to protect sharks, visit the Shark Alliance, or the Pew Charitable Trusts Shark Conservation campaign.

*The other legislation ol’ Harry Reid was looking to get passed was “the Crane Conservation Act, marine mammals rescue assistance legislation, the Great Cats and Rare Canids Act, and the Southern Sea Otter Recovery and Research Act.” Man, fuck that Tom Coburn. Fuck him right in the ear.

Update: Let’s not forget that Sen. Coburn has also placed holds on legislation that would give $1 billion to Haiti; make settlements worth $3.4 billion with Native Americans and black farmers; allow the government to purchase land to build a National Women’s History Museum; give aid to victims of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda; provide financial aid and training to caregivers of disabled veterans, investigate “unsolved Civil Rights-era crimes from before 1970”; help prevent veterans from committing suicide; and also, the Genetic Information Non-Disclosure Act. Why? Who knows? Maybe Jesus told him to be a hateful human being with no compassion whatsoever! Fuck that guy in both ears.

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