Sunday, October 26, 2008


Read this article for a small taste of what makes me the unashamed animal rights wacko that I am:

Animal Stewardship

For about 3 years, I lived in a small "good old boy" kind of town and volunteered at an animal sanctuary out in the sticks. My students had gun racks on their trucks, pictures of bloody, dead animals on their binders, and confederate flags on both trucks and binders. Needless to say, it wasn't my kind of town. While I love the whole country scene, and I adore old, small towns, this particular town was still a few generations from realizing we had gone through a civil rights movement and hadn't yet decided that at the very least, you could at least pretend that you hunt for the food, and not just to kill things for the fun of it.

But, being a politically pro-active animal rights wacko, I recognized the value in keeping my mouth shut and my judgements to myself. After all, you can never change anyone by being a jerk, and you certainly can't make a positive impression if you're perceived as being a flaming liberal, tree-hugging, granola, eco/animal liberation terrorist in a town of proud gun-toting citizens with a firm belief in their right to kill and maim anything that moves.

What is interesting, however, is that most everyone else thought it was ok to judge ME and my beliefs. I would hear, "You volunteer doing WHAT?" or "Hee hee, you call it a pet... I call it a target." I would calmly smile, shrug, and tell them that if they ever wanted to hear some stories of what I've seen, I would gladly share.

This is the same town where we rescued a calf that had been used by 3 teenage boys on quads as "target practice." They terrified the herd, killed three adult cows with multiple poorly-aimed bullets, and left the calf with 2 bullets and a broken leg cowering against the body of it's dead mother. Of course, boys will be boys, right? Who could blame them for having a little fun? They're JUST COWS.

This is also the same state where we were given video footage of cows strung up by their back legs, going to be skinned ALIVE because the bolt that is at least supposed to knock them unconscious didn't do the trick. We watched the cow kick, bellow and twist in vain as it was taken. There are no regulations that require these slaughter houses to be inspected. But again, these are just cows, right? We were unable to prosecute because the men who took the video and made it public happened to mysteriously disappear. Hmm. They were illegal immigrants, so it was all very convenient for their employers. A few of us were sick after watching this video.

This is the county where we were told by the sheriff that even though we knew the locations of illegal pit bull and cock fights,and had inside gang members telling us the dates and times, we had to have actual video footage for them to do anything. I was wired with a video camera that looked like a fountain pen, hundred dollar bills to do some betting in order to look like a regular attender, and a healthy dose of fear, but at the last minute the fight was canceled. We think they were tipped off about our investigation. I was discouraged, but relieved. I wasn't sure how I was going to nonchalantly witness pit bull puppies get torn to shreds as bate and the losing pit bulls get mauled or shot by their owners.

These little stories are just the tip of the iceberg. I usually try to forget most of what I know and what I've seen. At the sanctuary, it was endurable because we were working with the ones that we saved. We were nurturing the "happily ever afters" and we were fighting to change laws, enforce laws, and spread awareness. And we did a darn good job.

I was often used as a one of the representatives to the rest of the public because I happen to be Mohawk, nose ring, and tattoo free. (at least I appear to be tattoo-free.) :) You tend to get a lot of alternative looking folks when you are dealing with an alternative lifestyle. I mean, come on, it is so weird and such a Fringe idea to think that it's not NICE to skin animals alive, starve them to death, or break their legs for fun, right?
Isn't it always the people that are initially thought of as weird, abnormal , outside the lines, or just plain unladylike that make the most and best change in our world? Isn't it due to their efforts that we females can vote, that slavery was abolished, and that we no longer sterilize or institutionalize people who are different from the majority? I, for one, will stick with the folks who are brave enough to take a little ribbing and a little inconvenience to make a change. So all of you wackos out there:
Stand up, speak up, and don't be discouraged by the rest of the folks who might just think you are WEIRD.
(And now I lost all of my blood thirsty, gun-toting readers....ahh, the sacrifices.....)


Sabina said...

You have a very interesting blog -- filled with passion and love. Thanks for stopping by my site so I could find yours. I've perused what you've written with eyes wide and especially loved your "Warriors" post. It's so great to find something that speaks of the living breathing person behind it!


Anonymous said...

ugh! I so wish I hadn't heard some of the stories I've heard of animal abuse. Makes me sick. I'm way too much a weenie to even blog about it. I can't take it.