Vegan Rambles:

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August 2010

Sheep walk in solidarity grieving the loss of their lambs

Do Animal rights activists keep Pets?

October 2010
 

Giant Stag 'Shot Dead for his Antlers'

Can Animals Adjust their Behaviour?

November 2010

Insect Intelligence

Bird Rescue

December 2010

Lidl are selling Reindeer Meat!

Badger Culling slaughter

Cute and Interesting Animals

 

Animal Rights Blogs I read

animalrighter.blogspot.

animalblog.

veganelder.blogspot.

beaelliottvegan.blogspot.

veganmenu.blogspot.

walkingwiththealligators.

 

If you are new to this section please read the Introduction

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For ease of reading, quotations appear in a purple font

Vegan Rambles 2011  Vegan Rambles 2012 Vegan Rambles 2013 Vegan Rambles 2014

 

Entries for the year 2010

August 2010

Sheep walk in solidarity grieving the loss of their lambs

After the bleakness of winter I look forward to the delights of seeing tiny lambs during late winter and early spring.  All baby animals are adorable but there is for me something special about those tiny little lambs wobbling about on shaky legs following their attentive mothers everywhere. The way their tails wag vigorously when they are taking milk from their mother is an utter delight. Their curiosity, their insatiable energy and exuberant playfulness has a sweetness all of its own.

As a sufferer of chronic depression the spring days with the newness of life everywhere is a balm for my troubled soul.

But I feel such sadness that in just a few months these adorable creatures will be forcibly separated from their mothers and slaughtered, usually here in the UK around about July the fields and  hillsides will suddenly be depleted of these tiny creatures . Many are slaughtered even earlier to celebrate Easter.

It is a misconception that sheep do not notice that their lambs have been taken away from them. Contrary to popular belief lambs form strong bonds with their mothers and can recognise their mother by the sound of her bleat. When separated lambs and their mothers will bleat frantically

Recently while my husband, son and I were out in the Yorkshire moors we became engaged in an interesting conversation with a local lady, a conversation that all those who care about sheep and the plight of farm animals may find of interest. While my husband was taking photographs of sheep and lambs in a field close by a lady came out of the nearby pub and engaged him in conversation about these sheep. It turned out she is a vegan and does much to rescue sheep and other farm animals and has intervened in the practice of cruel treatments in a local livestock market, including buying sheep from farmers and finding them new homes where they will be cared for and allowed to live the full duration of their lives.

She told us of the dreadful conditions in the local livestock market where tiny lambs are packed into pens eight at a time for pens meant to hold only four, of how thin and tiny lambs were wedged in tight, like commodities packed in a warehouse. She told us of lame sheep which according to regulations should not be sent to market and how pigs were so crammed into a pen that the poor creatures could only stand on their hind legs which consequently suffered damage. Blood could be seen on the pigs.

She told us about the lambs, two of whom you see here in the photograph, who prefer to sit by this fence whenever they need to rest.

This came about when they were separated from their mothers, who were than moved into the next field separated by a foot path. To be as close as possible to their mothers these lambs sit here, and for a long time after the separation from their mothers their insistent pitiful bleating, along with that of their mothers could be heard for hours on end for several days eventually rendering them hoarse. The mothers have since been moved to another field, out of view of the lambs, ready to be “serviced” by rams in order to produce more lambs next year, which continues the painful cycle for the distressed mothers who again will suffer the grief of having their lambs taken from them. Still the lambs sit by the fence, the nearest spot that they last saw their mothers.

Many people assume that sheep do not show emotion, and if we compared it to human emotion we are misled into thinking this.   Maybe a sheep is anatomically incapable of crying or other facial expression we associate with traumatic emotion, although of course the bleats of distress and anguish due to separation cannot be mistaken for anything other than emotion resulting from the brutal separation from their mothers, but sheep show emotion nonetheless but in their own way. Besides the anguished bleating according to this lady ewes show solidarity for the shared plight of losing their offspring by walking in single file. A sight I have often witnessed but until now had no idea why they behaved in this way. In deciding if animals have emotion it is a great mistake to compare their behaviour with our own, animals show emotion in different ways, and indeed if we think about it not all humans display emotion in the same way.

These little lambs who kept close company with their twin sibling, she told us, would soon be sent to slaughter. I could not help feeling overwhelming sad for the plight of these helpless creatures and at such times you can feel that there is little you can do.

Another interesting comment this person made was that during an unsuccessful attempt to buy one tiny lamb from a farmer the lamb in question approached her as she left as though she, the lamb, knew that that this visitor had tried to rescue her.

I strongly believe that there is more to sheep and indeed other farm animals than meets the eye. We should look underneath common accepted cultural beliefs and world views, views often so deeply ingrained that we never question what we have been led to believe concerning animal sentience. It is convenient for all those who profit from the rearing and slaughter of farm animals to have you think they are non feeling creatures unaware of what happens to them, when quite the contrary is clearly true. Look deeper into the lives of these animals and you will find a thinking feeling being, who given the opportunity are as likely to interact with you as your cat or dog.

On our return home we saw dozens of lambs and a Texel ram in an enclosure, most likely put there to be sent to slaughter the following day. My husband said that rams are too important to slaughter. But this may not necessity be true. He looked like a young ram, he may have been infertile and from the stand point of farming of no use. He and several little lambs looked at us as if asking for help. I felt so sad and thought about the ram and the lambs all night long. I cannot understand the mentality of people who will come along the next day and herd these defences creatures into a truck, with little or no compassion, without thought or consideration and send them to a premature and terrifying death simply to sate the appetites of people who are equally thoughtless. And this is the problems is it not, at least concerning consumers: they simply do not think about it. If we can get consumers to think differently about farm animals, see them for the intelligent sensitive beings they are than maybe the horrendous atrocity which many compare, including Jewish author Isaac Bashevis Singer*1, to an on going holocaust, might once and forever stop.

References
1)

Jewish author Isaac Bashevis Singer, who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1978, made the comparison in several of his stories, including Enemies, A Love Story, The Penitent, and The Letter Writer. In The Letter Writer the protagonist says: "In relation to [animals], all people are Nazis; for the animals, it is an eternal Treblinka." In The Penitent the protagonist says "when it comes to animals, every man is a Nazi."

wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_rights_and_the_Holocaust

August 2010

Do Animal Rights Advocates keep Pets?

To begin most animal rights advocates prefer the term companion animals. Companion animals under the guardianship of animal rights advocates are usually animals rescued from pounds or animals that need a home for one reason or another. Those of us who are truly concerned about animal exploitation would not buy a puppy from a puppy mill or go into a pet shop and buy a guinea pig, a rabbit or a bird.

It can be difficult to know what to do and if you love animals it can be painful indeed to see them in pets shops waiting to be purchased by goodness knows who. The other day while buying wild bird food my husband and I saw guinea pigs and rabbits for sale. Also lizards in special temperature controlled tanks. I felt as though I would like to give them a home to save them from the possibility of abuse, neglect or outright cruelty. After all I thought anyone can buy any animal, no questions asked. What happens to that animal after the person leaves the shop depends on who buys him or her and many pets are abused and neglected and no one is any the wiser. It is sad that we trade in sentient creatures,  with no regard concerning what happens to them, creatures who feel fear and pain just as we do. It is time such trade was outlawed in the same way that it is now illegal to buy and sell human beings.

It can be a difficult decision knowing whether or not the keeping of companion animals perpetuates this type of exploitation. Most animal rights organisations do not advocate that cats or dogs should be turned lose into the wild - and most certainly not guinea pigs, birds and tropical animals - and consider that the situation concerning dogs and cats cannot be altered in the short term and therefore a suitable home with a loving guardian is the best option at the present time for an animal who needs a home due to unfavourable circumstances.

But for many people for reasons of space or life style it is better not to offer a home to an animal who will spend most of his life indoors or shut in a small yard or garden.

I think it is human nature to seek the companionship of animals and our lives are enriched by doing so. If we had no connection with our fellow creatures our lives would feel empty. But this does not mean we have to confine them in zoos, safari parks or in our homes in cages, hutches or trapped in the house for their entire lives as is the case these days for many cats, now often referred to as house cats.

There are many ways you can share your life with an animal without interring with his or her natural life. One way is to attract birds to your garden. It might seem simple and many people do so as matter of course particularly during the winter. But sadly few appreciate or really get to know these visitors to their gardens.

And you do not have to have a garden, even a tiny yard such as ours has become a sanctuary for dozens of birds. You can even hang feeders on a nearby tree in the street as I have seen people do in our neighbourhood. The bird visitors to our yard, once so very timid have really got to trust us now and will come to feed even while we sit in the yard at very close proximity. Our visitors are mostly sparrows, but also blue tits, pigeons and the occasional visit from a green finch. Also every year a black bird couple nest in our yard and bring up their young, as do the sparrows who sleep over night in the bushes near our home. Its a delight to see the young being fed and to hear them singing. Sparrows it seems enjoy the rain and sing most vigorously for a time even during a downpour. When we first came to live in our present home it was just a concreted yard, we made boarders, planted bushes even three trees and provided feeding stations and water including a bird bath. We also made a tiny pond but sadly one year one of the babies drowned so we have since filled it in. It is best to provide shallow drinking water, such as a bird bath or one of the purpose made water feeding stations you can get from many garden centres. Below are two videos of our bird visitors.

Time for a Bath

 

Feeding Time for Baby Birds

More on this topic from this website Companion Animals

I think there is no definite guidelines, yes or no, black or white advocacy concerning animal rights activists, vegans and companion animals and we have to make a decision according to our conscience.  We personally do not share our home with a companion animal simply because we do not have a home suitable, or a garden large enough to provide a good quality of life for a dog or a cat.

Concerning the issue of companion animals there are variations of opinion, here are just a few:

veganmainstream.com/vegan-uncensored-can-vegans-have-pets

vegansoapbox.com/can-vegans-have-pets/

vegansociety.com/hubpagecompanion+animals

animal-rights.com/arsec10.htm

credits:
Time for a Bath
Music credits:
Air from Water Music Suite in F
Composer: George Frideric Handel
Free download from A-M Classical:
 http://www.amclassical.com/
Creative commons License
www.amclassical.com/creativecommons.shtml
Link to mp3 file:
www.amclassical.com/handel.shtml

Feeding Time for Baby Birds
Music Credits:
A lute song by John Dowland (1562-1626).
Performed by Jon Sayles
jsayles.com/familypages/earlymusic.htm

 

October 2010

Nature lovers are mourning a giant stag feared to have been shot dead for its antlers.

The male red deer, known as the Emperor and reputedly the biggest wild animal in Britain, was reportedly killed by a trophy hunter in Exmoor, Devon.

He was apparently shot legally after the landowner was paid for the shooting rights.
The Press Association

For more information please read the complete article:
google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article (Sorry article no longer available)

A growing number of sightings have fuelled speculation that  the mighty stag the Exmoor Emperor may not be dead after all.

A local farmer has claimed that a friend who lives on Exmoor had seen the magnificent 9ft tall beast  in his garden last  week - days after it was reported to have  been shot by a hunter.

Farmer Lesley Prior, 54,  from Oakford, five miles from Exmoor, said:' My builder told me that the stag had been in his garden.



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1324573/My-builder-seen-Exmoor-Emperor-stag-garden-says-farmer-Is-magnificent-9ft-beast-alive-all.html#ixzz13jmJmipj
A growing number of sightings have fuelled speculation that  the mighty stag the Exmoor Emperor may not be dead after all.

A local farmer has claimed that a friend who lives on Exmoor had seen the magnificent 9ft tall beast  in his garden last  week - days after it was reported to have  been shot by a hunter.

Farmer Lesley Prior, 54,  from Oakford, five miles from Exmoor, said:' My builder told me that the stag had been in his garden.



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1324573/My-builder-seen-Exmoor-Emperor-stag-garden-says-farmer-Is-magnificent-9ft-beast-alive-all.html#ixzz13jmJmipj
A growing number of sightings have fuelled speculation that  the mighty stag the Exmoor Emperor may not be dead after all.

A local farmer has claimed that a friend who lives on Exmoor had seen the magnificent 9ft tall beast  in his garden last  week - days after it was reported to have  been shot by a hunter.

Farmer Lesley Prior, 54,  from Oakford, five miles from Exmoor, said:' My builder told me that the stag had been in his garden.



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1324573/My-builder-seen-Exmoor-Emperor-stag-garden-says-farmer-Is-magnificent-9ft-beast-alive-all.html#ixzz13jmJmipj

Judging by the number of comments on one of the many media websites which covered this many people were justifiably shocked by this appalling act of wonton violence to a defenceless animal. Even more unsettling was the comment made at the end the first article by an Exmoor-based deer expert who apparently was shocked that the animal had been shot during the mating season:

 "It could be that he didn't get a chance to rut properly this year, therefore his genes have not been passed on this time round.

"The poor things should be left alone during the rut, not harried from pillar to post. If we care about deer we should maintain a standard and stop all persecution during this important time of the year."

Don't you think that these comments are grossly inadequate. Surely it is a crime that any animal is hunted and shot simply from the perspective that it is unethical to take the life of any sentient being, who like you and I was born into this world to live out his or her life as nature allows. This animal just like you or I simply wants to live. He wants to roam his terrain, unmolested, not only to mate and pass on his genes, feed, eat, sleep but feel the sun on his back and the wind and rain, to live breathe and have his being. Why has anyone the right to deny any creature these rights?

In later articles there have been some claims to sightings of this animal and there have been doubts whether or not it was indeed the Emperor stag who has been shot:

Locals split over Exmoor Emperor's 'death'

Doubts have emerged over whether a stag shot in Devon was the Exmoor Emperor, which was thought to have been the UK's largest land animal.

Read More:
bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-

Hopefully the Emperor stag is still alive. However the fact remains. We do not have the right to kill any animal for any reason whether it is monetary, competitiveness, pleasure or simply notoriety.

Here is what lead guitarist in Queen and animal rights activist Brian May had to say during an interview for the Daily Mail :

'I'd like to challenge whoever did this to stand up in public and explain why they think that killing a fine beast like this is the right thing to do, because I simply can't understand it.

'I think it's completely despicable - it's beyond belief.'

'The idea that someone can pay to kill an animal, to take pleasure in the killing, and then take a part of their anatomy to hang on their wall as a trophy, belongs in the dark ages with bear-baiting and burning witches at the stake.

'It's a really ugly part of British culture that should be consigned to history.'

'Part of the reason I feel so strongly about it is that it's linked to other campaigns we're fighting, especially to ensure that the law against hunting with animals does not get repealed by the new Government.

'If that becomes legal again, then animals won't just be shot by hunters, they will be torn apart by dogs. It's very important that we stop that happening.

Read more: dailymail.co.uk/news/article

It is time that all blood sports where banned. In my locality near to both the Yorkshire and Durham dales it is the hunting season. Throughout October, November and December during a walk in either of these locations, and no doubt many others up and down the country, you are likely to meet up with armed men with dogs prowling around not only targeting grouse, pheasant and in some areas duck but terrorising grazing sheep, not to mention those of us who simply wish to go for a walk in peaceful country side and not have to hear gun fire and know that some poor defenceless creature has lost his life. This year my husband and I encountered a spaniel who had become separated from the hunting party and was chasing sheep. In another incident sheep were being herded by hunters in the Durham dales and were fleeing in terrified confusion. We reported this to local police but we were told that it is the hunting season and there was nothing they could do.

Isn't it time for the sake of wildlife, sheep and ourselves that hunting was finally banned for now and for ever. I say ourselves because to my mind it is frightening to think that people can have license to own a gun for hunting which they can at any time be use to kill other people as was the case with Derrick Bird responsible for mass killings in  Cumbria.

People who knew the 52-year-old loner say he prided himself on his shooting ability although he never boasted of his prowess. Bird’s friend Stephen Gillespie, 43, said: “Derrick used the guns for hunting. He liked to shoot rabbits, rats and pigeons out in the fields. He looked at it as helping the farmers but he was obviously getting a sick thrill out of it.”

express.co.uk/posts/view/179430/We-talked-Derrick-Bird-out-of-killing-himself

Bird's reasons of course for shooting animals cannot be known or the emotions he felt while doing so, nonetheless the fact remains that he had a license to own a gun with which he shot defenceless animals and which he later used to kill people. Ban hunting and you also reduce the risk considerably of such a massacre happening again.

Hunting is a sickening and sadistic pastime that should be consigned to history. Violence breeds violence, if you can kill an animal you are a step closer to killing a human being. Did you know that there have been times in history that human beings have justified hunting other human beings? After various atrocities towards the indigenous population of Australia White Settlers  launched a campaign to hunt Aborigines for sport and for reward, whereby white settlers would be paid for each Aborigine they murdered.

After so-called Aborigine “rebels” launched an attack to protect their land, killing several whites and wounding British Captain Arthur Phillip, the settlers launched a plan to eradicate the so-called trouble-makers from the planet. They set out on systematic slaughter missions. They poisoned entire tribes and destroyed sacred sites. They raped women and stole children.
 
As if this barbarity was not bad enough, the settlers also launched a campaign to hunt Aborigines for sport and for reward, whereby white settlers would be paid for each Aborigine they murdered.

Extract: Invisible People  By Jill A. Bolstridge
thenewblackmagazine.com/

To my way of thinking it is wrong to kill any animal whether it is human or non human.  All beings have a right to life. Man is not a natural hunter. If he was a natural hunter such as for instance a lion or a tiger he would not need a weapon to do so. If he were a natural hunter he would have the anatomy of a carnivore. Here is what Plutarch said about claims that carnivorism is natural for humans, this argument of course applies equality to the idea that a human being is a natural hunter.

We declare, then, that it is absurd for them to say that the practise of flesh-eating is based on nature . For that man is not naturally carnivorous is, in the first place, obvious from the structure of his body.   A mans frame is in no way similar to those creatures who were made for flesh-eating; he has no hooked beak or sharp nails or jagged teeth, no strong stomach or warmth of vital fluids able to digest and assimilate a heavy diet of flesh. It is from the very fact, the evenness of our teeth, the smallness of our mouths, the softness of our tongues, our possession of vital fluids too inert to digest meat that nature disavows our eating of flesh. If you declare that you are naturally designed for such a diet, than first kill for yourself what you want to eat. Do, it however, only through your own resources, unaided by cleaver or cudgel of any kind or axe. Rather, just as wolves and bears and lions themselves slay what they eat, so you are to fell an ox with your fangs or a boar with your jaws, or tear a lamb or hare in bits. Fall upon it and eat it still living, as animals do. But if you wait for what you eat to be dead, if you have qualms about enjoying the flesh while life is still present, why do you continue, contrary to nature, to eat what possesses life? Even when it is lifeless and dead, however, no one eats the flesh just as it is; men boil it and roast it, altering it by fire and drugs, recasting and diverting and smothering with countless condiments the taste of gore so that the palate may be deceived and accept what is foreign to it.

People who arm themselves and hunt any animal be it human or non human do so simply for pleasure. There is no justification whatsoever. Hunting is surely and simply nothing more than brutal barbarity. I would not associate myself with anyone who hunts any creature.

Now is the time to stop such practices once and for all

The league Against cruel sports campaigns to being about an end to all forms of  hunting and other cruel sports.

We should not be complacent. The recent fox hunting ban, the ban on hunting with dogs, is in danger of being repealed. Take action now to stop this happening and also to take part in other campaigns to stop cruel sports please visit the league Against Cruel Sports website:

league Against Cruel Sports.org.uk/

Concerning their attempts to reinstate the barbaric sport of fox hunting within a few weeks of being elected, the present British government  might do well to heed the following passage from an appeal made by Charles Darwin against steel traps :

Bull-baiting and cock-fighting have rightly been put down by law; I hope it may never be said that the members of the British Parliament will not make laws to protect animals if such laws should in any way interfere with their own sports.

Charles Darwin

Source: darwin-online.org.uk/pdf/1863_Appeal_F1931.pdf Where you can read the full appeal.

Yes indeed members of the government enjoy hunting, below is a comment by David Cameron in the Daily Mail:

'I was taught to fish by a wonderful grandfather. I was taught to shoot rabbits by my dad. I've always been a country boy and I went hunting.'
David Cameron

dailymail.co.uk/news/article-

It is time that all hunting  was banned, it is an anachronism, a shocking cruelty not worthy of any nation which wishes to call itself civilsied.

Below I have included a number of anti hunting quotations

Hunting is not a proper employment for a thinking man. 
Joseph Addison

When I was twelve, I went hunting with my father and we shot a bird. He was laying there and something struck me. Why do we call this fun to kill this creature who was as happy as I was when I woke up this morning
Marv Levy

as long as human beings will go on shedding the blood of animals, there will never be any peace. There is only one little step from killing animals to creating gas chambers a la Hitler and concentration camps a la Stalin . . . all such deeds are done in the name of 'social justice'. There will be no justice as long as man will stand with a knife or with a gun and destroy those who are weaker than he is.
Isaac Bashevis Singer

October 2010

Can Animals Adjust their Behaviour?

An interesting thought. I believe non human animals are thinking feeling sentient beings, and like ourselves are therefore capable of adapting their behaviour as you will read and see in this article and video from Farm Sanctuary  "Goat and Sheep: Play Fighting, Interesting Behavior", which is featured in Animal Rights Blog:

animalrightsblog.com/ You will need to scroll down to the entry dated February 20, 2010

Animal Place is home to 11 goats and 8 sheep. The sheep have learned goats are more aggressive than they and many have horns. Every now and then, a younger sheep will show an interest in interacting with one of the goats.

Lenny, a 2-yr-old Merino wether (neutered) and Annie, a middle-aged Boer doe, began the dance of play. Some may argue they are displaying signs of dominance, but Lenny’s lack of intense aggression leads me to believe they are more play than actual fight. Further, Annie shows incredible restraint when she head-butts Lenny.

I like what this video conveys: Nonhuman animals can adjust their behavior to accommodate others. Individuals can show curiosity and avoidance or show curiosity and interference. Sheep are not all “sheep” – Simon would not do what Lenny did. Goats are not all “goats” – one of the other goats would have hurt Lenny, but Annie adjusted to his behavior.

Excerpt from the article, Goat and Sheep: Play Fighting, Interesting Behavior

To appreciate the video and the above quote it is helpful if you also read the complete article included in the link above.

November 19th 2010

Insect Intelligence

Even insects express anger, terror, jealousy, and love by their stridulation.

It has always been so difficult to find much information concerning insect intelligence, there has always been a limited amount of anecdotal evidence and certainly little scientific confirmation - at least until recently. I think this is because of all animals the study of insect intelligence has largely been ignored.
 

Mind you as always and in all circumstances animals do not have to justify their existence based upon the criterion of intelligence. Unfortunately however in order to gain respect as a being with the right to live life unmolested, unexploited, or in the case of insects just simply to live, evidence that a creature is intelligent helps in this regard. Proving intelligence helps to establish that a creature is sentient; perceptive, conscious and as a consequence is capable of suffering. Sadly most people require such evidence in order to consider an

animals' right to life.

 

To my way of thinking no animal could function without some kind of

intelligence, without some cognitive thinking. No being could depend on instinct alone; intelligence, a facet of sentience of course, at some level must be present in order for a creature to function. No animal could possibly depend on his or her brain to be genetically programmed to allow the animal to adept to every contingency, some thought and intellectual consideration must take place in the mind of any animal.

I personally have no doubt that insects and other tiny creatures such as arachnids and arthropods are intelligent sentient beings.

But for those who consider otherwise a recent article in the Daily mail may change your mind:

Insects with minuscule brains may be as intelligent as much bigger animals and may even have consciousness, it was claimed today. Having a brain the size of a pinhead does not necessarily make you less bright, say researchers.

Computer simulations show that consciousness could be generated in neural circuits tiny enough to fit into an insect's brain, according to the scientists at Queen Mary, University of London and Cambridge University.

The models suggest that counting ability could be achieved with just a few hundred nerve cells, it is claimed.

And a few thousand would be sufficient to make an animal a conscious being, rather than an automated 'living robot'.

Extracts from article, Insects may have consciousness and could even be able to count, claim experts

Read more:

dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-Insects-consciousness-able-count-claim-experts.html

This is a very informative article which makes the point that contrary to what many people think brain size does not indicate a creatures' capacity for intelligence and the presence of consciousness. In other words a tiny brain does not mean an animal is not intelligent.

I firmly believe that every creature possesses a measure of intelligence, most of the creatures around us (especially insects) have existed for millions of years. We'd be very naive to believe that we are by default so superior to them.

Jon - Comment on Daily Mail message board to the above article

Numorous studies show that insects are not automatons driven solely by instinct to act in predictable ways, rather research shows that they are in fact able to change their behaviour according to their circumstances.

More on insect intelligence from Science on msnbc. com article:

Tiny insect brains can solve big problems

Some bugs can recognize human faces, count and categorize, studies say

By Emily Sohn

Insects may have tiny brains, but they can perform some seriously impressive feats of mental gymnastics.

According to a growing number of studies, some insects can count, categorize objects, even recognize human faces — all with brains the size of pinheads.

Because we are intelligent animals with big brains, people have long assumed that big brains are smarter brains. Yet, scientists have found scant evidence to support that view...

There's a lot of evidence, on the other hand, that overall size is irrelevant when it comes to brain power

Instead of contributing intelligence, big brains might just help support bigger bodies, which have larger muscles to coordinate and more sensory information coming in. Like computers, Chittka said, size might add storage capacity but necessarily speed or usefulness.

Extracts from Tiny insect brains can solve big problems

Read more of this fascinating article:
msnbc.msn.com/technology_and_science-science

Well it does appear that there is some considerable evidence now more readily available for the general public concerning insect intelligence. When I first created this website some eighteen months ago there was relatively little reliable information either scientific or anecdotal concerning insect intelligence.

Clearly size of brain or anatomy in general does not mean an animal lacks intelligence, is not sentient and does not feel pain. Amazingly often anatomical size seems to be a criterion which leads people to believe that an animal is less intelligent or deserves less respect, less right to his life. Think about it tiny creatures are the most abused, many people think nothing of standing on an insect. I recall many years ago seeing a women deliberately stand on ants crawling about on the pavement. Although only in my teens and not yet a vegetarian never mind a vegan I recall feeling very shocked that someone could do such a thing, she clearly was a  person who had no regard for the right to life of all creatures no matter how tiny. Rather than being a deliberately cruel and sadistic individual she may simply have been acting in ignorance. I would like to hope that most people would act differently towards our fellow creatures no matter how tiny or indeed how intelligent or otherwise if they were were better informed. Sometimes cruelly is simply a lack of awareness that such creatures are sentient.

Perhaps after reading these articles those of you who think that insects are not sentient may consider that insects are indeed intelligent thinking feeling creatures who suffer pain and like you simply wish to live.

Hopefully as our general awareness increases concerning the sentience of the creatures with whom we share this world, man will finally live in harmony with his fellow beings without exploiting, abusing or harming them in any way, no matter what their size or level of intelligence.

Moreover sentience may not depend on intelligence and I consider we should give any creature the benefit of the doubt before declaring lack of sentience, intelligence or inability to suffer.

Life is life's greatest gift. Guard the life of another creature as you would your own because it is your own. On life's scale of values, the smallest is no less precious to the creature who owns it than the largest."
Lloyd Biggle Jr
.

Credits

Photograph: Flower-wasp

Original imagine and licensing details

commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flower-wasp.jpg

November 2010

Bird Rescue

It is always a delight to be able to offer help to an animal in need and in recent weeks my husband and I have been instrumental in helping two birds who were injured.

The first was a pigeon whom we happen to notice as we passed by in the car. The poor creature was huddled close to a wall. People passed by and with the exception of one young couple took no notice of this unfortunate bird whom I sensed was in trouble. Trying to rescue him was rather an ordeal though and when the girl touched him he scurried off towards traffic and my husband had to hold up his hand to stop the bird from getting run over. He had a narrow escape. By now it was obvious there was a problem and he could not fly, his neck also looked injured. We put him into a box took him home and rang the RSPCA, within the hour someone came and collected him. We were told that he could not fly because he was too young. The good news was, the injury to his neck was not serious and with a little care he would be returned to the wild.

The second occasion not long after occurred near a busy main road

On the way home from a trip out we noticed a big black bird, a rook, sitting on the side of the road, as we passed he jumped onto the grass verge. My husband wondered if he was okay but carried on driving, as the bird jumped in the verge. However somehow I could just tell there was something wrong, I know birds often sit in odd places along the side of busy roads but I just felt something was wrong. I had a terrible headache but I could not just return home without checking to see if the bird was okay or otherwise. So with a thumping heart to go along with the thumping headache, hoping against all hope that once we turned the car round and returned he would have flown away.

But no the bird was still there and it is now obvious that he was injured and cannot fly.  The task seems daunting, he is a big bird and we had no box to put him in, nonetheless my husband catches him and we have to put him in shopping bag to take home and call the RSPCA. I have to make the fifteen minute journey home with the bag on my knees and although he is injured he struggles and it is difficult trying to hold on and keep the bag closed, he is a very strong bird.

After arriving home we released him into the confines of our yard where he quickly made himself at home eating seeds. Our regular garden birds kept well away anxious no doubt about this big black bird suddenly occupying their territory. We fed him some bread which he collects and takes to one place, jumping up onto a big plant pot and dropping it inside, as though he is trying to store his food. Most curious though he drops pieces of bread into the bird bath before eating them as though he is trying to soften it to make it easer to consume. We were astonished to see this behaviour which is surely indicative of intelligence and reasoning.  Finally the RSPCA arrive, he is not badly injured and they will care for him until he is able to fly before realising him back into the wild.

He was such lovely bird and never at any time tempted to retaliate or use is formidable large beak to peck. Below is a photograph we took from the kitchen window. Its not very clear but we considered he had been traumatised enough without us going outside and taking photos. Having said that though once in the yard he appeared very calm and made himself at home.
 

Many people pass by injured animals or birds perhaps because they do not know what to do and also in both cases it was not that obvious that either bird was injured.

But there are people to help and if you should find an injured bird or other animal telephone the RSPCA . Even if you cannot move the animal for whatever reasons either he is too severely injured or big to take home the RSPCA will come and collect the animal. There telephone number is:  03001234999

 

December 2010

Is No Creature Safe?

Lidl are selling Reindeer Meat and The British Government want to slaughter Badgers

All over the world the wildlife that I write about is in grave danger. It is being exterminated by what we call the progress of civilization.

Gerald Durrell

Lidl are selling Reindeer Meat!

Can you imagine telling your children about Santa Claus and his eight reindeer who pull the sleigh that brings them their Christmas presents and than serve reindeer for dinner?

Its hard to understand such a mind set is it not, such a bizarre incongruity. You can't imagine this can you.

Well Lidl, a supermarket chain are selling reindeer meat. That's right reindeer meat.

Please read the details below and take part in VIVA'S (Vegetarians International Voice for Animals) campaign to ask Lidl to stop doing so:

"On the run-up to Christmas, supermarket chain Lidl is shockingly selling reindeer meat.

Please ask them to stop.

Some reindeer in Nordic regions are herded with snowmobiles and even helicopters, which causes a huge amount of stress to these gentle wild animals. The suffering can be so great that their muscles can literally waste away. They may also be killed in methods that could be illegal in the UK. Also, most are killed so young that they never even see the first snowfall of winter. Lidl say that they do not agree with these methods, but selling dead wildlife promotes a trade that puts all wild animals at risk.

Read Viva!’s
press release,, which details why modern methods of reindeer herding are so cruel.
Click here to find out how you can complain to Lidl.
Read the national coverage our campaign has had in
The Daily Mail and The Mirror. "

Please take part in this campaign if you can, even just a short letter or e-mail can make all the difference. There is a form letter for you to use, try to personalise if you can but do send a letter or e-mail, no matter how long or short, the most important thing is to tell Lidl you object.

But for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh we deprive a soul of the sun and light, and of that proportion of life and time it had been born into the world to enjoy.
Plutarch

Badger Culling/slaughter

If you have time please let Defra and or the Department of Rural Affairs  know that you are opposed to Badger culling. Please read the following details and take action:

"Urgent: Object to badger ‘culling’! Please take this opportunity to tell the governments both in England and Wales exactly what you think about their plans to slaughter badgers. To make things easier for you, we have written pre-prepared messages to email or post. Please note: both consultations close in December (England on December 8 and Wales on December 17).

Check out Viva!’s campaigns for badgers and read our fact sheet."

I sent an e-mail to both governments in England and Wales with comments. Don't worry if you cannot cope with personalising the questionnaire just do the best you can, the most important thing is that you object.

Both of these campaigns originated from VIVA's Home page were you will find other campaigns and information concerning the shocking cruelty to animals.

viva.org.uk/

Lidl are also selling pheasant, venison and springbok

Isn't it bad enough that humans raise, in shockingly cruel conditions, and slaughter sheep, cattle, pigs and poultry, now focus their attention on wild life. Is nothing safe from man's greed, because that is what it is all about isn't it. Man is not naturally a carnivore, killing animals not only harms the poor creatures themselves but harms other human beings and the planet. No animal wants to die and all beings have a right to their lives

Please do whatever you can to stop these appalling attacks on creatures with whom we share this world

What is a man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, men would die from great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts also happens to man.

Chief Seattle

The Earth does not belong to man; Man belongs to the Earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons of the Earth. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.—

Chief Seattle

These wise words always move me to tears, as does mans inhumanity to towards man and other creatures.

I can well imagine that a child could well be disturbed by this. I recall my mother telling me that once as a young child I was given a book with a story about a turkey, a book I thoroughly enjoyed and one which was read to me over and over and that all through Christmas dinner that year I cried "poor turkey, poor turkey" and would not eat a thing. I guess even as a child the incongruity of books telling stories about animals and sitting down to eat one was obvious and that adults seemed unaware of such inconsistencies seemed also plainly bizarre most certainly confusing and upsetting.

At the moment our human world is based on the suffering and destruction of millions of non-humans. To perceive this and to do something to change it in personal and public ways is to undergo a change of perception akin to a religious conversion. Nothing can ever be seen in quite the same way again because once you have admitted the terror and pain of other species you will, unless you resist conversion, be always aware of the endless permutations of suffering that support our society.
Arthur Conan Doyle

December 2010

Cute and Interesting Animals

Cute and Interesting Animals is the name of a website displaying the photographs of the most adorable animals you can imagine:

"This website is devoted to showing cool pics of animals, along with giving information on how to support them.  Hope everyone likes this website! Have fun, and remember to always be kind to animals, and, if possible, donate to charities. "

cuteandinterestinganimals.weebly.com/

Please take time to visit the Cute and Interesting Animals website and along with the photos be sure to check out the awesome artwork and add your comments to the blog. The website will be updated regularly

The more websites out there supporting animals the better. If you have a website you would like me to add the this and the Useful links page please do let me know:
Contact

Please visit my blog:

Rantings From a Virtual Soapbox
A blog in support of animal and human rights and the environment

 

http://rantingsfromavirtualsoapbox.wordpress.com/