MY POINT OF VIEW

My opinion in a world with freedom of speech

Category: Animals

Closing your ears in a debate

It has been silent here for ages again, for which I am sorry. But in my defense I am officially back at school and I already see (and feel) how this will be a tough and challenging year. Last week I had one afternoon to just relax and today I fell asleep pretty soon after getting home from school. I also was without my computer for an entire week, so it has not been easy keeping the blog updated.

As we are heading towards our Elections (which will be held on Monday 9th of September) we had a panel debate at school today. One representative from the nine biggest parties in Norway participated in the debate and it was open for us to ask questions. This year is the first where I can actually vote myself. And I have to admit I do not quite know which party will get my vote. It is so much easier to eliminate some of them, and I am now facing the choice between two parties.

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Anyway. After the debate we could walk around and talk to each party as we wanted, and once again I had an interesting conversation. There is one party in particular that has bad animal politics. They want animals in circuses. They want the fur farming industry to continue (although they say they want to improve the situation, but still nothing is being done). They want to remove the few wolves we have got left in Norway to save the thousands of sheep we have. So I asked them about these things. Went up to them and said, “Tell me about your politics regarding predators.” And by his look I think he at once understood I knew what his answer was and that I did not support it.

The guy I spoke to in the beginning was nice though. He shared the party’s opinion. And ended with, “but I guess we do not agree on this?” with a little smile. I smiled and said, “Nope, not at all.” And we moved on to the circus question. Then to the fur farming. And it was on this topic that another guy from his party joined in. And the way he was talking, the way he just did not care to hear what I had to say and apparently had made up his mind completely and just shut me out in order to express himself (in an idiotic way) really provoked me. So in the end I just shook my head and left. I mean, I do not bother using my time debating with people who closes their ears for what others have to say.

debattThis is not the way to debate.

I am happy people have different opinions. That we do not always share the same thoughts and that we do not see the world through equal eyes. I respect that. What I do not respect is people who shut out everyone. Especially in a debate. Alright, you want to express your opinion, but you have to let the other one talk and give them a chance. I do not say you should change your own opinion, but everyone has got the right to be heard. And if you are representing a party it is even more important to behave calmly and polite, and letting the person you speak to express what they mean.

  • Have you ever debated with someone who closed their ears for what you said?

Monika

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Update on the kitten

Woah, I feel like the worst blogger in history at the moment. I am so sorry for not updating in here in ages, but truth to be told there is so much going on I do not have time. I am watching the kitten, I am working and the last week a friend from Spain has been staying with us.

However I thought to give you an update on what is going on with the kitten. Or, how it is going. During the first one and a half week we were a little bit worried about its weight, because it did not grow much. We have read a lot on the Internet about how much an average kitten usually grow, and this little one did not follow the “model” at all. But during these last days it has finally reached a turning point and is now gaining a lot of weight.

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Something good always brings a problem though. The fact that it is growing a lot is something you easily see on its stomach. On Monday my mother took it to the vet because the stomach actually looked like a ball; and yes, the vet stated it did have some stomach problems. So ever since, we have used a lot of time trying to get it to “the toilet”. It is still not totally fine, but at least it seems like it is getting better.

On the other hand it seems like it is beginning to trust us now, and is even sleeping, totally calm, on its back almost every day.

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This is probably the most “demanding” project I have ever started. When I took it in from the garage attic that day a couple of weeks ago, I had not at all pictured myself getting up in the middle of the night, every night for weeks, just to give it like 5 ml of milk. But I am glad I brought it in; seeing it growing and knowing I have helped it survive gives me so much joy.

  • Have you ever taken care of a kitten like this?

Monika

Rescue mission: Kitten

I went quiet for longer than planned, but I can tell you I had an amazing boat trip and it really did me well. I was going to make a post in here yesterday, however something came up and I got busy the whole evening. I was doing some exercising at home when I suddenly heard a noise coming from our garage attic. I eventually understood it was a kitten.

Then began the big rescue mission. However, the kitten was so far in and there were too many heavy things laying in front of it, I had to call some friends to come and help me. And finally… after hours of hearing these cat cries, I saw it. I had assumed there to be more, but there was only one. And it was so small.

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We brought it down (I had called the animal protection care to hear what they thought I should do, and they told me to get it down and look for its mother – we do not have a cat) and measured it to 12,5 cm, and saw it still had his eyes closed. The trip then went to the food store to get some infant formula, and we gave it this through a little syringe (without the needle of course).

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I have had my alarm going off every second hour all through night to feed it. Today we have gone to the vet, I have explained them the situation and they have checked that it is still doing fine. They say there is hope for it, and I also bought kitten formula to give it. So I will try to take care of it for a while, while I keep my eyes open for its mother. The mother is so important for the kittens; they learn so much from her and can get some problems later on without her care. So we will have to wait and see what happens! And I will make sure to keep you updated.

  • Have you ever taken care of a kitten this small?
  • Do you have any good advices for me to take care of it properly?

Monika

Fur farming ~ post four

In my fourth and last post in the first weekly topic, I want to reflect upon what we can do to help the fur animals. There actually are things we could do to make this industry come to an end. It does not have to continue like this forever and ever.

Have you ever thought of the fact that when you buy something in the store, they will have to order more? And they ordering more means the industry has to continue. And have you ever given this any thought; when the industry gets orders it believes its products are good, and therefore decides to improve them? Cosmetic testing for instance; they always keep on trying to make their products better to avoid getting much competition from other companies. So when we keep on buying their stuff the situation of the animals in the industries only get worse and worse.

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I do not buy fur or leather. It is very easy. If I see a nice belt and then realize it is made of leather, I simply walk away. Because I know, that even though I might find the belt very nice, I would not be happy wearing it later on, knowing it is the product of an animal. An animal that has been suffering.

Many think the animal is already dead and it is better to buy it, rather than it being thrown away. And of course, in one way this is true. That way the fights of this particular animal will not go to waste. But what they do not think about is what I write above; the fact that it also makes the industry go on.

As consumers we have power. If the industry sees we do not want its products, it has to come up with something else. It actually is as easy as that.

  • Do you buy fur or leather?

Monika

Fur farming ~ post three

An industry only to pleasure us. An industry made out of the eager of the human beings… The humanity can make so many things happen; just look at the way the whole world is suddenly able to connect over invisible lines – or how we can “fly the air like birds” (Martin Luther King Jr.). Still we let the fur farming continue; still we let hundreds of animals suffer every day just to give us fur. Fur. I do not even get it. Yes, it may be soft and may feel good against the skin, but so does a living animal. A warm animal. An animal with a beating heart, living in its right conditions.

I will never be able to understand how someone can be this cruel to a living being. I could never get myself into killing anyone; being paid for it would not matter. Seeing an animal suffer day in and day out, biting itself or its kids… I could not bare it. I probably would have ended up getting them to the vet before giving them away.

Pelsindustri_eng“Doesn’t that hurt a lot?” – “Nah, I don’t feel anything”

This “comic strip” has, in my eyes, an underlining point regarding the answer given. He says he does not feel anything. I do not think it is only about threshold of pain physically; I think the writer has thought more of people working in this industry not being able to have normal feelings. You do not have a normal way of thinking, or a well functioning heart if you can make yourself live well knowing you are working with this.

I think a lot of people don’t give any thought into what is behind the fur coat they buy. When they finally are able to buy the expensive, though beautiful coat in the store, they probably forget the defenseless, innocent animals being in captivity for a long time before put to death – only to become this clothing. All they give thought to is the coat, which is actually made of the fur of many animals, later cut and/or coloured. Even though nothing reminds of the animals anymore (apart from the texture) it has still been an animal with its own threshold of pain, feelings and a life as us. This is probably why it is also forgotten – or they do not want to think of it.

  • Do you support fur farming?

Monika

Fur farming ~ post two

Last November I attended the Norwegian animal organization NOAH’s torchlight parade against fur farming. 2012 was the 9th year in row where they arranged this, and this is also the biggest anti-fur farming demonstration in the Nordic countries. I was never in doubt on participating, so I did.

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The first we met, were nice representatives from NOAH, who sold cakes and coffee, buttons and torches; all very cheap. Following there was a little waiting before the clock turned six, and Marlén Næss Eriksen had an opening appeal. In her appeal she spoke about the fur farming industry and told that 2012 was the year us and the fur animals had waited for in a decade. She said the Parliament in 2002 said that unless the condition of the animals had improved over the next ten years, big changes would happen; filling our hearts with hope.

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We then filled the streets of the town, people with torches and screams of empty cages right away. Yells saying a life in a cage is a life in torture. People along the streets stopped to hear us, many took pictures. And I felt a really nice and relieving feeling of being able to participate in something like this, to fight for one of my “heart cases” in front of everyone. With a hope that now, together, we could maybe finally achieve something. Together we could show the fur animals our support and hopefully be heard.

When we arrived back afterwards, the arrangement continued with appeals by youth representing the Norwegian political youth parties SU, Rødt, GU and UV. In Oslo there were several famous people speaking, like Unni Lindell (writer), Mia Gundersen and Lise Myhre.

The police estimated about 200-250 were in the parade in my city, and all over the country almost 6000 people stood up for the animals this evening (about 12 % of the country).

  • Have you ever participated in anything like this?

Monika

Fur farming ~ post one

As you may, or may not have seen, I have come up with a new page called Weekly Topics. If you look at this page you will find a description of what this means and you will also find the topic for this week. Exactly, fur farming.

In this first post, I will introduce you to the industry, and especially focus on how it is in Norway as this is what I know the most of. I will stay neutral this time, and will go more into my own feelings on this topic later this week. All pictures are taken by the Norwegian animal protection care last year – look here for more, shocking, pictures.

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About 800 000 foxes and minks are held and killed in Norwegian fur farms every year, only to become fur. In the farms the animals suffer in small netting cages and the farms can hold from some hundred up to more than 100 000 animals. The animals are born in captivity and will usually live until they are 6-7 months old and are put to death.

The size of each cage depends on which animal it holds, but is never big enough to give the animal enough space to behave “normally”, regarding e.g. food hunting and sexual demeanour.

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Being in captivity stops them from doing what is in their nature. The animals react in different ways; some circle around the cage, others jump forward and backwards in patterns, “dig” on the cage or just lay in a corner.

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Many of the animals get hurt in captivity. It is not unusual that they get abnormality behaviour like biting on their own body, and in the worst cases they can even bite off own body parts because of frustration. It is not uncommon that they kill their own puppies.

The foxes are put to death using electricity. They get a metal probe shoved into their rectum, and a metal stick in their mouth or have their snout held towards a metal plate. Then the electricity is turned on. The minks are usually put into a gas chamber with CO2. They can also be put to death using electricity shocks or being hit unconscious before they get their neck cracked.

  • Do you know anything about the situation on fur farming in your country?

Monika

Threatened with extinction

To have the opportunity to be involved and get information about different cases, I have signed up for receiving e-mails from both Avaaz and Care2. This is of course for free. Both movements have different signing petitions we can all sign – and these include topics like corruption, poverty, climate changes, animals close to extinction, etc. Weekly I receive at least one e-mail (I think Care2 send more than Avaaz) where I am introduced to one particular case, which also includes a link for their petition. So if you are looking for an easy way to be active and get information, this is one way.

Today I thought to pass on the e-mail I just got from Care2: Make the presence of Palm Oil and Palm Kernel Oil compulsory on NZ food labeling. (I am copying the follow information from their petition).

“Nearly one in ten of our supermarket products contains palm oil, but you’ll have a hard time finding it on any ingredient lists. Palm oil is often concealed as “vegetable oil” in supermarket products.

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The problem is, the consumption of palm oil is leading to the destruction of the rainforest – at a rate of approximately 300 football-sized sections every hour. Hundreds of species have seen their habitat destroyed, including orangutans.

Because of this reduction of habitat the orangutan is now threatened with extinction, their numbers having decreased by around 50% in the last decade. If we continue to consume products that contain palm oil at the current rate, we could be responsible for causing the extinction of a species that shares nearly 97% of their genetic material with us.”

I signed this petition as I do not support this at all. Will you sign?

My question for today:

  • Are you a member of Avaaz, Care2 or another movement? Or are you considering to become one?

Monika

Circus demonstration 02.06.13

The Norwegian circus “Circus Arnardo” had a show in my neighbour city on sunday, 2nd of June. They had visited a lot of towns in this area the last week, but because of work, this was the only one I could go to. And I did not go to see the “incredible” show, with horses, camels, an elephant, dogs and pigeons; I went to demonstrate against all of this, together with the Norwegian organization NOAH.

Altoghether it was a peaceful demonstration; we brought flyers and a few posters and were standing a few metres away from the ticket window and entrance. And with not too much audience, I had a lot of time to go see the animals, who live in poor conditions.

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DSC_0566The hump of this camel is lying on its side; showing it hasn’t had enough nutrients.

DSC_0567Their elephant, Baby.

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After the show had started some of us went to see the pigeons, where we found one wounded one. It was all sore and red on its chest, which we tried to get some pictures of.

arnardos-fuglerI do not own this picture, it was taken by one of the others, Per-Christian N. Eriksen.

While taking these pictures (not entering the circus’ area) one of the artists saw us and said he would “call the police now”. In order to not cause any problems, we then silently walked away, took a few pictures of the elephant and camels, before two of us had to walk past the pigeons to get back to the city. Andrejs Fjodorovs then called on us and asked, “Why do you want so many pictures?”, which led to an interesting conversation with this man; who is the circus artist using the pigeons.

duehviskeren_andrejs_fjodorovs__innholdslideThis is Arnardo’s picture, but here you see Andrejs and his pigeons
(the picture is linked to the circus’ web page).

I started talking to him about how I don’t support animals in circuses, and we had a small debate on this. He constantly said the pigeons were in good shape, so eventually I asked him about the wounded one. Firstly I want to add I am no animal expert, so of course I can’t say his explanation was incorrect. However I can give you his explanation: He blames spring, which leads to moulting, and that the pigeon uses its beak to remove its feathers (interesting how this was the only one with this mark then..?). He also says it has to do with mating and the pigeon wanting to “impress his girlfriend”. I could have bought the first one, but I do not buy this last one at all.

In my opinion this seems more like abnormality, where the pigeon is “going a little insane” because of stress etc. It is generally seen a lot of abnormality in circuses, which makes this a more reasonable explanation.

Even though we did not agree, he finally said, “well that’s your opinion and you’re allowed to say so. It’s a free country,” and we then parted with a smile and a “have a nice day”. Obviously I don’t support his work, but I was not there to be mean or rude to anyone, so we even debated calmly and were both polite. (<- Just a good advice if you want to do some activism).

I would love to hear your opinion about this;

  • Do you want animals in circuses?
  • What do you think is the explanation of the soar chest?

Monika