Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter
15 June 2004 Issue
PAWPRINTS, FOOTPRINTS & ANIMAL CHATTER
By Judith Marie Gansen
Animal Rights IS Politics!!!
My previous article concerning my opinion on the Bush administration sparked some thought-provoking conversations and while the majority liked the article, there were several who did not. I felt the need to expand on a few things and our wonderful, hard working editor has allowed me to do so (thank you Linda!).
What is Politics?
One of the people on our newsletter list who contacted me is under the impression that animal rights is separate from politics and I should stick to "animal issues." Nothing could be further from the truth. (I kind of thought I had that covered when I included "footprints" in my article title). Even animal welfare issues involve politics (politicians decide the laws which dictate the penalties for animal abuse for instance). The issue of whether animals have rights, however, is our attempt to not only educate but to ultimately change laws concerning animals along with our culture's perception of animals--isn't that politics? If you are working to change the world for animals, you are engaging in politics, like it or not.
Otto Von Bismarck (1815-1898) once remarked: "Politics is the art of the possible." (Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, P. 474. From the same book P. 235 "Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote." (unk.) and "Politicians are as good as you are, for the way you vote creates politicians." (unk).
If you need convincing that politics is important to animals, please check out Wayne Pacelle's Pac website where you can determine for yourself which party is more animal friendly if you do not believe my contention that the Democrats are consistently more animal-friendly-- although that is beginning to change somewhat:
Humane USA PAC or http://www.humane usa.org/ or check out the wonderful work of Karen Dawn and her new show (one which specifically addressed the issue of Bush and animals):
Dawnwatch alert-Pres. Bush & animals
I can track just about every issue out there and prove that the outcome affects animals in some way. Maybe I feel this way because while I believe in a higher power and certainly love my husband and family, animals are pretty much the center of my universe. I feel a close kinship to them and therefore when any event happens I always ask myself--how will this affect animals?
Gun Control? As long as animals are killed by guns and live in homes where guns are used to threaten or harm people and animals sense our fear, the animals are affected so gun issues become animal issues. The NRA has a more radical agenda than most people realize, even some of their members don't realize it. Law enforcement is at times at odds with the NRA because officers will often be the ones put in harm's way because of lack of sensible gun laws. We also don't want any terrorists inside the U.S. to have easy access to guns (like being able to get them at gun shows) yet the NRA consistently fights safe gun legislation--why? (contact Million Mom March or Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence).
Drug and Alcohol Abuse? I covered this in a previous article and both of these problems can become the catalyst to violence against any living thing in their close proximity so these issues affect animals. Alot of money is chewed up by the various levels of government--county, state, and federal on problems that drug and alcohol abuse cause--what programs get cut when budgets run tight? Usually animal programs--like policing of puppy mills, cruelty complaints, etc. How many pets have been killed by drunk drivers? (wonderful org: Mothers Against Drunk Drivers).
Population Control? If we allow population levels to increase non-stop, soon there will be no homes for animals--they are literally getting pushed off the earth. Every time you build a road you cut up more of the wide open spaces that used to be open to wildlife (you create "islands" of land)--species even as small as butterflies have been proven to decrease due to being hit by cars. Population control therefore becomes an animal issue. We also need to educate women that we don't have procreate in order to have any worth. While I consider a baby to be a miracle and love all of the children in our family, it really is not that great of an accomplishment by the parents--since it can be often accomplished in the back seat of a car with little on the job training. Choosing to be childless is ok too. If I see one more story about women having multiple births on the news, I swear I will hurl.
The most troubling story recently on the news was about a woman who talked her husband into having another child and they ended up having a multiple birth (it's common now for older women to take fertility drugs if they can't get pregnant and this often results in multiple births-- this was not mentioned in this situation though) and now they have 8 kids. I wonder about the quality of life those kids will have--with our country in a health care crisis and college costs skyrocketing. How will that dad cope when he didn't even want one child? What about all the kids in the U.S.A. and foreign countries who have no families? As with animals, should we be making more when there are already ones suffering on this earth with no home or someone to love them?
Alternative Medicine? I am a big believer in this for both people and animals although you have to watch out for unethical people in this business too. It astounds me the money that can be saved by animal rescues if they got into this more. You save money on health care for animals and you can surely save more animals! Alternative Medicine therefore can be an animal issue.
The Economy? When the economy goes bad unfortunately some people will dump their pets which overburdens rescues and shelters. People stop donating to animal charities because they have to cut costs somewhere. Loss of jobs means people may put off that trip to the vet they need or start feeding their pets cheap food. The economy therefore becomes an animal issue.
Literacy? People who can't read can't get good jobs. They then often fall into the poverty trap--those people can't donate to animal charities generally if they wanted to. They may need several low paying jobs to make ends meet--therefore they have no time to volunteer. If they do have pets they also can't afford to give them proper vet care. Poverty leads to frustration and anger which can lead to excessive drinking and violence in the home--not only the family receives the violence but the animals in the home too. Literacy therefore becomes an animal issue.
The War in Iraq? We are being naive if we think only people die in any war--animals do too. I love my country and have always been a patriotic person. I support our war on terrorism and our troops 150% but not the present neo-conservative administration. I don't like most fundamentalist religions because they are usually the ones starting wars because they are the most intolerant of others. They don't worship God, they think they are God. I am critical of the current administration abandoning environmental protections we have had for many years--often allowing the military to do as it pleases. Endangered species mean nothing to the Bush administration. (Suggested reading per Working Assets: Plan of Attack by Bob Woodward (who exposed the Watergate scandal)-...definitive account of the real reasons why George W. Bush invaded Iraq."
Hiram Johnson: Speech, U.S. Senate: "The first casualty when war comes is truth." (12,000 Inspirational Quotations by Frank S. Mead, P. 467
Pollution of Water and Air? Animals breathe polluted air and are affected by it--pollutants have shown up in the bodies of many species. They need clean water to drink yet the Bush administration is allowing big business to pollute our land and wants to up the levels of mercury allowed in municipal water--how many pets as well as people will drink that water? What's it doing to their bodies? Pollution is an animal issue.
Doing Housework? If you find ways to make your home more maintenance free you free up your time to help the animals.
Car Crash Safety? Do the animals in your family ride in the car? Which cars have the best crash test results? Car Crash safety can be an animal issue.
The point of all this is that I can write about all these issues and still be speaking for the animals in my opinion.
http://www.ucsusa.org/ Union of Concerned Scientists (non-profit) talks about the Bush administration distorting science
Other intelligent sources:
http://mediamatters.org/ - watches mainstream media for far right wing propoganda
The bottom line is that EVERYTHING that happens in our world affects animals too and EVERYTHING is connected. Who decides what course our nation, state or local government takes--politicians. Who writes our laws? Politicians. If you only care about one issue when you vote, you are missing the big picture and doing a disservice to our world. (If that one-issue is abortion you may want to check out Naral's website (prochoiceamerica.org) to see the quote from Barbara Bush's book where they tell President Bush to listen to his mother! Do research on what will happen if we make abortion illegal--how does that affect children being brought into this world unwanted and the incidents of child abuse?
Believe me, I typed a zillion child abuse cases in my work at the police department--some of them making me physically ill and on one occasion I had to leave work I was crying so hard for that child who died but was mercilessly tortured first--I want EVERY child to be brought into this world loved and wanted so that this doesn't happen! Read up about the subjugation of women by keeping them pregnant. Very conservative churches can sometimes be guilty of this (keeping women "barefoot and pregnant"--after all we still live in a "patriarchal" society and very conservative churches don't have the best record where women's issues are concerned. In my opinion if men could get pregnant abortion would have been made legal a long time ago) By the way, that makes me "pro-choice" not "pro-abortion"--there is a huge difference. Women are good people and we have value too--in fact, we hold up half the sky!!!
To the same person who criticized me as "pushing my own political agenda" Yes, you are correct--I am pushing a political agenda--the agenda for people, animals, the environment. You see, there is one major difference between volunteer people who stand up for those who cannot speak for themselves and what the Far Right does--WE PERSONALLY DO NOT BENEFIT FROM OUR WORK! Look for the money and you will often find the truth!!!
Senator Kerry and Hunting
In retrospect I should have addressed the fact that Senator Kerry has hunted. (Please, beware of things that get passed around on the net, however--check facts before you believe things!) This changes nothing with me, however. A vote for Ralph Nader (who I admire by the way), however well meant, is sure to put Bush back in office and we can't take that risk. Many animals won't survive another 4 years of the Bush administration either. With the race predicted to be close my opinion is we need to remember that politics is about numbers and the minor parties don't have enough numbers to win but can screw up the election--remember what happened last time? People are still concerned about terrorists and rightly so--we need a leader with a strong image--Senator Kerry's military background with medals proves he is no wimp. Also, please remember that in politics we have to balance our idealism with realism. The best ideas come from idealists but we will never see those ideas happen as long as we stubbornly stick to wanting everything all at once--our country isn't quite ready for that yet. Check this out on Sen. Kerry and animals:
While most politicians "fudge alittle" on their political ads to make themselves sound better, the Bush administration ads are causing much concern. Check out factcheck.org --a non-profit interested in one thing--the truth. The most recent outrage from the Bush administration is an ad that says Sen. Kerry wants to repeal the Patriot Act. Katy Couric interviewed Bush's campaign coordinator (6/1/04) and asked about this ad since Sen. Kerry has stated there is only a small portion he wants to change-- most other intelligent people also want this changed so that our civil liberties are protected.
Bush and the Environment:
The Bush administration (who are self-proclaimed "Neo-conservatives" which is not like a regular Republican) is still pushing for drilling on pristine public lands like the Artic Wildlife Refuge (do you realize the devastation to animals that can happen from just one oil accident? Remember the Exon oil spill?) According to the League of Conservation Voters "...the most powerful environmental committees in Congress are now run by anti-environmentalists." "if we don't back our pro-environment friends in Congress.....what's left of our clean air will continue to go up in smoke, our fresh water will be polluted, and America's natural resources will be plowed, bulldozed and drilled until there is nothing left." (letter from L.C.V.)
Check out how bad the situation has become: www.lcv.org to see how your Congressperson voted on environmental issues.
If you believe the information you get from the news nowadays is honest, fair and correct please read this from a Working Assets letter dated 5/19/04:
...The New Media Monopoly by Ben H. Bagdikian - In 1983, Bagdikian wrote The Media Monopoly, which warned that corporate control of public information poses a threat to democracy. Critics said it was "alarmist." Two decades later, they're not saying that anymore. The number of corporations in control of this nation's newspapers, magazines, radio and TV stations has shrunk from 50 to five. And the result from this pro-business bias in American media, Bagdikian writes in this updated edition, has played a powerful role in pushing this country to the far right. Beacon Press, paperback, 299 pages $17.10." THINK about the ramifications of this PLEASE! Why do you think it is so hard to get mainstream media to cover important animal issues? Journalists are afraid to make waves anymore sadly--you don't dare air the truth because you will surely get a call from lawyers or some powerful person in business. Whose running this country anyway??? If we don't care, who will??? I guarantee you of one thing--the further to the right our country moves, the more the animals lose!!!
If you think the media is "Liberal" as some churches like to tell their people (remember the Bible warns against false prophets), do your own research and you will find the truth. The last time I checked, four networks are owned by big corporations (i.e., big business whose prime directive in life is to make money):
Fox News: Rupert Murdock (we like to watch their news occasionally for laughs)
NBC: owned by G.E.
ABC: Disney (in my opinion, the most progressive network)
Further info on Bush:
Information from author/director Michael Moore will be out in his movie "Farenheit 911" which Disney hired him to make, then later decided they wouldn't distribute the film which really surprised and angered me. So Mr. Moore won the Cannes Film Festival award (the panel was not only made up of French people so there was no favoritism). Actually this type of publicity is ironically going to make the movie even more attractive to people. I can hardly wait to see it.
Further information can be found in the book: The Republican Noise Machine by former conservative David Brock. He had a sort of "epiphany" while researching a book about Senator Hillary Clinton. He was recently also interviewed on the Today show.
One of my fav posters reads: "Minds are like parachutes--they function only when open." Also: "Question Authority"
If you are one of our readers and don't like my "politics," you certainly have many options--the most obvious one is not to read my articles. We have many people in this publication more talented than I am. But I feel that being enlightened about all the issues is one of the best ways for us to help our fellow creatures. Not long ago I worked with a staunch Republican to help an animal shelter. We had a common goal and were nice to each other. I greatly respect her work. We came together for a common goal and accomplished some good things. In much the same way, people in a multi-cultured democracy can--by working towards a common goal using our faith and our caring and our tools of hard work and enlightenment.
Staff: Animals in Print (free online animal publication)
Pawprints, Footprints & Animal Chatter (my editorials on animals and related issues--if you email me please indicate in the subject column it is about one of my articles so it doesn't get deleted as spam--thanks)
"We exist to educate and through compassion and knowledge improve the lives of all beings."
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