Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mercy..."Hope"...and Happy Endings...Animal Shorts for Monday

Last weekend, we dodged raindrops while attending Market Days on Chicago's Halsted Street in Boys' Town.   Market Days is an annual summer street festival to draw business into the North Side neighborhood just a few blocks from Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs.

The drive into the city and the inconvenience of the rain were worth the special trip we made to see a couple of specific exhibitors: in addition to the Windy City Gay Chorus (Mark's rehearsals for the Winter Concert begin in September), I found the booth for Mercy for Animals.  It was another in a series of small moments that may change the course of my life.

I discovered that the Chicago headquarters is an unmarked building.  The organization is run from a modest private space. The volunteers at the booth that Sunday morning, Mikael and Sarah, were extremely welcoming, even while it was necessary to grab the upper beams of their tent-booth to prevent it from blowing down in the stormy wind.

They inspired me to new levels of action...I will be out there in the months ahead, distributing information, trying new meatless recipes and promoting them among friends, and staying informed on-line.  I will never carry an undercover camera--I leave that to fellow volunteers of stronger mettle--but I sense a real chance to find a practical way to express this helpless love I feel for these creatures...

This was my first face-to-face contact with volunteers from this group after my eyes were opened a few weeks ago to the indescribable plight of animals in industrial farms. I wrote about and posted a video of the torture of dairy cows, and the images have not left me, nor ceased to make me angry and sad. Some of the literature I received detailed the mistreatment of pigs, chickens, and cattle, along with disturbing photos taken during the groups' undercover investigations.

Their efforts to expose and change these practices is taking hold:

"Today great progress was made to lessen the suffering of millions of farmed animals in Ohio – progress that is a direct result of the tireless effort of our volunteers and supporters....Just recently, once it became known that animal advocates had gathered enough signatures to put the initiative on the ballot, animal agriculture finally agreed to discuss meaningful reforms...." 
(Among the recommendations that have been adopted:)
•A moratorium on permits for new battery cage confinement facilities for laying hens.•Regulations regarding the manner in which sick and injured farmed animals can be killed, including a ban on strangulation. •A ban on the transport of downer cows for slaughter. •Enactment of legislation establishing felony-level penalties for cockfighters. •Enactment of legislation cracking down on puppy mills
*   *    *   *   *    *   *   *    *   * 

On July 11 a giraffe was born in the Topeka Kansas Zoo, her legs turned 180 degrees in the wrong direction.  Veterinarians fitted her with prosthetic hooves, so now she can walk and even gallop like a normal giraffe.  Zoo officials named her "Hope". 

This, to me, is the most noble application of science...

Here's the segment that was broadcast on the "Today" show last week:

*    *    *     *    *    *     *     *     *     *
Michael Vick's fighting dogs, many of them injured, aggressive, some frightened (they are known as "pancake dogs" because they fall flat to the floor when a human approaches) are getting a second chance.  Many of them are adoptable as pets; some are working as rehabilitation dogs in hospitals. Some are assisting children by letting the kids read to them.  With patience and care, most of these rescued animals are getting a second chance at a life that dogs deserve.

Here's a brief but moving article from USA Today:

1 comment:

  1. That giraffe story is crazy. As in crazy-amazing. Love it!