Here’s a link to read my review of Jonathan Balcombe’s Second Nature.
Interesting article in Saturday’s Guardian “Weekend” colour magazine. It consisted of a photo essay extracted from a book, Pig 05049, by Christien Meindertsma, and an essay by author Bill Buford. Interesting for two reasons.
First, the photo essay documents 185 (well, some) products made from a slaughtered pig, including apple juice (gelatine), jigsaw puzzle (bone glue) and sandpaper (bone glue, again). Which goes to prove the challenge of living as a vegan. Some, would argue that it’s a pointless exercise. An impossibility. I say the journey to veganism is more important than arriving at its destination.
Second, interesting point is this: Why do people writing about being involved in the slaughter of animal always have to romantise the act? And load it up with sentimental tosh to make it appear profound? For example, Buford writes, “The blood collects in a bucket, which I stirred to keep from coagulating. I was given a ladle and invited to try it. I was surprised by the taste, which was vital and energising and happy.” What’s happy, exactly, about tasting the blood of a pig you’ve just killed? Then, there’s pseudo moralising and vacuous apology for the crime.
The effort took four men. The pig knew what was taking place. She was strong. She fought. There was no piggy squeal. There was a wide-open cry. She cried loudly and didn’t stop until a few seconds, and not more than a few seconds, after her heart was pierced. The cry reached far into the upper regions of sound; a high-pitched, baying wail that my brain was unable to edit out or regard as normal. Then, just as I tightened the rope around the animal’s leg, she looked at me, dead on, and locked me with her eyes. Why me? Among the faces of these hardened traditionalists, did mine convey unease? The lock was like a clamp. I wanted to turn away. I didn’t.
BBC Radio 4’s “Start the Week” is an excellent program which includes tomorrow morning friend and colleague Jonathan Balcombe discussing his new book, Second Nature, which I highly recommend. You can be anywhere in the world to listen to BBC Radio 4 by going to the BBC Iplayer Web site; however, if you’re in London tomorrow evening (Monday, March 29) you can join me at a talk Jonathan will give at the British Library at 6:30 p.m.
Not satisfied with plain old, vanilla vegans, we have freegans, who dumpster dive for their non-animal lifestyle. Not something I’d do but each to their own. Then there was the vegansexuals who, I believe, would not participate in mixed relationships (that is, vegan and non-vegan). And now we have hegans.
Three years later, sipping a yerba mate latte at the Sherman Cafe in Union Square, the buff and bright-eyed McCain is the new face of veganism: men in their 40s and 50s embracing a restrictive lifestyle to look better, rectify a gluttonous past, or cheat death. They are hegans.
What’s so wrong with grumpy vegans?
I don’t believe in God. But I’m willing to believe in Ann Widdecombe, the Conservative MP for Maidstone and the Weald, when she writes
If David Cameron has his way the Hunting Act will be repealed in its totality, meaning that not only foxhunting but also stag hunting and hare coursing will once more be legal. I suppose we should be grateful that we won’t get bear baiting and cock fighting as well.
Read her column, “Keep the Hunt Ban and Take It Seriously.” God bless Ann Widdecombe!
Please read the article and watch the video of the interview.
If you live in the Hastings and Rye constituency and collected signatures on the petition in support of the Hunting Act that banned bloodsports, please mail all petition sheets to this address so that they arrive by Monday, March 29:
84 Bohemia Road
St. Leonards on Sea
I will keep you updated with further developments!
Attorney Bruce Wagman writing at Animal Blawg relates a fascinating story of happy redemption for one dog and vitriol for her legal representative.
To say we were over the top of the moon with joy and relief, as were our human clients, is an understatement. And when I decided to tell some folks about our victory, I never thought my thrill at saving Jessie’s life would lead to visceral attacks on me and ultimately on the basic notion of humane treatment of animals, and the concept of justice. But it did, and the barbed comments I received are telling.
For an example of brilliant writing try Will Self’s “Diary” published in the London Review of Books and available in full for free to read on their Web site. The article is ostensibly a tribute to BBC Radio 4’s program, In Our Time, which is chaired by Melvin Bragg who Self describes as a “handsome walnut,” but ends up as a meditation on walking across London’s Clapham Common with his Jack Russell, Maglorian. Self brings together the disparate themes of a radio program with walking the dog in a most surprising ending.
A dispiriting proposition: but I had full waterproofs and In Our Time to look forward to. As Maglorian and I bounded up the stairs from the tube Bragg syringed his guests into my inner ears: Raymond Geuss, a professor in the Cambridge University philosophy faculty; Esther Leslie, a professor of political aesthetics at Birkbeck; and Jonathan Rée, who was dashingly trailed as a ‘freelance historian and scholar’. Their subject: the Frankfurt School. And what could be a more fitting podcast – I thought to myself as I set off across the muddy grass – than a consideration of those who had considered the work of art in the age of its technological reproducibility?
The Friends of the Asian Elephant Hospital, which is written about at the Eyes of Thailand film makers blog, fits a new prosthetic to Baby Mosha. Please not only check out this blog but also the Web site for the Eyes of Thailand film.