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September

September 11th, 2012 No comments

Writing this on September 11, I cannot but help think of it as a sad day. Not only for everyone who was affected by the terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001, but also for the people in South America, when a military coup in Chile in 1973, deposed the democratically elected government. As difficult as it can be, life marches on relentlessly. We have to keep up and with its consequences. There is no option available here.

Toro de la Vega, where a bull is killed by a mob with spears

Even today, as I worked from home this morning, I followed the live developments of the Toro de la Vega in Tordesillas, which is in the province of Valladolid in central northern Spain.

The Toro de la Vega consisted of killing Volante, a five-year-old bull weighing 622 kilos, by spearing him to death with lances. The Toro is known in Spanish culture as a ‘tournament.’ But it’s impossible for me to think of it as that. It is violence toward animals.

Terrorism, regardless of the victim’s species, has no place in the world, if we want to think of ourselves as civilised.

Being in the fortunate position of working full-time for animal rights as long as I have, all too often every day is a sad day. Of course, I know I am not alone in feeling this. It’s true for everyone whose hearts and minds are open to animal cruelty and exploitation. Somehow, we cope with all the sadness, which is often softened by the joy we experience sharing our lives and homes with other animals. I like to think of these rescued animals as refugees. Citizens who are lost in a profound way who we must take in. Even if it means frequent cleaning of the litter box and walks when we’d rather have an early night.

Shelly, tucked in and asleep

Speaking of which, Shelly continues to settle in well. Her time spent in my office working with me is increasing. But she gets easily bored there, as my attention is focused on my work. Even though she can sleep for as long as she likes. And there’s always someone around who is happy to make a fuss of her. So, now, I spend some days, like today, working at home on the dining room table.

Now that we’re in September I have begun to focus more on planning my trip to the USA for the month of November. My itinerary includes New York, Washington, DC, and Ann Arbor, MI. I will be working closely with my colleagues, Ken Shapiro and Bee Friedlander, at the Animals and Society Institute. Also, I will be speaking at a conference at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT celebrating the life and work of ecofeminist philosopher Marti Kheel. In Troy, MI, I will be speaking as part of the ASI/Michigan Humane Society Speaker Series on ‘What Does It Mean to Care Deeply About Animals?’ The next day I’m also speaking at the Michigan Partnership for Animal Welfare on ‘USA/UK: Who is Making Progress and Why.’

Last week, I gave a paper, ‘Animal Rights: Moral Crusade or Social Movement?’, at the Universsity of Manchester which hosts MANCEPT, the annual forum in political theory and philosophy.

I also heard back from the folks at Lantern who read the manuscript of my first book. They made insightful comments and we’re presently working on making further improvements to the text. John Sorenson at Brock University also made positive comments about the chapter I submitted to the anthology he’s editing on critical animal studies.

So, perhaps, I shouldn’t feel so sad after all because, slowly but surely, all of us who working for animal liberation are making progress.

Well, it’s a long, long time

From May to December.

But the days grow short,

When you reach September.

And the autumn weather

Turns the leaves to gray

And I haven’t got time

For the waiting game.

Extract from September Song. Lyrics by Maxwell Anderson. Music by Kurt Weill.

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