Thursday, June 11, 2015

Thirsty Thursday

Animals get drunk too! Here is a video of some animals eating a type of fruit that gets them drunk. There are a lot of similarities between drunk humans and drunk animals. It's very funny to see wasted elephants try to walk straight. 

Banana Slug...

I finished the last final of my undergraduate career today. As I was walking from my class to the bus stop, I spotted a dead banana slug. The first thought that came to my mind was that someone was trying to kiss it and killed as a result. I’m sure everyone, who is a student at UCSC, knows that human saliva and skin oil is actually very deadly to banana slugs. The sight just made me think further about the relationship between humans and animals. We co-exist with each other and benefit from each other. Banana slugs, in this case, do not bring any harm to human’s existence. Yet, they are constantly killed. Accident or not, I think we, as humans, should be more conscious of our impact on other natural beings. I also feel that UCSC itself, as well as other educational institutions, does not put in enough effort to raise awareness for the native animals that reside on campus. I do feel satisfied that UCSC has classes such as LIT80E that teaches students about animals. I’m glad I took this class this quarter because it has opened my eyes to the importance of animals and how humans’ actions can impact their existence.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Would You Eat Your Own Baby ?

 Please take a good long look at these pictures and what they represent. Think about what they really mean. I know it's not very pleasant but it's extremely important. And it's always better to know the truth than to live in hypocrisy. 

In reality there's no difference between a human baby and a pig baby. When we were talking about abortion in my Writing 2 class, we saw some disturbing pictures of unborn dead human beings with blood and all that… and these pictures were supposed to make us understand how terrible abortion is. And personally, I still don't think that abortion is as terrible as what we do to innocent animals. I actually think it's much better than that, because there are too many humans on this planet nowadays (7 billion…!!) And of course, they all need to eat something. That's why we need to find a balance. We need to stop using other animals for our basic needs and stop reproducing so much….!

For all the hypocrites (like me) :

I think it's ok to eat someone if you kill them yourself (if you still feel like eating them after killing them). What I don't find OK is the way humans made it an industry, a system. It's just not fair in principle.

That's how they take those innocent lives, pure torture… I wish they could use it on humans:

After all, we are probably not the most intelligent species on Earth.

Please don't buy anything from these labels:

Especially relevant today in California:

"Destroy": because she is deemed worthless. This is motherhood in the meat industry. This pig is probably 2-5 years old, has spent her agonizing life being inseminated and giving birth in a crate to babies who will either be slaughtered long before their 1st birthday or live the same horrific life that she has. 

So if this picture bothers you, please stop eating meat.

Now let's all make a wish that people will one day stop being so ignorant and cruel. Humans are the worst creatures on this planet, and yet some of them are the best. Those who don't hurt other living beings and help them.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Do Animals Talk To Each Other?

Initially I had planned to write my fifth paper on this article written by Erica Goode:
At Donna Haraway's talk, I asked what can we learn from how interspecies members relate to each other to improve our human-animal relations? It was a direct reference to this article, which references Haraway herself, from her novel When Species Meet. Biologists have generated a range of terms for how species may interact: mutualism, parasitism, commensalism, competition, but there is mostly a dearth of research on any sort of companionship that is not based on direct need. I do not mean to say friendship doesn't provide a support network which is highly beneficial; no, how can one make this claim when research in graph theory and social networks has shown that we can show which individuals are most likely to commit suicide by recreating a matrix of their relationships? We mostly discount animals' capabilities for language and emotion, which are deemed the (human) basis for companionship, so it is easy to see why any possibility of interspecies friendship was also ignored. If you are to read papers in behavioral ecology, you will certainly find accounts of animals "signaling" to each other, but they are always framed in evolutionary contests. Goode includes the story of Safi and Wister, a dog-donkey friendship, which we viewed in class. Young animals seem particularly impressionable in forming these interspecies relationships. The extreme case is of course the baby birds who imprint on other animals that are not their true mothers, and we, the human species, are not exempt from these anomalous occurrences. The stories of the wolf children in Humanimal speak to a interspecies relationship, that even exceeds mere companionship. They have been entirely inducted into the folds of wolfe society. Haraway's naturecultures are heavily present here. Genetic material is passed down within species for a shared communication, but they are also refined and perfected in those formative infant days through culture. And when these cultures are not of the species which they constitute, children do not seem to break down but adapt! I had heard about dogs being added to cheetah exhibits in order to relax them. The article suggests that the dog is particularly good at cross-species communication due to our cross-species relationship with them. She also suggests our fascination with these relationships is derived from our desire to have a more friendly connection to nature, a goal which seems always out of reach. We are lonely in a world where no other species has truly been able to communicate with us. Can you think of films/fiction in which the animals are friends and talk to each other? Dumbo comes to mind, Winnie the Pooh, Cinderella, and in general many children's books and allegories. How do we imagine these relationships to be like? There is, I think, sometimes this feeling that all animals speak to each other and we are the only ones who are not included in this language. Animals certainly whisper sweet nothings into each other's, for how can hybrids come about? But hybrids are often rejected by either group because they cannot communicate successfully, and we once again come to the crucial question of whether animal language can cross species lines.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Masson & McCarthy, “Grief, Sadness, and the Bones of Elephants”

Above is a link to a short video. It concerns the mourning habits of elephants when it comes to there dead. In Masson and McCarthy they say it has to do with elephants ability to recognize the features of others. The ritual they describe is shown in the video. The elephants will turn the bones over and over tracing the contours of the face seeming to recognize the skull or bone. They will even carry them from time to time for miles.

I had to take pictures of this article from Gaia magazine, a UCSC student produced and environmentally inspired magazine, because there was no link on their website. 
I really enjoyed reading this article and think it brings up a lot of good points about veganism. I am vegan and have been vegan on and off for years now. It's a very rewarding lifestyle, but also easy for me to fall off the wagon. 
This article discusses the motivation for people who choose a vegan lifestyle. When I first became vegan years ago it was for health reasons. After transferring to UCSC in 2013 I slowly started incorporating dairy products and eggs into my diet because I convinced myself it was easier and faster (which sometimes it is). I ate a non-vegan diet until recently when we watched Behind the Mask in class. It made me re-examine my lifestyle and I found it's worth it to put extra effort into my diet for the sake of the animals.
Enough about me, let's move on! The article also discusses the nutritional factors of being vegan as well as the treatment of animals and even how veganism could feed the hungry people around the world. The most interesting part for me however, was the discussion of Jenna Wogenrich and her article titled, "My Beef With Beef: Why I Stopped Being a Vegetarian". I don't want to ruin the article for everyone but I highly suggest you read this!

Have a good summer guys! Let's meme!

Well the quarter is almost over and here is my current reaction:
Then I remembered I had finals so then I'm like:

So yeah, that's happening. So yo make me happy, and to try to and brighten up our miserable lives. I'm going to be discussing animals in memes. Why are animals such popular memes? Well look at this guy:

That is one of my greatest fears around here. But that's why it's funny. We see animals and we want to relate them to our modern lives. And making something look funny makes them less daunting and terrifying. For example:
Without the funny caption, if you saw this face, you'd be saying...oh snap, RUN!!!!! If you say otherwise, you're a liar. But we see non humans in funny situations that we as humans can relate to....or at the very least make fun of. What better example of this than GRUMPY CAT!!!

Isn't this so true? This is me on most given school days. So animal memes are just our ways of trying to connect with animals through the universal human necessity of comedy and laughter. Ladies and gentleman, it's been a pleasure writing for you, and I hope you all have a good summer (and that Sophie recommends giving me an A, thanks Sophie).
(Toto's in this picture, so it counts as an animal meme)

Saturday, June 6, 2015

As the Quarter Winds Down...

Over the course of this class, I have had mixed feelings about the subject of animals. I often had a hard time maintaining my focus in lecture but despite the occasional drifting off, my eyes were opened to a lot of concepts that I had no idea even existed. I had never wondered about the existence of a different spectrum of emotions that correspond with different animals. Just that idea alone is off-setting about how I previously perceived animals. I already was made conscious of the quantity of meat I eat by this class and have since cut back. I have changed my view of animals as subjugates of humanity and sympathize with many of their situations in life now. Literature-wise, I now recognize animals in a piece with a deeper cognition. While animals are not solidly-general in their symbolism, they usually play a much deeper role than what I had initially seen. They do not just represent a certain quality, but they themselves can be characters in a book. This class helped me recognize that animals are more than just symbols. They are characters.

Riding Elephants in Thailand

Last summer, I went back to Vietnam to visit my family, after 10 years. I was really excited because, other than visiting my family, I wanted to also take a trip to Thailand since it is a neighboring county. I have always been fascinated with Elephants and riding on one is at the top of my bucket list. However, the limited time did not give the opportunity to visit Thailand.

Ever since I got back to America, I have noticed that elephants have become a new clothing trend. Every store you look, there’s at least a few clothing items with elephants printed on them. I bought a few shirts with elephants on them since they are so adorable and I love elephants. My interest in elephants have intensified ever since I started taking this class. All the concepts about animals being symbolic and such, as well as the types of animal cruelty, made me more curious about the tourism industry in Thailand. Elephant rides have been known as one of Thailand’s most famous tourist activities. I found this article written by Matthew Karsten, who described his trip to Thailand and his discovery of the Elephant Nature Park. It is a natural sanctuary for elephants who have been rescued from the torturous tourism industry in Thailand.

What stood out to me the most is the part where Matthew talked about the torture of baby elephants. Wild elephants are naturally not calm enough to allow humans to ride on their back all day. Therefore, elephant trainers have to “crush” the elephants’ wild spirit at a young age, when they’re babies. Baby elephants are beaten, tortured, and starved into submission.

This articled changed my whole perspective on riding elephants. I thought that they were just large but gentle creatures, who did not mind having humans on their back because they were still allowed to live in the wild. However, I did know that they were being tortured to lose their wild spirit for the sake of the tourism business. This was a very eye-opening read. And I can say that, I will taking riding elephants off my bucket list from now on. 

Friday, June 5, 2015


I'm surprised that this class never touched on the documentary Blackfish. With such an emphasis on animal rights, it think this was a major event that should have been shared. I had watched the documentary before this quarter began, randomly one day bored at home. It is crazy to see Seaworld doing something like this to animals. They make such a profit from them, you would think they would take better care of them. I would have liked to hear Carla's commentary about Blackfish, and what points she would have made about it. It would have been a perfect film for this class, and what she wanted to present to us about animals and humans.

My Lit80E quarter

My major so far is undeclared but am planning on going into Literature and minoring in Languistics.
When I enrolled in this class, my motive was only to pass this class because my advisor had suggested me on taking it. My only goal in this class was to pass and get out of here because I had no interest in animals.
As the quarter went on and I was assigned readings and assignments, I started putting more interest in the course. But it was until we started the discussion sessions and the topics discussed in sections that I was totally absorbed in this class. Since I was taking writing 2 (Writing Disney) along with this class this quarter, I realized there were many similarities between these two course, so I stRted making connections (but focusing more on my writing class than Lit).
At the start of the quarter when my TA told me that we can write blog that can also count as participation in dicsussion, I was released because I did not want to participate in the class at all because I don't like talking about animals much and I had nothing to say. But on the very first day, my TA started the discussion in such a way that I could not stop I myself from speaking up and getting in the discussion too. I still remember that we talked about the creation oh earth and Adam and Eve. After that day, I always looked forward to discussion sessions and my lecture where I find out the lives of animals I wasn't aware of at all.
As time went by, I was thinking more about the course and putting more time in it than I had planned to do. I did intend to pass from the beginning but I never thought I would be talking and thinking about animals so much as to want to write better with each assignment given. By the end of the quarter, I had made a special emotional relationship with the animals around me and started to think of them as some who is very much alike me and started respecting them more.
Thanks to Lit80E, I will never think of animals as creatures crawling around on Earth but as living creature who are very much a likes me and try my best to get along with them all to best of my abilities.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Importance of Animal Testing

When I finished reading the essay "Chimeras in the Cross-hairs", I had really conflicting feelings. On one hand, I think it is imperative that we keep exploring the uses of cloning for the benefit of mankind. On the other hand, the price to find cures for the many diseases and conditions that plague, comes at the cost of animal lives. I know if it weren't for animal testing, many of us will not be here right now, and many medical problems will remain unsolved. Tens of millions of animals have probably died for our benefit, but that seems like its the price to pay to solve the endless medical problems we have. I really hope one day scientists can develop ways to cure diseases without the use of live beings. I know it is a long shot, but maybe in the future we'll be able to find cures for diseases just by using computer simulation.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Fur Is Not Fashionable

As meat is a large commodity in today's world, so are other parts of certain animals. A part of an animal that keeps it warm and defines its very essence is being stripped away by the fur trade. Somehow these places of such cruelty stay hidden from view. Small steel sheds contain rows and rows of cages filled with fragile little bodies The animals contained in these cages are mostly minks, foxes and raccoon dogs. These animals widen their anxious eyes, pace inside the cage, and cry out loud. "For most of these creatures, even death is not kind. Just before their first birthday, they will be gassed or electrocuted. Their skin will be removed to adorn the trim of a trendy parka or pair of boots. The rest of their body will simply be discarded into a pile of trash or compost. 100 million lives are lost each year in this way" (Lush). How can someone wear a fur coat so proudly? I cringe in disdain.

Animals and Mirrors

I was on Facebook the other day and came across this link. A friend of mine posted it on another friend's wall. Some people put a mirror in the middle of a jungle to see how animals react to it. I'm blogging this because the person who posted it to my friend's wall commented "monkeys are so dumb," to which my friend responded "the gorillas are so stupid." The comments really made me think about how humans place themselves over animals. The video is still pretty funny though.

Peta2 Facebook Page

Peta2 Facebook Page

As I was scrolling down my newsfeed on Facebook I saw a link that my friend had shared about a woman who was “beaten” and “killed” for her fur ( she was not actually beat or killed) which was supposed to resemble humans beating and killing non-humans for their fur. There were other videos as well, such as one that was for the awareness of rabbit abuse in Asia. I noticed The Facebook page belonged to Peta2, an organization directed to the youth to learn more about animal rights. While on their Facebook page I found several interesting articles of informing the public about factory farming, animal testing, vegan foods, and etc. As I looked through some of the comments on some of the posts I found that were offended by Peta2 because of their graphic content. I found myself agreeing with those comments because I also do not like seeing such horrible videos of cute fluffy animals getting tortured, skinned, or hurt while alive. There are now horrendous  sounds and images I will never be able to get out of my head, but I guess I also understand that if people don’t see how graphic and intense these animals have it then the world will never see or understand why animal cruelty has to stop…I encourage others to take a minute and look through some of the articles on the Facebook page and educate themselves.

Monday, June 1, 2015

My Ramblings on Human Chimeras

For my last blog, I thought I'd have a little fun with my topic and look at the group of fantasy creatures known as semi-humans, humanoid chimeras, etc. I'm talking about fawns, centaurs, mermaids, minotaurs, harpies and satyrs. Looking through a handy list of hybrid creatures, which are labeled by which parts of them are human and which parts aren't, it really drives home the implications of our artificial boundaries between us and animals. Every creature on the list with some human part is dominated by that part. Most of the hybrids from human imagination, have the head of a human, or if not their entire body is human while just the head is that of an animal. Some of these creatures are just humans with animal parts stuck on them. It is very rare and very off putting to see a hybrid depicted with human parts tacked on along with others, rather than being a humanoid. Its odd as I can imagine the terrifying implications of an alligator with human arms -have fun trying to cage that in- or an enormous bear with human teeth. When trying to come up with an original creature, we always seem to start with a human and then do something to it, any human parts we add to a creature take over and turn it humanoid and we immediately think of it as more of a human than an animal. I guess what people know is a pretty good comfort zone, something we can relate with and yet we find intriguing, but something that shares a few bits and pieces of us, and that we cant relate with seems terrifying or grotesque.
-Also does any one else find it weird that most humans with animal heads are gods of some sort?

Is Abuse Worth the Entertainment?

Circus animals are proven to be very intelligent but in order to achieve this level of entertainment they must pass through rigorous training. Elephants in particular are very widely used in circuses and are usually spoken of most when relating them to abuse. The elephants have their spirit broken and are chained in uncomfortable positions for 25 hours at a time, or even more. When the elephants are handled, they are beaten with telescopic batons and managed with bull hooks in order to do what the trainer expects. An example of the horror the elephants must go through is when an elephant in Oklahoma was beaten with the bull hooks so severely that she bled and cried out in pain. Elephants were not the only animals targeted, but all circus animals; abuse occurred every day to everyone. All of the animals were hit, punched, beaten, and whipped by everyone from the head of animal care to inexperienced animal handlers.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Power Steer

The essay, "Power Steer" by Michael Follan really has made me look at meat in way that I didn't expect to. When reading a essay on how beef is processed basically from the day the calf was born into world and how it meets its end, I thought I would be deterred from beef, but I was wrong. When I got to know the intricacies on how the calf was raised, how they were forced to feed on a corn diet that was not suitable to their stomachs and how much antibiotics are pumped into them, I wasn't really surprised. I felt even though the methods were cruel, they were necessary in order for beef to priced the way it is, and not much will change since the demand for beef is only going to get higher. I surprisingly felt even more comfortable eating meat now since I know the process, which does not have that much of an effect on my feelings. I believe the cattle were put down in a very quick and humane matter. Their living conditions are bad, but I don't their are many other ways to maximize profit, so the practice won't change that much, so I made my resolve, and found it to be acceptable.

Redwall, animals in storytelling

Does anyone remember this cartoon from the 90's-early 2000's:

Yes the epic 13 episode PBS children series, Redwall. Following the tale told by Brian Jacques, this is a tale of the orphaned mouse Matthias, trying to fufill his destiny to become a warrior and protect his home, Redwall Abby, from the infamous rat, Kluny the Scourge. Not to be confused with the modern celebrity rat, Cloony the George:

(J.K Cloony, you're awesome)

The reason I bring back this trip down memory lane that makes us feel like ancient fossils is because Redwall is a perfect example of animals being used as stereotypes and as symbols for various lessons for children in an aspect that anyone of any age groups can understand. How may you ask? Well I'm going to pretend you asked and gladly answer. We see some of the most basic of story plot tropes ever to exist through Redwall: the battle of good versus evil. Evil is represented by:

Yep Cluny the Scourge, who in a world where rodents are the dominate and smartest species, of course the rat is going to be the bad guy. Let's ignore the fact that they're basically just bigger, stronger, and arguably smarter versions of mice, rats tend to be viewed as evil and disgusting, so let's just go with it alright? And let's not forget our hero:

Matthias the mouse. OH MY GRED, HE'S SO ADORABLE!!!!!!!!! Ahem, okay back to my main point. We go with the David and Goliath scenario, where young Matthias is supposed to face off and destroy the God knows how old evil fiend that is Cluny the Geor....Scourge.

It is not an unusual thing to see in children stories who have animals as their main focus. Usually animals we associate with evil are evil and good are good. This has been a sort of unofficial rule of thumb. It's a pattern I believe, that is reflective of a basic human desire: even the tiny can be mighty, and nothing is impossible no matter who you are, blah blah blah.

Children are very impressionable little beasts (don't deny it, they can be right evil devils when cranky or bored) and animals have always been the perfect way for parents to help show them what is good and what is bad, whether they want their kids to be clever like the fox, courageous like the tigers (lions are little female dogs in comparison, no bias at all), wise as an owl, animals have and almost definitely will always be, symbols of how humanity sees the rotten yet beautiful world we live in.

I've been made conscious about my meat-eating.

(Disclaimer: This post is a bit belated.)

After watching the film, Behind the Mask, I was actually made hesitant toward eating meat. While I have not completely abstained from meat, I do not eat with every meal as I used to and I will see the vegetarian dishes/alternatives as viable options. Despite some of the weaker arguments and persuasive attempts in the film (i.e. using Goldfinger's music), the employment of the extremely graphic and intimate videos of animal testing and treatment successfully breached my comfort and complacency in eating meat. Just knowing that much animal testing is done in vain and lacks the endorsement of doctors or statisticians gives a sickening air to the thought of humanity as a whole. Isolating the mere fact that the data collected through the testing goes unused that just exemplifies a mass effect of sadism that I can honestly say I was completely unaware of. At the moment, meat has not been completely cut from diet, but it has been significantly reduced after witnessing how much of my food is derived from pain of such a degree.

Animal Cruelty

Posted above is a video I watched, or a video similar to what I watched in high school. This relates to what we read about last week and I'm hoping this is still relevant since I forgot to post my blog for last week.
I thought this was important because it shows the stages in how baby chicks are being misused and abused by multiple sorting machines, lasers, and forced onto conveyer belts. This relates to last weeks assignment because we were reading about the  horrible living situations in which farm animals are forced into. Anywhere from debeaking through blow torches to pigs eating each others tails because the lack or space for them to turn around.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Grief, Sadness, and the Bones of Elephants

The essay Greif, Sadness, and the Bones of Elephants by Masson and McCArthy is about animal's feeling that is very similar to humans'. They have four sections in their essay named 'Mourning Lost Love', 'Loneliness', 'Imprisonment', and 'Depression and Learned Helplesness'. In these four sections, the author discuss how animals have relevant feelings of that humans feel. They say that when animals love someone, no matter if it's their mate, children, or just any other animals from another species, they build a bond that has strong feelings and is unbreakable. Masson and McCarthy prove their claim by supporting their thesis by many animal stories where animals are shown proving their true feelings of their loved ones.

These stories, included in the essay by Masson and McCarthy, were of Falcons, Elephants, sea creatures, lions, horses, Tigers, and many other animals. These animals are used in the essay to prove that animals, no matter what species they are, can fall in love with another living creature. The authors relate the animals' love to human's love, emotion and affection to prove that we are all the same inside (and by that I mean that our feelings relate to one another) no matter how different we may appear on the outside.

I really liked this essay and somehow made a really strong connection to the animals and their relationship. I always knew that all living creatures had feelings and such, but I never thought that it was so strong that they could tell of their loved ones even by their bones, like the elephants can. I was really touched by this essay and was encouraged to love the animals even more now.


Why Are Elephants Acting Up?

Why is it that elephants are increasingly engaging in aggressive behavior towards humans as well as other animals? Aggression is usually an instinctive response due to discomfort or feeling threatened.  Perhaps this is explains why elephants are attacking humans more than ever before. I believe that we, humans, are threatening the elephants' survival as a species, thereby leading to their aggressive behavior. If no one were threatening them, then they wouldn't feel the need to retaliate and protect themselves. Elephants are among one of the smartest species of animals on this planet and I believe this is a key factor to why they are engaging in such behavior. The elephants have began to realize that humans are threatening their survival through poaching and the destruction of their environment. They're effort to protect their environment in which they live and reproduce is affecting their survival, which has sparked them to become very sensitive to when they feel a human presence. Elephants have made a correlation between humans and their survival, sparking their instinct to protect themselves at all costs. The only way we can stop this from happening is by giving elephants, and other animals the space they need to thrive as a species.

Animals in Disney Movies and in Real Life

As I was watching Frans De Waal’s video, Moral Behavior in Animals, in class today, I was a bit surprised to see the Chimpanzee encouraged his friend to help pull the box. I was taken aback by how intelligent they were. They showed empathy for each other and helped each other out. I have always known that animals have feelings and thoughts, but I never thought they would have specifically empathy or compassion for each other. It made me realize how similar animals are to human. Granted, they are not as intelligent as us, but that is the only thing they lack. It also made me wonder if animals think the same way we do. At the same time, I am also wondering if the animals in the wild have a life similar to what was portrayed in all those Disney movies, such as the Lion King and Nemo. The only difference I see about the life between humans and the animals portrayed in those Disney movies is the physical setting and life style. The animals act and live the same way humans would have if we still live in the wild. 

Are the Elephants Fighting Back?

In the article "Elephant Crack Up" by Charles Siebert it is becoming more evident that elephants are becoming more aggressive, especially towards humans. Now the question arises as to why violent behavior now? Humans have always known elephants to be patient and intelligent creatures that were neutral to our existence. But now as time goes on it seems they have picked up a new attitude. Is it possible that elephants have learned from humans? It was also pointed out that elephants have started to be more aggressive towards each other as well. Animal advocates are concerned and want to find  the cause of the elephants new practice of violent acts.

Okay now that I have given you the facts from Siebert's article "Elephant Crack Up" I want to give you all my hypothesis on what I think the elephants conduct means. After reading the article something struck me as odd. It is only been recently that elephants have been more aggressive. All I could ask myself is why? Why would such loving and cultured animals want to hurt us, or even other elephants? I began to consider about how extremely intelligent elephants are how they have amazing memories and how they deeply they care for their family. But none that would matter if they were angry; angry that their family has been poached and killed. Suffering from heartbreak of their fallen family elephants are confused and hurt. During this time I think it is possible they have watched humans behavior. Humans needlessly hunt and kill with no remorse. Perhaps elephants watch our style of living and see how much power we have by being aggressive. This is a psychological theory of learned behavior over time. Once any animal (including us) starts to become angry, it eats at us. We live everyday taking what we can. This is human nature, but I think we are not the only ones that cope this way. I believe that elephants could have learned our behavior and violent demeanors. Maybe this is giving humans way too much credit but I am guessing that elephants see the way we treat the world and because they are already hurt that poachers have killed their loved ones, they just let the more animalistic traits come through. We all know that elephants are not dangerous animals. I think they have just not had the best role models.

Elephants, gentle giants or giant danger?

Yesterdays discussion topic was about elephants attacking humans, and why that might be. For me, it boils down to humans taking over land talking away their homes, and peaceful environment. Now they are isolated to lands where people can take safari adventures and drive around constantly looking at you. I'm sure humans wouldn't like that either. Perhaps that could be a reason for their aggression. Maybe it would be misread, and the elephant is trying to be playful, but a language barrier prevents us from finding out. I think this video, shows the irritation when there are constantly encroached my humans, the amount of cars passing by is quite a bit. I had an experience like this traveling through a forest in India one evening, the lights of all the cars passing my might have angered its peaceful slumber so it charged to the road. I think instead of blaming elephants for attacking people, blame the cause which are humans.

Ethics Pt. 4

Welcome to the fourth and final part of my Ethics series. Throughout the series, we have discovered the paradox that life is good, but it is necessary to consume other living things to survive, i.e. plants and animals etc.

We have also identified the bridging empathy that sensible beings can cross over, emotion. On a lesser level there is also the central nervous system, which would involve pain and pleasure which would widen the breath and scope of the animal species we can relate to.

Thus I believe that it is not necessarily death for the sake of consumption and the continuance of life that we are trying to stop, but the cruelty that comes along with it. Cruelty is a festering sore that can secrete its venomous fluids out into other arenas of our life. Under the umbrella of this logic, we should eat meat before we drink milk or eat eggs, because the suffering is greatest for the animals like hens and dairy cows that live longer under worse conditions for the sake of continual production. How we stop the cruelty is too large of a question to be tackled at this moment in time. This question leaves the realm of philosophy and enters the realm of practicality that requires years of research, experience and passion.

Hope anyone who is reading this enjoyed my pieces, have a great life.



On Angela Carter, Feminism, and Fantasy/SF

I found this interview with Kelly Link (who is an editor and fantasy author) on Angela Carter, whose stories we're reading for Monday.  It introduces some important questions/topics -- like the feminist potential of fairy tales, and the potential of sf more broadly to imagine radical worlds -- and it even might give you some ideas for summer reading! :)

Interview with Kelly Link on Angela Carter

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


    Take a good look at this picture. Just as I am, you're probably all thinking "oh jeez, are those dogs spoiled!" Yeah...
      I find the whole doggies-wearing-dog-turtle-necks-while-riding-in-a-dog-stroller thing kind of ridiculous. I think it's bizarre that we humans either A) cherish and spoil animals as one of us, or B) disregard the importance of their being all together. The difference between these two types of human-animal interactions is unfathomable. It doesn't make sense to me that on one hand, humans may sleep with their pets in their own bed, talk to them as if they were one of their children, dress them in extravagant clothing, or send them to fancy pet hotels; and on the other hand, may slaughter animals with their own two hands, eat their flesh, or wear their fur on their back. I often wonder if any human working in a slaughter house goes home at the end of the day and pets their dog on the sofa. 
      The difference between the two types of human-animal interaction is the type of animal. Pets (such as cats or dogs) are seen as clean, friendly, comforting companions. Pigs, cattle, poultry and fish on the other hand, are simply seen as resources. Just as discussed in lecture and in some of the readings, pets are often extremely  anthropomorphized, as proven by this picture. Although we humans interact with different species of animals in completely opposing ways, it's all done selfishly. We slaughter animals to benefit ourselves; we enjoy eating their flesh and wearing their skin. Additionally, we have pets to also benefit ourselves. James A. Serpell notes in his essay, Anthropomorphism and Anthropomorphic Selection--Beyond the "Cute Response," that humans having pets is proven to "enhance their own health and quality of life" (88). I find it interesting that we use animals in multiple differing ways, and it's all for our own fulfillment and pleasure. 

Understanding Animals

"Heartography" is a new artistic and scientific project that uses heart rate to determine emotional states such as joy or fear in living beings - humans as well as animals. Grizzler is a dog used in this experiment  - whenever his heart rate reaches a specific level of magnitude, the camera attached to his collarbone, takes pictures of his surroundings. This project is very interesting in that apart from being compelling artistically,  I think it will also help us understand our pets better, their emotions and feelings and their general perception of the world.
 Cooper the cat is the first cat-photographer who takes pictures of almost everything he sees and experiences in his everyday life. And his photographs are amazing because they really are authentic, in the sense that we can see what the world is like from a cat's point of view. You can even purchase Cooper's full color photo book or framed limited edition copies of his original photographs, complete with his "paw-tograph" signature on the back:
 It's important to emphasize that a portion of proceeds from each sold print is donated to PAWS: Progressive Animal Welfare Society, a Washington State organization that focuses on helping animals and promoting respect and compassion for animals' lives:

  "PAWS is a champion for animals—rehabilitating injured and orphaned wildlife, sheltering and adopting homeless cats and dogs, and educating people to make a better world for animals and people. "  Because animals can not speak for themselves. 

Why test products for people on animal's skin when we can use people skin?

Fans of Vsauce 2 rejoice! A new video is out!
Man did this one get me thinking. For those of you that don't know, V-sauce 2 is a channel on youtube featuring a show called mind blow, where the host goes over various emerging technologies and their progress. In this video the 3d printed skin segment (about 18 seconds in) really got me thinking about the video we saw in class, and the various problems with animal testing. We have the ability to test products on actual human skin now, and yet I fear we'll keep using animal testing because companies won't find changing their methods cost effective. As the animal emancipation video described, it is a 9 to 5 job, and the testing facilities will just keep doing what they do until they're told otherwise. I'm sure the printed skin has its problems, but it has got to be more accurate than animal testing. Hopefully more useful technology will come up in the future to replace old and barbaric practices, and hopefully when they do, people will actually decide to use them.

here are the links V-Sauce provides to the articles about the printed skin
First of all, sorry for the curse words! But I just wanted to go with the vegan comics thing and I thought this one reminded me of the article we broke down in section last thursday by Jim Mason and Mary Finelli titled "Brave New Farm?". It I think this comic touches on two separate issues. One is that we treat non-human sentients differently than we treat humans. Not many people think about the fact that we don't really need milk after we are babies, although there are many debates supporting the need for milk drinking well into adulthood. This article also touches on the topic of marketing and using a non-human for our wants without regard to the animal and the suffering involved with that. By slaughtering the animals their misery is at the very least prolonged, although I personally don't agree with the slaughtering of animals. But by keeping the cow alive for it's milk it's suffering is prolonged and then when we are done, we kill them anyway. Thought: what about bottling human milk for consumption? Not cool from a cow, not cool from a human.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Do you want human skin tie to match that coat?

  Many who see this comic are possibly disturbed by the rather inhuman message this comic sends to the audience. Never can A NORMAL HUMAN BEING IN THEIR RIGHT MIND ever consider making products out of their own kin. Just thinking about this makes your stomach turn and your mind very nauseous. So what does the humankind to avoid this problem? They clear their conscious buy making products out of animals instead.

But is there really a difference between human and animal products?

 Jim Carrey answer this question in his famous movie," Ace Ventura" when he grabs the "monopoly guy" and wears him as if he was wearing a fox fur scarf. The reason he does this is because the lady who is wearing the fox fur tells him to try and enjoy the fruits of nature. Of course Ace Ventura makes a point that we as humans are part of this," fruits of nature." Although the scene is rather amusing, it sends an ultimate messages that says; if you can wear fox fur, might as well wear human skin because both acts are just as inhumane.

The reason why both acts are inhumane is because both animals and humans come from nature. The only reason Humans justify the act of using animal based products is that they don't communicate, and if they don't communicate they don't have a conscious. But this is all misjudgment because animals definitely have a conscious and definitely communicate with us humans, just not with words.

I am attaching the link to the ACE VENTURA: WHEN NATURE CALLS  scene below:

Factory Farming and Humane Bacon

In my Anthropology class, I had a reading titled "Hogs, Antibiotics, and the Industrial Environments of Postwar Agriculture" by Mark R. Finlay. According to Finlay, antibiotics’ role in creating indoor confined feeding operations was revolutionary during the time. Researchers found in the late 1940s what came to be known as the “antibiotic growth effect.” Antibiotic feeding also reduced disease among animals, which supported the idea for indoor confined feeding operations. “Although crowding animals together naturally increased their susceptibility to disease, scientists understood that antibiotics could overcome that natural burden. Antibiotics also played a role, challenging the notion that pastures were naturally more healthful environments than confined hog lots” (Finlay). In addition, manipulation of the swine diet enabled farmers to created fortified feeds with antibiotics and vitamins. An NPR article titled "'Tales' of Pig Intelligence, Factory Farming and Humane Bacon" mentions what industrial pigs are fed. It reveals: "It's pretty ugly. The basic ration is corn or soy. Rendered pig meat is also added, making them cannibals. Another addition to feed is something called "feather meal," which is what it sounds like; it's the feathers that come from chicken and turkey slaughterhouses. They can be fed chicken manure, the litter of the floor of chicken houses because manure has protein it. So there are all sorts of things that are quite frightening in the diet of an industrial pig."