Wednesday, December 12, 2007


It's been a year since I wandered into an arbitrary bookshop and spotted the doleful face of a Lab puppy staring at me from the shelf. As is typical of me, I gave the back of the book a cursory glance and added it to the armful of Great Book Finds which I plonked on the counter. I pride myself in intuitively divining the best places to pick up book bargains. If this was an Olympic sport, I'd be a gold medalist. It's not the first time that I've bought and read a bestseller before it was discovered by the masses. Marley & Me is a case in point. This is the ultimate dog lovers' dog story. It has all the ingredients to make you wince in sympathy, howl with laughter and sob in anguish as the life of this loveable Lab unfolds across the pages of John Grogan's book. Newly married, the author and his wife decide, unwittingly, to get a dog as a bit of a test drive, before they have children. Marley's subsequent behaviour has spawned a website, bulletin board, gift book range and due, sometime in the future, a movie featuring Jen Aniston and Owen Wilson.
This dog's life story has inspired a community of animal lovers to come together and share their heartfelt tributes to the canines with whom they shared their lives. Only a great dog could trigger such an incredible response. Fortunately he was adopted by a journalist-dad who recognised a good story as he saw it unfold before his eyes; that and the fact that the author resisted the idea of re-homing the terrorist dog who unleashed his special brand of chaos wherever he went.
This book is a must-read, you'll never yell at your puppy again for destroying anything, because they simply cannot be as bad as Marley was!

Monday, December 10, 2007

December 10th is International Animal Rights Day

"Fries with that?"
Tagged onto the end of 16 Days of Activism For No Violence Against Women and Children , is, quite appropriately, International Animal Rights Day. I long for a time when this date is upheld in our country as one which garners the activism spirit and media attention that abused women and children do. Of course, this is not to suggest that animals are more important than people, or that women and children who suffer abuse are less important than animals who do. Just as slavery (in the "modern" world) was abolished; and women were eventually given the vote and children relived of their Dickensian workhouse roles... so too shall animals eventually be recognised and upheld as the sentient beings that they are. The difference between a Chimpanzee and a human being is only 1.23%. It's only a matter of time before that percentage forms the swing vote which will bring into question the cruelty and disregard with which animals are treated on our planet. Draconian laws and Descartes' machine-like mentality will see its demise as the consciousness of our world shifts to a higher vibration.

Consider though, that those who cannot speak for themselves, and who cannot protect themselves, depend on those of us who can, to be their voice and lend their plight the expression it so desperately deserves.

Press Release: 10 December 2007

Every year on December 10th, thousands of compassionate people around the world commemorate the animal victims of human tyranny and promote animal rights.

Human and Animal Rights
Millions of animals across the world are harmed and exploited by human beings. Yet humans and animals share the same basic senses, desires and emotions. All animals – not just humans - deserve the right not to be tortured and murdered. This historic international campaign aims to extend these basic human rights to all sentient creatures.

Intensive Farming
Billions of intensively farmed chickens, pigs, and cows are kept in appalling conditions. For example, chickens are reared so intensively that many suffer chronic pain for their entire 6 week life, prompting a professor of animal welfare to describe it as: “The single most severe, systematic example of man’s inhumanity to another sentient animal”. Furthermore, meat and dairy foods can increase the risk of lethal diseases, and livestock are a major contributor to global warming. Animals are also intensively farmed and killed for fur and leather.

Animal Experiments
Animal experimentation can be incredibly cruel and is an unreliable guide to human biology. Sadly, many of the major cosmetic and household cleaning companies still conduct animal tests to develop their products. Millions more animals are poisoned, mutilated, given diseases and killed in experiments conducted by universities, pharmaceutical companies, governments and armies.

Cruel ‘Sports’ & Circuses
Imagine the terror of being chased by a pack of dogs, blasted from the sky, or killed before a baying crowd. This is what animals face when humans decide that hunting, shooting and fighting animals is a fun pastime. Animals in circuses and captivity are frequently kept in cramped, unhealthy conditions, degraded and mistreated.

Defending Animals’ Rights
ARA is asking South Africans to:
• Become vegan – you can save tens of thousands of animals over your lifetime. It’s not as difficult as you may imagine, and there are millions of ‘veggies’ all over the world.
• Boycott animal testing companies.
• Use your vote at elections to support parties who support animal rights.
• Support the Universal Declaration on of Animal Rights which states that: “Inasmuch as there is ample evidence that many animal species are capable of feeling, we condemn totally the infliction of suffering upon our fellow creatures and the curtailment of their behavioural and other needs save where this is necessary for their own individual benefit. I do not accept that a difference in species alone (any more than a difference in race) can justify wanton exploitation or oppression in the name of science or sport, or for use as food, for commercial profit or for other human gain. I believe in the evolutionary and moral kinship of all animals and declare our belief that all sentient creatures have the rights to life, liberty and natural enjoyment. I therefore call for the protection of these rights.”

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Ashes and Snow

This is the most beautiful and breathtaking internet experience you are ever likely to engage in. . .

“In exploring the shared language and poetic sensibilities of all animals, I am working towards rediscovering the common ground that once existed when people lived in harmony with animals. The images depict a world that is without beginning or end, here or there, past or present.”
—Gregory Colbert, Creator of Ashes and Snow

Photographer and film maker, Gregory Colbert,traveled throughout countries such as India, Egypt, Burma, Tonga, Sri Lanka, Namibia, Kenya, Antarctica, the Azores, and Borneo to capture "the extraordinary interactions between humans and animals."

The sentient nature of the animals with whom we share the earth, is unmistakable in this series of photos. . . hope you enjoy them as much as I do!