Selected short (animal-related) subjects

Haven’t you been wondering . . .

. . . what’s “shark finning” all about?

You’re swimming along in the ocean, minding your own business, when suddenly your arms and legs are cut off. Without means of propulsion, you sink to the bottom, dying a painful death by suffocation, blood loss and attacks by other species.

Millions of sharks are experiencing this horrific fate all over the world, once their fins – the functional equivalent of human limbs – are sliced off and they’re thrown back into the sea, to die. Why?  So humans can eat shark fin soup.

What a sinfully trivial reason for killing a sentient being – and one so key to ocean ecosystems. But finally, counter actions are underway to stop shark finning. When Air China announced its  “No Shark Fin” carriage policy in January, the claim was “We were one of the first airlines in China to raise the awareness of the unsustainability of the global shark trade.”

“Unsustainability” was the best reason they could come up with? Not unconscionable cruelty?

Anyway, by prohibiting sale or possession of shark fins, New Jersey will do its bit if A3945/S2044 is passed.

. . . why does horse “soring” continue? 

Two posts ago (“Feds block . . . “), I referred to continuation of “cruel horse soring” because of recent government action. But first, what is “soring”? It’s “a cruel and inhumane practice used to accentuate a horse’s gait . . . by irritating or blistering a horse’s forelegs with chemical irritants . . . or mechanical devices.” Here’s what it looks like:

Almost no sooner had the USDA finalized a rule to end soring (slated for publication in the Federal Register) in early January, than the Trump White House decreed that all unpublished rules should be sent back to the relevant agency for review. So now it’s questionable whether soring will be banned in the foreseeable future.

. . . what’s a great “cat fix”?

If you can’t get enough of cats, the 80 enchanting minutes of Kedi, a documentary about cats in Istanbul, will bliss you out: so many cats, of all kinds, most all of them loved and cared for as important, respectable beings by (their fellow!) city residents. Cats walk along sidewalks looking just as entitled as the people they mingle with; they go about their lives matter-of-factly, having families to feed; squabbling over territory or mates; being petted and having adventures.

Kedi’s filming is spectacular, and its narration and interviews are studded with philosophy and quotable quotes about cats and people. I’ll paraphrase an idea I’ve found to be all-too-true: Those who don’t love animals can’t love people either.

See it, rent it, beg or borrow it – but don’t miss Kedi.

. . . about those tree-leaf balls?

 Quick!  Before spring buds open into tree leaves and hide them, take another look at those bunches of autumn leaves you noticed in neighborhood trees last winter. They’re probably squirrel nests, or “dreys” – much more than “bunches of leaves.” In fact, they’re made of layers of different materials: live green twigs to moss and damp leaves, then protective twigs and vines, with a “mortar” of more material filled in to strengthen them. This careful animal architecture helps explain why it’s uncommon for the nests to fall apart or allow baby squirrels to fall out.

Tim Eustace

. . . how to identify Tim Eustace (D-38)?

The last post mentioned two state assemblymen recognized at Humane Lobby Day, but didn’t  include a photo of Rep. Tim Eustace. Here it is now, with some by-play that occurred when Eustace arrived for the presentation. The then-speaker said she was happy to be “trumped” at the microphone by the legislator. Eustace suggested “bumped” as an alternate word, adding, “We have to be ‘the wall’ to protect this state from the legislation coming from Washington.”  (Hear, hear!)

– Pat Summers

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