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Except for our children – perhaps not even them – is there any subject that evokes more emotion than our fellow mammals and living creatures – animals other than humans?
We own them to the point of making them family – a killer when they don’t live as long as we do – then saunter off to the supermarket to buy fresh cuts of beef, pork, lamb, veal or poultry. At least a couple of our most cherished holidays center around meals of meat – turkey, ham, leg of lamb.
We take drugs every day that were likely tested for years on various animals held in captivity and injected or otherwise exposed to diseases we’re trying to conquer well before we dare do the same to a human being.
We tolerate – perhaps because of our distance from them – the raising and production of farm foodstuffs by way of highly restrictive feedlots – dairy products, pork, poultry, eggs and the like. And, yet, we almost go apoplectic if we see a dog or a cat or some other defenseless creature abused in any way.
We’ve spent years roaming our zoos and aquariums, staring in or down at hundreds of species who have rounded up and essentially imprisoned for our entertainment. We attend circuses and similar events where animals have been trained and shown to serve our interests. We ride them and drive them and teach them to do the damnedest things – feats of astonishing prowess.
In many places in the world, we’ve used animals to round up and kill other animals, or to pull our plows and carriages, or to race them in well-groomed ovals and bet on them to won , place or show. And we’ve turned their carcasses into thousands of different products – clothing, decorative objects, and accessories, among many – fur and leather and jewelry.
In other words, animals have served humans of the world in a million ways – and in almost every case, we simply take all of those uses – here and everywhere else – for granted. Animals have also made millions for their owners and users.
Some people have rebelled against all of these practices and abandoned any use or encouragement of uses of any and all animals. Most of these advocates call themselves vegan.
Others – especially those in the animal welfare business believe that animal use for all the reasons cited have saved lives, fed us, sacrificed themselves for our better health, and entertained us, mostly without abuse or suffering, something we’d never tolerate at home.
But animals are abused. Animals suffer severely for making us food and becoming our food, for entertaining us and pulling us around. The question may be: can we, could we, ever get along without them and, if we must use them, what can we do to eliminate the abuses we know take place in so many arenas of our lives – even among our domestic dogs and cats.
I’m an absolute lover of all the dogs I’ve owned over the years. Hard to live without one, as we must do because of allergies. Love cats, too, but can’t be around them for five minutes without shutting down my lungs.
I’m a meat eater – a carnivore. I’m neither vegan nor vegetarian. But I worry that our voracious appetites for cheap food and some drugs have led us to imprison many animals in unacceptably cruel circumstances. Many of those who employ animals in research and as food producers would agree. Others cannot tolerate any notion of animal use.
TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI speak with advocates all around the wheel of animal rights and animal welfare. You cannot believe how many different organizations represent one view or the other along this spectrum of animals in our lives. No program could possibly accommodate the hundreds of various advocates for one position or another.
And yet almost all of us love our dogs and/or cats, birds, fish and sundry family members with tails and such.
CYNTHIA S. GILLETT, DVM, ACLAM, CPIA – Institutional Veterinarian; Executive Director, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC); Director, Research Animal Resources, University of Minnesota
UNNY NAMBUDIRIPAD – Executive Director, Compassionate Action for Animals
MARILOU CHANRASMI – Co-Founder, Board Member and Former President, Minnesota Partnership for Animal Welfare (MnPAW), Former President and current Board Member, Pet Haven, Inc.
First Person Radio-Weds, Sept 21@9:00AM: DOUG AND RACHEL LIMóN: Native Artists and Art Activists-LISTEN HERE
First Person Radio's Laura Waterman Wittstock with Andy Driscoll talks with husband and wife artists Doug and Rachel Limón. Their work has won awards all over the Upper Midwest Region. And their art has also become part of significant collections. Doug's recent cradleboard project to create four new cradleboards received matching funds needed to complete the project (one cradleboard shown below). Rachel's "Moondance" is hand-sculptured clay and paint of stingrays in the moonlight.
Doug Limón (Oneida/Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe) is on the Advisory Board of All My Relations Arts, Minneapolis, MN; a member of the Indian Arts and Crafts Association (IACA), Albuquerque, NM; listed in the Source Directory of Indian Arts and Crafts Board, Washington, DC; a member of the Turtle Foundation USA, Bellingham, WA; a member of the Southwest Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA), Santa Fe, NM; a member of the Ziibiwing Center, Mt. Pleasant, MI; a member of the Intertribal Agriculture Council, Billings, MT; a member of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of New Mexico; a former board member of the Northside Arts Collective (NAC) in Minneapolis, MN; and former Chairman of the Minnesota American Indian Chamber of Commerce (MAICC).
The focus of Rachel Limón's work is on the beauty and intrigue of nature, either people, animals, plant or sea life. Rachel uses raku clay to express her inner creativity. She has explored a multitude of mediums such as photography, jewelry, watercolor and sumi-e painting as well. Many of her pieces are functional with the hope that nature and art can be enjoyed and cherished everyday. She is committed to community development through the arts.