Tuesday, November 25, 2014

To Be a Canada Goose for One Day!


Ah, the places, mysteries and adventures these eyes have seen on land, sea and sky.
Intent and purpose, the geese slowly gather before take-off.
And off they soar to distant, far-off places that we can only imagine.
Glorious sights and sounds at the Central Park Reservoir early this morning. Lots of new migratory geese, some of whom took flight while I was there.
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It's funny how Canada geese can appear so lazy and "loafing" on the water and then just take off in this wild and exhuberant burst of force, power and energy.
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I noticed one particular small gaggle take off and unlike the other flocks, head directly south. (Usually the geese fly to the east towards Queens where buildings are lower.)
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But, before doing so, this one skein flew several circles around the Reservoir, each time, gaining greater and greater height.
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By the time they finally left Central Park, they were way high up toward the clouds and still climbing. High enough to clear helicopters, skyscapers and even the Freedom Tower towards the south of Manhattan.
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The six geese literally soared and disappeared high into the clouds like they were heading towards outer space.  It was truly an amazing sight (though too high and too far away for me to photograph).
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In noting the dizzying, oxygen-thin heights geese can actually attain when embarking on long distance flight, one is unfortunately reminded of the hideously cruel method typically employed by USDA "Wildlife Services" when rounding up and killing so-called, "nuisance" Canada geese around the country during the summer -- Gassing.
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As geese can obviously survive on far less oxygen than humans and mammals, killing them by oxygen deprivation and carbon dioxide is a lengthy and brutal process in which, (according to eyewitness testimonies) the terrified geese can be heard desperately  "thumping against" the steel cylinders that lock in and ensure their deaths.  According to one source, the geese "burn from the inside out."
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USDA refers to this as "humane euthanasia" which serves as pacifier for the public and politicians.
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But, make no mistake. There is nothing "humane" nor "merciful" about cramming large, healthy birds into small steel cylinders that suck out oxygen, eventually crushing their vital organs. --Especially birds who demonstrate every fall and spring their incredible abilities to withstand oxygen-thin air and literally fly thousands of miles through all kinds of turbulent weather, including wind and hail storms.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WVXYsfrp1M

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q40h8dPmgwQ
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This morning, as I reveled in the sheer beauty, mystery and power of the geese, I was reminded once again of their unique abilities to navigate and conquer (under their own intellectual and body strength), the main elements of earth from land and water to the highest skies. How many other living beings can do that?
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Sometimes when walking beside the geese and watching them eventually take off for the wondrous and forever challenging skies, there is a part of me that just for one day, wants to transform myself into a Canada goose and join them.
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What kind of adventure and blog entry would that be?  -- PCA
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Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Bikes, Horses and Geese of Central Park



Against the background of the Upper West Side in Manhattan, the geese gather themselves just before takeoff at the Jackie Onassis Reservoir in Central Park early this morning.
And they're off!
Disappearing over the eastern sky, presumably to avoid midtown Manhattan high rises to the south of Central Park.
The speed for cars and bicycles has just been lowered in Central Park from 25 to 20 MPH.
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This comes on the heels of still another high profile bike accident in Central Park over this past weekend. In this case, rock singer, Bono of U2 suffered multiple fractures after colliding with another cyclist in the park.
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Such accidents come as no surprise to regular park goers who have noted for some years, a situation seemingly out of all reasonable control. As posted on the Central Park Facebook page, it is more dangerous on the roads of Central Park (due to speeding bikes and seemingly endless marathons) than Times Square. Its past time officials finally took some action.
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Other good news regarding Central Park is that a new Quinnipiac Poll indicates (again) that New Yorkers favor keeping the carriage horses in Central Park by a better than 2 to 1 margin. (63% to 27%):
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While some reading this blog might not consider the latter to be "good news," when judged against the realities of the times for American horses (including champion racers), it is far preferable for horses to safely clip clop through Central Park than to be journey-bound for slaughter in foreign countries as this riveting NBC4 News Report reveals:
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Some might ask, "What happens to NYC carriage horses when too old or frail to pull a carriage? Don't they go to auction too?"
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Blue Star Equiculture serves as the designated retirement sanctuary for many retired NYC carriage horses https://www.facebook.com/equiculture.  Others are apparently retired to private farms of individual horse owners/drivers. Still others might be given to trusted friends or acquaintances.  
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But, according to anti-carriage advocates, one NYC carriage horse was discovered and verified a few years ago at the New Holland auction and had to be rescued.  This is unacceptable for any horse who has worked and given so much for the pleasure of New Yorkers and tourists over the years.
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While it may be unusual for a NYC carriage horse to "slip through the cracks" and wind up at auction and in danger of slaughter, it is not in my view, acceptable for any gentle and hard working NYC carriage horse. This is why I personally support the suggestion by Dr. Janine Jacques, Founder of The Equine Rescue Network that all NYC carriage horses be microchipped -- to help ensure that no carriage horse winds up as victim of unfortunate, negligent and/or unforseen circumstance. NYC Carriage Horses.
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While like Dr. Jacques, I fully support the New York City carriage horses, that is not to say there is no room for improvements -- as in anything else.
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Finally, one thing that needs no improvements are our beautiful Canada geese still migrating through city parks even at this late time of the season.
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This morning, I was blessed to observe 14 geese gather themselves just as the sun rose over the Jackie Onassis Reservoir in Central park just prior to take-off.
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They organized themselves into two separate gaggles, with first, one taking off over the trees and a few minutes afterwards, the second flock. They followed the exact same route out of the park and into the skies, as planes taking off from a runway.
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Such outstanding beauty one can never tire of seeing.
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God's speed and peace to each and every one of them.  -- PCA
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

"All Wings on Deck!" -- Winter Descends!


Some of more than 100 migratory geese who arrived last week at Jackie Onassis Reservoir just prior to weather tanking. They were gone by sunset.
Princess and Warrior enjoying peaceful Sunday without attack.
Warrior on the lookout just in case. But, he need not fear now.
Part of The Family posing for photographer's photos.
Two new geese receiving unusual welcome from family. But, like politics, winter makes strange bedfellows.
Man and Lady calculating options and changing tactics with the oncoming of winter.
Ah, you knew it had to come -- just not quite so soon.
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I am talking about winter, of course.
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But, I am not talking of forecasts or "polar vortex."
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I am talking about the geese.
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Because better than any meteorologist or Doppler Radar, nothing better predicts the weather about to tank than both, the migratory and resident Canada geese.
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At least 100 migratory geese flew into the Jackie Onassis Reservoir in Central Park last week -- exactly one day prior to the temperatures dropping more than 20 degrees.  The geese of course did not stay more than an hour or two. They were long gone before the sun set.
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Then there are our few "resident" geese at the Boat Lake in Central Park.
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For the past several months, the family of four geese, Man, Lady and their two ("brat") goslings hatched this past July, have claimed top billing at the lake, chasing out any and all other geese who dared to cross their path. 
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One pair of geese have however, stubbornly hung in at the Boat lake. But Warrior and Princess are on constant lookout for "The Family" and know well to get out of their way once all four take to the sky for the soul purpose of harassment.
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When saying, "soul purpose of harassment," such is very different from geese flying for purposes of transportation (the famous "V-formation"). Rather, when flying to harass, the geese (in this case, The Family) fly in a straight, horizontal line (presumably, to appear larger than they actually are) and honk very loudly and aggressively, sounding more like a dozen geese than just four. Such sight and sound is enough to intimidate virtually all geese -- including the fairly gutsy, Warrior and Princess. When the family comes a -charging, they go a-flying.
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But, something very unusual was observed this past Sunday.
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The family of four had suddenly become six!
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At first, I could not believe my eyes! 
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Had six new geese suddenly arrived to the Boat Lake? I wondered. Perhaps the new geese were migratory?
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But when noting the geese were in a very public area -- and brazenly walking up to people on a pedestrian path and posing for photos -- it became very clear very fast, that this was indeed, The Family up to their usual Sunday afternoon "tricks."  (Yes, they actually put on shows for people!)
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But, who were the other two?
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I knew from just having visited with Warrior and Princess on the other side of the lake, the new geese were not them.
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But, who were they and why were Man and Lady so casually appearing to accept them tagging along with them and the kids?
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Had Man and Lady suddenly decided to become charitable, welcoming and willing to share the wealth?
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Well, yes and no.
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For sure, Man and Lady are fast changing their tactics.  But, it is not so much out of "kindness" of their hearts, as much as awareness that weather and conditions are about to radically go south.
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As temperatures drop, open water begins to freeze and ice over. When that occurs, it is "all wings on deck" to huddle up together for warmth and vigorously take turns swimming in order to maintain any open water at all.
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And it is not just geese suddenly welcoming and befriending otherwise adversaries, but ducks as well. In fact, geese and ducks will typically huddle and work together in winter to try and create and maintain open water. (Geese, being larger and heavier than ducks can break up thin sheets of ice. Ducks being smaller and faster than geese, can help maintain the newly created open water by swimming quick, small circles within.)
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I have personally seen this scenario many times in recent years.
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Perhaps the best example was "Brad and Angelina" (domestic Rouen ducks) who suddenly befriended "Joey" a lone and flightless, Pekin duck, who Brad had literally tortured throughout the entire summer and most of the fall.  In November of 2010, Brad suddenly did an about face, and welcomed Joey into his otherwise anemic flock of two (flightless ducks).  
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And it was a good thing Brad did that.
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Because, it was not more than a month later that a blizzard hit NYC at Christmas and all the "fair weather mallards" deserted Harlem Meer.  Brad, Angelina and Joey were all alone on an entirely frozen lake with only a bathtub-sized pool of open water to swim, literally 24/7.
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It was a tireless struggle for the three domestic ducks who could not fly and escape anywhere.
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Fortunately, for them, a few days later, when temperatures warmed a bit, some of the mallards returned to help them.  But, it was a very tough winter for all the ducks.  One could almost feel their excitement, the few times some geese dropped by to help break up the ice on water and snow on the ground.
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And so yes, water birds have to form calculated alliances just prior to winter's descent as such is to help ensure survival. The motto quickly becomes, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." -- ("Enemy" in this case, being winter.)
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While I was initially surprised this past Sunday that The Family did not fly in their familiar "horizontal line" to attack and harass Warrior and Princess when I was visiting with them, it all makes sense now.
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Just as their sudden "welcoming and befriending" of two foreign geese makes sense now.
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You see, the "polar votex" is about to hit NYC and for the next two days, we will be well below freezing.
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But, Man and Lady obviously knew that three days ago.  
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"Welcome our friends, to this glorious Boat lake in Central Park!  What's ours is yours!"
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Yeah, right. 
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Over the next few days and weeks that is going to become, "OK, guys, get your asses in gear. We gotta work to keep this damn lake from becoming one solid block of ice! SWIM! SWIM, SWIM! No rest for the weary!"
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And yes, I suspect Man and lady will be welcoming Warrior and Princess into the fold any day now (if they haven't done so already). 
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They already extended the olive branch this past Sunday by not attacking.
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Winter is about to make its first -- but certainly not last -- appearance and the geese and ducks well know that.  
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It is now, All Wings On Deck!  -- PCA
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Sunday, November 16, 2014

"Animal Rights" and Wrongs


 
"Jill" -- Formerly feral cat. According to PETA, all feral cats are "better off dead" than living a life of uncertainty and "suffering."
Speaking of Animal Rights -- or perhaps more accurately, animal wrongs in this case.
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Disturbing news about People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) as reported in The Huffington Post and other media outlets this past week:
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Perhaps all the facts of this incident are not yet fully known. What is known however, is that PETA is shown on video stealing a dog and apparently admits to both, taking and "euthanizing" the tiny Chihuahua named, Maya, who was reportedly, a loved pet.
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While the fact PETA was so easily able to seize the dog suggests some carelessness and lack of attentiveness on the owners' part, unless PETA can prove that the little dog was suffering terminal and untreatable illness or injury and thus had to be "euthanized for humane reasons," (e.g. mercy killing) then it seems they should be charged with both, theft of property and animal cruelty and abuse.
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Virtually all states have a mandatory "holding period" for strays and seized animals (in order for a possible owner to claim) which can be as little as 48 hours or as long as many months (usually court cases involving animal cruelty or neglect). Its not clear little Maya was held at all. Rather, PETA was evidently, judge, jury and executioner -- and very hasty ones at that.
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Even assuming PETA has Animal Control powers, seizure of owned animals requires proof of neglect or cruelty before seizure. If claiming the Chihuahua to be "stray, the mandatory holding period is required by law (with exception of suffering and dying animals).
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Something is highly suspect in this particular incident. But, like many other things with PETA, it is likely to be swept under the rug by law enforcement and ignored by most in the Animal Rights movement.
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PETA does operate what seems to be an Animal Control shelter in Virginia, where according to this 2013, New York Times article, it "euthanizes" more than 90% of its animals.
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PETA has also and long taken a very aggressive stance against TNR (trap, neuter and release) of feral cats as they feel the cats are "better off dead" than to live a life of uncertainty and what they deem, "suffering."
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But, as a leading organization for so-called, "Animal Rights," how is such philosophy consistent or compatible with that which otherwise recognizes and promotes social and legal "rights" for animals? 
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Shouldn't the primary right of any living being be the right to continue living? It seems little else matters if that initial and most basic right is not recognized and promoted.
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Moreover, if the life of a feral cat (or other stray) is fraught with uncertainty and suffering, then should not this be true for all animals living in the wild? Should not all animals in the wild be "euthanized," as their lives and deaths are usually stressful and in the end, painful?
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Ironically, PETA puts forth many of the same arguments for "euthanizing" animals as hunters put forth for killing animals in the wild.  "They will starve or die a horrible death if we don't kill them first -- We are doing them a favor."
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But, PETA is staunchly "anti-hunting."
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Is PETA thus saying that only they should determine which animals live and which animals die and that only they should do the so-called, "mercy killing?"  (e.g. "Do as we say, not as we do.")
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Even if one believes that all feral cats (and wild animals) are doomed to a life of suffering and grisly death, does that mean the animals want to die today? How many humans would choose a "humane death" today over a likely painful death years from now? (One guesses even PETA members or hunters wouldn't choose so.)
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Although PETA has done much good for animals and has been instrumental in making "Animal Rights" a household phrase, the fact is, PETA in its present form, represents a huge problem for the philosophy, underpinnings and movement of Animal Rights in general.
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If the basic philosophy of a movement is based solely on "suffering" (as opposed to right to life) and the victims (in this case) are unable to articulate when they are unhappy or actually suffering, then does this not make the entire movement subjective and open to interpretation and endless debate?
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A good example of this is the carriage horse controversy in New York City. (It should be mentioned that on this issue, PETA is a major supporter of NYCLASS, the group spearheading the drive to ban carriage horses in NYC.)
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As related in media and this blog, some people look at horses pulling a carriage through Central Park and see "suffering, cruelty and abuse."  Others (like me) see horses who are very proficient and seemingly at ease in their work and who enjoy engaging with people.
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PETA apparently looks at a stray cat (or horse pulling a carriage) and sees "suffering" that is only remedied by death. And yet most campaigning to rid NYC of it carriage horses supposedly seek for the horses to "run wild and free" in the country. (Isn't that inconsistent with PETA's philosophy on free roaming cats?)
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So, which is actually worse for animals?  Being "free" like a feral cat and according to PETA, "better off dead?"   Or, being "owned" by humans and in the case of the horses, working? (According to some in Animal Rights, the carriage horses would also be "better off dead.")
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Maybe it is all simply bad for animals, according to PETA and other radical versions of Animal Rights and all animals should be "euthanized?"
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The fact is, that suffering in this world is unavoidable for both, animals and humans.
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If our "solution" thus, for all suffering in the world is "humane death" then should we not euthanize all the suffering humans as well as animals in the world? That would include all humans suffering illness, depression, loss of job, loss of home or even loss of romantic partner. ("Life is painful and stressful. Please, PETA, give me the gift of death!")
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I am not an expert in what animals actually think and feel most of the time. (Let's face it. No one is.)  But, I am guessing that like humans, most animals have days of comparative pleasure, ease and even joy.  They have other days that are challenging, stressful, unstimulating or even painful.
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But, I would bet my bottom dollar that virtually all animals value and valiantly strive to hold on to their lives (even when having not so pleasant days). With the exception of those animals and humans at the very end of their lives from age, terminal illness or injury, the primary drive in all living beings is to continue living.
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That PETA and others in so-called, "Animal Rights" are able to dismiss this basic reality for the simple reason we (humans) are able to adeptly hide impending death from animal victims and deliver it with some manner of expertise, is not only unconscionable, but an outright betrayal to all things, Animal Rights as the most basic right (to life) is denied those we purport to speak for.
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Although the mitigation and elimination of cruelty, suffering and abuse are all vital parts of the struggle for animal justice and rights, at its base, core and underpinnings are the animals' basic rights to their lives.
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It will require many more decades or even centuries before we truly and fully grasp the gamut of animal emotions, sentience, their capacities for both, suffering and pleasure and thus, our social and legal obligations towards them.  
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But, one absolute that doesn't require debate or subjective thought is the difference between life and death.
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It is said that, "Where there is life, there is hope."
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As long as animals continue to live with us, there is always hope to improve both, their lives and our own.
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It is those who say, animals "are better off dead" than to either live precarious lives in the wild or as "subjugated, domesticated slaves of humans" who have seemingly given up all hope that this can ever be a better or more just and humane world.
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That is a problem and attitude for psychologists to ponder. 
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But, certainly not a base for any movement of social justice.
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"Animal Rights" translates to animal wrongs when the basic and primary right to life can so easily and unjustly be dismissed and denied.   -- PCA
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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Animal Rights, Animal Welfare or Animal Justice?



A carriage driver in NYC with his horse.
One thing occurring to me over the past couple of days is the misfortune of the controversial carriage horse issue in New York City, pitting animal lover against animal lover; animal rights advocate against animal welfare advocate.
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The conflict places me in a weird position personally, as I have always considered myself to be more animal "rights" than welfare per se. But, now I am not so sure.  The welfare of humans, children and animals is important.  But, so are intrinsic rights.  Why should there be disparity between the two?
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I'm not sure I recognize much in the Animal Rights movement anymore. -- Or, what it has seemed to morphed into.
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A movement not so much based upon protecting and the saving of animal lives, but in some ways, one that is simply opposed to any human "use" of animals.
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But, as previously touched upon, is all "use" inherently bad?  Humans use each other positively in work relationships, friendships and even marital partnerships. Animals use each other in flocks, herds and packs.  Animals of different species even use each other cooperatively for mutual benefit and in some cases, survival that is separate from mere predator/prey relationships.
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Technically, the relationship we have with companion pets can also be described as "use" as both, humans and animals benefit. The human benefits from the companionship, pleasure and unjudgmental affection a pet provides. And the animal benefits from being provided with safety, shelter, food, love and medical care. Such are reciprocal relationships. Or, to say it another way: "One hand washes the other and both hands wash the face."
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I look at the carriage horses of Central Park and I see what mostly appears as a reciprocal relationship. The horses provide a pleasant service to humans (carriage rides through the park). In exchange for their work and services, the horses are provided with food, shelter, safety from predation, vet care, affection, stimulation and even love. These are not a "paycheck" per se. (What would an animal do with a paycheck?)  But, they are some of the things that a paycheck for a human would typically purchase and provide.
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Why is that "abuse?" (If it is, then are not all human work associations "abuse?")  If some answer that carriage horses "don't have a choice" well, neither do companion pets. Their human caregivers control their lives and make most important decisions for them.
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The use of horses for carriage rides (unlike many other uses of animals) doesn't involve infliction of pain, force (such as whippings), deprivation or an end goal of "product" and killing (such as for meat or animal skins).
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While the term, "abuse" is derived from "use" and use can certainly descend into abuse, the two words are very different with one being primarily constructive and one being destructive. (I however believe most meat, fish and dairy production to be abusive as animals are not only killed, but most often tortured and deprived before early death. I believe meat and most fish and dairy consumption contributes to and supports animal suffering and abuse as well as it contributes to degradation of the planet.)
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I obviously have a problem with some Animal Rights philosophy opposing all "use" of animals on its face.
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Such philosophy dismisses entirely, situations of animal/human bonding and connection and animals actually making free choice to engage with humans.
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The video below of a wild sea lion chasing a speed boat and jumping in to partake of a fish is just one example out of millions of this "animal/human connection/use" and self chosen engagement:
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But, what about the carriage horses?  Would they choose to pull carriages filled with people through a park, if asked?
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It is doubtful how many humans would "choose" waiting tables over vacationing in the Bahamas if given any desire they wish. But, most people have to work a job to keep a roof over their heads. (And most people derive needed sense of purpose and accomplishment from work.)
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It seems most domestic horses do, too.
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Moreover, I am not convinced that most horses (like most humans) would want to spend their days just idling around doing nothing.
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Purpose and duty are important to virtually all animals, including horses and humans. (Certainly purpose, duty and role are important to the geese and ducks observed over the past few years. -- They live for those.)
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As far as jobs for horses, pulling a carriage through Central Park might be considered one of the easier and less risky jobs.  And there are "fringe benefits" such as lots of attention from humans (which the horses seem to enjoy) and regular treats.  
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But, perhaps the greatest reason for my personal support of the carriage horses in NYC is the general awareness of the safety net that the jobs provide for horses who are otherwise displaced or up for sale. The overbreeding of horses in this country leaves too many, too often without any homes and vulnerable to "killer buyers."
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Put simply, I do not support anything that ultimately results in more animals dying or being sent to slaughter (and a ban on NYC carriage horses would eventually result in just that). I believe that primary among "rights" for animals dependent upon humans is the right to continue living as all animals jealousy guard and value their lives above all else -- just as humans do. It is human duty and responsibility therefore, to properly care for those animals we have created and made dependent upon us -- even if that means humanely working with them for the benefit of both, human and animal.
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So, is such Animal Rights or Animal Welfare position?
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Frankly, I like to think of it as an Animal Justice position.
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All things considered, I think its what the animals would ultimately choose for themselves -- something that incorporates the best from both, Animal Rights and Animal Welfare. -- PCA
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Saturday, November 8, 2014

"All That is Nice to Soon Be No More"



Central Park carriage horse. Nice, but he won't win you a trophy.
Canada goose, Boat Lake in Central Park. Nice, but considered, "nuisance."
Banner in Central Park.
Another CP banner.
Central Park, apparently one big, treadmill.

Below is a news video from Indiana showing ("Get the Flock Out") Geese Police in action to get rid of "fowl visitors."  (Geese Police has also been operating in Central Park, New York City over the past several years.)
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Toward the end of the video, we are told, "They're so good, they are putting themselves out of work!"
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But, of course, it isn't really Geese Police "putting themselves out of work."  They are merely a disbursement tool.
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Rather, it is the wildlife policies of cities, states and communities that will eventually make Geese Police a tool of the past. -- Policies of expanded hunting and wildlife "culls."  
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In New York for example, hundreds of thousands of geese have been shot by hunters over the past several years and more than five thousand NYC geese rounded up and slaughtered by USDA "Wildlife Services."
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Thus, Geese Police in Central Park has very little actual "work" to do anymore. Though Geese Police still patrols CP everyday, even they don't bring out the dogs to harass the family of four geese at the Boat Lake or the couple of geese who might wander into Harlem Meer on occasion.
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It is in fact, surprising that Geese Police is still employed in Central Park considering the severely anemic number of resident geese there. Apparently, they are engaged in Central Park now to ensure that the migratory geese don't get chance to rest on any of the park's lakes or ponds. This is truly a sad reflection on our city's (and Central Park's specifically) intolerance for any wildlife -- even that simply passing through during migration seasons and seeking brief rest.
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(On the latter note, it is interesting to observe that virtually all migratory geese passing through Central Park over the past few years, stop to rest at the Jackie Onassis Reservoir -- the one watercourse, they are not harassed because of lack of access. This is seeming testimony to the intelligence and memory of Canada geese to learn and adapt quickly. Very few migratory geese actually stop at the other CP watercourses anymore. -- Perhaps something Geese Police should be worried about as there truly is no "need" for them anymore. -- Add Geese Police to upcoming unemployment lines)
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In yesterday's blog entry, I mentioned mute swans who used to live in Central Park, but exist no more there.
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The last swan, "Hector" was in fact, harassed out of Central Park a year ago, last April. Its not clear if it was all the fishing occurring at Harlem Meer at the time or Geese Police that ultimately forced Hector out after he had spent the entire winter at the Meer. Likely, it was a combination of both.
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But, the bottom line is that Hector has never been seen since.
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All that was nice and is no more.
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Also mentioned in yesterday's blog entry is the fact that a bill was passed by the state legislation to protect mute swans (for two years) from the state's intent to "eradicate" all of them by 2025. But, the bill has failed to be signed into law by Governor Cuomo.
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Sadly, in NYC, most of the focus on animal issues has been directed towards the non-issue of carriage horses. (Apparently, geese, swans and other wildlife can go to hell -- which is exactly what's happening. Our city shelter system is also a mess, but apparently dying dogs and cats don't matter either.)
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One suspects that the main reason carriage horses have been so fiercely targeted in NYC is because the horses are highly visible and easily accessible for endless "protests" (unlike most situations of actual animal abuse). The carriage industry is comparatively small and horse drivers and owners are not heavily financed or politically connected. (e.g "soft target")  Moreover, one could argue (or rather whine and complain) that a horse carriage ride through Central Park is "not necessity."
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Rather, a horse carriage ride through Central Park is simply nice. 
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Just like seeing swans, geese and other wildlife in Central Park is simply nice -- but also not necessity.
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And perhaps in the end, that is what all these conflicts eventually boil down to: 
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When is it appropriate to throw out all that is nice in favor of that which is convenient, sterile, inanimate, trophy driven or manufactured (can one say, "E-cars")?
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In recent weeks, banners have been hung all around Central Park celebrating "your moment" as represented by marathon runs, bicycling and other forms of exercise.  -- As if the park was nothing more than one big, outdoor gym. (This is a bit ironic considering two people killed by speeding cyclists in CP over the past few months and dozens of others injured.)
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But, there are no banners celebrating the "unnecessary" geese, swans or carriage horses.
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They apparently have nothing to offer but niceness.
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Yesterday, I talked with my friend, Liliana who is as much an "animal nut" as I. Liliana loves all animals and is disheartened seeing so much of the wildlife disappear or be harassed and/or eggs destroyed at Central Park.  She is also distressed about the campaign to "rid" Central Park of its beautiful carriage horses.
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"Are we going to pet or give carrots to an ugly car?" she asked.
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Good question.
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I suggested to Liliana that if she wants to engage with or enjoy very alive carriage horses, she had better do it soon.
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 "Because, just like the swans and geese, all that is simply nice is soon to be no more." -- PCA
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