Sunday, April 24, 2011

Archived Article from 2006/Leisure Life Newspaper

The article below was originally posted in 2006 in a local newspaper called Leisure Life. I dug it out of my archives to re-post for Easter.

Bunnies Don’t Wear Bonnets

Have you ever seen a rabbit wearing a cute flowered dress, donning a fancy hat or laying eggs? Well, I haven’t, yet Easter seems to have some strange connection to these cuddly and adorable creatures.

Easter has customs with very ancient and nearly universal origins, yet I was confused as to why rabbits are of any significance with this Holiday. My search into the history of why rabbits are thought to make great Easter gifts led me to computer web sites, the local library and a clergyman. One thought was that the hare signifies fertility, which leads to spring, another had something to do with the lunar aspect of the moon and yet another claims that artists used hares or rabbits in their Easter art work, stories and fables. Yet none of these sources gave me the answer to my question, why are rabbits given as Easter gifts?

It seems today, there is not much cultural awareness in regards to the origins of these once popular myths, so marketing has taken over where tradition once stood.

The domesticated house rabbit are usually purchased from a breeder or pet store, given as a harmless, soft, fun loving gift for a child to hold, carry and cuddle, much like a stuffed toy. What the new pet parent doesn’t know it that Thumper and Bugs are actually frightened bundles of nervous energy that can scratch and bite when restrained.

The average rabbit can live up to or over ten years. There are many varieties to choose from with sizes ranging from about three to fifteen pounds. They are very social creatures

and thrive on attention. They like to romp, play, dig, chew and don’t live on carrots alone. These prolific animals need a well balanced diet of pellets, fresh vegetables as well as certain vitamins and minerals.

It seems as if these impulse purchased pets are showered with attention for a few weeks then virtually forgotten about in an outdoor pen to live a life of solitary confinement with an occasional rub of the ears. There are also people who think that rabbits can survive like their ancestors, the wild hare, and cast these timid fur balls into the woods or parks, expecting them to fend for themselves, once their novelty has worn off. In the urban wild, life expectancy or these released pets can be very short. They cannot forage for food like their ancient relatives, and dogs, cats, cars and other hazards can cause a quick demise.

This is not to say that some bunny parents don’t love and adore their sensitive, intelligent, social companions, but they know the responsibility and commitment that it takes to care for their furry little friends.

So with Easter fast approaching and the children pleading for a cute floppy, lopped, long eared bunny, ask yourself this question, why are rabbits given as Easter gifts?


Monday, April 18, 2011

'The Bond' that should be there

Last night I attended a book signing, and not just any book signing. After all, it's not every day that the President and CEO of one of (if not the) largest international animal welfare organizations in all the world is in short driving distance to my home. So knowing that Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society of The United States would be in New Canaan CT on his “The Bond” book signing tour, I just had to go.

I wanted a seat close up and in perfect listening/viewing distance to one of my generations most prolific advocates for animals-all animals, and expecting a large crowd to be gathering for the book signing, I set out early for the New Canaan Library.

Once there and checked in, immediately to my left I was greeted by a table stacked 10 books high and about 10 books long. Anticipation of successful sales, I surmised.

The line had not yet formed, and before it did, I handed over cash-for the book I was eager to delve into.

After quickly assessing the layout of the room, I found a perch perfect seat stage left, a few rows back and immediately settled in to peruse my newly acquired copy of 'The Bond', while waiting for the throngs of animal advocates and Wayne, to arrive.

Now Wayne is a native of our Nutmeg State and I just assumed he would be sharing his time here with family and friends, while getting his book 'The Bond' into the hands of other animal advocates. It turns out, I was right.

In order to keep an eye on the goings on behind me I had to sit sidesaddle in my seat. Quickly the room filled up, and then, with no fan fair or pomp and circumstance, just quietly and graciously, the author himself arrived. Upon his entry, I watched, as well as became an at-will participant in the collective humane energy the room self-created within itself.

Making his way towards center stage while flanked by his devoted family, I thought how fortunate he was to have such caring and loving parents. No wonder he is who he is. I turned back around and awaited his introduction.

Now there is no need for me to repeat an hour long introduction and question and answer session for the book 'The Bond', but I am more than happy to share my experienced 'bond' with the entire evening event.

I, not being graced with the diplomacy that Wayne seems to have been born with would rather launch into a tirade of uncovering the complacency within our own animal cause.

'The Bond', as much as the average advocate believes is there, I believe is not! I repeat, I believe the bond is NOT there.

Yes, we love our companion dogs and cats, and think we love the feathered friends we keep locked in cages or the rabbits sequestered to outdoor hutches and call that a bond. But these 'said advocates' have left out and conveniently forgotten (figures from his speech) 10 billion factory farm animals that sadly grace the food tables every year, the 10 to 20 million animals used for toxicity testing for personal hygiene and cleaning products, and further more, and not to belabor my point, the throngs of animals we disconnect ourselves from because of our own apathy.

Do we REALLY get to pick and choose which animals we bond with and say to Hell with the others? Is that what we have allowed ourselves to be call a bond? Isn't this so-called bond something that is actually concealed in animal species apathy?

OK, let me back up. Forget my little rant, as those words above might be too much for the typical/average advocate to process and internalize as being inappropriate behavior, and I am certain to have already offended many readers, so let's just move on to my point.

If there truly is a bond, as I see the 400 pages of Wayne's book is pleading for the reader to have, then why, why do we separate dogs from chickens and cats from cows? How can we? What gives us the right to pick and choose which animal suffers for our conveniences and which animal sleeps on our bed at night?

How can a cause of animal advocates who are millions strong not see that the bond, albeit that self purposely exists, has yet to be honored towards all living and sentient beings?

I can not be indifferent to the suffering of animals, human and non-human, as I do have a voice and an opinion and a wish that we, amongst ourselves would honor the bond that for centuries has been in the making and display to the world our united front to further the cause for animals and an all encompassing bond to them.

I respect Mr Pacelle for who he is and has become, for his tireless work and incredible passion for ALL creatures and only wish that his unveiling of how systematically the bond has been broken and how much it needs to be repaired, can be.

Thank you Wayne for your diplomacy, your integrity, for writing this book and for being an advocate for The Bond.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Wow, it sure has been a long time, OK, OK.... a few years since we posted a blog. Guess it is time to write something and get it uploaded. Stay tuned. Something, not sure what it will be, but something will be posted soon.