Thursday, October 29, 2009

You know what really grinds my gears?

For my Public Relations class, we have to analyze the unethical business practices of a company. In my search for something current and relevant, I found an article on PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). It talks about how PETA spends more money on advertising and marketing than actually saving animal lives. They are faced with a dilemma, I suppose. How do they get the word out if they don't spend money on advertising? Okay. I get it.

However, according to the article, PETA has an annual budget of $32 million, and "has opted to 'put down' 21,339 adoptable dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens instead of finding homes for them." The hypocrisy is almost unbearable. Just down the road from PETA's head office is Virginia Beach's SPCA, which works on a far smaller "shoestring budget," and finds homes for almost all its animals with the help of dedicated staff members, donations, and volunteers.

One of the most shocking figures was that which states that PETA found homes for just 7 pets in all of 2008. It really makes you wonder what these "animal saviours" are doing with their budget. That doesn't even include the donations given to them by sponsors.

PETA has been the object of public scrutiny for quite some time. I, personally, never really understood it until I delved more deeply into their twisted world. They simply do not practice what they preach. No wonder they are in the unethical business lime light.

I am the last person to ever criticize a company for advocating for animal rights. I am an animal activist to the end, but doesn't this all seem a bit backwards? Doesn't it really grind YOUR gears?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Conceited Naked Apes

Back in University, I read a novel called "Wild Animals I Have Known" by Ernest Thompson Seton. The novel tells the story of eight different wild animals and their struggle to survive in the natural world. One of the main themes of the novel is the idea that animals have no soul, no intelligence and act simply on instincts.

I have often kept these ideas in the back of my mind, although I find it quite hard to come to terms with some of Seton's themes. One article, in particular, which I came across over the past several weeks was one in the 'Weekend Reader' of the Hamilton Spectator.

This article, on Australia's koala, discusses the decline in the animal's wild populations due to stress. STRESS! How can Seton argue that animals have no souls and no intelligence when they experience the same feelings we do? I think he was using this idea as more of a social critique because his novel does more to show how animals are just like us than to separate them from us.

After all, we are animals, right? Deep down, we are animals. Or, as Canadian animal rights and environmental activist Paul Watson would argue, "we're just a conceited naked ape, but in our minds we're some "divine legend" and we see ourselves as some sort of god, thinking we can decide what will live and what will die, what will be saved and what will be destroyed, but honestly, we're just a bunch of primates out of control." With that, I would agree.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Stephen Harper's Latest Antics

So...first he misses a UN meeting on world climate change to tour a Tim Hortons plant in Oakville. Now, he's singing Beatles songs with Yo Yo Ma. He's not the first party leader to pull something like this and he surely won't be the last. Maybe if he spent less time working on his singing and eating timbits, he'd have more time to talk about the global crisis our planet has been inevitably sinking into. After all, Canada's oil sands are one of the leading causes of greenhouse gases in the world. No amount of singing (despite my love for the Beatles and all good music, for that matter) will make me like this man. Perhaps his musical debut will spark a career change? One can only hope...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Why can't we get along if they can?

Watch this video!

Dog, Cat, and Rat

8 years?

So, I was reading this article tonight, about the "anti-terrorism" campaign in Afghanistan. US President Barack Obama is considering what new steps to take in the war which, as we all know, is worsening each day. What shocked me the most about the article was the line "the war has lasted longer than ever envisioned — eight years on Wednesday." I suppose I could have easily done the math myself, but I guess I never really thought about how long this "anti-terrorism" war has been going on for.

It's clear that something isn't working. Associated Press writer Ben Feller notes that at least 800 US soldiers have lost their lives in this war. That's not to mention countless Canadians and Afghani civilians. Although I understand that Obama has to make a very careful and calculated decision on what to do, I have to agree with Republican leader John Bohener when he says "we need to remember that every day that goes by, the troops that we do have there are in greater danger." Time is of the essence.

Ultimately, I still can't wrap my head around the concept of fighting terrorism with what can only be described as just that. The death toll from the events of September 11th are indeed astounding, reaching almost 3,000 deaths, but that certainly doesn't seem to justify the nearly 100, 000 killed in the so-called "war on terrorism."

The big question is, when is enough enough? How will killing 100,000 + people (our own soldiers, included) bring peace to the 3,000 victims of 9/11? It's the age-old problem of fighting fire with fire. The rest of the world knows it. According to Feller, "Public support for the war in Afghanistan is dropping. It stands at 40 percent, down from 44 percent in July, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll."

If we have already all figured it out, why haven't any changes taken place? We do, after all, live in a democratic society, or so we think. Maybe if we stop procrastinating, people will stop dying. Only time will tell...