Lucky Puppies, Monkeys, Mice and Others: Two Examples of Pro-Vivisection Propaganda Targeting Children

My boss, Zoe Weil, recently wrote two blog posts about examples of pro-vivisection propaganda targeted to kids. One example is new, the other old; both are abhorrent. The new example is her post about the The Lucky Puppy Coloring Workbook, which features two kids who learn about the wonders and importance of animal research when they take their sick dog (Lucky) to the vet. The vet explains how well the animals who are experimented on are treated. It’s a party for everyone involved! And, of course, at the end of the tale, one kid wants to be a vet, and the other a research scientist. (You can see another post about the Lucky Puppy from the Change.org Animal Rights Blog.)

Zoe’s other post focuses on an older piece of propaganda called “Let’s Visit a Research Lab.” This piece is an illustrated poster that shows what it’s like inside a “real” animal research facility. Zoe notes:

So what do little children learn from this free educational poster provided to their schools with our tax dollars? They learn:

  • That laboratories name their animal friends who enjoy their happy lab life, when in fact animals are numbered, called “subjects,” and are killed at the end of the experiments.
  • That “testing” is game playing, rather than being force fed drugs, cosmetics, household products and other chemicals.
  • That monkeys are spaciously housed together and provided with lots of toys and enrichment, when most are in small, isolated indoor cages, with little or nothing to play with.
  • That the only reason to “treat” an animal is because she or he has been hurt by other animals, rather than burned, shocked, cut open, or drugged by those who conduct research on them.

Obviously, I’m not a supporter of animal experimentation. But, unfortunately, the issue isn’t simple or clear-cut. What is clear, however, is that it’s important to be aware of propaganda like this and to make sure that such deceit and misinformation are kept out of the classroom (unless they’re being used for critical thinking activities to analyze propaganda). It’s also a great reminder that it’s essential that information promoting and supporting a humane world be completely truthful, accurate, credible, and designed to spark people to think for themselves…not to be brainwashed.

~ Marsha

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WebSpotlight: Oil Imports Map

Energy consumption and policy are on many minds, and while President Obama’s recent decision to allow states to determine auto emissions and fuel efficiency standards may eventually help decrease U.S. dependence in “foreign oil,” we still have an insatiable appetite for that fossil fuel.

Knowing about the history and patterns of our oil imports can help us shape our future choices. The Rocky Mountain Institute has created an Oil Imports Map, which shows “how much oil the U.S. has imported, from where, and how much we have spent every month since 1973.”

The map allows us to see from whom we’ve gotten our oil and how much we’ve spent, and it connects our imports to major events such as Hurricane Katrina and the oil crises of the 1970s. It also makes it possible to pay attention to the history of our foreign relationships and how that has affected oil imports.

It’s an interesting and useful tool that can help expand our knowledge and perspective of energy policy and of the impact of our own choices.

~ Marsha

h/t to Worldchanging.

Bill Moyers Interview with Michael Pollan on Food Policy

moyerspollanA couple weeks ago, Bill Moyers sat down for an interview with food policy journalist Michael Pollan, who is the author of books such as The Omnivore’s Dilemma (which I’m reading now) and In Defense of Food.

In the debate about who will be the next Secretary of Agriculture, some have advocated Pollan for the position. He has become outspoken about food issues and the need for a major transformation of America’s food system, and in October he published “Farmer in Chief,”  an open letter to the next president about food issues, in the New York Times.

In the interview, Pollan discusses the connection between industrial food production and the health crisis (rising rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, etc.), energy independence, global warming, and national security. His suggestions for how the Obama Administration should take action regarding food policy include:

  • Reducing and eliminating some food subsidies (especially for crops like corn and soy)
  • Transferring oversight of the School Lunch Program from the USDA to the Education or Health and Human Services Departments
  • Decentralizing our food supply
  • Encouraging locally grown food (he advocates a White House Chef and a Farmer who can provide locally-grown, organic food to the White House
  • Applying strategies such as farmers’ markets in urban areas
  • Building an alternative food economy.

Pollan also offers suggestions for actions citizens can take to make a positive difference in the food arena, including:

  • Thinking “of the dollars you spend on a food in a different way” – vote with your fork for food systems and strategies that are sustainable and restorative
  • Voting with your vote and voice for food systems and strategies that are restorative
  • Cooking from scratch more often
  • Starting your own garden

It’s an interesting interview. Be sure to check it out.

100s of Words of Wisdom for the First 100 Days of Our Next President

wordswisdomTomorrow we’ll most likely know who will be the next President of the United States. Of course, almost everyone has his/her preferred candidate, but regardless of who wins, if our country (and the world) is going to become a healthy, sustainable, peaceful one, there are going to have to be some major changes. In the last couple weeks, notables in their fields have been giving advice and sharing expectations for the next president. Michael Pollan published his famous “Farmer in Chief” letter in the New York Times about the importance of redesigning our food policy. And now, the folks at Worldchanging have gathered the words of wisdom from “the smartest, most interesting people” they know to answer the following:

In 100 words or less, what should the next president do in his first 100 days to address the planet’s most pressing problems?

There are responses from 48 leaders in their fields. Here are a few of my favorites:

From Ted Wolf of Focus the Nation:

“The forty-fourth President of the United States should devote two weeks of the First 100 Days to a round-the-world journey with a stop on every continent. At each stop, he should gather leaders of culture, faith, and civil society at a World Heritage Site and listen to their counsel. He should then convene regional heads of state at a place showcasing sustainability innovation and explain America’s stake in their success. Once home, the President should frame his agenda around efforts to move country and planet beyond carbon, warfare, and absolute poverty. Barnstorming a world without borders, the President can begin America’s journey toward a bright green future.”

From Kenny Ausubel of Bioneers:

The President can:
Engage the country to re-imagine how to live on Earth in ways that honor the web of life, each other and future generations.
Declare a new social contract of interdependence: Taking care of nature means taking care of people, and taking care of people means taking care of nature.
Transform the global economy from a vicious cycle to a virtuous cycle, using a Green Deal to boot up the restoration economy.
Adopt the Presidential Climate Action Plan (PCAP).
Devolve power and money to the cities and states.
Hold a Constitutional Convention to institute the legally enforceable rights of nature and ecosystems.

From Paul Hawken:

Policy:

1. Establish long term goals for the nation with respect to:

Education
Poverty
Healthcare
Energy
Agriculture
Science and Research
Oceans
Forests

2. Create a Department of Peace.
3. Clean house at the EPA and Department of the Interior.
4. Split off USDA from Department of the Interior as a separate cabinet post and call it Department of Food and Agriculture.
5. Set a ten-year goal for 90% reduction in fossil fuels.

Legislation:

1. Eliminate all subsidies and tax breaks for carbon based fuels.
2. Create $4 trillion of new Energy Bonds wherein we loan money to ourselves to build out a smart grid and move to 100% renewable energy.

My 100 words would be something like:

“Listen. Be a model of compassion, integrity, intelligence, accountability and insight. Promote kindness and tolerance. Find common ground with other nations and establish “third side” thinking about conflicts. Institute measures that protect our natural resources and all beings of the natural world and encourage other countries to do the same. Institute humane education in all settings, especially in every school in the country. Reward policy and systemic choices that help create a humane, just, sustainable, peaceful world. Empower individuals and communities to institute positive change. Encourage bioregional economies. Bring together stakeholders from conflicting “sides” of important issues and charge them with developing creative, positive solutions that benefit all.”

What would your words of wisdom for our next president be?

~ Marsha

Image courtesy of Emborg.