Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Mother: Tireless Pioneer for Animal Rights

My mother worked hard for animals all of her 77 years of life, until she suddenly passed away this past March. Having founded the Coalition for Animal Protection in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1991, she served as its president until 2006, working tirelessly with CAP, accomplishing real social changes for animals. Throughout the last 17 years of her life, my mother worked with many other volunteers and rescued and fostered stray cats and dogs, cared for feral cat colonies through TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release), got mandatory spay and neuter laws passed in Omaha, helped low-income people pay pet veterinary bills, held low-cost spay/neuter and vaccination clinics, held free hay giveaways for dog houses every fall, educated the public about puppy mills and spay/neuter, helped lobby for prosecution in cruelty cases, and advocated for kindness to animals by holding demonstrations against circuses, rodeos and cruel animal experiments at Boystown Hospital, and by promoting veganism and spaying/neutering cats and dogs. CAP disbanded in 2006, but if you would care to make a donation to an animal rights group in her memory, please do it in honor and memory of the cats and dogs of Omaha, Nebraska, and consider donating to her favorite publication, the online animal rights newspaper ANIMAL PEOPLE.

Missy Girl: July 12, 1992 - June 5, 2008 RIP

Gengmiss Khan, Melissa Missy and the Jackbooted Missies, Missolini, Missy Girl, Saddam Missein, Slobodan Misslosevic, Slubers, T. Herman Missal, The Missy...

The Amazing Poultry Sisters

AKA Sophia and Sara Fezziwig Chicken (L to R). (I gave them the middle name of Fezziwig because they have what look like sideburns, reminiscent of the character Fezziwig in Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol.") Here they are in August, at about three and a half months, perching on our back porch railing, hoping for special treats before bedtime. Little blue eggs appear in their nest box every other day or so. (Sophie was the first to lay, back in early November.) What are vegans doing with chickens and eggs?! (You might be wondering.) Even though we don't believe that humans need to eat animal products to be healthy, we have eaten a few eggs from time to time from my (vegetarian) sister-in-law's rescued chickens. When we started getting involved in and learning more about sustainability and permaculture, keeping chickens for eggs became a question for us since eggs are one way of getting protein without wasting alot of resources to do it. We still aren't entirely comfortable with it. But most vegans were vegetarians first, and we do plan to sell some of the eggs. If folks are transitioning from veggie to vegan, or even if they never even go veggie, better that they eat eggs than "meat," and better that they get those eggs from chickens who are treated well in every way, and who will never be slaughtered, whether they are laying or not.

Now that it's winter, Sara and Sophia live in a wonderfully snug coop that Steve built for them, where they can go out into an enclosed space during the day, and peck at their head of cabbage, as well as other morsels (soy okara, rice, tomatoes, plums, any kind of greens, and tempeh are favorites). They can go back up into their loft bedroom any time they want, where they have a heater. The temperature is easily monitored indoors, and if it starts getting too cold out there, we heat up big cans of water (empty olive oil cans) in the oven for them.

Their personalities are so different---Sara is the leader, but Sophia is more outgoing. Where Sara holds back, Sophie rushes in enthusiastically. For months, they were wild for worms, and would rush to wherever Steve was digging in his gardening to look for them. By the time fall came, they were less interested in worms, though, maybe knowing their protein needs had changed? They're very happy girls, and love to be held and scritched around their neck feathers.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Happy Horses!

My (Marina's) stepfather Andy loves horses and is, for all intents and purposes, a horse whisperer. (He has two, Wendy and Kahn.) Here he is with Steve's sister, Donna, who has six horses, all rescues, like all her animals. Her newest, a two year-old filly named Brandy is in the second photo; she was kept in a stall literally all the time until six months ago, so she's small and still a bit undernourished. In the next photo, Andy's riding Dudley and Donna is on Mandy. (Are you detecting a strange theme in the names here? Donna claims it's accidental.)

All the horses at Donna's lead fabulous lives, sharing their field and barn with three llamas, three goats and two sheep, and if they get tired of each others' company, they can always trade whinnies over the fence with her friend Jackie's horses, who are right next door.

Saturday, February 23, 2008