Monday, July 19, 2010

Fight Grindadrap

In an effort to help end the annual slaughter of the pilot whales in the Faroe Islands of Denmark, I have contacted the International Foundation for Animal Welfare ( This organization, in their campaign to assist whales all over the world, has been putting most of their funds toward eradicating Japanese whaling. They, too, oppose the cruel slaughter of the Faroese pilot whales and recommend that, instead of signing a petion, a concerned person can send an email or letter to the Danish Ambassador in his or her country about this annual, brutal slaughter.
If you want to address the Faroese authorities regarding pilot whaling, the e-mail address of the Foreign Department of the Faroese Government is; The e-mail address of the Faroese department of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs is
Please take the time to write these people and defend these helpless creatures. Tell the Faroese government to end this cruel, time-worn tradition once and for all.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Uncivilized Behavior in a "Civilized" World: Grindadrap

The human species can hardly call itself civilized after some members have been caught in the act of mercilessly slaughtering Calderon whales in the Faroe Islands, a province of Denmark. This stupid, barbaric tradition claims to be a necessary event staged by the Faroese people for the purpose of supplying food. Hardly do the Faroese, who have one of the highest standards of living in the European world, need to kill hundreds and hundreds of these whales for the purpose of machissmo display for the women and putting food on the table, especially when scientists have already warned them that the whale blubber is loaded with PCB's, mercury, and other environmental toxins. In fact, after the slaughter, most of the whales rot on the beach because so many are killed and not used at all for food. It's a disgusting site.
The photos of this unholy massacre will just make you sick--if you dare to look. The social, intelligent animals are herded into a shallow bay and are gaffed, their spinal columns slit, and let to bleed out. Pictures of this show the entire bay red with blood. Recently the Faorese have developed a new weapon for this battle against these innocent creatures: they put a hook down into the airsac through the whale's blowhole--all in order to hold down the creature as men knife the spine and main arteries.
This is a tradition originating from hundreds of years ago when the islanders actually needed the animal meat to survive. That is not the case today. And if these whales' bodies were really needed to provide subsistence, the barbaric method of execution far exceeds what is necessary to cause the animals' deaths.
I, along with civilized persons and conservationists national and international, are appalled by the photos of the slaughter. My suggestion is that when this event is imminent, people from around the globe get in their boats, yachts, sailing ships, canoes, rafts and dugouts, gather at the scene in the Faroe Islands, and defend these poor animals. And in defending these creatures, we will also be defending the human race and the possibility that we can, indeed, be humane, compassionate beings.
Dear Goddess--what have we become.

"Cancer Can't Keep a Good Dog Down" Calendar

Luke Robinson has only begun his fight against canine and other pet cancers. During his memorial trek from Austin to Boston, which I wrote about in a previous blog, Luke walked every mile wearing a memorial T-shirt bearing the names of dogs who had passed from this awful disease. No dog was forgotten; each dog who had died "walked" on those T-shirts too with Luke and Hudson and Murphy. What a wonderful tribute to these good pets.
Now that the walk is over, the aggressive work against pet cancer begins. In addition, all should know that this also benefits all pets and humans with cancer because comparative studies are being done as well.
If you have a dog with cancer, please get involved in the research I mentioned in my previous blog. For no cost, anyone can donate a sample of his or her dog's DNA to the Canine Hereditary Cancer Consortium. Luke's team is looking for at least 2,000 samples to be studied with the latest current medical and veterinary technology to develop genetic screens, diagnostic tests, and treatments for hereditary canine cancers. If a person would like to be involved with this important study, please see instructions for taking and submitting the DNA at
The next project Luke is undertaking is the third annual "Cancer Can't Keep a Good Dog Down" calendar. Those interested in having their dog's picture and story on the calendar can enter the on-line contest as follows: send to a digital picture of a minimum 500kb resolution in a .jpg or.gif format. Then, write a 1000 character, not words, paragraph about the dog. Include the name of the dog, the human companion's name, and email address.
All entrants' pictures and stories will be posted on-line at the 2dogs2000miles website. Everyone will be able to see and read about each dog. Then, after the deadline for submissions is over, voting begins. Each vote costs a $1.00. The voting lasts for several weeks after which the money is given to three veterinary oncology programs and to Luke's newest organization, 2 Million Dogs.
So, everyone whose has had a dog die of cancer, can memorialize him or her through this contest and, depending on the votes, on the calendar for 2011.
And, anyone with a dog that currently has cancer can get involved with oncological research by providing a DNA sample.
For the contest: Submissions end July 31, 2010.
For the DNA instructions:
For any questions :
I'd like to personally thank all my readers for participating in these two very worthwhile events. Thanks a lot. We've got to go after cancer, fight it, and beat it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Those of us in the Mid-Atlantic states who have been suffering the recent drought have awakened, refreshed and positive, this morning.
It is raining.
I took a morning walk this morning in the light, but steady, drops, and though this picture really doesn't show the little puddles on our path, those pools, so familiar in spring and late fall, were like renewed acquaintances, like friends I hadn't appreciated enough in former times.
During the past few weeks of this drought, nature carried an edge, knife-sharp, on her shoulders: the landscape turned army-drab, the Irish moss scriveled and nearly disappeared, even the trees whose roots should have been deep enough to withstand the lack of water, were drooping, their leaves curled like an old woman's back. The viney plants in the vegetable garden languished, their octogonal leaves lolling like spent tongues from their stems: panting plants. My perenial garden looked stiff, with razor-sharp leaf-edges, and even the flower petals had frizzled. All the vegetation lay brutalized in the sun and scorched air.
My cats must have felt as alien as the landscape, too, for they lay out, legs spread apart--furry stars--on the desiccated walkway. When I passed by, they regarded me with irritation. And I patted one and said, "It's not my fault." The pigs disappeared into their pens to sleep away the drought--nothing outside in the grass worth snouting around for. All the worms, fresh grass shoots and other juicy delectables in the ground had either died or scriveled to nothing. There was nothing juicy anywhere--so a pig shouldn't waste her time looking. The horses, too, were miserable in the sun-under heat coming into full furnace by ten in the morning. So, each morning after their pasture breakfast, I brought them inside to their darkened stalls where the flies couldn't suck them drier than they already felt. On went the flock of fans, after which I hauled out the hay and filled water buckets to their rims. I winced even thinking about riding Bo and Lola in such heat. The horses and I glared at each other: the heat wasn't my fault. In such conditions I cared for our animals meticulously, yet I worried. I worried about all the creatures beyond my care.
The wildlife. How were the squirrels, the spiders, the deer, the ground hogs, the fox, and the other creatures of the field and forest coping and keeping themselves alive on this devil-designed stage? Things weren't right with nature in this extreme heat and desiccation: all seemed aggravated, on edge, nervous, jittery--all of which I could only quantify through my own instincts. I believed that the unease around me resulted from the heat's ultimate threat to creatures' survival.
But this morning's walk in the rain refreshed my spirit and cleansed my worry. With the rain trickling down my face, I could feel the relief--the immense sigh in the landscape and in the animals around me. A strange peace mist-coated the air, which before had been knife-sharp with every breath. The moist air softened the atmosphere, puffed up and filed down the edges of the dried-out echinacea petals. A graceful lace rain coverlet blanketed my stone pathway and the woods beyond--assuring nature's creatures and flora that she had, indeed, not deserted them.
Words cannot truly describe the immense rush pervading everything as the rain fell. This morning's rain brought the spiders back to life--daddy-long-leggers tramping back to work from a too-long, dusty rest beneath the wimpering weeds. The grass would need more time to regenerate, but already the elephant ears looked greener, fuller, stronger--bolder. And the change in the animals' demeanor was obvious. The cats, who ordinarily flee the lightest raindrop, ran out in the steady fall, danced and spun, darted after one another, and, realizing all was going to be okay, skipped back into the house out of the wet. The potbellies came from their houses and nosed the ground in search of bugs and grubs arriving to take part in the watery communion--all was not lost, all was not dead. The horses, too, neighed from their stalls--snorting, sniffing the wetness: asking to be let outside for a rainfall massage.
Joyful: all. I stood on the stone path, the raindrops scattering on my skin, and I smiled at the puddles forming on the stones. Not for a very long time will I curse rain. Rain is the life-blood of all living things. Rain renews, refreshes, cleans, restores. And it soothes the physical and emotional self unlike any substance.
Yes, indeed: rain soothes the souls.