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For my 100th post I thought it appropriate to discuss the importance of preventing burnout. Anyone can burn out but it often occurs among animal rights activists.

The concept of burnout is not new to me, as for many years I practiced as a psychotherapist. In my doctorate, I examined the long-term psychological effects of trauma, specifically incest. Incest occurs within a power relationship when a family member treats a child as property to be exploited.

Listening to or seeing horrendous images of relentless traumatic events can cause “secondary trauma”. Simply put, the individual goes into “bad story overload”.  

Animal rights activists are exposed to endless stories of suffering and the abuse of helpless creatures. Burnout occurs when you are under prolonged stress. With burnout you lose the strength and motivation to fight for others. You lose perspective and feel disillusioned, helpless and drained of emotional energy. Everything looks bleak and pointless. You feel like nothing you do makes a difference or is appreciated. Your own worth feels doubtful, which can impact on relationships and your health.

How does one prevent burnout?

~ Accept that we all have limitations and that self-preservation is more helpful than self-sacrifice.

~ Keep the balance in your life and don’t feel bad to do things you enjoy on a weekly or daily basis. This can be walking, reading, gardening, watching a movie, listening to music  – whatever replenishes you.

~ Appreciate the simple things in life, like a sunset, cute kitty pics and so on.

~ Connecting with Nature can be very healing.

~ I like the principle of rest and recuperation (R&R), as implemented by the United Nations.

Essentially this is time out, but away from the stressful situation. Having time out at home is not always restful.

So once a year I try to get out of Johannesburg.

Last year we went to Zambia to see the magnificent Victoria Falls and Zambezi river.

I know this is not a pretty photo blog but here are some happy snaps from that time.

This photo does not even begin to capture Victoria Falls, which is breathtaking.

2012-10-02 06.58.48

Absorbing the tranquility of the sun setting on the Zambezi was food for the soul.

2012-10-03 08.06.22

While watching a group of hippos swim past me I reaffirmed my life philosophy. rIVER OF LIFE

This week I am off to see the great lake of Malawi ❤

Here’s to R&R!

2012-10-04 07.47.34




UGLY! UGLY: Sheep and UGG Boots


I FELT SICK WHEN I READ ABOUT THIS RECENT CASE OF ANIMAL ABUSE, which occurred in the bottle store of TOPS SPA, Fuller Street, Butterworth (SA) in May 2014.

A live sheep was held captive by tying her legs together, restricting movement. Lying on the floor without food or water this sheep was offered as a prize to anyone who  purchased a bottle of two specific alcoholic drinks. Without a doubt this defenseless creature was cruelly transported and later slaughtered in someone’s back yard!

The case was reported to the National Society For the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA ). The NSPCA has now laid criminal charges against the shop in terms of the Animals Protection Act. As the sheep was exhibited, charges are also laid in terms of the Performing Animals Protection Act. While this did not help this particular sheep, hopefully an incident of this nature will never happen again!!   SHEEP COMPETITION2

Those who see sheep as “livestock” to be eaten argue that wearing sheep skin items is fine, as these items are a by-product of the meat industry. What many people don’t realise is that sheep have a raw deal and I mean that literally. Merino sheep are used for wool, as they have an abundance of hair. “Mulesing”, a common practice in the Australian wool industry, is done to prevent flystrike. Pieces of skin and flesh are cut off from the hindquarters of each domestic sheep. When scar tissue forms, less wool grows and therefore is less likely to become dirty and attract flies. The practice is usually performed with the animal physically restrained and without anesthesia. If the raw patch of flesh on the sheep becomes infected the sheep will have a slow and agonising death. 

After enduring this “mulesing”, sheep are loaded onto huge ships and are then transported to Middle Eastern countries for slaughter. Because animal rights laws are virtually nonexistent, sheep are cruelly dismembered and skinned while still conscious. This skin is later used to make boots, such as UGGs (animal rights – about.com).     

Ugg boots are made out of sheep skin – inside and out.                                                                                                                                                      Ugg boots Oddly enough they are also fashionable beach wear. It seems Pamela Anderson, who would wear Ugg boots on the beach, started this trend.PAMELA ANDERSON IN HER UGG BOOTS

However, as I wrote in a previous post, Pamela considers herself to be an animal activist following in the footsteps of Brigitte Bardot. See:

In 2007, Pamela Anderson, realising that Ugg boots were made of sheep skin, wrote on her website: “I thought they were shaved kindly?”  Pamela then stressed, “Do NOT buy Uggs! Buy Stella McCartney or juicy boots“.
Although this was some years ago, Ugg boots have remained popular.
The production of Ugg boots has been the subject of criticism by animal rights groups.
These groups, including PeTA, have called for the boycott of Ugg boots and their replacement with non-animal materials.

There is also a petition below that can be signed. This petition is addressed to UGG Australia (Deckers Outdoor Corporation) and states:

UGG Australia: Stop mutilating, torturing, and killing sheep to make UGG Boots.


PINK, another celeb animal activist speaks out for sheep. Please watch the following video for this.

IMAGINE: An Animal Bill Of Rights

animal bill of rights

See:  http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5154/p/dia/action/public/index.sjs?action_KEY=5078    

I recently came across this campaign and as I am a just a vegan and not an abolitionist vegan I happily participated (if you have no idea what I am talking about, please see the deabate @ https://emynow.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/a-debate-in-animal-advocacy-to-be-or-not-to-be-an-abolitionist/).

The message conveyed in this Animal Legal Defense Fund action can only be seen as encouraging. We live in a world where human rights are hard to monitor, so a Bill of Rights for nonhuman animals would be a phenomenon of note.

I am proud to say that South Africa has a Constitution that includes a Bill of Rights (for humans) as follows:

Bill of Rights

Chapter 2Bill of rights (ss 7-39)

  1. Rights
    1. This Bill of Rights is a cornerstone of democracy in South Africa. It enshrines the rights of all people in our country and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom.
    2. The state must respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights in the Bill of rights.
    3. The rights in the Bill of Rights are subject to the limitations contained or referred to in section 36, or elsewhere in the Bill.

Imagine these rights applied to nonhuman animals. John Lennon would even hum from his grave, “And the world will live as one … “                                                                                                                                           Imagine 2John Lennon and cat                           

Yes, this is a photo of me when I visited Liverpool and stayed in a hotel called A Hard Days Night.  I have even forgiven John Lennon for wearing a huge fur coat. It was in 1963 after all 😦

But this is the 21st century and nonhuman animals deserve basic legal rights.  As the Animal Legal Defense Fund states, “animals are defenseless against exploitation and abuse by humans” and therefore need to be legally protected. The Animal Legal Defense Fund is a Northern American animal rights organisation that wants to show Congress that there is huge support for legislation that “protects animals and recognizes that, like all sentient beings, animals are entitled to basic legal rights in our society”. They plead:

Sign the Animal Bill of Rights! Animal Legal Defense Fund 

 I, the undersigned American citizen, believe that animals, like all sentient beings, are entitled to basic legal rights in our society. Deprived of legal protection, animals are defenseless against exploitation and abuse by humans. As no such rights now exist, I urge you to pass legislation in support of the following basic rights for animals:The Right of animals to be free from exploitation, cruelty, neglect, and abuse.The Right of laboratory animals not to be used in cruel or unnecessary experiments.The Right of farmed animals to an environment that satisfies their basic physical and psychological needs.The Right of companion animals to a healthy diet, protective shelter, and adequate medical care.The Right of wildlife to a natural habitat, ecologically sufficient to a normal existence and self-sustaining species population. The Right of animals to have their interests represented in court and safeguarded by the law of the land.

Imagine if this could happen!


not ours

Animal Law 101: What Is “Necessary” Animal Suffering?

This adds to everything I was saying in my previous post ❤

Our Compass

SourceFree From Harm
ByFree From Harm Staff Writers

In her new TED Talk, animal law attorney Lesli Bisgould delivers a terrific overview of the problems with our legal system in protecting animals from the institutions that exploit them with impunity. She begins her talk with what we all tend to agree on, that harming animals unnecessarily is wrong, particularly in cases of individual animal victims and individual human perpetrators. And then she eloquently shifts our attention to how our legal system excludes billions of animals from legal protection from the same acts when there is an economic interest that relies on animals as resources. In such cases, she shows how the mere presence of a human interest, no matter how trivial, is immediately perceived as a justification for “necessary” harm, even though the same acts perpetrated against our companions would be considered criminal. It’s a contradiction big enough…

View original post 154 more words

SOMEONE VS SOMETHING (to use and abuse)

Understanding the relationship between humans and other living beings has evoked many heated debates.                                                  animals

~Many people now believe that species other than Homo sapiens have sentience. According to Dr Marc Bekoff,  author of The Emotional Lives of Animals, there is indisputable evidence of non-human animal sentience. Very simply, sentience is the ability to feel, perceive and have the capacity for ‘conscious life’. In his article, From Human Rights to Sentient Rights (March 2014), Alasdair Cochrane argues that all sentient beings have subjective experiences and a stake in their own lives.

~Those of us who hold that every creature is sentient, want them all to have rights and accordingly be protected by law. We believe the exploitation of non-human animals is immoral and humans have evolved to the point where they do not need other animals in any way.

~Certain Vegan activists would not even condone having pets, as this “pet ownership” would be considered domination over another being. However, in my household I am not sure who dominates who, particularly when I manoeuvre my way around the dominated cats on my bed 😀 .                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

~Another view, often  justified by religion, is that animals are put on this planet solely for the use of humans. These people would not deliberately harm animals. Perhaps they would even fight for animal welfare to ensure that animals are treated kindly before being killed.

~Then there are those individuals who just don’t care, as long as they can find the cheapest way to make profits from the exploitation of non-human animals. Factory farming for meat, dairy, eggs and fur are examples of this. People who demand these products are as culpable. This category of people would have no issue with using non-human animals for entertainment.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   not ours

~Vivisection occurs when people torture non-human animals in the name of science. Seemingly these scientists can disconnect from the pain they inflict onto living creatures. They lack compassion and justify their actions by stating that animals are not sentient. They are rewarded  for this immoral behaviour through money or prizes. 

So where is sentience written into law? In 2009 on December 1st, member countries of the European Union endorsed the Treaty of Lisbon, which grants legal status to animals by virtue of sentience. Implementation of these rights is not easy, as people find devious ways to circumvent the law. Take the fur industry for example, fur comes to European auction houses from non EU countries where there are poor or no animal protection laws. These are the same auction houses from where South Africa imports its fur. In South African law, non-human animals are not considered sentient, which is a major obstacle in the fight for animal rights. Animals are  legally defined as objects and therefore have no rights. They are seen as the absolute property of their human owners who may use them as a means to an end.                                                                                                                                                                      ss3   

In May 2013 two groundbreaking seminars were held in South Africa. The title of these seminars is self-explanatory ~ANIMALS AND THE LAW – Does the law afford sufficient protection to animals?

So how are non-human animals protected in South Africa?
Up until 1962, when the Animal Protection Act was passed, animal rights did not feature.
Advocate Paul Hoffman, a delegate at the conference, argues that this act primarily  protects the feelings of people who are distressed by cruelty towards  other animals. He adds that the value system that informs the Animal Protection Act 1962 is outdated.
Professor David Bilchitz, another speaker, pointed out that subsequent to the Animal Protection Act 1962 the moral and scientific understanding of non-human animals has changed. Today it is acknowledged that all animals suffer and deserve protection in their own right. Bilchitz stresses that “statutory reform must enshrine and reflect our revised understanding of the sentience of animals”. Protection of non-human animals must not just focus on the absence of pain and suffering but also on a positive state of well-being.
Philip Lymbery CEO of compassion in World Farming concurs when he states that the law must catch up with values
animals deserve proection
There seems to be agreement that there is a moral obligation towards protecting the weak and vulnerable, which includes animals. Non-human animals make a special moral claim upon humans because they are morally innocent, unable to give or withhold their consent, vocalise their needs and are susceptible  to human exploitation.  
It was decided at these seminars that the way forward is for a group of academics and researchers to make recommendations to the Department of Agriculture on its Animal Care Policy document. The aim would be to modify and collapse all animal protection acts into one that ensures the well-being of all sentient beings.
However, I believe that in the meantime individuals can and must play their part in whatever way they can. Every small action adds up to change!
In the words of Edmund Burke, “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little”.  (http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/e/edmund_burke.html#7HiHQfVWc3D48bUH.99)                                                           someone

Source of information for this post: http://issuu.com/ciwfsa/docs/animal-voice-july-2013/3?e=4995170/3832934%5B/embed%5D%5B/embed%5D                                                                                                      CASJ

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