Behind the scenes of the fight for the protection of animals and workers and the preservation of the environment - my experiences as a Tyson slaughterhouse hanger/killer turned activist. Exposing the evils of factory farming, by Virgil Butler. If you have arrived here looking for the Tyson stories, view the early archives. Some of them are now featured on the sidebar for easy searching.
Friday, September 30, 2005
The Newest Foster Dogs
Yes, I know that I was going to post about this yesterday, but by the time I finally got the pics sent to me, it was late, and we were too tired to mess with it.
We were supposed to get a "hunting dog" and a beagle, but that isn't what happened. What they are calling a "hunting dog" really doesn't fit that description. More of a brindle, though I guess he could have been taught to hunt. Don't really know. Most of these dogs come with very little information if any at all. We do know that his name is Spaz.
The other little dog is more of a terrier mix, maybe a little bit of schnauzer, and has been very abused. Now I see why they had such a hard time catching him. Both of them were afraid when I went out there yesterday and picked up a stick to turn over their food bowls to feed them, but this little guy, named Bill, went up into the dog house and wouldn't come out. I had to come in and get Laura to come out there and coax him out of there to eat. He seems to be afraid of men especially and always keeps his eyes on me, even if she is petting him. You can see that in the pictures of him that he isn't looking at Laura and the camera, but at me, standing off to the side.
Anyway, here are their pictures. You can see the fear in their eyes. Neither one of them has lived a very good life. That is obvious. But now all of that has changed. We intend to spend a lot of time with them, especially Bill, to help him recover trust in humans, especially in men. He won't come to me yet, but he will come to Laura. We don't think he was fed well, either, because he always growls and tries to estblish control over both food dishes, even though we have them as far apart as possible in the pen. This little guy will need lots and lots of love to rehabilitate him. We can't imagine the kind of home he came from. Don't even want to think about it. Laura's heart went out to Bill immediately when he arrived. He was too afraid to even get out of the carrier crate. She looked him in the eyes, petting him, and assuring him that he would never, ever be hurt here. Not anymore. Not ever again. She finally helped to get him out of the crate very gently and get him stnading on the ground, always petting him and talking to him in a loving, soothing voice. Then he wouldn't even walk with us on the leash. I finally had to pick him up and carry him to the yard. Sad. Heartbreaking in fact. It made Laura cry, and she has made up her mind that she will love this dog back into trusting her, then trusting me, then onto trusting other people. She has also decided that she may be the one to find him a home that we know we can trust. All these groups do to find these dogs homes is sit outside of stores and hope that the people who take them will treat them well. she doesn;'t trust that, and she has decided to put extra effort into finding this little guy a special home with someone we know. when you see his eyes, you will see why she instantly bonded with him and was so distraught at his absolute fear.
And here is Spaz:
With his head hung low - we couldn't get him to look up at us.
Laura reached out to him in this one and got him to hold his head up so that you could see his face. And those eyes...
As for the others we already have, well, they are doing much better. We are gaining trust with the ones who were too afraid even to be petted at first. They will now come to us and get some good petting and love. The female, whom we have now named Sophia, has had her eyes clear up considerably from when she arrived. She must have been living in filth. They were all crusted, red, and starting to get infected. She was one of the ones who would not come to us, though we could approach her and pet her. We named the male with her Jake. He is playful and happy now. A whole new dog. As soon as we get him fixed, he will be ready to be adopted out.
Speaking of which, For the Sake of Animals isn't doing too well financially. I had told you about them having a thrift store that we shopped at often. Well, they had to close that because they didn't sell enough to cover the rent. So, that money is now gone. We talked to Diane, the lady who brought the dogs to us, yesterday, and she told us that they have 100 dogs on their hands right now and can't afford to fix them all. They are even struggling just to feed everyone. It's hard here. Not enough people care.
In fact, I was talking with some of the local cops in this area that were very appreciative about what we do - taking dumped dogs in, rehabilitating them, and finding them homes. Because you know what happens to the ones who don't get found by people like us on the other end of the county, where no one exists that takes them in? We didn't know before they told me.
They have to go out to the complainant's property and shoot them.
They hate doing it. They love dogs themselves, but this county has no Animal Control, no shelter, no nothing except for the few people like us. They were quite thankful that there were people like us that saved them the horrible task of going out to someone's house to shoot a stray dog who someone else had dumped and who only showed up because they were hungry. They even told me that they get calls from upset tourists who see dogs and chickens run over and splashed all over the road. The sheriff said that these are the people who come to our area and spend money that goes into the county coffers and that pays all of their salaries. So, apparently, we are not only saving lives here, but also saving the county money. And this is a poor county. A very poor county. That's why there is no Animal Control or shelter or anything but the few of us who care to help. This county needs to take in as much money as it can.
Every dog we take in makes a difference. It really does. Every one of them is a saved life and a call that the county sheriff's office didn't have to make - a shot they didn't have to take. An innocent life they didn't have to take. It's that bad here. That's why it is so important that we stay where we are and do what we do. If we ever left, like so many have suggested in the face of all of our harassment for our work, then more innocent and loving dogs would die. Right now we have six total foster dogs. I am only aware of one other person in the county who is a foster to dogs for Warm Hearts (the group that works in our county), and she can only hold 3. We have a neighbor not too far away that will take them in, but many of those end up getting run over in the road, as she has no pens. The rest of them, well...
That's why I appreciate every single donation someone sends. Every life I can save makes a difference. Every chicken, every dog, every cat. The costs are mounting as we take in more and more animals, as are the amounts of time and energy spent taking care of everyone. But what else can we do? When you look into the eyes of these animals, your heart just breaks, and you take them in. But we are worried about getting to the point that we will get so many that we won't be able to adequately take care of them all. Already we spend more on that than we take in each week in donations. It comes out of our own skinny pocket. Someone wrote me the other day and asked if there was any amount to small to send. I told them no - that every little bit helps. And it does. We are now going through 100 lbs. of food here a week on the dogs and the same for the chickens. At $10/50lb. bag, that adds up. There have been several times that we didn't know how we were going to feed everyone another week, only to check our mail and find a $10 donation that kept us going another week. So, every little bit really does matter.
I want to thank everyone again for your support. We couldn't do what we do without you. You are helping to save lives here. You really are. Thank you.
You know, usually I don't get into politics much on this blog, but this issue is so very important for ALL citizens of America, that I just had to do my little bit to help fight this man. Even as he looks like he will pass confirmation in spite of all of the opposition to him, there are still some fence-sitters, like my own Senator (who did receive a call from this household, I can assure you) and last-minute miracles have been pulled off when enough people have gotten involved and taken action.
Even if you have never done anything like this before, figuring that your one little voice doesn't matter much (and who hasn't felt that way at some point in their lives?), please do this now because it really and truly DOES matter! Yesterday I meant to post this, but we were so busy all day running errands that we just never got a chance to do so. Looks like it wouldn't have done much good anyway of the phone line went mysteriously down. Okay, please stick with me here. Take the time to read this whole post and please take action. White or black (or any other race - doesn't much matter), middle-class or poor, disabled, veteran, or just a regular citizen, this post directly affects YOU!
Really. It will affect every single person in this country for generations no matter who you are. Read on to find out why.
See, it's like this. I get this newsletter called "The Pen" (subscribe here) that alerts me to things needing my attention. I am sure that most of you reading this blog have received alerts from just about every organization, like MoveOn.org and many others. It seems that just about every single social group is fighting this man! Why?
Well, as today's newsletter states:
If you were listening to Thom Hartmann on his widely syndicated radio program today, you know he was breathing fire in opposition to John Roberts. You also know from your own experience that the primary toll-free telephone number for Congress (877-762-8762) is mysteriously and suddenly out of commission with just a fast circuit busy signal (try it yourself), even in the middle of the night. Yes, Thom thought that was extremely odd also, especially with so many of us calling to declare our strong opposition to John Roberts.
WHAT WE MUST NOW DO is create a permanent record of this situation and use that to generate even more messages and phone calls to the Senate in the next 24 hours. If you are a member of any BLOGS go to ALL of them overnight and start a new thread or article, and/or leave a comment on an existing one. In your own words there are three simple key points we need to make in any order you like:
1) Whether we have in fact overloaded the primary toll-free number with our calls or whether someone deliberately cut the line to slow down the calls, it is in FACT down now.
2) There is a growing ground swell of opposition to the stealth reactionary Roberts that can no longer be ignored.
3) To take action there are two alternative toll-free numbers still working, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588, plus an action page that will give you all the direct phone and fax numbers of your own senators, http://www.millionphonemarch.com.
What we want to accomplish is to create as many entries on as many blog threads as possible, to reach as many people as we can who wish they knew what to do to stop this administration from scuttling our Supreme Court, but who just don't where to start. Feel free to make your own arguments as to why Roberts must be stopped, just as you do when you send your personal messages to your senators. If you would like some additional ideas, this piece from OpEd News might be useful (don't know why there is a big gap here, but the info is below, so just scroll down):
Leahy, Feingold and Kohl have been excoriated on the blogs for their judiciary committee votes, which even they admit were "close calls." All we have to do is get one or two of them to heed the voice of the people and the MOMENTUM is on our side. All they simply need to say is that they have been hearing from their constituents, and while they may have been initially inclined to support Roberts, they can no longer do so.
And you can also send your friends who want to know more about why Roberts must be stopped to the one click congressional email and letter to the editor action page, where there are many informative links, at
Take heart that we have achieved a lot of radio visibility in the last couple days. More and more people are starting the question why Roberts is being hustled through the process without even a proper examination of what he really stands for. Will it be enough? That is entirely up to us alone. First we must BELIEVE we can win. After that the rest is easy.
We must reach out to our fellow citizens every way we can. Please take action NOW, so we can win all victories that are supposed to be ours, and forward this message to everyone else you know.
Tomorrow morning at 11:30 the entire Senate will cast the final vote on the nomination of John Roberts to be the next Chief Justice of the United States.
While the vote count doesn't look promising, Democrats still have the opportunity to show the country that they will defend core values--like equal voting rights, reproductive choice, and basic protections for workers. Every Democratic Senator who comes out against Roberts strengthens that message, and every vote counts.
This week Senators Reid, Obama, Clinton, Kerry and others all came out against Roberts. We can still get a solid majority of Democrats to join them, but only if the last holdouts like Sen. Lincoln step up to do the right thing. With only hours remaining, your voice can make a real difference.
Just tell whoever answers the phone something like:
"Hi, my name is (YOUR NAME) and I live in (YOUR TOWN). I'm calling to ask (SENATOR) to vote against John Roberts's nomination to the Supreme Court. I'd also like (SENATOR) to know that I'm counting on (HIM/HER) to stand firm during the next nomination, and do whatever it takes to protect our basic rights. Thank you."
The reality is tomorrow's vote count doesn't look good. Strong Republican support and division amongst the Democrats makes Roberts's confirmation appear certain. But this is not a time to stay silent. The issues at stake here are worth fighting for till the very end.
In the last week many Democratic Senators have joined leading progressive advocates for civil rights, womens' rights, workers' rights, the disabled and privacy to oppose Roberts' nomination.1 Senator Obama's statement explaining his opposition was particularly powerful:
"[In many of the most important Supreme Court cases]... Legal process alone will not lead you to a rule of decision. In those circumstances, your decisions about whether affirmative action is an appropriate response to the history of discrimination in this country or whether a general right of privacy encompasses a more specific right of women to control their reproductive decisions or...whether a person who is disabled has the right to be accommodated so they can work alongside those who are nondisabled--in those difficult cases, the critical ingredient is supplied by what is in the judge's heart...
The problem I had is that when I examined Judge Roberts' record and history of public service, it is my personal estimation that he has far more often used his formidable skills on behalf of the strong in opposition to the weak. In his work in the White House and the Solicitor General's Office, he seemed to have consistently sided with those who were dismissive of efforts to eradicate the remnants of racial discrimination in our political process. In these same positions, he seemed dismissive of the concerns that it is harder to make it in this world and in this economy when you are a woman rather than a man...
The bottom line is this: I will be voting against John Roberts' nomination."2
The NAACP Legal Defense fund put it this way:
"...it is now apparent that Roberts played a key role in the retrenchment on civil rights during what can only be called the most destructive period for civil rights enforcement in the second half of the 20th century.3
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) cited Roberts's:
"consistent insensitivity to the rights of women, minorities and immigrants and hostility to the role of congress and the federal government in protecting these rights."4
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) said:
"As a lawyer in private practice, John Roberts almost invariably sided with the rich and powerful against workers. This included auto workers crippled by carpal tunnel syndrome, poultry workers fighting for a decent wage, and coal miners striking to ensure the preservation of health care benefits for retired miners."5
Senator Diane Feinstein summarized her opposition this way:
"Simply put, I didn't find the argument that he was just an employee doing what his boss wanted him to do to be credible."6
It's not too late for our Senators to do the right thing and stand up for core progressive values. And whatever happens tomorrow, with the next nomination days away our Senators need to know that the Supreme Court is still worth fighting for. Please call today http://www.supremecourtwatch.org>
(they gave me the number for Senator Lincoln's office, but you have the toll-free numbers above to refer to, but if you happen to live in Arkansas and want her number, it is 202-224-4843):
6 Statement by Senator Dianne Feinstein in Opposition to the Nomination of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to be Chief Justice http://www.moveon.org/r?r=937
So, you see, just about everyone is against this guy. he is a true stealth candidate, and I have yet to read even one single good thing to say about him. They won't release the documents they usually release on Supreme Court candidates (much less for the Chief Justice, which definitely set alarm bells going off in my head!) He wouldn't answer pertinent and relevant questions posed to him by Congress. He is just not the man for this job, unless of course you are a multi-millionaire making huge bucks off of the rest of us Americans. That much we have been able to glean from the very small amount of information we have found on this man, as he has fought against just about all of the rest of us, if not ALL of the rest of us time and time again.
How does this tie in to the normal writings on this blog? Well, that ought to be obvious. He is anti-environment, anti-animal, and he even fought against poultry workers being properly compensated. I can't tell you how many people I saw working at Tyson that got carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, and other ailments and just struggled to get by - many of them two-parent households and on food stamps to feed their children. It's a given if you work there long enough that you WILL have health problems that will last you the rest of your life. I have just started really seeing it show up greatly recently, just as I have arthritis in my hands, back, and knees (although, to be fair, some of that happened in the military from too many parachute jumps ad from cutting one of my knees with a chainsaw - Tyson just made it worse - way worse). According to my doctor I have the body of a man over ten years older than me, and it will only get worse as I get older. He has seen a lot of that from Tyson workers. After looking at my chart, he said that even if I hadn't gotten out for the reasons that I did, I wouldn't have made it much longer and that I can now rule out working any more hard labor jobs. He saw that I had not used the doctor much in the past ten years, but then the last year or so there, I was in to see a doctor from every week to every month, including many trips to the ER, which were not reported as on-the-job injuries to Workman's Comp.
And he is right. Companies like that use you up and spit you out, so they would have been looking for a way to get rid of me even before the OSHA thing came up. That's the way they have been able to get the numbers down showing that there are fewer injuries, too. There aren't, as Human Rights Watch so aptly proved, but they convince you to go in under the insurance, argue that your condition could have happened at home, and always throw the drug test at you, which you have to pass in order to get Workman's Compensation benefits. So, from a statistical point of view, it looks like the injuries are falling because they aren't being reported, when in fact, they are going up.
And John Roberts was one of the men representing the poultry industry to make sure these people didn't get their much-needed and much-deserved help.
Is this who you want representing your rights and your children's and grandchildren's rights as an American for life???!!!!!!
I don't think so.
Please call one of the numbers ASAP - as soon as you read this. Then pass it along to as many people as possible. Even if we don't win, perhaps we can get the democrats to take a stand (maybe even a few Republicans who will be facing re-election battles next year!), but the least we can do is to make sure that our voices are heard loud and clear.
Because there is still one more vacancy. And you can bet that BushCo and the GOP will be watching to see how may of us take the minute or so to even make that one little call. It's time to get off our collective apathetic butts and take our country back! EVERY single call DOES matter!!! It's too late for emails and petitions, which we have both signed repeatedly. It's down to phone calls. Make them now. Right now. 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588 or go to http://www.millionphonemarch.com/ for the direct numbers to call like I did. It was worth ten or twenty cents to us to make sure that our Senator heard from us, isn't it to you?????
Tomorrow I will post about our newest residents - we got the two new foster dogs today. Spaz (a sweet and loving brindle) and Bill (a terrier mix), who has been abused. I will post their pics and write them up tomorrow. This took precedence over that.
PLEASE TAKE ACTION AND TAKE IT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Disturbing News About Lab Animals Left in New Orleans Area
I went to PETA's site this morning to read about their rescue stories and noticed in the sidebar a bit about the fact that lab animals were abandoned to die in the labs. What wasn't mentioned was far more disturbing.
I originally found this from MSNBC's Will, the clicker, in a little post that said nothing more than Infectious Disease Research in and Around New Orleans — Talk about movie plots!
Well, curiosity got the better of me, and thank goodness it did. As many people as possible should know about this, and I join the writer of the blog entry I found this story on in encouraging reporters to find out more about this.
Read on to find out what is so very, very disturbing and what is one more reason why we should not be doing this kind of work on lab animals, especially not in flood-prone areas (or any other area, for that matter).
Here is the summary that opens the post:
Summary: At the very least, there are two Level-3 biolabs in New Orleans and a cluster of three in nearby Covington. They have been working with anthrax, mousepox, HIV, plague, etc. There are surely other labs in the city.
Give you the willys? Chill go up your spine? It did me! Read on for more:
As far as I can tell, no one has yet mentioned the biological research labs located in and around NOLA. For example, in nearby Covington, Tulane University runs the Tulane National Primate Research Center, a cluster of Level-3 biological labs containing around 5,000 monkeys, most of which are housed in outdoor cages. According to an article in Tulane University Magazine, "The primary areas of focus today at the Tulane National Primate Research Center are infectious diseases, including biodefense related work, gene therapy, reproductive biology and neuroscience. The Tulane primate center is playing a key role in the federal strategic plan for biodefense research." (his emphasis, not mine)
According to the Sunshine Project, which digs up grant proposals and other primary documents from the US biowarfare effort, "Tulane scientists are working with anthrax, plague, and other biological weapons agents." [read more]
And how much of this kind of research was going on within New Orleans itself? Apparently quite a bit.
-- Louisiana State University's Medical School has a Level-3 biolab in the Clinical Sciences Research Building located at 533 Bolivar Street. According to grant applications, LSU's facility was the site of research involving anthrax and genetically-engineered mousepox. And that's just what we know about.
-- It seems highly likely that an institution the size of Tulane has biolabs in New Orleans itself, not just Covington.
-- Then there's the University of New Orleans, Loyola University, Xavier University of Louisiana, and others. I don't know whether they've been engaged in bioresearch or have high-level biolabs, but it'd be worth finding out.
-- And let's not forget the New Orleans Medical Complex, which contains over 40 blocks of hospitals and biomedical research facilities. According to this website, it's been severely flooded.
So with all the known and probable Level-3 biolabs in and around New Orleans, what's happened to the infected animals? Are they free and roaming? Are they dead, with their diseased bodies floating in the flood waters? And what about the cultures and vials of the diseases? Are they still secure? Are they being stolen? Were they washed away, now forming part of the toxic soup that coats the city?
And take a look at this. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a "Select Agents Program" for any facility that handles highly dangerous germs, including Ebola, Marburg, ricin, avian flu, and anthrax. At the top of their website is the following notice: ---------------------------------- Announcement for Entities Impacted by Hurricane Katrina
Entities that are registered with the Select Agent Program who have been impacted by Hurricane Katrina may contact the CDC Select Agent Program for guidance on actions that should be taken to transfer Select Agents to another registered entity or report the theft, loss, or release of select agents that might have occurred due to storm damage. The CDC Select Agent Program will expedite any special requests from registered entities as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Contact the Program via email at email@example.com, phone at 404-498-2255, fax at 404-498-2265, or call your designated CDC representative. (again, his emphasis, not mine) ---------------------------------- You can see it here.
Edward Hammond of the Sunshine Project helped greatly with this post, and if reporters would like some more background on this, they should contact him here.
Just a bit worried? You think this might be another reason not to experiment on animals, especially with deadly toxins?! Me too.
Spread the word. We need people investigating this. Glad I don't have to worry about it, at least for now. Or do I? Inquiring minds want to know. Badly!
Am I the only person now thinking about Stephen King's, The Stand???????????
I was going to post this fact yesterday, but we had a bunch of storms roll through, so we didn't have enough online tie to do more than answer a few personal emails, write a couple of letters, and sign a couple of petitions before we had to turn it off. Besides, Laura had to go to renew her driver's license yesterday because it was going to expire, as yesterday was her birthday. So, although I said it (and sang it to her last night as we cut her vegan chocolate cake), happy birthday to you, my wonderful woman and soul mate, Laura!
Next, our sweet little foster dogs are warming up to us a bit more and settling in better, starting to look a bit more healthy, and did spend the storm in the nice dry doghouses we had for them. When Laura saw the two down in our yard outside the trailer here sitting out in the rain, she went out there to love on them and try to show them the doghouse to show them that they could get out of the rain and have shelter. Not long after that, when I went out to feed and water everyone, I saw both faces looking out of the house looking at me. :)
We only wish we could do more. So far, no one has taken us up on our offer to camp out here, but then I have to sadly report that the emergency director guy called Laura's mother, since we were on the list of locals willing to shelter people, to tell us that there had been a few problems with some of the placements and that he couldn't recommend in good conscience anyone to come and stay with us and that we were sent some of the worst of the worst.
Now, I don't know about you, but that was kind of hard for Laura and I to take. It's just hard for us to believe that out of the hundreds of people that our county got, that not a single solitary soul that wasn't already placed in a home with someone was such a bad person that they weren't to be even offered the chance to stay with anyone. We asked about that when we delivered the bedding that you saw me in the pictures doing, as we wanted to go and talk to some of these people ourselves, but the ladies there doing the sorting of goods didn't tell us where they were all located. It seems that they are scattered all over the county, but they were pretty vague on where, except to say that some were in cabins somewhere.
So, what to do? Our truck is still in the shop getting fixed, so we can't really go anywhere right now to investigate this more at this time. So, yesterday evening I did post in a few places that we still had openings for those wanting to take us up on the offer to camp out in style, with bathroom, kitchen, laundry, phone, and email access, not to mention that we would take animals of any species, thus keeping families intact. I even went so far as to explain that this was a vegetarian/vegan-friendly place to stay, as we figure that many evacuees stuck in shelters aren't being given much of a choice in what to eat.
So, if any of you know of someone stuck in Shreveport, Baton Rouge, or in between (as Laura's mother is visiting a friend who lived in New Orleans in Baton Rouge right now until Saturday) that would like to come, email me, and we can have Laura's mother meet with them and see about bringing them back with her. Or if you know of someone who has been brought to Arkansas somewhere in the same condition, let me know. We will find a way to get to them to see if we can help. We still have room for more animals, even with the fosters we took in. And if worse came to worse, we could simply build more pens (which may happen anyway if for the Sake of Animals needs foster homes bad enough - they mentioned it). We really would like to help. And if whoever comes has any experience building houses can help us finish ours, we would be willing to stay in our trailer and allow them to move into the house and out of the tents, plus we could take in even more people, and their animals could be inside with them. Even if we just got it dried in and didn't worry about finishing out the inside for now, it would be more comfortable than a tent, perhaps. although I like (as many do) to camp out in tents, and one of them will hold a family of four comfortably as it already has beds and shelves and everything already in it. Plus, whoever comes would be able to swim in the river whenever they pleased. Kids would love that, I am sure, just as they would enjoy playing with Laura's sister's boys and all of their toys.
Laura is just one of those people who cannot tolerate the feeling of helplessness in the face of great suffering. She has been going through a bit of depression lately because she hasn't been able to do more. She has talked about wishing she could be down there rescuing animals from the flooded streets of New Orleans just as much as she has fretted about not being able to do more to help the people who have had their lives so devastated by this. The only thing that has made that better is the fact that we were able to make a difference through our collection of donations and taking in these fostered dogs. It still just seems like so little to do when there is such great need. It's times like this that we wish we were millionaires so that we could really do a lot more good for others. But, I guess all we can do is what we can do and live with it. At least, that is what I have been telling her.
At least we finally got some rain! My garden had been really needing a lot of watering lately, as had the main garden, and our well was feeling the strain. So, though we weren't able to do much online yesterday because of the thunderstorms, we sure were happy to get the rain. We got more today. :) I have been harvesting cucumbers and cherry tomatoes out of my little garden and from the volunteers that appeared in Laura's flower bed by the driveway when she used some of the compost to fertilize the soil when she built them last spring. And, ooh, are they good! I noticed yesterday that my peppers are finally flowering. I got a bit of a late start this year, so everything is running late, but better late than never. We have been buying from the farmer's markets whenever we go to town and people have their little tables set up. That has made up for it. We got some good organic okra the other day in Mount Ida. I don't care what the government says, there IS a difference in the taste and nutrition of organic veggies. A big one!
And, one last piece of business before I close today's post. I have received a request to place some information here on the site about the roadless rule. I'm sure most of you are aware of this problem. Well, there is a citizen's petition you can sign to make your voice heard about protecting our National Forests from being destroyed just because a state hasn't jumped through all of the legal hoops to protect the forest lands in their state or because some states want to put corporate interests and money over our national heritage. We really need to protect these forests for future generations and the wildlife who call them home. As you well know, once a forest is ruined by logging, it isn't fixed for a very, very long time. I have seen too many of the forests here in Arkansas devastated by corporations clear-cutting them and replanting them with those non-native fast-growing pines that don't belong there and ruin the rest of the forest. I can't tell you how damaging it is to the surrounding woods. It also devastates the communities in the long run. I can remember when there were a lot of jobs in the timber industry around here and quite a few mills to take wood to. Well, once the trees were cut (and that didn't take very long at all), the corporations moved on, leaving many jobless people with a serious problem that also left no jobs for their kids or their kids either. This hurts communities for generations. You don't sacrifice the long-term interests over the short-term gains. The corporations just move on to new areas and do it all over again, making their money, but the people and communities they leave behind are just that - left behind. Nothing left. The ground has been so compacted by the large equipment that not much will grow there, either. It takes a very long time to regenerate forests once they are gone. We really need to fight for this tooth and nail. So, please sign this petition and pass it on to everyone you know. Don't let more communities like ours be ruined, more forests be ruined and fragmented, more wildlife killed or their habitat destroyed.
Thank you everyone for being the caring people you are. Together we really can work to make a difference in the world.
Well, it now looks like we have become fosters for those animals who would otherwise be killed. For the Sake of Animals called us Saturday night, in desperation to save these dogs, and brought them here yesterday. We spent all day Saturday getting ready, raking the yards and dusting them for fleas and ticks. We ended up deciding to keep them two and two in the bigger yards so that they could have someone to be with. This also has the obvious benefit of leaving us with one dog yard for emergencies, though we still have to build a new doghouse for it, since the last dogs in there ate it. Anyway, here is the first one we put on Junior's old yard - she is the only girl and is spayed, and she was the most terrified of them all:
And we put this little guy with her so that she would not be lonely. He is a bit more friendly. We are looking forward to spending some time with them today to let them get to know us, trust us, and get some much-needed love and comfort before we try something as upsetting as bathing them. We also have to worm them all today:
The two of them together:
Then, the other two we put in Beavis and Taffy's old yard down at Laura's mother's. One of these poor dogs has demodectic mange, which is not contagious, but needs aggressive treatment. One more reason to have him neutered, too, from what we have read on the subject. Laura's mother came up with names for her two, though ours haven't revealed what their names are to us yet. Perhaps later today they will.
And Sugar Boy:
Here they are together:
The nice folks at For Sake of Animals will probably be back soon bringing cats. And when they saw how much room we had here, they also offered to donate some fencing and volunteers to help put it up so that we can take in even more animals. They even think that they an get us some help finishing the house so that we can take in more cats.
Starting to look like we will be Montgomery County's shelter more and more, doesn't it? Oh well, that's what Laura had already wanted to do. She just never had the funding to do it before. She loves animals so much. She will have them coming around in no time. Animals just seem to trust her. It must be something in the energy that she emanates that they pick up on that tells them that she means them no harm and loves them just as they are. They won't look the same by the time she is finished with them. They will be all better and ready for forever homes under her loving care.
They couldn't have found a better place to rehabilitate, now could they?
Well, our drive to collect goods was highly successful. Most of them went to Shreveport, but the day after we held our drive, we found out that our county was getting several hundred people and that they needed bedding worse than anything. So, we pulled that out and saved it to deliver here at one of the distribution centers. Here are two pictures of me doing just that:
Me unloading bedding from the vehicle to carry in.
My second load of bedding being placed in the distribution center.
If you would like to see some more photos of how well our operation went and how much the citizens of Montgomery came together to donate needed items, they are loaded on my photo pagehere. The pics show not only what we did, but what the other citizens of the county have brought in.
As Montgomery County has most of what they need for now, we will be focusing on what they don't have in our next effort, which is towels, washcloths, and linens. That's what they told us they needed the most when we asked them yesterday.
Also, just last evening, we got a call from For the Sake of Animals, the no-kill shelter in Mena, calling on us to foster animals who will be killed by Animal Control if they could not find foster homes for them. They will be coming out tomorrow to inspect our facilities to see who is appropriate to bring out here. So, we will be getting our first batch of animals to take care of.
They also recently received a book called "One At a Time," which is about a week inside a shelter and contains the stories of the animals coming through, following some to happy endings and some to very sad endings from No Voice Unheard, which we had donated to them in Princess' name. It also contains a beautiful dedication to Princess (they sent us a copy, too), complete with her picture and our names. What a wonderful way to have your animal remembered and educate the public, as well as give the shelter workers something to read about their wonderful work, at the same time it emphasizes the plight of the millions of animals that pass through shelters each year and the importance of spaying and neutering your animal companions.
We are on Farm Sanctuary's list for receiving the chickens that they rescue after their negotiations with the farmers conclude, so the expansion is out next highest priority. We really and truly need some help here to help save more lives. As I think I mentioned before, right now we can only take in 12-20, but with that expansion built, we can take in 10 times that number and have a place set up for them and the ones already here to roam freely during the day. Any locals who may stumble across this post, please help us get this done. We need help getting the 12 ft. high fencing and putting it up as quickly as possible, as well as building the houses with yards for them to retire to at night for their protection. And for those not in our area, you can always come camp out with us on our riverbank and help! Or, if you can't do that, please support this effort financially so that we can buy the needed materials. Some of you have already done so, and we appreciate that very much, as will the chickens once they get to live there. If we get enough funding to do this, we thought it could be doubly useful in employing a few evacuees for a day or two to help put it up in a hurry, so we would not only be helping chickens but people, too. And at a time when they need it the most. We are sure some of them would love to have a day spent at the river and be fed a good vegan meal, as well as earn a bit of money for themselves. Otherwise, I will do it by myself, but it will take quite a bit longer, and I don't know how much longer I have until those chickens are ready to come. Once I get the word, I have to be ready to receive as many as we can. No time to wait!
Hopefully my chainsaw will be finished being fixed Monday so that I can start cutting the poles for the houses. Having our truck and saw go down at the same time has majorly hampered our efforts to jump-start this project. But we should get both back by Monday. Then, it is full speed ahead. We will go as far as we can with what we have, even if we can't get it all done at once. Then, as more funding and/or materials (and possibly, hopefully, even more hands!) arrive, we will continue the expansion until it is finished.
We will be very busy around here over the next few days, and I will be mostly absent from the computer as I work very hard to make all of this a reality, only checking in early in the morning as we have our coffee. so if I don't answer an email immediately, you will understand why. I will also be unable to keep up with the postings to the groups for a little bit until things get back to normal (what's that? ha ha!) and I have more time to get back to my online work.
Our tents are still available for evacuees with their animals of any species or just those willing to come and help out with the building. We would very much appreciate any help anyone can offer, and we promise to feed you good vegan food! You can even swim in the river to your heart's content after the work in the morning, as we take a break during the heat of the day. :)
Well, I'm about done with my coffee, and it is getting light enough to see now, so I want to get started ASAP while it is still cool (in the low 60's), so I will now sign off and get ready to bust my butt off getting ready for the influx of animals.
Tom Philpott over at Bitter Greens has earned this new Cyberactivist Award for his wonderful blog that so irked Monsanto. Seems that I am hardly the only blogger going after giant multinationals. He is a small organic farmer, so you know that fact alone would make me support him, but taking it one step further and angering the giant Monsanto to the point that they sent him a cease and desist email was just laughably funny. You can read his blunt (his word) response here.
His blog will also, of course, be listed in my sidebar to show my support for his work. As I fight the giant multinational factory farms like Tyson, he is fighting giant multinational companies like Monsanto. Therefore I consider him an ally in my fight, as I also fight against GM crops, animals, or any other mutant unnatural products they try to stuff down the throats of the world, even as the world has made it extremely crystal clear that they don't want them.
Keep up the good work, Tom! It's gonna take all of us little people fighting back to take our country(ies) and our world back from the corporate rulers it and they now have. More power to you! I'll check in from time to time to see how things are going. Meanwhile, I wouldn't worry too much about them. Surely they wouldn't stoop so low as to doing the things they did to me. Or would they? Only time will tell. Their reaction will be directly related to the amount of harm you do them.
Isn't it funny that a little obscure blogger writing from a little rural area has the power to so anger a big bad multi-billion dollar company? If it couldn't become so dangerous and serious, you indeed would have to guffaw, as ol' Tom says.
Well, you know what? I still guffaw when I am attacked. And I did so again when I read about what he did and Monsanto's response to it. But what really made it even funier was how many people discovered and learned about Tom's blog only after Monsanto attacked him! Ha ha ha! The irony of it!
Keep up the good work, Tom. The world certainly needs more people like us bloggers attacking the status quo and rich fat cats getting fatter off the misery of the little people. Dude, you have my full support! Keep on blogging!
I, Laura, her sister, and her mother are all working together with Laura's sister's husband, who is a nurse at Brentwood Hospital in Shreveport, and whose boss is already coordinated with the Red Cross rescue efforts. The hospital is already getting overwhelmed, and many of the people who work there (Laura's sister, Debbie, also has her husband volunteering his time at the Hirsch Coliseum after he gets off work to help the victims that are already overflowing the building).
For the past several days we have been coordinating help to those in need. We found that there were many people locally who wanted to help, but just didn't know how. They may not have had money, but they have things, but just didn't know how to get them to those in need. So, our family is stepping up to the plate to coordinate and deliver these things to those who need them the worst. I mean, can you imagine how it must be to escape with nothing but the clothes on your back, which are getting pretty raunchy by now? Can you imagine the heartbreak of being separated from your beloved animals? Can you imagine being given meat-based food and getting sick or starving? That's what many vegan people are facing, so we are stepping up to the plate once again to do some good deeds.
So, our first project involves collecting donations of clothing, personal hygiene items, and non-perishable food items, which we will deliver to Shreveport. If anyone from this area sees this post and has not seen the flyers we have been putting up around the Oden, Pencil Bluff and Pine Ridge areas, we have set up collection times of Monday 9/5/05 from 3:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m., after speaking with the pastor at the 1st Baptist Church in Oden across from the school on Hwy 88. Debbie also sent home flyers with the kids in her son's class yesterday at Oden school and posted more at several local businesses, even talking with the mayor.
We made more copies and got one placed in the doctor's office where Laura goes for her meds since he sees people from this area. The man who owned the place we made the copies at didn't even charge us for them, even knowing we will be coming back to make more as we visit and coordinate with more local communities one by one, and we intend to write him a public thank you not only on this blog (which he will probably never see) but also in the local paper.
Our second collection time will be at 9/6/05 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Laura's mother's Tangled Acres Healing Touch Center in Pine Ridge right next to the Lum n' Abner store on Hwy 88.
After we see how much we can collect, we will decide how many vehicles and which ones will be making the trip and whether we will be pulling trailers. We are still having some minor problems with the truck, but are working on getting them fixed before the trip down there in case it is needed. Otherwise, Laura's mother's minivan will have the seats removed and stocked full, with the cartop carrier in place, and Debbie's small SUV will also be packed with as much stuff as possible. If that isn't enough, and we still don't have the truck up to par in time, then we will simply make two trips - one in the middle of the week, and another on the weekend. These will hardly be the only trip we make.
In addition to the items mentioned above, we will be taking down pet food and dishes for them to eat and drink out of and looking for vegetarians and/or vegans stranded with their animals there in Shreveport who would like to escape the shelter environment and rather camp out here on our beautiful and peaceful riverbank. As we have limited tents ourselves to put them in, those that already have their own or the means to purchase them will also be invited to come back with us in the otherwise empty vehicles, or we will simply foster the animals for these people as long as it takes.
We have contacted several of the animal organizations working on the rescue effort to let them know of our plans and offerings, but if you or someone you know is stuck down there and would rather be spending some peaceful time camping out on the riverbank with us, you and/or they are more than welcome to come. Just let is know before we leave. Bathroom, kitchen, and laundry access will be available. And, as we border the National Forest, there is plenty of room for people to spread out and have a semblance of privacy for their families, while still being able to have the comforts of home. We also have several different Coleman stoves and grills for those who would rather do that than come into the house to cook.
We will only be accepting small cash donations to help with the gas it will take to get down there, and all other monetary donations should be made out to the Louisiana Red Cross or local shelters if you want to help the victime stranded in Shreveport. If you use my PayPal account to help us with the gas or build animal enclosures for these people, or help the with whatever else they or thee animals need, let me know that this is what is is for. Looks like we may be expanding our chicken facilities sooner and faster than we thought, as most shelters won't take them, anyway. We can also accommodate dogs (only a few in separate pens if they don't get along well with others), plenty of cats, so-called "pocket pets," bunnies, snakes (Laura's family has over 25 years experience in caring for snakes, even though they no longer have any), and whatever other small animals we have room for as long as needed.
There will be several trips made, and we are planning on including Little Rock in at least one of them, as they are also taking in people and collecting supplies. Also, once we got in touch with the 1st Baptist Church in Oden, we found out that there are more people in the churches up here who would be willing to offer space for those not comfortable in our setting and more comfortable in theirs. We plan to include a sign-up sheet of those who are willing to take in people, animals, and the like, and what the conditions would be. We will attempt to match up those with the best fits. No one will be discriminated against, regardless of beliefs, race, gender, or sexual preference. All are welcome. That should go without saying, but I said it anyway to make sure there is no misunderstanding.
Although you have heard us discuss the tick problem here, they are NOT bad everywhere and as long as the animals have been treated with repellant, they will be fine. All of the rest of ours are, including the last little kitten we named Feisty. We can place people in areas where they are not a problem. We have three unused dog yards for those dogs that don't get along well with others and one of those chain-link kennels as well. There are two tents already set up, one of which would accommodate a family of four, and the other at least a couple of people, with maybe a small child, right here on our place. And, like I said, for those wanting more privacy, there are the whole woods to camp in, along with your companion animals.
Everyone will have free access to clean drinking water, a way to fix meals, and a way to do laundry and the like. Laura's mother is also an ICU nurse, so medical conditions can be taken care of on site for most problems. More serious ones will go to the hospital and be well taken care of.
Laura's sister, Debbie, has taken the main initiative on this one, since her husband is a nurse still living in Shreveport and is already coordinated with the Red Cross.
We will be making more than one trip also, so those that can't come the first time, can come the next time. We may even make two trips this week, depending on how much we gather. There has already been an outpouring of local support for this, which we believe will continue to grow (at least for a while), and our next community will probably be Mena to collect from (a much bigger community!). While the large organizations always encourage you to make your financial contributions to them, many of them get "put into the pot" for other emergencies and are notdirectly spent on helping people and animals NOW. All of these will.
So, even if you are not from this area and would like to help, just let me know. Or you can email me or Laura's sister at dkupermanATwildmail.com. If you would prefer to settle matters by phone or have any questions, you can call us - just shoot off an email for the number of who is likely to be home at that time. If mailing checks, then send them to me at General Delivery, Pine Ridge, AR 71966 with Katrina in the memo line or to 179 Little Hope Road, Oden, AR 71961 the same way. Our family will receive them either way.
Looks like our little sanctuary is about to get a lot biggera lot faster, as we are prepared to take in as many animals as we possibly can hold, especially those that the shelters cannot or will not hold, like the chickens and the snakes and such. And we really would love to be able to bring back veg*n people with us who share our values, would respect our place, and who could have their animal companions with them. If there is a large response, more pens can be thrown up quickly, just as we can rapidly expand the chicken facilities with others helping. And if there exists among you anyone with the knowledge and experience to help us finish our cabin, then you are welcome to stay in it as opposed to a tent, so we can take even more people in. We will forego moving in until after this disaster is over and stay in our little travel trailer while you can stay in our new cabin. We can even build the little one-room primitive cabins that Laura's mother's planned to build for her healing center and house even more. There really is not a set limit on how many we can take in at this time, especially if any of the ones arriving have any carpentry and/or construction skills. The lumber is here. It just needs putting up.
We may not have a lot in the way of money, but we do have plenty of room and very big hearts. And we will continue to make these trips as long as we can gather supplies and as long as people would rather enjoy camping out on the riverbank, going swimming and the like, eating veg*n meals and living with their animals as opposed to a dismal shelter existence for months on end.
The one thing that is for sure is that we will do everything humanly possible to help everyone interested in coming up here, human and non-human.
If you don't want to stay here and want other arrangements, we will refer to the sign-up sheets we will have at each gathering event to try and match up suitable situations. Many of the churches and members of their congregations will be opening their doors to those seeking a place to stay. Many of them will probably even be able to take in the larger farm animals that we can't take.
So, if you don't hear from me for a few days, I'm not ignoring you, we are just busy taking care of these problems and answering calls for help. If you write me about seeking shelter here in our woods, put "Katrina" in the subject line or call the above number to make arrangements. We will all help as many as is physically and logistically possible.
Laura's family knew several people affected by this, they have all been to New Orleans, one of them even living in the French Quarter for a while, so this is something that really hurt badly.
I don't want anyone to think that just because they are not vegans that we will not help them. That is not true. We will. It's just that we thought that people who share our values would be more comfortable here, would be uncomfortable with some of the donated food coming their way in the shelters, and also be more likely to have animals they would rather be with. And, usually these sorts of people are the kinds who will dig in and get things done, thus helping us to expand our ability to help even more people and animals.
So, this is a truly local movement, and every penny will go directly towards accomplishing this and helping these people get back on their feet. If you want to be a part of it, we would be glad to have your help. Just be sure and make a notation that the donation is for Katrina so that we do not put it with the other funding we already have gathered to start the expansion on the chicken facilities, even though they may end up being a part of all of this.
My message to those of you struck and stuck. Our hearts are with you, and we truly wish we could do more. But, if each and every community gives a little, we can all make a difference! Who needs to wait for the White House to get off their butts ad get things done? This type of an emergency is beat handled at the local level. And that is exactly as we will be handling it. The roll-up-your-sleeves and get it done Southern way!
Just as I was about to post this, I got a call tellig me that Polk and Montgomeray County were filling up with refugees loooking for a place to stay. Looks like we might not have to go as far as we thought to help people. We are about to contact DHS now. I will keep you all up-to-date as to the happenings. Boy! Things are never boring around here, now are they? More later...
Before I get into this post, let me post another couple of pics of the new babies after we let them out into the house. Taffy, Laura's mother's basset hound has taken to "mothering" them, something she has never done before. You can just see her nose in the first pic. Did Princess send a part of her spirit into Taffy? We have openly pondered that? You can decide for yourself. All we know is that she has never shown this kind of interest in babies before.
We had yet another sad day here yesterday. The 3 kittens we rescued from the woods are now down to one. We lost another one yesterday, but not before an emergency run to the vet to try and save that baby. (The other one died within about a day of us catching him/her, but was so covered with the seed ticks that we blamed it on anemia and didn't think much more about it.) However, this last one, whom we named Miracle yesterday in the thinking that it would take a miracle to save him, was at first only thought to be suffering from worms because there were some observed in the diarrhea. That condition was promptly treated, and we thought that would be that. When he was not better the next day, had not passed the worms, and was only getting weaker, it was obvious that an emergency run to the vet was in order. Thanks to donations received last week, we had the needed funding to do this.
The diagnosis was terrible, leaving Laura in tears. In all of her 25 years of rescuing animals, she had never heard of this silent killer, nor had I or anyone else we had talked to, not even at the feed store we buy often supplies from.
So, after writing letters to the editors of both local weekly papers, now we are devoting the rest of today to try and get this information out to as many people as possible so that they and their cats do not suffer the way we and these kittens did.
One of the first things Laura did after getting home from the vet was to do a search on the problem to try and determine more about what we were dealing with. She found several articles on it, but the best-researched one with citations and slides of what it does to the organs was found here.
Excerpts from this page follow (this is part of the letters to the editors we wrote, and she defined the medical terms in brackets so that they are easier to understand:
Cytauxzoon felis is a relatively new pathogen in the United States. It was first reported in Missouri in 1976. Parasitism with this organism has sometimes been overlooked or the parasite had mistakenly been identified as another organism, such as Haemobartonella felis. However, the two parasites are easily distinguishable: H. felis organisms are located extracellularly within invaginations [infolded so as to form a hollow space within a previously solid structure, as in the formation of a gastrula from a blastula] of the plasma membrane.
Because of the extremely rapid course of illness associated with cytauxzoonosis, a diagnosis is often made by postmortem examination. Grossly, dehydration, generalized pallor, and/or icterus (jaundice - a liver problem)) may be observed. Other common findings at necropsy include enlarged, edematous [full of fluid], and reddened lymph nodes; distended abdominal veins (especially splenic, mesenteric [any of several folds of the peritoneum that connect the intestines to the dorsal abdominal wall], and renal veins); petechial [small purplish spot on a body surface, such as the skin or a mucous membrane, caused by a minute hemorrhage] and ecchymotic [passage of blood from ruptured blood vessels into subcutaneous tissue, marked by a purple discoloration of the skin] hemorrhages of abdominal organs, heart, and lungs; large dark spleen; and congested, edematous [full of fluid] lungs.
Historically, diagnosis with cytauxzoonosis has a very poor prognosis. Until recently, this disease was considered to be almost 100% fatal despite attempted treatment. A current study has suggested that treatment with certain antiprotozal drugs may control or eliminate cytauxzoonosis in cats. Seven of eight treated cats survived and cleared C. felis infections when treated with either diminazene aceturate or imidocarb.
(Our vet used Nuflor and gave him fluids, but that is only because these new drugs were discovered in a very small clinical study involving only 8 cats and probably aren't widely available yet, even if vets know about them.)
In contrast, another study reported 18 cases of cytauxzoonosis in cats from Oklahoma and Arkansas in which the cats recovered without antiprotozoal therapy (although some cats remained parasitemic and could be a potential source of infection for native cats). Experience (KSL, PMR) at The University of Georgia indicates that cytauxzoonosis in cats has been increasing in frequency with a greater distribution of the parasite. In previous decades, most cases of cytauxzoonosis occurred in the Brunswick, Georgia area. More recently, cats with the disease have been observed within the greater Atlanta metropolitan area. However, the parasite seems to be adapting to domestic cats because the disease course is sometimes less severe and more protracted. As the parasite continues to adapt to domestic cats as hosts, more animals may be expected to survive infection. Regardless, the fact remains that many of the cats that develop cytauxzoonosis do not survive. Therefore, cat owners should be educated that the disease may be prevented by tick control and restricting animals from tick infested areas during the warmer months of the year.
The rest of our letter talked about the importance of spaying/neutering companion animals and how to find ways to do that, even on a limited income through rescue groups, mobile spay/neuter clinics, and the like.
Twomore articles were cited in the letters, but we thought that the first was the most informative.
The main thing to stress here is not only the obvious need and responsibility for guardians of companion animals to spay/neuter their companion animals, not to mention not to dump them in the woods! We also wanted to make sure to inform as many people as possible about this problem. We didn't want Miracle to die in vain. Help us to spread the word by letting everyone you know have this information to protect your and their cats from this insidious killer.
On a side-note, Princess was seen clearly to come with the brother of this baby to receive Miracle. She and the other kitten were in green grass and looking happy. Whether you believe in things of this nature or not, that doesn't make it any less true. Animals DO have spirits, and they DO come back, just as they watch over you and await a reunion with you. We hope that gives all of you, especially rescuers like us, at least a measure of comfort to know. It's nice to know that Princess' spirit is still there watching over the babies, even though we did not want her to go from us. Obviously, though, she is still here in a way, watching over the situation.
I want to give an extra special thank you to the people who sent in the donations that made the trip to the vet possible so that we could learn about this and inform others. I also thank the people that put that information up on the Net for all to find. If it were not for either of those situations, we would never have known that a tick-borne parasite was the true killer.
We will spend most of the rest of the day spreading the word about this. We hope that you do, too. As one of the websites said, "Cytauxzoon felis is a protozoal parasite that causes fatal disease in cats. It is carried by ticks and is almost 100% fatal." And hardly anyone knows it lurks out there or that it is spreading...
Please protect your cats and kittens. Please spay and neuter them. And please pass on this information. Who knows how many lives it may save and how many tears and heartbreaks it may prevent?