Thursday, September 8, 2011

Snapperfest is Animal Abuse

One of the most amazing things we can ever experience is to observe wild animals in their natural habitat, but something has gone very wrong in the City of Rising Sun, Indiana, the home of a sadistic event called Snapperfest.
Event contestants grab a wild snapping turtle by its tail, run down a field while dangling the turtle upside-down, they throw the turtle to the ground, and then they try to pull the turtle’s head out of its shell. Once the head of the terrified animal has been violently dislodged from its shell, the victorious thug swings the turtle by its neck in triumph. Sometimes a turtle will latch onto its abuser and in order to free the brute’s hand or finger from the turtle’s mouth; the so-called referee will slit the turtle’s throat.
A turtle should never be picked up by the tail because that can cause spinal and internal injuries. Many turtles suffer from shock and die a slow, agonizing death. The organizers claim no turtles are hurt and that the event is just good, clean, family fun. Fun for whom?  Certainly not for the turtles.
The people in the City of Rising Sun, Indiana, are anthropocentric. They believe wild animals exist for the amusement of humans and it appears the police and game wardens are totally onside with this so called “sport”.
Snapperfest has flown under the radar for years, but this abuse will no longer be tolerated. Animal lovers are just getting started. Tourists who are thinking about a vacation to Indiana, the City of Rising Sun, or the Campshore Campground will be inundated with information on the internet about this barbaric place and I expect many people will do the right thing and bypass the region entirely until reason and compassion reign over brutality. 
The Snapperfest banner was co-branded by their sponsor, Budweiser, but when the complaints started, the boys at Bud were quick to distance themselves from the event. Budweiser claims they did not sponsor the event and they blame a local company in the supply chain, but Budweiser is unable or unwilling to say who authorized the sponsorship. Their implication is that determining who authorized the banner or the financial support would be a monumental challenge.
It would appear that banners, their design, and their origin confuse Budweiser so a very helpful guy was kind enough to design a special banner for Snapperfest and Budweiser. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. 
For the Animals,

Janice Oceans (on Facebook)
@janice_oceans (on Twitter)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Dolphin Day and the Hope for the Future

Activists often have different views regarding how to achieve their goals. A variety of approaches can be effective and I enjoy dialogue with ocean activists who take a gentle approach as well as those who actively intervene in illegal activities. Although it might not be everyone’s primary approach, few could argue that education is crucial.
The adults who are alive today have done more to destroy the oceans than all other generations combined so it only makes sense that we should take responsibility to clean up and protect the oceans. There is only 10% of the life in the oceans that there was 50 years ago. Many species are extinct and others are under threat from unsustainable fishing methods, pollution, greed, and ignorance.
September 1st was International Dolphin Day and there were events held in over 40 cities around the world that drew attention to the plight of the dolphins that are ruthlessly slaughtered in Taiji, Japan. I have witnessed the slaughter and it is totally abominable that this sort of atrocity can happened in Japan in 2011.   
It was great to see so many young people involved in rallies on September 1st. One such child was 12 year old Alexandra from New Zealand. Young people like Alexander have a heavy burden to carry. A great deal of damage has been done and those who have performed acts of ocean genocide are unlikely to be part of the solution. The children are our future and we need to encourage Alexandra because our only hope to save the dolphins and the oceans might our children.
Attending the event caused Alexandra to miss a day of school. I don’t wish to minimize the importance of formal education, but should not conservation be one of the most important subjects?  Alexandra’s teacher told her that her absence could be considered truancy and this position was also supported by other teachers. Some children were allowed to mock Alexandra because she was doing that “dolphin stuff”.  
When used as a noun the word “truant” can mean “a person who neglects his or her duties” or “a lazy, idle person”. Perhaps the teachers need educating because it is not Alexandra or her young peers who have neglected their duties, but rather it was the previous generation. Words are powerful and it is unfair to use a word that means “lazy” or “idle” when referring to one so young who is prepared to take a stand.
I can assure you that the only thing stupid about that “dolphin stuff’ is that on a daily basis, highly sentient dolphins who migrate past Taiji, Japan are forced into a cove and die a horrific and painful death. Those who are not killed are sold into a life of slavery at a theme park, but most end up on Japanese tables and become a toxic, mercury laden meal.
To the Alexandra’s of the world….thank you. Please don’t be discouraged by your ignorant elders, but also be patient with them because despite your age, you are the teacher, and those who call you a truant are your students.  
For the Oceans,

Janice Oceans (on Facebook)
@janice_oceans (on Twitter)

Dolphin Day September 1, 2011 - photo by Kerry O'Brien

Alexandra at Dolphin Day in Auckland - photo by Kerry O'Brien

Zepher at Dolphin Day in Seattle - photo by Mike Lorden