Friday, January 7, 2011

Blood in the tap water

There is currently an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Korea, which has brought some--but not enough--attention to the extremely inhumane way that the Korean government deals with this problem: by dumping live animals into large holes and burying them alive.

Link to more info and photos at the Korean Animal Rights Advocates website

Apparently the vinyl lining on one of these holes got torn up when the panicked animals were struggling and dying, causing blood to leak into the groundwater. Here's an article about some residents of Paju city who have blood coming out of their taps. (Somewhere Stephen King is smiling slightly and stroking his beard, if he has one.)

Ummmmmm, this is really a clusterfuck of food safety, water quality and animal welfare issues, all rolled into something that I should try not to compare to wartime atrocities. We (animal welfare promoters) need some kind of metric for animal cruelty that doesn't hysterically invoke Nazis and Stalin, but damn if I know what it is. It's just dumping live animals in the ground and letting them suffocate, I guess. If that doesn't disturb someone on its own, then PETA rhetoric probably won't help.

Culling is not unusual in Korea (video)
Lots of photos (website in Korean)
Protests in Seoul against the culling

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A new way to experience art and nature

I just read this:
Geerat Vermeij, a biologist at the University of California-Davis who has been blind since the age of 3, has identified many new species of mollusks based on tiny variations in the contours of their shells. He uses a sort of spatial or tactile giftedness that is beyond what any sighted person is likely to have. (link to article)
This raises several interesting ideas for me. First off, how do people blind from birth decide what to do with their lives in not-blind culture and society? If everyone were blind then blind-culture would simply be culture. But instead they have to adapt to our culture—and blindness in not-blind culture is considered a limitation.* But clearly blind people should be out on the beach stroking mollusks with their super-fingers, or whatever other occupation that can stand in as a metaphor for.