When Alice Dietz moved to a neighborhood that was teeming with feral cats, she started utilizing the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program to help. TNR helps control the overall population of cats, reducing the number of cats that wind up in the overburdened sheltering system and ensuring cats on the street are as safe and healthy as possible. Alice’s work has also led her to rescue friendly cats who were dumped as well as cats trapped in hoarding conditions.
I spoke with Alice about her work to help feral cats using the TNR program and the challenges she’s faced finding foster and adoptive homes for cats.
SuperVegan: How did you get started with TNR?
Alice Dietz: Feral cats first came to my attention about two years ago when I moved to Crown Heights, Brooklyn, a neighborhood I now know has scores of feral cats. The reasons for this are many, but it largely comes from generations of irresponsible, or uninformed, pet owners who don’t spay or neuter their cats. When the cat “comes of age,” and goes into heat or starts spraying, at about 4 months of age, out the animal goes, “dumped” by the pet owner onto the street. Of course soon come the kittens, born outside, feral, un-socialized to humans. And these cats, domesticated animals dependent on people, are caught between being “wild,” and not wild enough. They do their best to survive, but the task is a daunting one for them, and generally speaking, it is a grim one. Continue Reading…
On Monday, July 26th, a low budget animal lib film screening at Anthology Film Archives became a fascinatingly larger phenomenon. Animal welfare personalities like Moby and Russell Simmons appeared, tons of disparate vegan groups showed up to table across the entire theater (the star being a rescued beagle from Azopharma’s animal testing laboratory who tabled for W.A.R.), and AR legend Andy Stepanian gave a speech in full ski mask gear about compassion in the face of animal testing horrors that made people weep openly. Needless to say, this type of thing doesn’t usually happen when a low budget, non-distributed, independent film about animal rights screens in the East Village. So why did it happen this time? In a nutshell, people flocked to the sold-out show because they heard it was excellent enough to warrant such a turnout, and they realized it was way past due for a film like it to be made and seen.
Interestingly, there was never before a professionally-made narrative feature film about the growing world of animal liberation groups. Despite the sheer amount of political attention and defense budget that the Bush administration devoted to animal welfare groups, and despite the impressively unconstitutional nature of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act passed during the Bush era, scifi/horror movies like 12 Monkeys or 28 Days Later were the closest anyone’s come to an ALF movie. Enter Bold Native. Continue Reading…
This weekend’s going to rock your veggie world, if you’re into that sorta thing! Veggie Prom is tonight, followed by a post-prom potluck picnic at Central Park. Finally, the Veggie Pride Parade rounds out the weekend Sunday starting at 11 a.m. in the Meatpacking district.
Hungry after all the parading, yes? Z Pizza‘s got vegan slices this weekend, starting today! That means no more staring in their window wishing you had friends to go in on a pie with you, and no aging pizza in your fridge. (But leftover pizza is the best, no joke!)
Jonathan Horowitz’s art exhibit at a former meat locker in the Village called “Go Vegan!” looks brilliant. Have you been? What’d ya think?
At least two carriage horses have crashed in the last two weeks, Gothamist reports. It’s been just a month since the City Council approved changes to the carriage horse industry that support more humane treatment of the horses, but the new legislation does nothing to protect horses from injury due to crashes. Hey, it looks like you can’t make carriage-hauling safe or humane for horses unless you eliminate it entirely. News. Flash.
The LA Times blog’s “L.A. Unleashed” column has a snappy animal round-up of its own: Labradoodle breeder’s regrets, gray whale in Israel, and researchers hurt mice to see the looks on their faces. Guh.
Remember when Compassion Over Killing encouraged us to enter Dunkin’ Donuts’s “Create Dunkin’s Next Donut Contest,” and asked us to share our vegan creations with them? They’ve picked their favorite 12 contestants’ dreamed-up sweets and will make one of those dreams come true! Vote for your favorite by next Friday, May 21 (and you’ll be entered to win one of 10 prizes, too). Vegan Treats will produce the winning doughnut, which will be announced in June. I will take a box of each!
The Supreme Court today struck down a law against selling videos that show animal cruelty, voting 8-1, the AP reported.
“The justices threw out the criminal conviction of Robert Stevens of Pittsville, Va., who was sentenced to three years in prison for videos he made about pit bull fights,” an AP reporter writes. “…Stevens ran a business and Web site that sold videos of pit bull fights. He is among a handful of people prosecuted under the animal cruelty law.”
According to the AP’s report, the assenting justices voted in favor of striking down the law, which was enacted in 1999 to prevent the making and selling of crush videos, to avoid limiting free speech. “[Chief Justice John] Roberts said the law could be read to allow the prosecution of the producers of films about hunting. And he scoffed at the administration’s assurances that it would only apply the law to depictions of extreme cruelty.”
Does it not violate the spirit of the constitution if free speech comes at the expense of life? And perhaps a ban on videos that glorify the cowardly practice of shooting an unarmed, unassuming creature with an automatic weapon is, in fact, a positive, if unpopular, application of the law.
The single dissenting judge, Justice Samuel Alito, told the AP that the ruling might spur a new wave of crush videos because it has “the practical effect of legalizing the sale of such videos.” That is not to mention the sale of dog-, cock-, and bull-fighting videos, all of which promote cruelty as sport.
Roberts implied that this might be an opportunity for lawmakers to draft new legislation that will specifically ban filming and selling crush videos and other depictions of “extreme” cruelty. But who decides what amount of cruelty is acceptable? To me and many readers of this blog, hunting, fishing, and even butchering and some cooking videos constitute irresponsible depiction of extreme, unnecessary cruelty and exploitation. As god-awful annoying as those Got Milk? commercials are insomuch as they bring to mind the miserable lives of dairy cows, I’m willing to concede that those less direct implications of animal cruelty needn’t be banned. But why must we recoil at the broader applications of a law that was apparently pointing us toward more aware and rational conclusions?
As of this decision, there is no protection for animals filmed being brutalized, and no punishment for those who profit off filming the brutalization of animals. Contact your representative to politely and firmly ask for a law that protects animals from starring in “films” depicting their own cruelty.