About My Blog.

Welcome! This is "Catatonic Digressions."
Most, if not all readers don't understand my blog's title. It's an old inside joke from a forum long gone. I was going to change it, but since it's been "confusing" for so long, I decided to leave it. Don't worry about what it means, the content of the blog is what is important.

Unfortunately, my blog isn't what I set out for it to be. A disturbed and manic online stalker and cyberbully has made it impossible for me to post about family, my son, life in my part of New York...so I stopped (for the most part), and I mostly reblog and repost what I feel is important, necessary or close to my heart. As for the stalking sociopath, she can go to hell for harassing me and my family since mid-2008. You can't scare me offline with a few lame threats and dozens of pages of defamation, abuse, depravity and libel. I'm bitchy like that. ;)
(Anyone who knows me knows I'm not actually a bitch, but let's allow this psychopath to think I'm a bitch to her blackened heart's content—it seems to make her feel she has some sort of control over me…and it does not.)

If you read a story and you feel moved in any way, comment. Comments are more than welcome.

Unlike those online who lie and hide behind fake photos and insanely fabricated stories, I'm a real person. I'm real and I don't pretend to be someone I'm not. After years of putting up with online abuse by manipulative, pathological liars, attention whores or narcissists, I've had it. Don't bother me with pathetic drama. I have no time for these types of people and their need to absorb others' time and attention.

Feel free to email me if you have a story or cause you would like shared, especially if it pertains to animal rights, liberation, veganism, animal welfare, health and well-being, geekery, Macs and computer dorkiness, music, lowbrow art, kitchy stuff, skateboards, the beach, swimming, diving, NYC, beading (it's my hobby), recipes (love to cook, especially if I made the recipe up myself!), VEGAN!, ALF, Sea Shepherd, Action for Animals, NIO, 269Life and/or anything you think I might enjoy or others might—you never know. It doesn't always have to be serious. Hilarious stories, local NY, funny videos or photos, photobombs (especially if they contain pets!)...I might be partially censored, but I'm not closed down!

Please, join Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and follow them and The Barbi Twins on Twitter and Facebook.

For the Oceans,
Suzanne

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Damn Hunger Games on the Columbia River

The Damn Hunger Games on the Columbia River

May 31, 2012

The Damn Hunger Games on the Columbia River

Commentary by Captain Paul Watson

A Sea Lion painfully branded by government workers for monitoring. Photo: Erwin VermeulenA Sea Lion painfully branded by government workers for monitoring. Photo: Erwin VermeulenSince taking on the issue of defending the sea lions at the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, Sea Shepherd has received some nasty hate mail and criticisms from some members of the public.
My favorites are the ones that say, “I supported you in defending the whales and the dolphins but I don’t support you with defending sea lions.”
The comments refer to our campaign with adjectives like  “misguided, stupid, irresponsible etc, etc.”
According to some of these critics Sea Shepherd does not care about the endangered salmon and sea lions are abundant and sea lions belong in the sea and not in the river and numerous other complaints from the advocates of lethal solutions to what they perceive as a problem.
Some of our supporters say they won’t support us anymore in our efforts to protect whales, dolphins and other marine species because they disagree with our campaign to defend sea lions.
“You won’t get another dime from me because of this misguided campaign to save sea lions.” One angry apparently former donor said.
My answer is simply this. “Keep your damn dime, we do not compromise on representing our clients because of money and our clientele includes the California Sea Lion and the Stellar Sea Lion and popular or not, we will not abandon their interests simply because a few humans don’t like them.”
Sea Shepherd understands perfectly that salmon are endangered and we also understand that they are not endangered because of Sea Lions. More salmon are killed in the turbines of the dam than by Sea Lions. Native fishermen, commercial fishermen, sport fishermen take far more salmon from the Columbia River run than the Sea Lion. Pollution kills more salmon than the Sea Lions.
The Sea Lion is being scapegoated because they are (1) convenient, (2) they don’t vote, (3) killing them gives an appearance that the salmon are being protected and (4) the government bureaucrats are simply too damn lazy to deal with the problem in a positive and ecologically efficient manner.
The salmon can be saved by (1) tearing down the destructive damn, (2) banning commercial fishing, (3) banning sport fishing and (4) banning native fishing. And since none of these solutions will be acceptable politically or economically, the bureaucrats have opted for the illusion of a solution by killing a few Sea Lions.
The Sea Lions eat between 1% and 4% of the salmon. The fishermen take 17% and the dam kills another 17%. Cutting the fishermen’s take by 4% would offset the take by the Sea Lions.
The Sea Lions have a greater right to the salmon than fishermen, native or non-native because the Sea Lions were established in this area and feeding on salmon tens of thousands of years prior to any human settlement in the Americas.
The biggest salmon killer of all, the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River. Photo: Erwin VermeulenThe biggest salmon killer of all, the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River.
Photo: Erwin Vermeulen
For those who think that the Sea Lions are invading the Columbia River basin, it may be worth noting that Lewis and Clark reported Sea Lions feeding on salmon far upstream at the foot of Celilo Falls along with the Black and Grizzly bears whose take is now non-existent.
I would argue that the right of a Sea Lion to catch a salmon should take precedence over any human take of salmon because Sea Lions have a prior claim and they are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. They are also completely dependent upon fish for survival.
The established requirements for aboriginal whaling, fishing and sealing require two established facts. First, an unbroken tradition, and second, a subsistence necessity. The Sea Lions have an unbroken tradition of hunting salmon on the Columbia River and they have a subsistence need.
Why should nearly 500 Sea Lions be massacred so that humans can catch salmon for sport?
The argument that the salmon are endangered is negated by the fact that humans are allowed to fish for them. Under the Endangered Species Act fishing would be prohibited if in fact the salmon were listed as endangered.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is very concerned about the salmon and we advocate the prohibition of sport and commercial fishing in order to allow both the salmon and the Sea Lions to survive.
Killing the Sea Lions is not a solution. The vacuum created by the deaths of 500 Sea Lions will bring even more Sea Lions to the area because the Sea Lions established in the area have contested and won the ground to claim possession of the fish. Even younger Sea Lions will move in to contest the territory, which will lead to further demands for their slaughter.
There is not a single human being who will starve if denied fishing rights. The Sea Lions however have no alternative. Hunger drives them up the river and hunger drives them to risk the government death squad mobilized to destroy them.
All up and down the Pacific Coast humans have driven Sea Lions from their natural habitats. We harass them when they come ashore, we shoot them simply because they are hungry, we steal the food from their mouths in the sea and the rivers, and we flush our sewage and our chemical waste into their habitats and then we use them for scapegoats to give the illusion that the government is concerned about protecting the salmon.
What the bureaucrats are doing is not protecting salmon. What they are doing is whoring for votes at the behest of the politicians who want the fishermen’s vote.
Sea Lions in a trap, potentially to be euthanized shortly after.Sea Lions in a trap, potentially to be euthanized shortly after.And to make matters even more bizarre is the fact that any attempt to interfere with the protection of the Sea Lions or to interfere with the traps will be considered an act of terrorism because of the proximity of the Bonneville Dam. Save a Sea Lion, go to Gitmo!
So the Sea Shepherd Dam Guardians are there to oppose the slaughter of the Sea Lions non-violently and legally. We are supporting the Humane Society of the United States in their legal challenge to the killing and we are there to focus international attention on this shameful scapegoating of a species that has every right to be where it is, doing what it is doing.
So to those who say they will no longer support us because we are defending Sea Lions, our position is that we do not need your support. We are not an organization that pretends to be all things to all people. Our support base may be human but our clients are marine species from the plankton to the great whales with no exceptions in between.
There is no amount of money that can deter us from a 100% allegiance to our clients in the sea.  We are not here to make people feel good. We exist to be effective and effectiveness means saving lives and defending biodiversity and the protection of marine habitats.
It also means taking unpopular stands, saying things that people may not like to hear and doing things that some people would rather we not do.
This may well be an unpopular stand with some people but the position of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is that we oppose the killing of Sea Lions by the United States government in the waters of the Columbia River.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Law Takes Precedence Over Justice in Germany

The Law Takes Precedence Over Justice in Germany

May 29, 2012

The Law Takes Precedence Over Justice in Germany


Commentary by Captain Paul Watson

Captain Paul Watson in Antarctica during the most recent Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign, Operation Divine Wind, which successfully saved 768 whales from a horrific death.  Photo:  Billy DangerI remain a prisoner in Germany in a case that has become highly unusual, controversial and international.
On May 13th, 2012, I was arrested at Frankfurt airport in Germany because in October 2011, Costa Rica issued an order for my arrest and extradition for an incident that had taken place in 2002.

That incident involved a confrontation between the Sea Shepherd crew and a poaching vessel that we caught finning sharks in Guatemalan waters. We were given permission to intervene to stop the killing of the sharks by the Guatemalan government. No one was injured and there was no property damage but the Costa Rican poachers accused us of endangering their lives.

And 10 years later I found myself arrested in Germany because of this complaint.

Even more strange is that I had traveled extensively between October 2011 and the present, including trips to Europe and had not been arrested. That was because Interpol had dismissed the extradition warrant as being politically motivated. But for reasons unexplained Germany had not dismissed the warrant despite Interpol's dismissal.

Germany does not have an extradition treaty with Costa Rica but insists they can extradite to Costa Rica if they decide to so.

Is it a coincidence that Japan launched a civil lawsuit against Sea Shepherd in October 2011 when they were granted $30 million U.S. dollars from the Tsunami Earthquake Relief Fund to be used to protect the Japanese whaling fleet from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society?

Is it a coincidence that Costa Rican President Chinchilla paid a visit to the Prime Minister of Japan in December 2011?

It is a coincidence that President Chinchilla visited Germany ten days after my arrest because she had no way of knowing I would be arrested and my arrest actually caused her problems and distractions she would have rather not had during her visit to Germany.

It was unusual that I was granted bail in a country that does not provide for the possibility of a bond for prisoners held for extradition.

It was unusual that the Costa Rican Foreign Minister requested a meeting with me during his visit to Germany with the President of Costa Rica.

It was unusual that the President of Costa Rica publicly made a statement that I would get a fair trial in Costa Rica.  This statement alone implies that there were reasons to suspect that I would not get a fair trial in Costa Rica.

I believe that if given the opportunity to present our documentation, evidence and witnesses in a Costa Rican court that I would be found not guilty.

I told the Costa Rican Foreign Minster that I would return to Costa Rica voluntarily with my defense team if a trial date was set but I felt it was unfair to imprison me in Costa Rica until a trial date is set because that could take months or even years.

I also told the Costa Rican Foreign Minister that Sea Shepherd wants to work with Costa Rica to protect sharks and to protect the Cocos Island National Park Marine Reserve.

I don`t think that Germany or Costa Rica anticipated the international response of support for my position. Dozens of demonstrations around the world before German Embassies, 400 demonstrators in Berlin to greet the Costa Rican President, a statement from the President of the Brazilian Senate calling for my release, statements from celebrities worldwide, support from the European Parliament, threats to boycott tourism to Costa Rica.

Our legal team has filed a motion to dismiss the charges based on errors in the warrant.

If the motion is not granted, Costa Rica has 90 days to provide the file to the German authorities requesting extradition.

So I could be free to leave Germany in a few days, a few weeks or three months or if we lose the case then I would be forcefully extradited to Costa Rica OR if I lose the case, the German government can intervene politically to prevent the extradition.

All and all it seems like a great deal of effort to go to because a couple of shark finning fishermen who were not hurt nor had their property damaged had made a complaint.

Meanwhile nothing ever happened to the Captain of the Shonan Maru 2 for destroying the 1.5 million dollar Ady Gil and almost killing 8 people and injuring one of them. There is no extradition order for him, no arrest warrant – nothing!

Why?

Because the law is there to protect those who profit from exploiting the oceans and not for those who work to protect the oceans.

Whatever happens, there is one undeniably positive outcome of this entire incident and that is that worldwide attention is being focused on shark finning and the horrific massacre of tens of millions of sharks every year and for what?

For a bowl of soup!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mouthwatering Vegan Baked Macaroni Madness

This recipe is from Mouthwatering Vegan Recipes™by Miriam Sorrell. It's so delicious I have to share it. Please click the link and visit her website. There's so many recipes, you'll want to try them all.

http://mouthwateringvegan.com
I'd come across this one while looking for a macaroni dish for my son Harry, who is 5 years old. As long as I hide "the green stuff," he likes it...a lot. I'm going to get the ingredients for her Peanut Butter and Date Cappucino and share that with Harry. He's a peanut butter freak and this looks like the perfect special treat.


Mouthwatering Vegan Baked Macaroni Madness

Slide1
This is no ordinary macaroni by any standards.  I specialize in various different types of macaroni bakes – but today, I lost the plot in the kitchen as I was resolute in my decision to create the best ever baked macaroni in the universe.  How was I going to do this ?  I guess, by believing I had the tools and the “mind-taste” synchrony on my side – and today the culinary Midas touch was abundant in me, and about me.  The result – in a word, SUBLIME !
INGREDIENTS FOR THE SAUCE
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • olive oil for frying
  • 1 cup chopped porcini mushrooms
  • 2 cups soya mince, or other vegan mince of your choice (OR 2 cups chopped pecan nuts)
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • a little fresh thyme
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 10 Greek or Cypriot black olives (the salted ones), pitted & chopped (optional)
  • 2 cups spinach
  • ½ cup red pepper, finely chopped
  • paprika for dusting on top of the dish before baking
  • extra olive oil
  • extra vegan cheese of your choice
  • 400g ribbed macaroni (rigatoni or tortiglioni), boiled & then rinsed in cold water, then set aside in a large bowl.
INGREDIENTS FOR TOPPING
  • 2 parsnips, chopped into small squares. Steam until a little soft, then set aside until cooled.
WHITE ‘CHEESE’ SAUCE INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup soya cream, or other thin vegan cream of your choice (preferably not nut milk, as it over thickens)
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup of vegan grated melting cheese
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground garlic
METHOD FOR THE WHITE ‘CHEESE SAUCE’
Just place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.  Then heat up in a small casserole until it thickens nicely – it needs to be a medium thick consistency, not a blob, so you can still manage to pour it.
Optional extra grated fake parmesan cheese :
(for topping on the dish or for serving at table)
  • ½ cup of mixed cashews & almonds
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • a little salt to taste
Mix together in the food processor, and use as grated cheese.
METHOD FOR THE SAUCE
Heat up your oil in a large non-stick pan, add the onion, and stir for a minute until cooked.  Then add the chilli, garlic and your mushrooms, whilst continuing to stir.   Now add in the vegan mince (or crushed pecan nuts), mix, then add the coriander seeds and curry powder, and continue mixing.
Next, add in the spinach and red peppers – lower the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.  Then add the remaining sauce ingredients.  Taste for salt, as it will need some.
Finally, grease a deep oven-proof dish (minimum 3” deep), tip your macaroni into the sauce, and give it a good old toss, making sure everything has blended well.
Place half the macaroni mix into your dish, then pour over all your white sauce on top of it, sprinkle a handful of parsnips in at this point, and place some more vegan cheese dotted around the dish.
Now add the remaining macaroni, then add the remaining parsnips on top with your hands, drizzle on some olive oil, and sprinkle some more salt, paprika, and a little more thyme if you like.  Also, turn a few pieces of macaroni outwards to face north – to stand up vertically, as per my pics.  They will likely slightly burn, but they will be crunchy and very yummy – I only have them like this once in a blue moon, but they’re worth it !
Bake in a hot oven (200C) for 40 minutes, or until dark golden on top.
Serve with a plain herb green salad of your choice.
MMMMMmmelt and Enjoy !!!!
All recipes, content & design © Miriam Sorrell mouthwateringvegan.com 2010
These are free recipes for your pleasure – all we ask in return is that you take a few moments to leave a constructive comment !

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

S.O.S. - Your help needed now - We only have only a few hours to Free Paul Watson

PLEASE Tweet, Share on Facebook, Blog and share this!



Dear Friend of Sea Shepherd,
All hands on deck! Captain Paul Watson has been arrested in Germany and may be extradited to Costa Rica where he will face a politically motivated, unfair trial — unless you help!

We have 15 hours to make our case to Germany's Federal Minister of Justice. Her name is Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger. She is the only person in the world who can step in to overturn the decision of the lower courts in Germany and keep Captain Watson from being extradited to Costa Rica. If she does not make this decision in the next 15 hours, Captain Watson will be held in jail in Germany for 90 days pending an appeal process prior to his extradition.

We cannot allow Captain Watson to be extradited to Costa Rica or be held in a German prison for 90 days. He has too much work to do for the oceans!

Please be respectful in your communications and contact the Federal Minister of Justice.

Sea Shepherd has many upcoming hurdles to face — in the water and in the courtroom. We will not stand down in the face of corruption and greed. In addition to contacting the Federal Minister of Justice, please make a donation to keep us afloat. We depend on you.

For the oceans,

Sea Shepherd HQ

P.S. We have written a sample letter and given you theMinister's contact information on our website. Don't delay. Your help is needed now to #FreePaulWatson.


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Monday, May 14, 2012

Sea Shepherd: Update on the Arrest of Captain Watson: Day 2 in Custody

CaptSea Shepherd :: Update on the Arrest of Captain Watson: Day 2 in Custody

May 14, 2012

Update on the Arrest of Captain Watson: Day 2 in Custody

Captain Paul Watson defending the whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, as the Japanese factory ship, Nisshin Maru, lurks nearby. Photo: Barbara VeigaCaptain Paul Watson defending the whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, as the Japanese factory ship, Nisshin Maru, lurks nearby. Photo: Barbara VeigaCaptain Watson remains in the custody of German authorities as of Monday, May 14th.  A German judge in the lower courts of Frankfurt has refused to release Captain Watson, instead saying that the German court would like to confirm that Costa Rica wants Captain Watson extradited to their country.  The German legal council representing Captain Watson includes Oliver Wallasch and Alexander Gruner.  Sea Shepherd operatives continue to work around the clock in Europe and Latin America in order to determine the true reasons behind Costa Rica’s warrant.
The warrant for Captain Watson’s arrest was issued in Costa Rica in October of 2011, curiously close to the time that the Institute for Cetacean Research (ICR) filed their civil suit against Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in the United States.  The question remains, what prompted Costa Rica to issue an arrest warrant for Captain Watson in October of 2011?
INTERPOL has issued a statement on their website citing that they will not publish a Red Notice seeking the arrest of Captain Watson because their Office of Legal Affairs is not satisfied that the request from Costa Rica is in compliance with INTERPOL’s Constitutions and Rules. Hopefully the German courts will come to the same conclusion soon and set Captain Watson free.
As Sea Shepherd becomes increasingly more effective at protecting marine wildlife globally, the enemies of the oceans are using all their resources to stop us.  Currently Sea Shepherd is under legal attack from all parts of the globe and each case represents the very biodiversity we strive to protect.  In the UK Sea Shepherd is currently battling a lawsuit brought by seafood brokers Fish & Fish regarding Bluefin Tuna.  In the United States we have the civil suit brought forth by the ICR concerning anti-whaling activities in the Southern Ocean, and now with Captain Watson’s detainment in Germany (via Costa Rica’s arrest warrant) which we believe stems from Sea Shepherd victories in curbing shark finning on the high seas.  No matter the country or the court system, Captain Watson will not be intimidated, and he will not stop until marine life and ecosystems are given the protection they deserve.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sea Shepherd: Captain Paul Watson Arrested In Frankfurt, Germany on Warrant Issued by Costa Rica

Sea Shepherd :: Captain Paul Watson Arrested In Frankfurt, Germany on Warrant Issued by Costa Rica

May 13, 2012

Captain Paul Watson Arrested In Frankfurt, Germany on Warrant Issued by Costa Rica

Photo: Tim WattersPhoto: Tim WattersCaptain Paul Watson was arrested yesterday in Germany for extradition to Costa Rica.  The German police have said that the warrant for Captain Watson’s arrest is in response to an alleged violation of ships traffic in Costa Rica, which occurred during the filming of Sharkwater in 2002.  The specific “violation of ships traffic” incident took place on the high seas in Guatemalan waters, when Sea Shepherd encountered an illegal shark finning operation, run by a Costa Rican ship called the Varadero.  On order of the Guatemalan authorities, Sea Shepherd instructed the crew of the Varadero to cease their shark finning activities and head back to port to be prosecuted.  While escorting theVaradero back to port, the tables were turned and a Guatemalan gunboat was dispatched to intercept the Sea Shepherd crew.  The crew of the Varadero accused the Sea Shepherds of trying to kill them, while the video evidence proves this to be a fallacy.  To avoid the Guatemalan gunboat, Sea Shepherd then set sail for Costa Rica, where they uncovered even more illegal shark finning activities in the form of dried shark fins by the thousands on the roofs of industrial buildings.
Conservationists around the world maintain hope that the Costa Ricans will drop the charges against Captain Watson.  There is also a chance that the charges have already been dropped, but Sea Shepherd has been unable to confirm that with the Costa Rican officials. With Costa Rica’s rich biodiversity, it would be a travesty for them not to stand up for sharks, which sit at the highest levels of the food chain assuring balance among ecological communities in the ocean.
While in jail, Captain Watson is being assisted by the European Parliament Vice President Daniel Cohn Bendit and the European deputy Jose Bove.  Our hope is that these two honorable gentlemen can set Captain Watson free before this nonsense goes any further.  The European Sea Shepherds have also mobilized to support Captain Watson.
As the plight of the sharks becomes more desperate, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has begun to outline a new shark campaign for 2012. Julie Andersen, founder of Shark Savers and Shark Angels, has joined Sea Shepherd to lead our global campaign to save sharks from extinction.
Sea Shepherd will use its expertise and experience, as well as media savvy, to empower people around the world to take back their sharks – an animal critical to their, as well as the global, environment and economy.
Sea Shepherd is offering its assistance to countries around the world to enforce international and local laws, end ruthless poaching, patrol marine sanctuaries under attack, implement high tech defenses, and empower locals through training and the provision of resources to take on the battle. Sea Shepherd will also fight a war of public opinion, changing everything we know about an animal most despised.
The first stop will be the South Pacific, where the team will be headed in June.
“We’ve got all the laws we need to protect sharks. Now we will leverage our resources and expertise to help countries around the globe enforce them. Using Galapagos as a model, we will travel wherever we are needed - enforcing local laws while developing strategies and training locals to defend their sharks, fueling world-wide enforcement efforts.” - Julie Andersen, Shark Campaign Director

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

New Yorkers: If you do not want the Amy Paulin Quick Kill bill to become law, you must take action


New Yorkers: If you do not want the Amy Paulin Quick Kill bill to become law, you must take action...
2 Quick Clicks to stop the Quick Kill bill: 

Paulin in trying to do an end run around the process by having NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver take the bill directly to the floor. Please ask him (politely) not to do so. We've made it very easy for you: http://bit.ly/AEHufj

In addition, please contact the cosponsors of the bill and ask them to withdraw their support. Once again, all you have to do is click and send:http://bit.ly/JeOdEb 
There is text provided for you, but as always adding your own heartfelt and polite message is always more effective. For more info: http://tl.gd/hb4rnu



No Kill Numerology

May 7, 2012 by  
In 2000, the Mayor’s Alliance for New York City’s Animals announced a five year plan to make New York City shelters No Kill by 2005. As the campaign commenced, surrounded by lots of fanfare and millions of dollars flowing into the coffers of the groups involved, the Mayor’s Alliance was telling people they were “on track” to achieve it. Privately, they realized they were failing.
In 2003, aware that the goal would not be met, they announced a new five year plan, promising No Kill in New York City by 2008. Millions of dollars more continued to flow through their coffers and once again, the Mayor’s Alliance was publicly assuring anyone who would listen that they were “on track,” their go-to catch-phrase. Privately, they again they understood they were failing. In 2007, they announced yet a new five year plan, promising No Kill by 2012. And, yet again, despite public assurances they were “on track,” in 2010—as if the previous three five year plans were never announced—they announced the fourth five year plan (rebranding the third as a “ten year” plan) promising No Kill in New York City by 2015. Once again, they claim to be “on track” to achieve it, even while the New York City municipal shelter system was then and is now a den of rampant neglect, abuse, and systematic killing.
Anyone familiar with the systematic culture of failure (by design) of the New York City pound system, and the callous indifference of groups like the Mayor’s Alliance and ASPCA, knows that 2015 will also come and go, and far from No Kill, the groups will announce a new five year No Kill plan; and whatever the results, the private acknowledgment of failure will be ignored in favor of the public claims that they will be “on track” to achieve it at some new date in the future. No matter, with resources coming in from the ever-willing-to-help animal-loving American public, to groups like the Mayor’s Alliance and ASPCA there’s no downside.
In fact, while the Mayor’s Alliance is taking in millions by claiming a serial string of five year plans, other groups are realizing that claiming a five year plan to No Kill will not only fend off criticism about killing today—kicking the can of accountability into the future—but is very lucrative. As a result, they are announcing five year plans of their own, promising the public that the light is at the end of the five-year tunnel, if the public just digs deeper and donates more. Not to be outdone, Maddie’s Fund is also claiming—as part of its own cycle of fail-to-deliver five year plans—that the whole nation will be No Kill by 2015; that every single shelter in every single community in every single state will have ended the killing of healthy and treatable animals by achieving save rates of roughly 95%.
Like New York City (as well as Contra Costa County in California, the entire state of Utah, the City of Los Angeles, San Antonio, Texas, Maricopa County in Arizona, and everywhere else that we’ve been promised a five year plan to No Kill), it won’t happen. It won’t happen in New York City (at least under the current leadership), it won’t happen in other communities promising five year plans for success, and it won’t happen nationally by 2015. In fact, it has never happened.
Not because it can’t happen; it can. We can be a No Kill nation today. Five year No Kill plans don’t work because they are not supposed to. They are nothing more than a means of stifling criticism or raising money by creating the impression that plans are underway that will someday bring the killing to an end. Meanwhile, the action necessary to actually make No Kill happen—reforming the shelter—is never taken. People are asked to spay/neuter more, to adopt more, not to surrender their animals, and here’s the rub—to donate a lot more—but the shelter is let off the hook. In fact, as part of the five year collaboration, you can’t even criticize or ask for policy, program, or personnel changes at the shelter, because even though this is very place where the needless killing occurs, we are now told they are a “partner” in the five year No Kill plan. And so the five years come and go and the killing continues, while those involved keep their fingers crossed that everyone has forgotten the empty promises that made them very rich in the process, so at the end of five years, they can start the whole process over again.
The truth is it doesn’t take five years to implement alternatives to killing. It doesn’t take five years to set up a foster program, to recruit volunteers, or to set up offsite adoption venues. All of these things can be done in a matter of days, weeks, months, whatever needs dictate to prevent killing. No Kill requires action, not endless planning and five years of fundraising. In fact, the communities across the country that have ended the killing of healthy and treatable animals, saving well in excess of 90% of all intakes, did so virtually overnight; as new leadership took over the shelter and did what the former refused to do: comprehensively implement alternatives to killing.
Austin, Texas, for example, has a higher per capita intake rate than Los Angeles which recently embraced yet another five year plan to No Kill. Unlike Los Angeles, city council members in Austin gave shelter leadership a maximum of two years, removed the director who was the primary roadblock to No Kill success, and unanimously embraced a shelter reform plan to mandate the programs and services of the No Kill Equation. It took a few short months following the forced departure of the ASPCA-backed regressive director to achieve a better than 90% save rate. Not five years. Not even the two years allotted by the Austin City Council. It happened virtually overnight because a great thing happens when you remove a regressive director, reform the shelter, and put in place alternatives to the killing: the killing stops. And it has happened across the country.
Los Angeles has a per capita intake rate that is one-fourth that of Washoe County, Nevada, which achieved No Kill within a year of its initiative. New York, with its endless parade of failed five year plans, has still not achieved it despite having the single largest adoption market in the nation and a per capita intake rate one-eighth of Washoe County. Unlike Los Angeles and New York, Washoe County is not the center of our nation’s wealth. It does not have organizations taking in tens of millions of dollars per year. But New York does. And so does Los Angeles. Like New York, Los Angeles is home to tremendous wealth and resources. And Los Angeles has one of the most generously funded shelter systems in the nation. With 9,452 dogs killed and 13,467 cats killed in 2011 in a city of 3.8 million people, the achievement of a No Kill Los Angeles should be achieved this year. In fact, comparing adoption rates with Reno and adjusting for population, Los Angeles City shelters should be adopting out 87,000 animals a year, more than total impounds. So why should it take five times as long with a fraction of the problem?
Because five years is a mighty long time—just long enough for memories of bold promises of No Kill to fade and be forgotten; and just long enough for the needless body county of animals to sew such despair that another promised five year plan will again be greeted with enthusiasm and support; enthusiasm and support that will result in lots and lots of money.
For further reading:

In the Arms of the Angel of Death

May 8, 2012 by  
The healthy 3-week old kitten was delivered to the ASPCA, probably by a Good Samaritan who found him. Perhaps, they saw the commercial, heard the Sarah McLachlan song “In the arms of an angel,”
In the arms of an angel
Fly away from here
From this dark cold … room
And the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage
Of your silent reverie
You’re in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort here;
knew that by taking him to the organization that bills itself as the animals’ “voice,” whose revenues exceed $140,000,000 a year making it one of the wealthiest overall charities in the nation and the single richest SPCA in America, the kitten would be safe.
After all, the ASPCA has more resources than it knows what to do with. So many resources, in fact, that they could afford to pay their CEO over half a million dollars a year, even provide him a driver to get him around Manhattan. And only a few short days away from eating on his own, with a full-service medical hospital named after the great Henry Bergh staffed by a team of veterinarians and hundreds of employees, the kitten was surely safe.
Maybe the Good Samaritan even wrote a donation check, to thank the ASPCA for taking in the kitten. It is not uncommon. And the ASPCA could then use that money to buy formula, the bottle, some cotton balls to help stimulate the kitten to go to the bathroom if he was not yet doing so on his own. It was just one kitten. Even if he didn’t write a check, no matter, the ASPCA could afford it. It would cost peanuts:
  1. Bottle of powdered KMR: $12.99
  2. Kitten bottle: $5.19
  3. Cotton balls: $1.39
  4. Heating pad: $13.49
  5. Towel: donated
Only $33.06 to save this kitten’s life; a mere fraction of the revenues: 0.00000002% to be exact. They’d make that back in interest before the kitten needed his next feeding. Yes, the kitten was safe. And not only did he have the animals’ “voice” protecting him, he had a veritable army: the largest, wealthiest, and most powerful army in the animal protection world.
According to Maddie’s Fund, New York City and its shelters are a “national model.” They’ve given over $25,000,000 to arm it. Best Friends also claims it is a model of compassion, “well on its way to meeting its no-kill goals.” They opened up an office in New York City. The Mayor’s Alliance for New York City’s Animals boasts that the City does not kill healthy animals—under “Health Issues,” the kitten’s record is marked “None”—and claims they are “on track” for achieving No Kill. And since they’ve been “on track” for 11 years, surely they’ve built the ultimate safety net for healthy motherless neonatals with all those tens of millions they’ve taken in. Even HSUS has an office there. Combined, the four organizations with fundraising offices in New York City—ASPCA, HSUS, Mayor’s Alliance, and Best Friends—take in over $320,000,000 per year. The kitten just needs 0.00000001% of the total take. In fact, they could fundraise off the kitten and make that back ten fold; a hundred fold; even a million fold.
And why shouldn’t that kitten be safe? After all, there are No Kill communities which have per capita intake rates ten times higher than the City. Add the largest adoption market in the nation to one of the lowest per capita intake rates; add to that that the City is the center of the nation’s wealth; top it off with New York City being the most cosmopolitan and progressive community in the U.S. and the center of the Western World, and there is absolutely NOTHING that could and would stand in the way of the bright future this kitten has to look forward to.
The sky has parted, providence is bathing the world in sunshine, and one tiny little kitten is in the arms of an angel. Check that. He’s not just in the arms of an angel, the entirety of the heavens has opened up to protect him. He’s got a fleet of angels—Maddie’s Fund, the ASPCA, HSUS, Best Friends, the Mayor’s Alliance, even the “model” city shelter—all there to protect this little baby kitten because he is healthy, has his whole life ahead of him, and all of them are in New York City raising money promising to protect little kittens like him. They all tell us they believe in No Kill and they all tell us they are No Kill “experts,” and they all tell us that every single last one of them is dedicated to saving lives. And this one is easy, a no-brainer; saving-lives-for-dummies. No surgery, no heroic efforts, just your run of the mill, garden variety need for a volunteer, some powdered milk, a five-inch plastic bottle, and a little TLC.
Two hours later, the kitten is dead.
Under orders from Ed Sayres and his team, the kitten was taken to the city pound to be killed. The pound would oblige. Less than one hour after he arrived (41 minutes to be exact), he was scheduled to be killed. Why? “No placement.” The Mayor’s Alliance was busy fighting legislation that would save animals to actually save him themselves. Best Friends was too busy coming up with magical five year plans in other cities based on the very same Mayor’s Alliance model. HSUS, of course, was not interested. The ASPCA pleads lack of resources. Maddie’s Fund would like to refer all concerns about what is happening in New York back to the Mayor’s Alliance, who is also too busy fighting legislation to save animals to respond to your questions.
One hour and 27 minutes later, he was given a fatal dose of poison. He was tossed on a pile of other dead animals. His kennel number was updated to “Freezer.” There he sits, awaiting transport to the crematory.
***
Although this is not him, this is what a 3-week-old kitten looks like. How could they possibly kill him?

Forbes Magazine Calls Out ASPCA, PETA

December 13, 2011 by  
Forbes Magazine just published “15 Key Insights From 2011 From 15 Key Thinkers And Writers.” Here’s insight number 8:
Most people assume that the ASPCA, one of the largest and most well-funded animal-rights groups in the world, who profess to prevent cruelty to animals, would be all for advocating that homeless cats and dogs not be killed at animal shelters. Not so. A big eye opener: The ASPCA has actively fought to prevent cities from establishing no-kill shelters and aggressively fights bills proposed in local city councils that aim to reduce the number of innocent animals being killed. Another shocker? PETA, does too. The true protectors of animals are not the bureaucracy-rich animal rights organizations, but smaller groups and individuals. Nathan Winograd, author of Redemption, and Stanford-law-educated ex-criminal prosecutor and corporate attorney, is the founder of a growing no-kill-shelter movement—and gets my vote for most important intellectual this year. His no-kill actions challenge the status quo by thinking beyond the box. He’s developed a creative and realistic plan that many cities are successfully using to save most of their homeless animals. New York City’s ACC, who murders hundreds of cats and dogs each week needs to reform and implement his ideas.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012


Quick Kill Bill: The ASPCA Fights for More Shelter Killing in NY


Posted on  by jbsibley


Though the ASPCA gives the occasional glimmer of hope, recent events remind me that they remain mired in a killing mentality and seek to preserve the status quo in sheltering, even fighting to expand the power of shelters to kill at will.
Recently the ASPCA 
suckered
convinced NYS Assemblywoman Amy Paulin to introduce their pseudo-shelter reform legislation. Embarrassed by the outcry in favor of Oreo’s Law (now CAARA), they immediately scrambled to write their own shelter reform law – one that they could claim made a difference for the better in the lives of NY animals while actually quietly blocking actual reform and expanding NY shelters’ power to kill.
The ASPCA co-opts meaningful shelter reform legislation largely by copying it but then including weasel words like substituting “may” for “shall”. So instead of requiringshelters to work with outside rescue groups, it simply says that they can if they choose to. Other meaningful reforms, like requiring shelters to scan for microchips, post found animals online, and make an effort to match lost and found animals are scuttled by including an exception if the shelter does not find it “practicable” to do so. Well, given the choice, they won’t find it practicable, which is why we need legislation that mandates it.

Most destructively and unbelievably, the ASPCA written legislation contains a clause that would, for all practical purposes, eliminate the legally mandated holding period for stray animals by allowing shelters to kill any animal who they found to be in “psychological pain”. This is nothing less than a declaration of war on feral cats, scared dogs, or any animal that found themselves scared and confused upon being brought into the chaotic shelter environment – or any animal they simply wanted to find a flimsy excuse to kill. Animals judged by laypeople with no training whatsoever to be in “psychological pain” could be killed instantly on admission to the shelter and bypass the legally required holding period to give their owners the chance to find them.
New Yorkers, we need your help – quickly. This bill, known as New York Assembly Bill A05449A, will face its first committee vote on Wednesday, February 15th. We haven’t much time. The first thing we need to do is to tell our elected officials that we will not tolerate an ASPCA encouraged increase in shelter killing in New York State.
Please visit New York State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin’s Facebook page and leave her a polite, personal comment asking her to withdraw her bill, A05449A, from consideration. Asw. Paulin is up for re-election in November and wants to be a champion of animals in New York State, and she probably would not want to risk her re-election on being dubbed Amy “Quick Kill” Paulin. You might also consider sending her a message on Twitter, although she appears to use that less. Also drop an email to ASPCA President and CEO Ed Sayres and ASPCA Board President Mary Jo White and let them know what you think of their organization’s legislation. Then visit the following four links to email key legislators to send them your thoughts:
Keep in mind that although you can use the text that’s been written for you, a heartfelt personal note always goes a long way.
Finally, support REAL change in the form of CAARA, which mandates REAL reform instead of making it optional. CAARA is trying to get the support of NYS Senator Patty Richie, Chair of the Senate Agricultural Committee, and her support would really help move the bill forward. Email her here and ask her to support this lifesaving effort – and you can read more about CAARA here and read the complete text of the bill here. New York’s animals deserve better than the deadly slight of hand of the ASPCA Quick Kill. They deserve the lifesaving provisions of CAARA.