What America must change to become a truly great nation


What America must change to become a truly great nation

by
Anthony Marr
2009-08

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I was born in China during the Japanese invasion which murdered some 20 million Chinese civilians. My mother was almost captured as a “comfort woman”, i.e. a sex slave to be eventually killed when used up. Had this happened, I wouldn’t be here writing this essay.

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So right off the bat, I was born to think that Japan was anything but great. And though after the war I tried to forgive and forget, Japan turned the same blood-lust against the whales and dolphins, which has kept me seething. No, Japan is not a great nation, not by a long harpoon shot. They do make great motorcycles at an affordable price, though, I’ll grant them this.

When I was 5, the Communists overran China, and my family escaped with our lives by moonlight down the Pearl River to the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong. Had we not done so, my entire family could have been terminated in the purges and hard labor camps which ensued. All in all the Communist regime wiped out some 60 million Chinese people in its consolidation of power. Most of these 60 million died of starvation when the Maoist government shipped their food to Russia in exchange for technological and military assistance. After the “Great Cultural Revolution”, I tried to forgive and forget as well, but the 1989 Tiananmen massacre of 3000 students forever removed China from greatness in my mind.

From ages 5 through 20, I grew up in Hong Kong as a stateless person under the rule of the British Empire. Though it was not a bloody regime, a day did not pass when I was not reminded one way or another, and none too subtly, that I was a third class citizen. By no means all Chinese, but the Cantonese culture of Guang Dong province, to which Hong Kong is attached, is notorious for its callous and broad-spectrum animal use and abuse. Britain, which ruled the Cantonese people flooding into Hong Kong, had the responsibility of enforcing its supposedly humane animal laws, but from what I saw as a child and a teenager, nothing along this line was done. Since I loved animals, the British did not relieve my pain. But then, how could a nation known for its cruel sport of fox-hunting impose its will on the people of another culture regarding humane and respectful animal treatment? Based on the above alone, Great Britain, though the lesser of two evils compared to China relatively speaking, left much greatness to be desired.

At age 21, I flew across the Pacific to Canada on a student visa. Prepped by over- dramatized Hollywood movies about the Ku Klux Klan and the Mafia, I set foot on North American soil with trepidation. But almost at once, I found the Canadian people warm, gentle and helpful, and genuinely kind and loving to their companion animals, which made me feel very much at home. Further, I was amazed by how people could openly criticize the government without any fear of retribution, and on the contrary I saw smiling politicians shaking hands with the humble people in Chinatown, which was unheard of where I had come from. There was/is a free Medicare system for all, and a respectful policy towards seniors. So finally, when I swore myself in as a Canadian citizen, I felt rightly proud for belonging finally to what I perceived to be a great nation. But it did not take me too long to get disillusioned. As a university student, I worked summers out in the bush as a geologist’s assistant. It was then I began to see the horrific assault by logging companies against the environment. When one year I worked in a cathedral-like old growth forest by which I was awed, the next year, it had been reduced to a waste land, with nothing but huge grey stumps left behind. I saw trophy hunters shooting down anything magnificent that moved. And I saw mines and pulp mills discharging heavy metals, cyanides, organo- chlorines, PCBs, PAHs and dioxins on to the land. And that was before I learned about the horrendous Newfoundland seal massacre, and finally flew over the six hellish Alberta tar sands mines which made of the entire Athabasca watershed one enormous carcinogen.

But at least, so I thought, I still had my freedom of speech, until I became an animal rights activist, and found that although I could indeed shout my lungs out in a demonstration, and could debate 100 hunters at a time without getting lynched, the truth of the matter is that not one word I had spoken or written proved worth a dime in the eyes of those to whom it was addressed. And over my protestations, my tax dollars were used to subsidize the seal hunt.

So bit by bit, then clunk by chunk, and year by year, the monument of Canadian greatness disintegrated in my mind.

In the mid-late 1990s, I went to India to work in three tiger reserves to help save them from habitat destruction, and the Bengal tiger from extinction. India’s great Mahatma Gandhi said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” From what I have seen in three expeditions by plane, train, jeep and on foot, each lasting 2-3 months, India’s animals are not well treated, especially its street dogs and wildlife. I have personally rescued a puppy from being stoned to death by children, while the adults stood by, doing nothing. Where animals are concerned, India first task is to save the Bengal tiger and its complex ecosystems. The country does have a federal program called Project Tiger, but it is fighting a half-hearted and therefore losing battle, and tiger habitat continue to dwindle, and tiger numbers continue to decline. The tiger is a world treasure, but India has the responsibility to preserve it. If we cannot even save the tiger, a species universally loved and admired, what can we save?

Not until India has demonstrated her sincere and whole-hearted commitment to saving the Bengal tiger and its ecosystems would I begin to consider her in the question of greatness.

In 1999, the Makah native tribe in Washington state clamored for a revival of their “traditional” hunting of the Grey whale. We could not stop them from killing one young female – with a high-powered 50-calibre rifle and towed back to shor with a motorcraft – some “traditional” whaling. But we have legally stalled them since, so far. This was my first field engagement with American activists, and I rapidly grew to love working with them on an international basis.

From 2003 through 2008, I conducted 6 Compassionate for Animals Road Expeditions (CARE tours), each covering 25-41 states in 3-7 months.

I have worked with grassroots activists in almost every state on their campaigns, and have developed a certain depth of understanding in most of their issues and their ways of handling them. I have seen their successes and failures, and have learned from them the dos and don’ts. In doing so, I have also been exposed to the opposition, and the way it works, to KNOW THY ENEMY. Most of all, I have become keenly aware of not only local trends, but national trends (of which local activists may not always be aware), and I have forged coalitions to deal with multi-state and nation-wide problems and issues. As well, I have engaged American activists in Canadian issues, not least of all the 300, 000- baby- seals-per-year Newfoundland seal massacre, with my car painted with the slogan “I AM CANADIAN. BOYCOTT MY COUNTRY!” And I have received much support in return, for which I am deeply thankful.

I love my American friends deeply, so I wish America the best. Unfortunately, the way I’ve seen it, in many ways it is not even good, much less great. I owe it to my American friends to point a few things out from my visiting Canadian’s perspective. To heal, one must first diagnose. Following are some of my observations:

*1st Amendment violations

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the Five Freedoms. It is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that expressly prohibits the United States Congress from making laws “respecting an establishment of religion” or that prohibit the free exercise of religion, infringe the freedom of speech, infringe the freedom of the press, limit the right to peaceably assemble, or limit the right to petition the government.

In terms of the freedom of speech, it forbids viewpoint discrimination, however unpopular the viewpoint may be. However, if you say as much as “Good morning” to a hunter in the process of targeting a deer, you can be charged with violating the state-level Hunter Harassment law, which in turn violates the First Amendment. The hunters argue that it is the sound of the speech, not the words, that harasses the hunter, but how can even they separate the words from the sound? If the words of “Good morning” is protected by the First Amendment and can be spoken, how can the sound of “Good morning” when it is being spoken be illegal? Clearly, the HH laws are created and administered by hunters, for hunters, including the judge in Pennsylvania who convicted Jan Haagensen on five counts of hunter harassment – for telling invading hunters to get off her land, and for telling a hunter hunting from the road that what he was doing was illegal even under the hunting laws of PA (listen to the Jan Haagensen interview by Anthony Marr on Animal Voices in www. myspace. com/AnthonyMarr).

What about the mother of the U.S. – Great Britain? Does true freedom of speech exist there? Judging by the life-time ban of Dr. Steven Best from the U.K. for speaking in favor of direct action in animal rights activism, the answer is a resounding NO.

If all these curtailments of freedom, and invasions of privacy, are designed to win the “War on Terror”, then the first battle is already lost, because the lost American freedom is the terrorists’ spoil of war. The United States and Britain have compromised and defeated themselves.

A nation whose constitution has been compromised cannot be considered great. The way for the U.S. to correct this problem is to scrap all state-level laws that violate the First Amendment of the Constitution.

* Pseudo- Democracy

Democracy means majority-rule, but minority-rule by power elite is not uncommon, if not rampant. And it could even be written into the constitution itself. The constitution of New Jersey, for example, stipulates that of the 11 voting member of the Fish & Game Council, 6 must be hunters. In most such case, all 11 are hunters, because any odd-man-out will be ostracized mercilessly until he/she quits. This is pseudo-majority-rule within the Council, but real minority rule in the entire state of New Jersey. The result is a set of hunting laws by hunters, for hunters, while the non-hunters and anti-hunters of New Jersey, be they hikers, campers, photographers, bird-watchers, biologists, ecologists…, who add up to 99.2% of the population (only 0.8% of New Jerseyan’s hunt) have no say in the matter whatsoever. Some democracy.

A nation which mocks and violates its own founding principle cannot be considered great. To correct this problem, all U.S. states must have wildlife management laws determined by a panel proportionately representing the general population of that state, not its tiny-minority hunting elite.

Another point of pseudo-democracy is in the form of the so-called “public consultation” sessions in county, city and municipal council. From my observation, by the time the council is in session and the public is allowed to speak, the decisions have often already been signed and sealed behind close doors. So the public strenuously speaking their mind, to which the council only pretends to listen, is expending their energy showing externally what a great democracy they all live in, being able to speak out with passion without fear of persecution.

The crux of the matter here is the composition of the council itself. A pro-funting council will decide in favor of urban deer hunting no matter what activists say. The solution is to make the council anti-hunting, and this has to be done through the political process by fielding anti-hunting candidates and campaigning to put them in office. Already existing is the League of Humane Voters (LOHV) headed by Peter and Anne Muller, and LOHV chapters headed by local activists (e.g. Lane Ferrante, director of the new Ohio LOHV chapter).

All this is easier said than done, considering that almost all American politicians on all levels are puppets of the powerful gun lobby, hunting lobby, and the arms and hunting industries. And pseudo-democracy, pseudo-anything for that matter, has no place in greatness.

*A CORPSE-run nation

I love my American friends, each in a unique way, but there is one thing in common. They all live in a system originally designed by conscience, e.g. the U.S. Constitution, but eventually abused and corrupted by corporations, opportunists, rapists, psychopaths, sociopaths and ecopaths (CORPSE) for their own immediate profit and aggrandizement, at the expense of the innocent, the future and the whole. They have created new subsystems for the purpose of defeating the Constitution itself, complete with pseudo-patriotic slogans. And they attack the conscience of society itself – us.

The impact of such a system far exceeds that directed against the animal rights and environmental movements. It can wipe out all the corals in the sea, it can desertify the entire Amazon, it can starve millions with a global millennium drought, it can make Earth uninhabitable for humans, and it can wipe out over 90% of all species on Earth as the End-Permian Extinction did 251 million years ago. If we let these CORPSEs run the show, the entire nation will behave as if it has no conscience. Can a nation without conscience be considered great? Can any psychopath be considered great?

Analyse a CORPSE-run nation, and we will see the evil manifest in a thousand different ways, including the rise of Nazism in WW2 Germany. Following are those that I have personally encountered through my travels in the United States of America – “the land of the free, the home of the brave”.

*Political Puppetry

Even the person in the nation’s highest political office can be, and to a large extent is, a puppet. Its puppet-masters are corporations. When George W. Bush was governor of Texas, GUI (governing under the influence) of Big Oil, Texas ranked last in environmental protection. The oil companies got richer and ever more powerful, so much so that they put Bush all the way up into the White House, to make of the Unites States a large Texas. As soon as Bush took over as president, one of his first feats was to gut the Environmental Protection Agency by planting unprecedented numbers of industrial CEOs into the EPA’s highest ranks, who then proceeded to eliminate as many Clinton-era protection laws as the public would allow. And the authority-fearing and by-and-large apathetic public just let him/them do whatever they wanted. And of course, whether he was genuinely ignorant of global warming or not, he publicly voiced skepticism about global warming, and very publicly refused to ratify the Kyoto Accord to counteract the global threat of climate change, by virtual order of Big Oil, thereby squandering a great opportunity to lead the world into the future. Worse, 8 years of precious time for saving the planet was wasted, when the total amount of time for doing so is no more than 12 years as of 2000. Even Obama, infinitely better informed than Bush ever was or presumably ever could be, is still a puppet to an extent – of the oil/coal/gas industry – even though he himself, as an independent logical thinker, would not condone.

If the top leader of a nation is a puppet, that nation cannot be considered great.

*Neo-Fascist “Democracy”

Wikipedia has a definition for a certain ism, which “comprises a radical and authoritarian nationalist political ideology and a corporatist economic ideology”. That ism is called Fascism, and the United States “Democracy” is dangerously close to it. A Fascist nation is automatically precluded from greatness, because it subjugates the will of its citizens to that of its corporations. An all-powerful corporatist economic policy has no regard for human rights, much less animal rights and environmental integrity. It’s only concern is economic hegemony and military supremacy.

To correct this problem there must be a new amendment to severely limit or exclude political influence on government by corporations, and economically powerful special interest groups such as the NRA or, to be fair, the HSUS. The root of all political evils is corporate economic influence on political election outcomes. Putting it bluntly, to fire each and every “best politician money can buy” is a must for national greatness.

*A war started by a fool

The war: The Iraq War. The fool: George W. Bush. The fool is gone, but the war remains. As long as a foolish war continues, the nation waging it cannot be great.

*Bought global warming denial

In case the general population feels smug about corporate villainy and politicians being corporate puppets, each citizen should be reminded that he is himself a mini-puppet, whose very thought may not be his own. Corporate thought control exists in many forms, in many nations, but nowhere as pronounced and blatant and staggering as in the United States, the lair of Big Oil. To ensure a sustained oil and coal market, Big Oil has spend some $100 million in waging a counter-campaign to discredit global warming as hoax and a myth. The result is that the United States ranks rock bottom in global warming awareness amongst all western nations in international surveys. This is a deliberate deception and dumbing-down of all Americans by the oil corporations and the American power-elite which profits hugely from public apathy and compliance, at the expense of the environment and our children’s future – their own children’s future too.

The 8 Bush years may already have driven the planet past the point of no return. Obviously, a nation that sabotages international efforts to save the planet and our children’s future for its own short term profit bears the antithesis of greatness. Is Obama significantly better? Better, yes. Significantly? Not as long as he keeps on puppeting for Big Oil and King Coal, why mouthing the words environmentalists want to hear.

*The self-debeautificatio n of America

America the Beautiful? Almost heaven, West Virginia? John Denver would weep, if he saw what I saw that summer day in 2008, when I was in my 6th Compassion for Animals Road Expedition. A local activist took me up one of the mountains to witness for myself a mountain-top-removal operation by the coal industry.

To call it “an eye-sore” is like calling Ted Bundy “naughty”. A government that would allow the destruction of the magnificent mountains which took millions of years to build for the short term profit of its puppet master Big Coal is not a great government, and the nation ruled by such a government is not a great nation.

*Be insured, or die

In “socialist” Canada, medical care is a basic human right. In “capitalist” United States, it is not. I don’t know why some Americans hate or fear “socialism” so much. It is just another case of McCarthyish paranoia. No nation which says its citizens, “pay up or die” can be considered great.

Only the puppet masters have anything to fear, because – Where does the money come from? – subsidy from taxation – stupid. It is the tax-payer, through cowardly government, that is feeding beast of his own destruction.

*The enslavement and slaughter of billions

Substitute humans for animals, and concentration camps for factory farms and vivisection labs, and cattle cars for cattle cars, gas chambers for slaughter houses, and the factory farmers and transporters and vivisectors and slaughterers, would be no better than Nazis. Only their victims are different. The villains are essentially the same.

Quantitatively, it’s worse. Line up the cows slaughtered every year in America for human consumption in single file, and the cow line will stretch from L.A. to N.Y. back and forth 16 times, and the pig line, 35 times, and the chicken line (10 billion) would stretch between the Earth and the Moon 8 times. All these add up to sentient-being- sufferings on an astronomical scale.

A nation harboring such enormous imposed internal suffering cannot be considered great.

*Lying to The People

A government that lies to the people is criminal, by whatever political system it abides. A nation in which a government lies to the people is lightyears from greatness.

Here is a blatant example. In 2007, while on my 5th Compassion for Animals Road Expedition (CARE-5), I was in Allentown PA when local activists asked for my assistance in opposing a new bow-hunting scheme within the nearby Trexler Nature Preserve. It was the dying wish of General Harry Clay Trexler, who created the Preserve in 1906, that no hunting be conducted within the preserve. But after honoring him for exactly 100 years, the local government announced to the public in 2007 that due to a “population explosion” of the white-tail deer within the preserve, its ecology has been compromised, and thus the deer population needed to be reduced. Further, the bow hunters in the area had volunteered themselves to do do the community a favor, free of charge of course. Except for the resistance put up by these few great local activists, notably Carol Loomis, Virginia Wolfe and Cheryl Baker, the public had no comment, and the hunt did go ahead. On opening day of the hunt, Carol, Cheryl, Cheryl’s teenage son and I entered the preserve, amidst the hordes of bow hunters, male and female, all armed to the teeth. We received many stares ranging from suspicious to hostile, but it was an eye-opener. Were I blindfolded and driven by deep into the preserve, and taken for a short walk of no more than 100 yards from the parking lot, then have the blindfold removed and asked what I was looking at, I would have answered that I was in a farm. Acres of forest had been plowed down, and row upon row of deer clover had been planted in its place.

Those who understand the Compensatory Rebound Effect, some hunters included, know that with an overabundance of food, deer would maximize their reproductive rate. Instead of no-fawn and singlet, they would have twins and triplets, resulting indeed in an overabundance of deer, which is what the hunters wanted. Local residents are usually not aware of this, at least not on a first person basis, and that is that the bow-hunters are very aggressive in forcing their way into potential hunting areas where the discharge of fire-arms is illegal, including urban parks like Trexler, and even within the urban areas themselves – in people’s backyards. It is the general strategy of hunters to first cultivate a high deer population, then claim deer over-population, then offer themselves as saviors of deer-damaged communities. The truth of the matter is that the whole thing is initiated by the bow-hunters in collusion with the hunter-friendly politicians who are often themselves hunters, for which they were put in office by the hunting industry in the first place. I took pictures of the plantation and submitted them to the local newspaper, and spoke at length to its reporter, but the article that came out the following day did not make a single mention of the deer clover plantation, did not use my photos, but instead glorified a female hunter for being among the first to bag a magnificent buck.

How great is a nation in which the government deceives the people to appease its puppet masters?

*A nation run by serial killers

Let’s brush aside all the fluff and window-dressing and BS and get down to the bare bones, shall we? The cold hard fact of the matter is that not only are the vast majority of politicians under the thumbs of powerful serial killers, but are themselves serial killers. I am talking about recreational hunters and trophy hunters of course. The fact that their victims are non-human does not alter the fact hunters kill them serially, that hunters have no compassion, revel in bloodshed, derive pleasure from another being’s suffering, and practice serial killing as a form of entertainment and amusement. The greatest amusement park is not Disneyland, folks. It is the Great Outdoors, catering exclusively to serial killers.

When I go speaking to children, I often ask them what to them is the most immoral reason for killing an animal – in self-defense? for food? for clothing? for money? for fun? Without a single exception the children in all schools have voted against KILLING FOR FUN as the most immoral reason for killing anything. And America is ruled by a small minority of very powerful but highly immoral people who kill for fun, i.e. who are recreational hunters.

A nation run by pathological serial fun-killers cannot POSSIBLY be great.

*Animal protection laws or lack thereof

Animal protection laws do exist within the United States, and on both the federal and state levels. Federal animal protection statutes take the form of Acts, which number almost 100, including the African Elephant Conservation Act, the Airborne Hunting Act, the Animal Damage Control Act, the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, the Animal Health Protection Act, the Animal Welfare Act, the Animal Fighting Act, the Bald and Goldern Eagle Protection Act, the Captive Wildlife Safety Act, the Dog and Cat Protection Act, the Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, the Humane Slaughter Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Migratory Bird Conservation Act, the Recreational Hunting Safety and Preservation Act, etc. These may seem impressive, but if we look between them, we’d see huge gaps through which entire sectors of the animal kingdom could be abused, tortured, shot, trapped and slaughtered with impunities, notably wild animals not protected by the Endangered Species Act, and farm and lab animals place under the “protection” of the Department of Agriculture, the very governmental body whose purpose is to exploit them. And some of these “animal protection laws”, e.g. the Animal Enterprise Protection Act, as its name clearly states, is to protect the animal enterprises, not the animals, and its new incarnation the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, is demonstrably unconstitutiona l.

I consider the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act unconstitutiona l because even a non-violent demonstration is an act of “terrorism” if it inflicts economic damage upwards of $10,000 on any animal enterprise. So, a boycott of a certain company, e.g. KFC, could be considered an act of terrorism if the company could demonstrate that as a result of the boycott, it suffered $10,001’s sertback in chicken wing sales, in which case the jail time is up to 6 months. If the financial damage is in the range of $1 million, the jail time is up to 6 years. In other words, if Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi were animal rights activists today, they would have been considered terrorists. Again, the primary point is that the AETA violates the Constitution of the United States. A conditional freedom of speech is a contradiction in terms. There is no such thing as freedom of speech “on the condition that you don’t offend anybody.”

The state level animal protection laws are far simpler than the federal acts. Generally, they protect cat, dogs and horses which “belong to” human individuals and some corporations, but not wild animals that “belong to” no one. The reason for this is that the “owners” of the cats and dog and horses would make a fuzz if “their” animals are harmed by others, e.g. shot by a hunter, but there is no one to speak for the wild and hunted animals. So basically, these are “animal-owner” protection laws, not animal protection laws, which therefore concern themselves with human rights, not animal rights.

No nation that does not recognize that animals have rights can be considered great.

*Government control of media

Local radio talkshow listeners may think that their own area is exceptionally right wing. But having listened to radio talkshows in my car while I driving from state to state, from coast to coast, I can tell you with certainty that it is not. Where the radio talkshow scene is concerned, the entire nation is exceptionall right wing. Over 95% of all well known American talkshow hosts, from Rush Limbaugh pn down are right wing. And worse, every morning, each right wing talkshow host would receive an email from Maryland telling them the talking points of the day, and what stand to take on each talking point. In the newspaper arena, investigative journalism is all but dead. It is brain-washing on a grand scale.

The Allentown PA newspaper article on the Trexler preserve mentioned above, which buried my photos of the Trexler plantation, is not an isolated local case either. In many places, a reporter attacking or just questioning hunting is committing professional suicide, or at least opening himself to severe and concerted hunter attack.

Thought control and the suppression of truth is not the mark of a great nation.

*The 5 lethal maneuvers of the House of Fraud

I have mentioned the Jan Haagensen case (listen to the Haagensen interview by Anthony Marr on the Animal Voices talkshow archived in www. myspace. com/AnthonyMarr). Haagensen was convicted by the PA criminal court on 5 counts of hunter harassment, which involve a jail term. She appealed to an appelate court, and had the convictions all overturned for a total lack of evidence. Now she is taking the offense, and is legally challenging the constitutionali ty of the PA Hunter Harassment Statute. She is fighting this battle alone and deserves, and needs, our support. But at least she could appeal.

While researching material on Steve Hindi, one of my guests on Animal Voices, I came across the following passage by Rob Sherman in an article which shocked even me. I will copy-paste it here verbatim:

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While there may be two sides to the rodeo debate (although I doubt it), as a professional journalist, let me assure you that you should place no credibility, whatsoever, in anything that the Illinois criminal courts do. The criminal courts, here, are widely recognized as a House of Fraud which fakes the conviction of completely innocent people for the purpose of attempting to smear the reputation of political enemies.

Here are five ways in which they do it:

1) Most judges in Illinois criminal trials are former prosecutors from the same state’s attorney’s office that is now presenting the prosecution’s case. Blatant conflict of interest. The judge has numerous ways of rigging the outcome of cases to ensure conviction, as described below, regardless of whether the Defendant is guilty or innocent. Indeed, it doesn’t even matter if the Defendant has not been accused of doing anything that violates the cited statute.

2) Block the introduction of testimony that exonerates the Defendant. The way that this scam works is, every time the Defense asks a prosecution or defense witness a question that, if answered, would clearly exonerate the falsely accused Defendant, the prosecutor objects to the question being answered and the judge, who is a former prosecutor (sort of a prosecution tag team), sustains the objection. The jury never gets to hear the testimony that would exonerate the Defendant.

3) Block any testimony from Defense witnesses who have the knowledge to refute everything that the prosecutor is contending. The way this scam works, the prosecutor objects that the testimony of the witness should not be allowed because the testify is supposedly irrelevant. The former- prosecutor judge, being familiar with this lawyer trick, sustains the prosecutor’s objection and the witness is barred from testifying. A jury is required to base its decision on the evidence and testimony presented, so if the jury is only allowed to hear from witnesses that support the prosecution’s trumped up charges, the jury has no choice but to render a decision based solely on the prosecutor’s presentation.

4) Charge and convict the Defendant for the crime of nothing. This is a beautiful scam that any rodeo type would love. The prosecutor accuses a Defendant of being in violation of a law, but doesn’t allege that the Defendant actually did anything that violates that law. After a trial on the allegation of the crime of nothing, the judge says, “I enter a finding of guilty,” but not guilty of doing anything in particular. Then, when the Defendant complains to the judge, “I didn’t do anything that violates the law. I wasn’t even accused of doing anything that violates the law, and you haven’t found me guilty of doing anything which violates the law. So, just what, exactly, is it that you found me guilty of doing that violates the law?” To which the judge responds, “You don’t understand, sir. Now that I’ve entered a finding of guilty, you have lost your presumption of innocence. Therefore, you have to tell the Court what it is that you did that violated the law, rather than the other way around.”

5) The hostage-taking scam. This scam is an extension of Scam #4, above. In this scam, the judge takes the falsely convicted Defendant hostage every time he has an appeal brief due, to keep him from appealing the fake conviction. The way that this scam works, every time that the filing date approaches for the Defendant to submit an appeal brief to the Appellate Court, the prosecutor and judge schedule a simultaneous post-trial hearing in which the prosecutor or court demands that the Defendant announce what it was that the Defendant supposedly did that violated the law for which he was falsely convicted. If the Defendant refuses to make up a false accusation against himself and be coerced into confessing to the false accusation, the Defendant is sent to jail, not for committing a crime, but rather for “Failing to cooperate with the Court’s efforts to help him.” This is done just in time to keep the Defendant from filing his appeal brief. No appeal brief, no reversal of the fake conviction. Quite a clever lawyer trick by the judge and prosecutor. On the other hand, if the trick succeeds in scaring the innocent Defendant into making up a coerced false confession, that moots out any appeal because the Defendant has supposedly admitted guilt to the non-existent crime. Either way, the fake conviction sticks and the Defendant loses.

Again, as a professional journalist, I have personally seen all of these lawyer trick courtroom scams. It’s why nobody should ever take seriously ANYTHING that takes place in Illinois criminal court. It is truly a House of Fraud.

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This is downright bloody disgusting if you ask me, and even if you don’t. Tell me, how can a nation harboring this kind of miscarriages of justice and judicial corruption be even remotely be considered great?

The solution here is obvious. Nail down these legal felons and bar them for good. Then put them on trial for abuse of power, comtempt of court and corruption of American justice, convict them, throw them in jail and throw away the key.

*America: destroyer of the Amazon

Americans consume so much beef that America imports huge quanitities of extra beef from Brazil. Americans consume so much ethanol in gasoline that America imports huge quantities of extra ethanol, also from Brazil. And Brazil burns down the Amazon rainforest by the thousands of square miles to create extra land for cattle ranches and soy plantations. If Americans, and Canadians for that matter, do not voluntarily curtail their own gluttony for Earth’s dwindling resources, not only are they not world-leaders, but world- degraders, and this is far from great.

*Fiscal irresponsibilit y

Suppose a family has been living beyond its means, and is now teetering on the brink of insolvency. Any responsible banker will advise the family to tighten the belt, not to borrow more money to maintain that same unsustainable standard of living which has driven the family to have lived beyond its means in the first place. And this is what the U.S. is doing on a national scale as we speak. A fiscally irresponsible nation cannot be a great nation.

*The self- impoverishment of the animal rights movement

Americans and Canadians complain about China becoming the largest consumer on a per nation basis, while they remain the largest consumers on a per capita basis.

How much does an American, or a Canadian for that matter, need to live? Less than $20,000 per year. I can say this with certainty, because this is how much I live on, including the cost of doing my work. So why should we tolerate, much less accept, and far less contribute towards, the CEO of the largest American animal advocacy “non-profit” organization paying himself a cool quarter million dollars per year, or almost $25,000 per month, and paying his dozen or so VPs $150,000 each, and his own secretary a handsome $100,000, all from the donations meant for the animals? Isn’t he just a little ashamed of himself for personally profiting by robbing the suffering animals for which the donations were meant? This organization has a financial worth of $230 million – all animals’ money – and an annual budget of some $120 million, of which some 50% is overhead, which include the lavish salaries, financial investments and a $6-10 million fund-raising budget. In spite of all these mega-bucks, this insatiable organization still stoops to charging penniless grassroots groups kilo-bucks for simple zero-cost assistance. I have always thought that when a group has crossed a certain size threshold, it will turn from its original cause to its own growth as its primary purpose. But not until I have directly observed this group over time did I realize to what abysmal depth this could sink. One cold hard fact is that this organization, and several other similar ones with big names and offices, the CEO of one of which paying himself, would you believe, $ 750,000/annum, with their high overheads and slick fund-raising machines, have sucked the financial resources within the movement dry, leaving nothing for the grassroots groups, most of whose members could not even afford health insurance, while that CEO and his VPs and “executive” secretaries laugh all the way to the bank.

This is open and blatant corruption and betrayal within the animal rights movement, but it is not all. Through my travels, I have stayed at local activists’ home by the dozens, and never have I encountered a local activist without one or more animal companions, bless their hearts. If they, being true-hearted animal advocates and activists (unlike that CEO who openly confesses to having no personal affinity for animals), had to choose between buying health insurance for themsleves and paying the vet bills of the animals under their guardianship, they would pay the vet bills and do without health insurance for themselves. I have seen families spending thousands of dollars in vet bills while they can ill afford even food on the table. The problem where the movement is concerned is that most of these animal guardians would choose to pay the vet bills than to donate the same amount to a grassroots animal rights group when they cannot do both. And the vets, like the pseudo- animal- advocacy CEOs, seem just as intent on sucking all financial resources out of the animal rights movement, which has indeed been impoverished.

We are animal rights activists, and we are the conscience of our societies, even the conscience of humanity. If this conscience has been compromised by hypocrisy and greedy, our societies, in fact humanity itself, cannot be great.

*The new world disorder

Any “new world order” designed, organized and led by a nation that is not great will descend into disorder.

Final question:

Is there a truly great nation in the world today?

Please let me know if you can think of any.

Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)
Anthony-Marr@HOPE-CARE.org
http://www.HOPE-CARE.org
http://www.facebook.com/Anthony.Marr.001
http://www.facebook.com/Global_Anti-Hunting_Coalition
http://www.myspace.com/AnthonyMarr
http://www.youtube.com/AnthonyMarr
http://www.HomoSapiensSaveYourEarth.blogspot.com
http://www.DearHomoSapiens.blogspot.com (AM’s 3rd-book-in-the-making)
http://www.myspace.com/Anti-Hunting_Coalition
http://www.ARConference.org

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S.O.S. – Ocean’s 11th Hour


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The oceans of Planet Earth currently contain about a quarter million species of marine organisms, which together constitute the Marine Food Pyramid and the Marine Food Web. If we do not change our ways, radically and fundamentally, immediately or sooner, we stand to drive over 90% of them, or more than 225,000 species, to extinction, and that is from the oceans alone.

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Worse if we look at the Marine Food Pyramid in terms of its 6 Trophic Levels (TLs), namely:

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– TL1. Phytoplankton (otherwise known as “Producers”, which convert solar energy and CO2 into organic matter and oxygen),
– TL2. Zooplankton (which feed on the Phytoplankton and other Zooplankton, e.g. krill),
– TL3. Primary Consumers (which feed on plankton e.g. carols, and feed on krill e.g. small fish and baleen whales),
– TL4. Secondary Consumers (which feed on the Primary Consumers, e.g. medium fish, cephalopods e.g. squid, etc.),
– TL5. Tertiary Consumers (which feed on the Secondary Consumers, e.g. large fish) and
– TL6. Quaternary Consumers (which feed on the Tertiary Consumers, e.g. Great White Shark, Giant Squid, all marine mammals, and humans).

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Of this 250,000-species global treasure the Marine Food Pyramid/Web, all the fishes on all levels and pathways combined number only 15,000 species, and all the marine mammals (whales, dolphins, seals) total only about 120 species. And all of these advanced species will likely be among those that would go extinct, as will likely be most the corals and most arthropods (krill, crabs, lobsters).

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The mechanism of marine ecological collapse is two-fold: ocean warming, which is unfavorable to plankton growth, and ocean acidification, which is detrimental to all organisms with skeletons composed of calcium carbonate, which means all species with skeletons, including most phytoplankton species, krill, the crustaceans, and all corals).

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The pH of the oceans has dropped (acidified) from 8.2 to 8.1 since industrialization, and susceptible species have begun to die off. By pH 7.8, all plankton species will be impacted, and with their decline, or demise, so will the species on the higher trophic levels, all the way up to the top sharks, the seals, dolphins, whales, even the humans.

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This is not all speculation and computer modeling. It has happened before, and can happen again. We are talking about Earth’s Mass Extinction bouts, in #6 of which we are as we speak deeply entrenched. 50 years ago, the planet was losing about 20 known species a day; today, we are losing over 100 known species a day, meaning possibly ten times that many unknown species. And when it is all said and done, we will have lost over 1.5 million known species, and many times that many unknown species, land, air and sea.

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When we talk about mass extinctions, the End-Cretaceous Extinction 64 million years ago, the one that wiped out all the dinosaurs – Mass Extinction #5 – comes to mind. But first, it is not the most severe among the Big 5, eliminating “only” about 50% of Earth’s species (including all the dinosaurs), and second, it is not caused by global warming, but by an asteroid, and was therefore irrelevant to our current consideration.

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The worst of them all was Mass Extinction #3, the End-Permian Mass Extinction 251 million years ago, which drove some 75% of all land species and 95% of all marine species, including all the corals, to extinction. And it was caused indeed by global warming resulting from geological activities associated with the break-up of the super-continent Pangaea, which raised global temperature by some 15 degrees Celsius.

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The conditions are ripe for Mass Extinction #6 being a repeat of Mass Extinction #3, or even to out-do it in some of the worse-case scenarios.

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This won’t be immediate, at least not in the human time frame – perhaps a century or two, or three, but it will happen if we follow our current trajectory. The only difference is: Which of our future generation shall we devastate the most?

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Meanwhile, as we do the Amazon rainforest on land, so we rape the oceans and the seas, directly, by highly effective machinery from chain saws to trawlers, to drain pipes of pulp mills, to floating islands plastic, as if there is no tomorrow. Many previously major species have been fished out of commercial existence, and poaching, such as shark-finning, kills off up to 90 million sharks a year, of which over 200 species are endangered. At the rate we’re going, perhaps there will be no tomorrow after all.

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Imagine an ocean without whales, dolphins, seals, sharks, cod, octopus, lobsters, crabs, nor a single coral reef. It will still look breath-taking from a beach at sunset, but our soul will be filled with that ocean’s desolate emptiness.

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Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)
Anthony-Marr@HOPE-CARE.org
http://www.HOPE-CARE.org
http://www.facebook.com/Anthony.Marr.001
http://www.facebook.com/Global_Anti-Hunting_Coalition
http://www.myspace.com/AnthonyMarr
http://www.youtube.com/AnthonyMarr
http://www.HomoSapiensSaveYourEarth.blogspot.com
http://www.DearHomoSapiens.blogspot.com (AM’s 3rd-book-in-the-making)
http://www.myspace.com/Anti-Hunting_Coalition
http://www.ARConference.org

Ocean’s 11th Hour


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The oceans of Planet Earth currently contain about a quarter million species of marine organisms, which together constitute the Marine Food Pyramid and the Marine Food Web. If we do not change our ways, radically and fundamentally, immediately or sooner, we stand to drive over 90% of them, or more than 225,000 species, to extinction, and that is from the oceans alone.

Photobucket

Worse if we look at the Marine Food Pyramid in terms of its 6 Trophic Levels (TLs), namely:

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– TL1. Phytoplankton (otherwise known as “Producers”, which convert solar energy and CO2 into organic matter and oxygen),
– TL2. Zooplankton (which feed on the Phytoplankton and other Zooplankton, e.g. krill),
– TL3. Primary Consumers (which feed on plankton e.g. carols, and feed on krill e.g. small fish and baleen whales),
– TL4. Secondary Consumers (which feed on the Primary Consumers, e.g. medium fish, cephalopods e.g. squid, etc.),
– TL5. Tertiary Consumers (which feed on the Secondary Consumers, e.g. large fish) and
– TL6. Quaternary Consumers (which feed on the Tertiary Consumers, e.g. Great White Shark, Giant Squid, all marine mammals, and humans).

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Of this 250,000-species global treasure the Marine Food Pyramid/Web, all the fishes on all levels and pathways combined number only 15,000 species, and all the marine mammals (whales, dolphins, seals) total only about 120 species. And all of these advanced species will likely be among those that would go extinct, as will likely be most the corals and most arthropods (krill, crabs, lobsters).

Photobucket

The mechanism of marine ecological collapse is two-fold: ocean warming, which is unfavorable to plankton growth, and ocean acidification, which is detrimental to all organisms with skeletons composed of calcium carbonate, which means all species with skeletons, including most phytoplankton species, krill, the crustaceans, and all corals).

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The pH of the oceans has dropped (acidified) from 8.2 to 8.1 since industrialization, and susceptible species have begun to die off. By pH 7.8, all plankton species will be impacted, and with their decline, or demise, so will the species on the higher trophic levels, all the way up to the top sharks, the seals, dolphins, whales, even the humans.

Photobucket

This is not all speculation and computer modeling. It has happened before, and can happen again. We are talking about Earth’s Mass Extinction bouts, in #6 of which we are as we speak deeply entrenched. 50 years ago, the planet was losing about 20 known species a day; today, we are losing over 100 known species a day, meaning possibly ten times that many unknown species. And when it is all said and done, we will have lost over 1.5 million known species, and many times that many unknown species, land, air and sea.

Photobucket

When we talk about mass extinctions, the End-Cretaceous Extinction 64 million years ago, the one that wiped out all the dinosaurs – Mass Extinction #5 – comes to mind. But first, at about a 50% extinction rate, it is not the most severe among the Big 5, eliminating “only” about 50% of Earth’s species including all the dinosaurs, and second, it is not caused by global warming, but by an asteroid.

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The worst of them all was #3, the End-Permian Mass Extinction 251 million years ago, which drove some 75% of all land species and 95% of all marine species, including all the corals, to extinction. And it was caused by global warming resulting from geological activities associated with the break-up of the super-continent Pangaea.

Photobucket

The conditions are right for Mass Extinction #6 being a repeat of Mass Extinction #3, or even to out-do it.

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This won’t be immediate, at least not in the human time frame – perhaps a century or two, or three, but it will happen if we follow our current trajectory. The only difference is: Which of our future generation shall we devastate the most?

Photobucket

Meanwhile, as we do the Amazon rainforest on land, so we rape the oceans and the seas, directly, by highly effective machinery from chain saws to trawlers, to drain pipes of pulp mills, to floating islands plastic, as if there is no tomorrow. Many previously major species have been fished out of commercial existence, and poaching, such as shark-finning, kills off up to 90 million sharks a year, of which over 200 species are endangered. At the rate we’re going, perhaps there will be no tomorrow after all.

Photobucket

Imagine an ocean without whales, dolphins, seals, sharks, cod, octopus, lobsters, crabs, nor a single coral reef. It will still look breath-taking from a beach at sunset, but our soul will be filled with that ocean’s desolate emptiness.

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Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)
Anthony-Marr@HOPE-CARE.org
http://www.HOPE-CARE.org
http://www.facebook.com/Anthony.Marr.001
http://www.facebook.com/Global_Anti-Hunting_Coalition
http://www.myspace.com/AnthonyMarr
http://www.youtube.com/AnthonyMarr
http://www.HomoSapiensSaveYourEarth.blogspot.com
http://www.DearHomoSapiens.blogspot.com (AM’s 3rd-book-in-the-making)
http://www.myspace.com/Anti-Hunting_Coalition
http://www.ARConference.org

Outlines of Anthony Marr’s 6 talks at the 2011 Animal Rights Conference


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Outlines of Anthony Marr’s 6 speeches @ AR2011 conference:

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7/22, 9:20 AM: New Issues for Animal Liberation (plenary speech)

Animal liberation of course means freeing animals from cages, and from direct abuse, but it also means freeing them from the ultimate denial of their most basic right, the right to exist. Extinction. There are 3 things that threaten their survival: direct killing, direct destruction of habitat, and the upcoming devastating effects of runaway climate change. Mass extinction due to climate change has occurred at least once before – the End-Permian Extinction 251 million years ago, which exterminated 85% of all species on Earth. The current conditions are right for another one. Does “L.H.” mean anything to you? If not, and even if it does, you must hear what Anthony Marr has to say about it.

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7/22, 11:32 AM: Individual Activism

The Power of One. Anthony Marr has been described as a “one man revolution” by academics aware of his revolutionary thinking, speaking and writing, and a “one man wrecking crew” by the media that covered his anti-hunting road tour in which he debated large groups of hunters up to 120 at a time over 30 times throughout British Columbia over a period of 2 months. One way or another, Anthony Marr is an individual activist, which most activists are in their own beginnings. He was honored with the Henry Spira Grassroots Activist Award at the AR2010 conference, not for no reason.

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7/22, 5:04 PM: Wildlife Campaign Reports

Wildlife is the Cinderella of the Animal Right’s movement, as well as in law, which gives domestic animals a small through measurable amount of protection, but practically none for wild animals. Just as tough is the Anti-Hunting movement, which few animal rights activists take on. And even fewer ARAs work on wild habitat preservation, leaving it to the environmentalists. Anthony Marr will speak on both killing and habitat destruction, and what is being done to counteract them.

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7/23, 4:01 PM: Global Issues Affecting Animals

Other than global climate change, which will affect animals worldwide big time, the leading global issues affecting animals include habitat destruction, deforestation, desertification, ocean acidification, hunting, poaching, overfishing, the wildlife trade, feed-shortage for domestic animals, the need to downsize the animal industry, and the possible rise of abusive politicians like Sarah Palin.

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7/24, 4:02 PM: Forging Coalitions

Anthony Marr is the founder and president of the Global Anti-Hunting Coalition, and of course the coalition had to be forged, and is still being forged. In just a year and a half, the online membership of the Coalition has grown to 5400, and through his organizing and executing his 7 CARE tours, Anthony Marr has developed a direct personal contact list of well over 1000 leading ARAs, all of whom he has met and worked with in the course of his 7 Compassion for Animals Road Expeditions (CARE-tours).

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7/24, 5:02 PM: Movement Networking

Since 2003, Anthony Marr has conducted 7 Compassion for Animals Road Expeditions (CARE tours), each covering 30-44 states in 4-7 months. In the course of organizing and executing these tour, he has directly communicated with thousands of key people online, and met and worked with hundreds of key activists in real life. As well, he has spoken at the AR Conference every year since 2004, where networking effortlessly take place.

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And don’t forget the Friday night meet-and-greet party in the lobby either!

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Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)
Anthony-Marr@HOPE-CARE.org
http://www.HOPE-CARE.org
http://www.facebook.com/Anthony.Marr.001
http://www.facebook.com/Global_Anti-Hunting_Coalition
http://www.myspace.com/AnthonyMarr
http://www.youtube.com/AnthonyMarr
http://www.HomoSapiensSaveYourEarth.blogspot.com
http://www.DearHomoSapiens.blogspot.com (AM’s 3rd-book-in-the-making)
http://www.myspace.com/Anti-Hunting_Coalition
http://www.ARConference.org

Obama’s possible political suicide


America is verging on a crucial decision that will make or break the U.S. economy and Obama’s own presidency.

The problem to solve is the mounting and indeed crushing national debt, and the debilitating national deficit.

To find a solution, the first thing NOT to do is to blame another country for ones own unsustainable way of life.

If ones way of life is to live beyond ones means, either you have to borrow more to sustain it, or make it sustainable.

Since the national debt is part of the problem in the first place, borrowing more is not a logical or viable solution.

This leaves reducing expenditures as the only option, which becomes a matter of what to cut first and what not to cut.

There are just five places to cut from: the tax-cut, oil subsidies, the military, and stimulus and social programs.

By “tax cut” I mean to cut the cut itself which benefits the rich 5% at the expense of society, and stinks of elitism.

By “oil subsidies” I mean to CUT THEM OFF! They amount to billions, from your bank account straight into that of EXXON which already topped Fortune 500 at $19 billion profit in 2009.

By military expenditure, at $700 billion a year, the U.S. out-spends China’s $115 billion 6 to 1, from whom the U.S. borrows its billions.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

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http://www.globalissues.org/article/75/world-military-spending

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By stimulus packages I do NOT mean more jobs in oil and coal; I do mean more investments in green tech and green jobs.

By social programs I do NOT mean old age security, education, health care, insurance and environmental protection.

The U.S. aims at cutting $4 trillion over 10 years. The Republicans want it to come from reducing tax-cuts and social programs 50/50. The Democrats theoretically should stand for cutting tax-cuts, and reducing as few social programs as possible.

Inexplicably, incredibly, Obama seems to be driving for reducing the tax-cut less and cutting social programs more, 25/75, including old age security, which not even the Republicans have had the audacity to suggest. He is giving the Republicans twice as much as they demand, unnecessarily, sacrificing the weakest in the process. What is he thinking?!

But they are really not so weak. In fact, the Seniors make up the most vigorous as well as rigorous sector of the voting public. They have traditionally favored the Democrats. If Obama loses their support in this election, he might as well hand the presidency to Sarah Palin.

And what would Palin’s solution be? I dread to think, but if I must, she must do what Obama did not even dare to mention. She must:

1. slash the tax-cut, especially for the rich;
2. cut the oil subsidy to zero;
3. reduce the military spending by 50% in the coming decade;
4. stimulate only for long term benefits;
5. leave the social programs alone!

None of which of course she would do, nor would Obama, by the look of it.

Lots of power struggles to come, but what wisdom is there at the controls of that power? Maybe December 21, 2012, is the end of the world after all.

Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)
Anthony-Marr@HOPE-CARE.org
http://www.HOPE-CARE.org
http://www.facebook.com/Anthony.Marr.001
http://www.facebook.com/Global_Anti-Hunting_Coalition
http://www.myspace.com/AnthonyMarr
http://www.youtube.com/AnthonyMarr
http://www.HomoSapiensSaveYourEarth.blogspot.com
http://www.DearHomoSapiens.blogspot.com (AM’s 3rd-book-in-the-making)
http://www.myspace.com/Anti-Hunting_Coalition
http://www.ARConference.org

Where is Hell?


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The Lake of Hellfire

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I just watched a TV program on History Channel called [The Gates of Hell], in which a fire-and-brimstone preacher declared not only that Hell was real, but that it exists underground, with its lowest level at the center of the Earth.

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“Heaven is above us, Hell is below. Once you go down, you stay down, forever. Simple as that,” he said.

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“That’s a very geocentric viewpoint,” said Raminothna.

“I beg your pardon?” I asked.

R: “If Hell exists, it is more in the sky than underground.”

I: “How do you figure that?”

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R: “Tell me, is this the only planet in the universe with life and civilization?”

I: “What? This one, the Earth? I don’t think so.”

R: “Do they have souls?”

I: “Who? The aliens?”

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R: “Alien only to you, as you are to them.”

I: “Well, yes. Then I suppose that if I do, have a soul I mean, then so should they.”

R: “According to our good preacher, where would their Hell be?”

I: “Underground.”

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R: “Of what planet?”

I: “Of… theirs!”

R: “In what constellation?”

Instinctively, I looked UP.

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John Lennon: “No Hell below us, above us only sky.”

Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)
Anthony-Marr@HOPE-CARE.org
http://www.HOPE-CARE.org
http://www.facebook.com/Anthony.Marr.001
http://www.facebook.com/Global_Anti-Hunting_Coalition
http://www.myspace.com/AnthonyMarr
http://www.youtube.com/AnthonyMarr
http://www.HomoSapiensSaveYourEarth.blogspot.com
http://www.DearHomoSapiens.blogspot.com (AM’s 3rd-book-in-the-making)
http://www.myspace.com/Anti-Hunting_Coalition
http://www.ARConference.org

Vancouver Sun and Province articles on banning shark fins


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The Province newspaper (circ. 502,000) cover story!

Vancouver campaigner raises cultural hackles in call for ban of shark fin sales

By Cheryl Chan, The Province
July 9, 2011 9:01 PM

On a sunny Saturday morning, Anthony Marr walks into Beijing Trading Company herbal store on Pender Street in Vancouver’s Chinatown and asks the shopkeeper in Cantonese about her shark fin.

“Do you know where it’s from?”

“Will you lose money if it’s banned tomorrow?”

“As a Chinese person, do you think we should stop?”

Marr, a Vancouver-based Chinese-Canadian activist, is calling for a ban on the sale and consumption of shark fin, and today he is taking the media on a tour of businesses still selling it.

Shopkeeper Yvonna Tsang looks taken aback, but answers Marr’s questions.

“People are buying less. Not so many use it for banquets now,” she says, motioning to the store’s last remaining jar of shark fin on the shelf behind her. She said once that stock is sold out, she will stop selling the product.

“Our Chinese culture understand and wants to protect the sharks.”

The issue raises ethical concerns as well as some cultural hackles.

Shark fin, a traditional Chinese delicacy dating back centuries, is usually served in soup. The prized fin itself is rather bland, with a stringy, gelatinous texture, but the dish is considered one of the “big four” — along with abalone, fish maw and sea cucumbers — often served at weddings and important celebrations.

Most fins are harvested from sharks in the open ocean, where they are unprotected by bans.

Shark-finning, which involves slicing off the fins and throwing the maimed creatures back into the water, leaving them to starve or bleed to death, has long drawn the ire of animal rights activists.

An estimated 35 to 73 million sharks are killed off every year, pushing the world’s battered oceans to a “point of no return,” said Marr.

Simon Fraser University professor Nick Dulvy, co-chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s shark specialist group, says that out of 21 shark species commonly captured by commercial fisheries, half are threatened.

“There are a lot of sharks being killed and it’s driving them towards extinction,” he said.

Poaching is also prevalent, adds Marr, and because merchants have no easy way to identify what species a particular fin is from, a blanket ban on all fins should be imposed.

According to the United Nations Environment Program, shark populations in the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea have collapsed by 90 per cent over the last 15 years. Some scientists predict the extinction of sharks in less than two decades.

Demand for shark fin has risen as Chinese people become increasingly affluent. About half of the world’s shark fin harvest is consumed in mainland China.

Overfishing of other species such as tuna also forces fishermen to focus the hunt on the marine predators.

In Canada, where the practice of shark finning is illegal (but not shark hunting), shark product imports have remained steady. In 2009, Canada imported 311,600 kilograms of shark products, including 77,000 kilograms of frozen or dried shark fin.

For many Chinese people who have struggled out of poverty, shark fin soup — which goes for between $10 and $60 a serving — is considered a status symbol, showcasing success and fortune.

Marr, who has eaten shark fin before, said he doesn’t dislike the taste, but that it doesn’t justify the carnage being wreaked in our oceans.

“The people either don’t know or they don’t care. Usually it’s both.”

When Judy Lao told her father she didn’t want shark fin soup served at her wedding reception at the Floata Restaurant in Vancouver’s Chinatown on Sunday, he was horrified.

“It was important to him,” says Lao, 28. “He said it doesn’t look good, because shark fin is a traditional wedding dish. It’s a sign of wealth.”

Like many younger Chinese-Canadians, Lao and her fiancée, Jason Shim, are aware of the cruelty of shark finning and don’t attach the same cache to the soup as their parents or grandparents.

“We don’t really care, our friends don’t care and shark fin has no nutritional value anyway, so why should we serve it?”

Lao eventually won her dad over. He has since been bragging to his friends about his daughter’s stance, which won the couple a trip to Hawaii as part of a contest sponsored by Vancouver-based grassroots organization Shark Truth.

Founder Claudia Li, 24, became a shark champion after watching the documentary Sharkwater by Toronto native Rob Stewart and finding out where her soup came from.

“I was angry at myself for being so ignorant,” she says. “I had no idea how bad it was.”

Li says shark finning is an extremely wasteful practice that goes against the Chinese virtue of frugality.

Her group aims to end the consumption of shark fin, “one bowl at a time,” whether through awareness or legislation, in five to 10 years.

By asking young Chinese-Canadian couples to pledge to give up shark fin soup at their wedding banquet, Li estimates they have diverted 8,600 bowls — or 860 sharks — from consumption. This fall, she also plans to hold an Iron Chef-style cooking contest aimed at encouraging chefs to come up with an alternative to shark fin soup.

Li says it’s been a struggle to get restaurateurs on board.

In Vancouver, only Ken’s Chinese Restaurant on Kingsway has lent its support to Shark Truth’s campaign. Most, if not all, Cantonese-style restaurants in Vancouver still serve the dish.

“They say, ‘We get it, and we don’t want to serve it, but if we don’t, our competitors will and we’ll lose a lot of business,’” explains Li.

At Vancouver’s upscale Kirin Restaurant, manager Andrew Yee said the restaurant now offers banquet menus without shark fin soup because more and more customers are turning down the dish.

But it’s still available on other banquet menus and on the à la carte menu. He estimates he receives about five orders a day.

“The old people prefer shark fin,” he says. “But this new generation, they don’t like it. They only want to please the old people, to make them happy.”

But the tide is turning.

In China itself, a lawmaker has proposed a ban on the shark-fin trade.

In the U.S., Hawaii, Washington and Oregon have already imposed bans on shark fin.

Last month, Brantford, Ont. banned the possession, sale and consumption of shark fin — the first Canadian municipality to outlaw it.

And in Toronto, councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker says his motion to ban shark fin was met with overwhelming support, even among Chinese-Canadians. He is confident the motion will pass and sees no reason why a ban would not work in Vancouver.

“I’ve always thought of Vancouver as a more ecologically-minded city, more in touch with its oceans and mountains,” he says.

Some critics say it would be better to work toward sustainability of shark populations.

Dulvy says a ban would centre the debate on loss of freedom and cultural rights.

“The community will feel like their freedoms are being removed,” he points out, noting shark fin is to Chinese culture what turkey is to Thanksgiving. “It can offend them pretty deeply.”

In California, the issue has divided the Chinese-Canadian community, with senator Leland Yee calling the ban an “unfair attack on Asian culture and cuisine.”

Vancouver councillor Kerry Jang, who has been watching efforts in other cities, says a shark-fin ban would be controversial, hard to enforce, and might drive the trade underground.

“I’m not seeing [a ban] as having a real impact,” he says. “In fact, it causes a lot of animosity and it’s not as constructive as educating people and promoting an alternative.”

Back in Chinatown, Bobo Chu of Cheung Sing Herbal on Main Street, where several jars of shark fin were on display, is neither for or against a ban.

“It’s up to the customer and the government,” she says through a translator.

A ban, however, should encompass more than just Vancouver, she says.

“If Richmond can sell the shark fin, they’ll have more business.”

Mar, who describes himself as a Chinese David taking on a Chinese Goliath, says it’ll be no loss to Chinese culture to lose the fin.

“People just buy it because it’s a status symbol. They don’t even like it that much.”

chchan@theprovince.com

twitter.com/cherylchan
© Copyright (c) The Province

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http://www.theprovince.com/news/vancouver/Animal+rights+activist+stranger+confrontation/5079190/story.html

Animal rights activist no stranger to confrontation

By Cheryl Chan, The Province
July 9, 2011 9:01 PM

Longtime Vancouver activist Anthony Marr is no stranger to going head-to-head with Chinese culture to protect endangered animals.

In 1995, Marr organized a media tour through Vancouver’s Chinatown apothecaries, pointing out where tiger bone, bear gallbladders and rhino horns were being used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Born in China’s Guangdong province, Marr and his family fled to Hong Kong when he was five, then to Canada, when he was 20, where he studied physics and geology at the University of B.C.

Marr has been an outspoken critic of whale-hunting and bear-hunting in B.C., Alberta’s tarsands and Canada’s seal hunt.

In 2008, he planted time capsules across Canada — meant to be opened in 2060 — containing evidence of environmental destruction, praise for activists and the names of “criminals” he believes are responsible for the damage.

As founder of Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE), Marr spends half the year travelling across the U.S. giving speeches and helping groups with campaigns.

Last year, in Washington, D.C., he was honoured with the Henry Spiro Award for animal rights activism.

For his outspoken views and fearlessness in criticizing Chinese practices, Marr has been heckled on Chinese radio talk shows and called a traitor, he says.

But he remains defiant.

“If we don’t change and we drive all these species to extinction, our reputation will be forever mud,” he says. “But if we can stop this practice, led by Chinese people ourselves, we can clean up our reputation.”

© Copyright (c) The Province

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“Environmentalist Anthony Marr launches a campaign at Guohua apothecary on 512 Main St., to ban shark fins in Vancouver, BC., on July 9, 2011.” (Photograph by: Nick Procaylo, Vancouver Sun, the Province, PNG)

Activists protest to ban shark fins in China Town

By Medha, Vancouver Sun July 9, 2011

Environmentalist Anthony Marr launches a campaign at the Beijing Trading Co. Ltd to ban shark fins.

Photograph by: Nick Procaylo, Vancouver Sun

A group of local community organizations and activists came together in China Town Saturday morning in support of a ban on shark fins.

Shark fin soup has been served as a delicacy for centuries in China and elsewhere and is a huge status symbol often served at wedding banquets.

The demand has been so huge, that it has led to the virtual decimation of the species. Shark populations worldwide have been in decline and as many as 73 million are thought to be traded annually for their fins triggering a conservation crisis.

“The removal of the top predator from the oceans is bound to have serious consequences,” said Anthony Marr, a Chinese Canadian animal rights activist who is campaigning for the ban. He has previously been involved with campaigns leading to the ban of products containing tiger bone, bear bile and rhino horns.

Claudia Li, the founder of Shark Truth, an organization that has been involved in grassroots efforts to stop shark fin use within the Chinese-Canadian community said that she supported the idea of ban, but felt that cultural sensitivity was needed in addressing the issue. “Most vendors dealing in shark fins here in China Town are low and middle income operators,” she said, “we need to work at making the community aware rather than antagonizing them. That only burns bridges.”

Shark Tooth has been involved in an innovative project that asks young couples to publicly pledge that they will not serve shark fin soup at their wedding banquet and offers them a chance to win a honeymoon trip.

The project said Li has been hugely successful, “It has been a slow process but the younger generation is embracing the change — now it has become rather unstylish to serve the shark fin soup at weddings.”

Yvonna Tsang, the owner of Beijing Trading Company, a shop that still stocks the delicacy said that she has seen demand go down in the past few years and is herself considering not to stock the product any longer.

The younger generation is far more aware she said, admitting that she herself wasn’t aware of the harm caused by the practice until she saw the documentary Sharkwater on television.

Bans help, but working at a grassroots level is the best way forward, said Mike McDermid, of Ocean Wise, a Vancouver Aquarium conservation initiative over a phone interview, “as demand goes down, so does the incentive for stocking and trading in the product.”

Recently, Brantford, Ontario became the first municipality in Canada to ban shark fins.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

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Follwing are some comments to the Province article (please read from the bottom up:

Brente

5:32 PM on July 11, 2011

My families culture involved lopping off the heads of people we didn’t like with a 4′ broad sword for a few hundred years can I practice my heritage here?
Report Abuse

Score: 2
White Rock

1:31 PM on July 11, 2011

Up to 73 million sharks a year killed mainly for their fins? Ouch!
Report Abuse

Score: 2
Starky

9:56 AM on July 11, 2011

Lets see…

Bird’s nests, shark fins, bee larvae, starfish, tiger/deer/sheep/ox/seal/snake/dog penis, bear gallbladder, cow gallstones, cordyceps (parasitic fungus worth $9000+/kg), Sparrows (including bones), dirt (literally), goat feotus, cats, rats, scorpions, spiders, grasshoppers (without chocolate? philistines), and of course sea turtles, I’m running out of characters so I’ll stop.

Time to close the border. The rates of integration are horrible. Some children integrate well but we CANNOT handle the Family Class. Mass mailing in ONLY Chinese is NOT multiculturalism, it failed long ago and is now just ethnic vote pandering.

The doom and gloom from negative birth rates is fear mongering. We are a resource exporting country. We don’t need to be another financial/service sector. Economists agree that GDP would slow for 4-6 years and then we would rapidly recover WITHOUT losing our culture or standard of living.

NO MORE FAMILY CLASS. Makes those who DO try look like suckers.
Report Abuse

Score: 2
Be Reasonable_

4:59 AM on July 11, 2011

Hopefully, Anthony Marr and Claudia Li represent the future of the Chinese Canadian community. Destroying the biodiversity and environment that acts as the life support system for all of us just to support a superstition and feebly try to project status is as pathetic as it is stupid. The ‘cultural’ argument gets taken far too far. Every culture is full of some good and some stupid practices, and we desperately need to get rid of the stupid ones like shark fin soup. Than you Mr. Marr and Ms. Li for your efforts.
Report Abuse

Score: 2
Be Reasonable_

4:58 AM on July 11, 2011

Hopefully, Anthony Marr and Claudia Li represent the future of the Chinese Canadian community. Destroying the biodiversity and environment that acts as the life support system for all of us just to support a superstition and feebly try to project status is as pathetic as it is stupid. The ‘cultural’ argument gets taken far too far. Every culture is full of some good and some stupid practices, and we desperately need to get rid of the stupid ones like shark fin soup. Thank you Mr. Marr and Ms. Li for your efforts.
Report Abuse

Score: 4
surelynot

4:45 AM on July 11, 2011

The federal government should take a leadership role and ban it. There are so few sharks left, some baby shark fins are used in the soups. It is a status symbol to serve this soup at banquets, but finning is an inhumane, brutal and despicable practice. All animals have feelings and emotions. Our oceans are going to be giant mudholes at the rate humans have plundered and sucked the fish out at a horrendous speed never seen before. We get a third of our oxygen from the life in the oceans, so with our growing population, pollution and decimating of sea life, humans may have a survival problem.
Report Abuse

Score: 4
Anthony Marr

6:47 PM on July 10, 2011

Back in 1996 I conducted a similar campaign on tiger bone, rhino horn and bear bile, and forced out a federal law called WAPPRIITA (Wild Animals and Plants Protection and International and Interprovincial Trade Act), which prohibits the importation, trade, sale, possession and use of items containing endangered species ingredients within Canada. Over 200 shark species are endangered, and poachers kill indiscriminately. Since we cannot inexpensively determine which fin came from what species, the only way to enforce this law is to ban all fins. Concerned Canadians should write their federal MPs. What good is a law if not enforced?
Delete
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Score: 0
Magnolia

6:41 PM on July 10, 2011

Bruno11 makes a good point. As long as people are pointing fingers at the Chinese, it might be time to examine our own consumption of red meat and various other gluttonous habits. Global warming, to which Canadians are among the largest per-capita contributors in the world, is one of the biggest threats to ocean life, and life in general.
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Score: 3
AryanGuru

4:53 PM on July 10, 2011

I have often not agreed with Marr, but this time I do agree.
Good work Marr.

Ban trade and consumption of shark fins.

Terrible waste of resource.
Report Abuse

Score: 3
Chan28

4:34 PM on July 10, 2011

I applaud those Chinese(and anyone for that matter regardless of race) who started this effort to rid the world of this horrible practice. Shark fin soup is nothing more than a waste. The more education on how it is acquired the better. Lets avoid the cultural issue and discuss it as a world/species issue. For those that blame “Asians” get a grip they may be the ones who are eating it, but read the article the movement was started by those that learned it wasn’t right. Education and discussion will stop the practice. Hate speech and racism will not!

Score: 0
Name withheld

3:58 PM on July 10, 2011

This comment has been removed because it contains material which was deemed inappropriate.

Score: 5
Name withheld

2:37 PM on July 10, 2011

This comment has been removed because it contains material which was deemed inappropriate.
Report Abuse

Score: 3
mikefromenderby

12:07 PM on July 10, 2011

Does anybody proofread these articles? The word is cachet, not cache. It makes it sound like they stockpile the soup.

Score: 3
Name withheld

11:38 AM on July 10, 2011

This comment has been removed because it contains material which was deemed inappropriate.
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Score: 6
Not Here

11:24 AM on July 10, 2011

Yes Bruno, but cows are not an endangered species. If the sharks for fin soup were a cultivated animal, not a threatened animal, there would be little outcry.

You can’t eat bald headed eagle, or mountain gorillas, or many many other endangered species. It is not a cultural prejudice to protect a species from extinction.

As the article makes clear – shark fin is not that appetizing. It’s eaten as a status symbol. Rather a pathetic reason to eat something, and an incredibly facile reason to eat a species to extinction.
Report Abuse

Score: 1
Bruno11

10:18 AM on July 10, 2011

I think it’s repulsive to hitch a cow up in it’s hind legs split it open to have all the insides spill out and then mutilated for steaks and cheeseburgers. Until then people here take care of their own pathetic ways and then start preaching about how other people should live. Btw off to the chuck wagon races today…only one horse killed this year or sorry “put down” if easier on the ears! Our school children should have field trips to the slaughter houses instead of waterparks and aquariums. Have the open “cut the head off the chicken” booth at all local farmers markets. Educate them early .People should check out the vegan websites!
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Score: 2
Richmond anon

8:58 AM on July 10, 2011

If all else fails and you don’t like the practices of a restaurant, then boycott them. In the end, money seems to speak loudest, so withhold yours from restaurants that promote this cruelty and waste.
Report Abuse

Score: 7
Magnolia

8:58 AM on July 10, 2011

Just about any practice can be defended on the grounds that it is part of one’s “culture.” It doesn’t make it right. And in any case, preservation of the global environment should take precedent over Chinese dietary practices, methinks.
Report Abuse

Score: 7
Realist

3:34 AM on July 10, 2011

to anon380432403:

You have a lot to learn.

The stability of the ocean’s populations controls the stability of the entire global food chain.

If the oceans die, everything & everyone else dies, too. Including you & me.

We’ve overfished the oceans so much that marine life is currently dying at paces only seen just prior to the 5 major extinctions of the planet.

Everything we can do, including banning shark fin consumption worldwide, is absolutely necessary for the survival of our species.
Report Abuse

Score: -10
anon380432403

3:07 AM on July 10, 2011

Honestly … this guy should get a job. Stop with these ” causes”. There are real causes out there. This isn’t one of them. I’m sure the people in African enduring the latest humanitarian crisis don’t care about the sharks. There are real issues and real suffering in this world. Stop posing and do something that actually means something. This guy is a falsely heroic fraud.
Report Abuse

Score: 6
JYM

2:29 AM on July 10, 2011

this the same market that condones the bleeding of live bears bladders in China for Bile and the killing of Bears in BC just for their bladders to cure penile dysfunction. THERE IS A DRUG FOR THAT NOW. Why don’t they just switch to boiled pigeon feces mixed with the urine collected from Grateful Dead concert PortaPoties and dried on the sun heated hoods of 1972 HONDA Civics.
I have heard from reliable religious scriptures that it works better and is easier to get.
Report Abuse

Score: 8
bcdiver

1:49 AM on July 10, 2011

The ban is way too long in coming. The article mentions a jar on a shelf with fins in it, every time I go to Chinatown I see entire tables stacked with fins, it’s appalling.
Report Abuse

Score: 8
joeforte

12:16 AM on July 10, 2011

At $250 per table at a wedding banquet for the soup alone, I’m sure it will soon be a thing of the past.
Report Abuse

Score: 8
anon293750294

12:06 AM on July 10, 2011

The whole pacific is radioactive now thanks to the Fukushima nuclear disaster. It is probably not safe to eat most seafood now anyway.

I say ban shark fin in all of B.C.

Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/life/Vancouver+campaigner+raises+cultural+hackles+call+shark+sales/5079189/story.html#ixzz1Rqn51sE0

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LTEs:

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The Province
Shark slaughter
by Kathleen Duborg
July 13, 2011

Many thanks for bringing the incredibly important topic of the sale of shark fins for soup to full coverage. I’m reminded of the devastation to elephants for their ivory tusks and their huge corpses that littered the landscape, with only their white “trophies” ripped from them and then everything else left to rot.

We are unable to fully see the devastation of the shark problem, as these poachers are able to hide their offence below the water. Every individual that eats this shark fin soup for “cultural reasons” needs to reassess a culture that does great harm and to elevate themselves and their cultural choices to a higher ethical standard. Individuals enrich and create culture over time, culture does not make the individual stand still and stupid among the ruin it creates.

Kathleen Duborg, Burnaby
© Copyright (c) The Province

Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/Shark+slaughter/5094027/story.html#ixzz1S02oOpRg

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The Vancouver Sun
Saving the sharks helps the whole planet
by Dora Hoffer
July 13, 2011

Re: Shark fin losing its lustre, July 11

We need to achieve a complete ban in Vancouver and Canada on the sale of shark fins and the use of shark cartilage or other shark-derived products falsely claimed as health remedies.

Sharks, who have been around for 400 million years, have steeply declined in number in recent decades.

The majority of the decline is due to longlining and the shark-finning industry where sharks are caught, their fins cut off, and the body thrown back into the ocean.

We need to look at all shark products since every shark product sold aids the decline.

Sharks contain methyl mercury, which is known to cause significant health issues for pregnant women and children.

Methyl mercury works its way up the ecosystem and appears in higher concentrations in top predators like the shark.

The concentration of methyl mercury in sharks is also due to their long lives.

This concentration is said to be 10 to 100 times the legal limit allowed for human consumption.

In addition to the risks posed by consuming sharks, there are significant health risks for our planet. As the apex predator of the oceans, sharks keep other marine life in healthy balance and help regulate the world’s largest and most important ecosystem, the ocean.

The decline of sharks threatens the ocean’s ecosystem balance and will seriously upset life on this planet.

Please think ethically to help save the shark and the health of our ocean and the planet.

Dora Hoffer

Vancouver
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

========================================================

Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)
Anthony-Marr@HOPE-CARE.org
http://www.HOPE-CARE.org
http://www.facebook.com/Anthony.Marr.001
http://www.facebook.com/Global_Anti-Hunting_Coalition
http://www.myspace.com/AnthonyMarr
http://www.youtube.com/AnthonyMarr
http://www.HomoSapiensSaveYourEarth.blogspot.com
http://www.DearHomoSapiens.blogspot.com (AM’s 3rd-book-in-the-making)
http://www.myspace.com/Anti-Hunting_Coalition
http://www.ARConference.org
206-259-9679