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I usually try to stay away from animal cruelty newsletters or web sites as they really upset me and as a vegetarian I feel like I don’t need to be exposed to these horrors. I don’t eat or wear animals because of said suffering, so I don’t want to read or see things that are so sad. That said a few months ago I signed up for PETA’s newsletter for the second time to remind myself that I should do more, even if I don’t want to see it, it does motivate me.

In the latest newsletter I got today, PETA talks about leather. I being a lover of super fresh shoes, always had leather and suede shoes, until a few years ago where I read about the horrors of leather and decided to give up buying any leather products. Recently, I started to see a few shoes made from animals that I thought were cute and I couldn’t quite remember why I gave up leather…

Then along came PETA, with their Shopping Guide To Compassionate Clothing and Cows Are Cool, with their page on, What’s Wrong With Leather. This information reminded me why I gave up leather and suede. I’d like to share some information from Cows Are Cool with you.

Leather may be made from cows, pigs, goats, and sheep; exotic animals like alligators, ostriches, and kangaroos; and even dogs and cats, who are slaughtered for their meat and skins in China, which exports their skins around the world. Since leather is normally not labeled, you never really know where (or whom) it came from.

Most leather comes from developing countries like India and China, where animal welfare laws are either non-existent or not enforced. Many of the millions of cows and other animals who are killed for their skin endure the horrors of factory farming—extreme crowding and deprivation as well as castration, branding, tail-docking, and dehorning, all without any painkillers. In India, a PETA investigation found that cows have their tails broken and chili peppers and tobacco rubbed into their eyes in order to force them to get up and walk after they collapse from exhaustion on the way to the slaughterhouse. At slaughterhouses, animals routinely have their throats slit and are skinned and dismembered while they are still conscious after improper stunning.

Most of the millions of animals slaughtered for their skin endure the horrors of factory farming before being shipped to slaughter, where many are skinned alive. Buying leather directly contributes to factory farms and slaughterhouses since skin is the most economically important byproduct of the meat-packing industry. Leather is also no friend of the environment since it shares all the environmental destruction of the meat industry, in addition to the toxins used in tanning.

With every pair of leather shoes that you buy, you sentence an animal to a lifetime of suffering. Instead, you can choose from hundreds of styles of nonleather shoes, clothing, belts, bags, and wallets. Fashion should be fun, not fatal! Read more about the cruelty of the leather industry.

…so nevertheless I have cured myself of my desire for leather, thanks to PETA and Cows Are Cool and my conscious.

Also, PETA has given shopping alternatives to leather, wool, silk, fur, down on their site. Here are the links and one link for companies who offer cruelty-free products to be listed in PETA’s guide:

Vegan Companies
Leather and Fur Alternatives
Search by Product Type
Animal-Friendly Companies Wanted

Remember all animals feel pain and nothing is done to alleviate these animals suffering in their processing and slaughtering. I don’t want to ever be a part of that.

Knowledge is enlightenment.

-Cara
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Reason 69 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
In 2005, a $7.1 billion plan to prepare the U.S. for a bird-flu pandemic was instituted by the Bush administration. It included very little to help poor countries slow the spread of the H5N1 strain already on the march. Pharmaceutical companies would get most of the largesse in order to stockpile and develop speedier methods to develop appropriate vaccines for American citizens. In addition, President Bush proposed that he be given the power to impose essentially martial law on the land in the event that a pandemic actually came about. The number of countries with bird flu increased from 14 to 55 in 2006.

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No, this is not becoming an arts and entertainment blog, but I watched a documentary tonight called, Dangerous Living: Coming Out In The Developing World, and now I feel like talking about it.

It is a crazy world we live in where people feel like it is OK to torture, rape, belittle, and murder each other in the name of God, Country and what is “morally” right. Dangerous Living: Coming Out In The Developing World follows the lives of gays, lesbians and transgender people living in the Global South, during this time. The film centers around the 52 men in Cairo who were arrested, tortured and imprisoned for gathering at a discothèque on the river Nile on May 11th, 2001. There is no law against homosexuality in Egypt so the Egyptian Government officially accused the men of committing crimes of debauchery. The 52 were later tried, convicted, and sentenced to 3 years in prison. Sentenced to three years in prison for being on a boat dancing with other men, can you imagine…Chelsea would be empty! No, but seriously…what? This is absurd. I am glad I found this flick, because it reminds me of all the work we still must do to undo all the ignorance that is alive and well all over the world and not just in my beautiful America. This film is not only about the 52 men in Egypt, but about homosexuals in Honduras, the Philippines, Kenya, Uganda, Brazil, Pakistan, Vietnam, Namibia, India, Fiji Islands, Iran, El Salvador, China, Malaysia, and Jamaica to name a few, that are being treated inhumanely by their fellow countrymen and being encourage to do so by their own government.

We as people need to stop hurting each other, because of our ignorance and insecurities. We need to open are eyes and hearts and then minds to create a better place to exist. It is important not only for others, but are own wellbeing. First step, watch the movie. I got it from Netflix today and will return it tomorrow so you can watch it. ;) Second, visit The the International Lesbian and Gay Association, they are a world-wide network of national and local groups dedicated to achieving equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people everywhere and do something!!!

Take back the night!

-Cara

p.s.- I almost forgot in all my outrage that another reason to watch it is Janeane Garofalo is the narrator of the film! That’s a sweet deal.


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Reason 61 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
From the animal-feed breadbasket and feedlots of the nation’s Midwest, massive amounts of fertilizer, pesticides, and manure-runoff travel down the Mississippi River. This high-nutrient mix causes an eco-chain reaction that ends with microscopic organisms robbing oxygen from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Marine life must relocate or suffocate. The phenomenon is known as hypoxia. Scientists have dubbed affected areas “dead zones.” Each summer the Gulf’s dead zone grows to an area the size of New Jersey. A recent U.N. report showed a 34 percent jump over 2 years in the number of dead zones–now 200 worldwide. Today, red tides (harmful algae blooms) line some coastlines of entire nations nearly without break. Soon, the hot real-estate properties around the world will be away from the waterfronts.

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