Tag Archives: Rights

#hellohumanrights

As you have probably heard, Target recently updated their company policy on bathroom usage to be trans-inclusive. To those promoting the social media campaign against this, I say:

If you don’t like Target’s bathroom policy, then don’t use their bathroom.
No one is trying to make you!

Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 7.47.24 AMBut, don’t try to restrict other people’s right to use a bathroom where they feel comfortable.

You are overly privileged to live in a country and world that has considered it a right for you to be comfortable. This socio-cultural phenomenon is called heteronormativity.

When you experience a tiny discomfort you expect the rest of the world to fight for what is your gendered privilege.

What if you were on the other side?

What if society existed in such a way where you were never comfortable to use a public restroom because of your gender identity. Stop being so selfish!

Don’t say ‪#‎byetarget‬ or ‪#‎boycotttarget‬ Say ‪#‎HelloHumanRights‬

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Dog Meat Festival

Did you know that in 6 days China’s Annual Dog Meat Festival is set to take place?  It has been taking place for two decades in Yulin, a town of 6 million people.  Did you know “an estimated 90 percent of the dogs killed at the festival each year are stolen from urban households and farmers by thieves who then turn around and sell them.”?  Annually it is estimated 40,000 dogs and 10,000 cats are consumed at the festival.

dogs

On average dogs are sold for $60 each, the butcher then charges the consumer (barf!) $120 for the “final product”.    Supporters of the “festival” say it is there right, “if someone wants to eat it, they can kill it”.  Those selling and butchering the pets say it is a business and they need to support their families.

yulin-13

In recent years the Yulin government has “banned” the event, but that only had a minor impact, activities still continue even when they are no longer government endorsed.  Peter J Li, Ph.D. China Policy Advisor, Humane Society International posted to The Dodo stating “Last year when Yulin authorities declared the festival was over, they summoned the dog meat traders about 20 days before the summer solstice, and warned them to remove the word “dog” from their restaurants and to slaughter dogs in the cover of darkness during the early hours instead of daylight, so that the controversy would simply be hidden from public view. The visible trappings of a festival disappeared, but so did thousands of dogs.” The Humane Society International has been working with more than 35 local groups from 24 cities for more than a decade to end this cruelty.

support

To really understand the situation, I ask that you watch this VICE report Dining on Dogs in Yulin which has been seen by 2.3 million people – it should be seen by you too!  I appreciate this particular video (including Part 2) because it shows different perspectives on the issue.  In Part 2 everything is “normal”, the meat is cooked and everyone sitting at the table around various dishes, just as we sit down around a turkey or ham in America.

CNN reported on this issue in 2014 acknowledging that shifting the mindset will be an uphill battle.  In an interview they conducted, it was argued that a dog meat festival is no different than a rib fest

So is the issue that the dogs being eaten were family pets?  Would it be any better if the dogs came from a factory farm, like our turkey and ham?  Or does the fact remain that the animal experienced cruelty at the hand of humans when they were living?  Is this really our right?  If you believe it is, are you really that different from your friends in Yulin?

I think its time to question this idea that humans “need to eat meat” for survival.  Does telling yourself its a “need” lessen your responsibility to what happens to that animal before you buy it at the grocery store?  Take a guess what my next blog post is about… 

For now, #StopYulin2015

Sign the Humane Society International’s petition to end the Dog Meat Festival and stay up to date on the issue!

Photos: AP/Humane Society International

Rights

Americans have always prided themselves on their many rights.
And as time passed, we eventually prided ourselves on our equal rights.

Today we like to think that our laws are meant to treat everyone equally and to protect everyone equally.  For example, it is against the law to beat someone, no matter their race, gender, or age.

But what about their species?

It’s human rights that we pride ourselves on.  But what about an animal’s rights?

I recently came across an article on the Animal Legal Defense Fund website that ranked states on the strength of their animal protection laws.  And while I was proud that my state (Minnesota) was ranked as a top tier state, with better than average animal protection laws, I was slightly disgusted to see that the states that border Minnesota are some of the nations worst. 

ImageIowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota all rank among the worst states when it comes to legislature concerning the rights of animals and punishments for the breakers of those laws.

So I pose these questions to my readers.  Why the disparity within neighboring states?  How can some Midwestern states like Minnesota, Michigan, and Illinois rank so well and yet our neighbors rank amongst the worst? And what can my fellow Minnesotans do to help better the laws in our bordering states?

 

Why is Everybody Worried About Their Privacy When They’re All on Facebook?

So, I admit it… I am not on Facebook. I have no desire to be on Facebook, and I am aware that I may be missing out on a ton of cool things, but I just can’t do it. That’s just the way it is.

I am one of only about a handful of people that I know that doesn’t have a Facebook account. Anytime I meet another person who is in my same position, there is usually a high five, a head nod, or we both immediately shout out an excited list of reasons why we choose not to be on Facebook. It’s a special bond, like we’re part of our own network that will probably not hear from each other again for several months… or ever.  

Now don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Facebook or people who are on it. It has done amazing things for our world. It has connected millions of people across the globe in a way that was not possible before. Its easier to stay in touch with old friends or relatives. Musicians have used it as a way to collaborate with other artist or reach out to a larger fan-base.  It has been used as a tool to organize the masses and spread social awareness of many issues. Businesses and non-profit organizations are able to connect with their audiences and listen to what they are asking for. Facebook really is amazing. So why am I resisting it so much?

Well, the short answer that I give people is… privacy.  I don’t like Facebook because I feel like people expose too much of their lives on it. I know it all depends on how you use social media of any kind, but think about what the average person has on their Facebook page. How well can you get to know someone by their Facebook page?

Look at your Facebook page, do you have any of these on them?

  • Your name
  • Your age
  • Your relationship status
  • Where you live
  • Where you went/go to school
  • Where you work
  • Pictures of yourself, friends, or family
  • Pictures of your last vacation
  • Pictures of yourself at a party (maybe a little tipsy)
  • Conversations with other people who are also on Facebook
  • Your phone number ( I know it seems crazy but some people do)

I know that posting any of these things onto Facebook is optional. But if you don’t post pictures or have conversations, what fun is it?  And YES, I know that you can set privacy settings so your grandma doesn’t see the pictures of you at Mardi Gras from last year, but I am still amazed that so many people are willing to put so much of their life online. Even if a person “doesn’t have anything to hide”, does that mean that you need to expose yourself like this?Image

Again, I have nothing against Facebook or its users. Most of the people I know are on it and are constantly trying to convince me to get on it. As of June 2013, Facebook claims to have 1.15 billion users, so it must be pretty cool. But for me, especially during a time where the NSA has become a household name and our government is being accused of spying on its own people and people from around the world, I still think I rather not have one.

For more information on Facebook privacy and general privacy on the web, check out these links…

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/07/technology/personaltech/protecting-your-privacy-on-the-new-facebook.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2013/10/07/privacy-facebook-google/2935383/