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  "The Cove" 

By: Karen J. Allen
Co-Publisher, On the Gay Horizon
 
 

When I was 10 years old, I became the proud caretaker of Pinkie, Bucky, Floppsie and Carrot Top. I don’t remember why I had to have rabbits but since I have always loved animals at least as much, forgive me if I confess to almost more, than people, I’m sure I just wanted to hang out with them. We had very little money so the deal I worked out with my dad was that I would take care of them and, when the inevitable babies came, I would raise them until they were the correct age. Then he would take over and do whatever needed to be done to sell them to a local grocery store.  

I did my part. Trudged out there every day. Fed them. Cleaned their cages. Totally fell in love with them. When the little bunnies arrived they were everywhere! All too soon, it was time. We lived on a farm in the Midwest where crops and animals are raised for the sole purpose of feeding people. My dad had been a Marine. He’d hunted and fished all of his life. I remember a lot of great meals from what he brought home. But he couldn’t do this. And I don’t think there was ever anything that made me think more of him.  

Earlier this week, at a showing of “The Cove”, I sat in a theater and watched in horror as the Japanese fisherman in Taiji mercilessly slaughtered dolphins, literally turning the sea red with their blood. I wasn’t the only one reminded of places like Dachau and Auschwitz but I doubt that anyone else thought of bunnies.  

I’ve read accounts of prisoners in the death camps assigned to Special Detachments whose duties were to lie to new arrivals as they entered the gas chambers so that they would believe they were only being disinfected. And then they would cart away the bodies, removing the gold from their teeth before putting them in mass graves or crematoriums.  

“Detachment” seems to be the operative word here. Reports document that these men were observed eating and drinking while carrying out these horrific tasks. I watched the Japanese fisherman engage in exactly the same behavior immediately following their massacre of the dolphins. What is there about our species that grants some of us that level of detachment? Are there circumstances under which my dad, who couldn’t kill a rabbit for food, would have murdered dolphins by the thousands? Would I? Would you? 

Nothing justifies what is being done to the dolphins. Shortly after we saw this film, my friend, Lynn Dugan, expressed how we all felt when she wrote this for the Charleston Social Club: 

"The Cove"  

I am speechless which leads me to write this. I have just come from a beautifully filmed documentary called “The Cove”. This film seeks to expose a secret cove in Taiji, Japan, which is systematically exterminating dolphins and porpoises. The reason? Each dolphin is worth $150,000 if sent to a place like Sea World. And, only a select few are chosen. They destroy the rest. Then they turn around and sell the meat on the open market. This happens from September through March every year. 23,000 dolphins are killed every year this way. 

The cinematography, although wonderful,l shows us too vividly just how these wonderful creatures are killed and the sea of blood it produces. Of course, there is nothing humane about it. It somehow reminded me of Dachau or Bergen Belsen. The horror is real to me, in its senselessness….destroying one of God’s most beautiful creations. It burned the edges of my soul to see this and yet, it has to be seen. As I write this, I’m screaming inside and crying again. I know there is an indelible imprint of this film on my heart and it permeates me to the core.  

Why make this film? If there is no awareness of what’s happening, then it will continue. Now, here’s the tricky part. That choice is ours whether to take responsibility and become active or just blow it off as a film that educated you but it doesn’t really affect your life. Here’s your chance to make a difference to humanity. The choice is yours….choose well.  www.takepart.com/thecove  

 

I’ve struggled all week trying to write about this. I want it to be about my outrage at what is being done to the dolphins. And, trust me, the outrage is there. I’ve envisioned Japanese fishermen walking in front of my car! But, before I could really rev up the engine, I’d look at their faces and see my own staring back.  

Detachment. That’s where we live. Our lives consist of seeing how skillful we can be putting degrees of separation between ourselves and that which we abhor. We would never personally subject cows, chickens, pigs to the cruel conditions of factory farms but we purchase the neat little packages in the stores, thereby insuring the continued suffering of countless more. It’s heartbreaking to see the images of starving polar bears documented by the Discovery Channel but we turn off the TV and hop right into a vehicle that is the direct cause of their rapidly approaching extinction.  

I could, of course, go on and on listing things that we do that contribute to the suffering of other beings that we share this planet with --- animals and people. Most of us would never knowingly hurt another. Not face to face. But harm them we do by simply looking away. By not supporting a project like “The Cove” because it’s too hard to watch. By not recycling. By being ignorant of the consequences of our consumption. By making easy choices rather than responsible ones.  

We chose this particular showing of “The Cove” because Philippe Cousteau, Jacque Cousteau’s grandson, was scheduled to speak right before it. He talked about many things but the one that has stayed with me was his story about going to a grocery store in the D.C. area near where he lives. He doesn’t own a car so he walked. And he said that he is practically obsessed about not using single-use plastic bags but that’s all this store had. So, he described filling his pockets with apple juice bottles and nuts and fennel.  

I’ve thought about him with his fennel sticking out of the pockets of his cargo shorts all week. He really lives his beliefs. Do I? I’d probably give myself about a C-. I saw the movie. I signed the petition demanding that our elected officials get involved and stop the slaughter. When I turn in my Texas license plates I will get the new ones that South Carolina has that support wild dolphins (South Carolina happens to be the only state that has made it unlawful to keep dolphins or whales in captivity --- kudos to my new home state!)   

I didn’t realize how awful it is for dolphins and whales in places like aquariums and theme parks. But I know now. Remember Flipper? How’d the song go …. “lives in a world full of wonder….” Apparently, reality was quite different. Her trainer, Ric O’Barry, describes in “The Cove” how Cathy, the dolphin we all knew as Flipper, committed suicide in his arms by refusing to breathe. He now travels the world protesting the captivity of dolphins. And it’s because of me --- and you --- that the slaughter of dolphins continues. If we didn’t buy the tickets that keep the doors open to places like Sea World and aquariums with dolphin shows, then there would be no market and it would stop. Just like that.  

So, that’s easy enough. I can stop financially supporting the Taiji slaughter. But how do I live in an apartment without using plastic bags? I have two cats. How do I manage the whole litter process without them? Then there’s recycling. Before moving here, I was a good little recycler. The city picked up right in front of my house. This apartment complex does not have a recycling program. Oh well, not my fault. Guess it all has to go in the trash. Perhaps that C- was too generous? I have friends who live on top of a mountain in Colorado who religiously drag their recycling down the mountain. I should be able to figure out how to deal with mine, don’t you think? 

Yes, I am sickened by what I saw in “The Cove”. The very least I can do is bring it to the attention of as many people as possible. Please go see it. Or buy the video. Sign the petition. Make a donation if you can. But this film has affected me personally. I believe its time I re-evaluate some of my choices. Can we really afford the cost of this level of detachment with which we surround our lives? 

Obviously, this is a story without end. So, I’ll just stop here. For now.

 

 

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We will be adding suggestions on how to live more consciously. This is a subject that a lot of folks are kind of tired of hearing about. People have been talking about it for such a long time that it seems like we ought to be moving on at this point. But did you know that there is a new movement --- it’s called “Save the Whales, Again”. Seems we never really did it the first time and things are more critical than ever. I know none of this is strictly a GLBT issue but what’s the point of gaining equal rights if there’s not a world left in which to enjoy them? If you have suggestions or comments on how to go “green”, to live in harmony with our fellow species and ways to nurture rather than destroy our planet, we’d love to hear from you. Email us at admin@onthegayhorizon.com      

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Goodbye to a Good Friend

When someone famous dies these days, it seems like it becomes a competition to see who can be the most eloquent in their praise. I’ve read several places that Ted Kennedy is being called the “greatest senator of all time”. Isn’t that just a tad over the top? 

Actually, no. Despite what anyone may say about happenings in his personal life, Senator Edward M. Kennedy was a champion, not only for all working-class Americans, but especially for the GLBT community. In fact, he worked so hard for us and has for so long that I was amazed at the length of the list that HRC has published. He was fighting for our rights long before many of us were fighting for ourselves.  

I urge you to read what HRC President Joe Solmonese had to say about this man who connected with each of us as a human being”.     

And, then if you have some time --- a lot of time --- you might want to take a look at the list. We need to understand how much we owe this man so that we realize just how much we all are going to have to step up to fill the void created by his passing. 

Thank you, Senator. You will be missed. 

 

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Can't Get No Satisfaction? Read On...

Fit in a Year - Week 23

By: Ann-Marie Giglio
Co-Publisher, On the Gay Horizon

Ironic that Jagger didn’t think he could get any. He should be the most satisfied person on earth. Why? Cause he never stops moving!  Jagger-Unplugged? Overweight? Sedentary? I don’t think so…

So why is it that WE can’t get out of our chairs?

Simple. It’s our programming. Specifically, our brains’ programming. By doing the same thing again and again, we have not only created the neural path that takes us to our chairs, but we’ve also deepened it, entrenched it, and pretty much trapped ourselves there.

Our incredible brain reads this chair-sitting as data about our environment, and it uses the data to adjust our bodies accordingly.  Since we don't need energy to move, it slows our metabolism to conserve energy, thus making it difficult to move!

Next, it conserves our fat stores (survival mode) since we’ve reported to it that our hunting and gathering only takes 20 minutes–-no 3 day trek before our feast--so we don’t need to use up our energy supply searching for more.

Sure it's tough to carry around an extra 10 or 20 pounds… But the neural path, the programming, won’t change, no matter how much weight the body adds. The neural path never says, “Enough storage!”  The information just recycles.

Thoughts recycle. Feelings recycle. Non-movement recycles.

From not moving, you may even be suffering from a form of depression. At its core, depression is defined as an absence of moving toward something.

And moving toward a sofa doesn’t count. We must be moving toward a goal. An accomplishment. An achievement.

One thing science now understands about us, is that the mind, body and brain all influence one another. Psychology is biology.  So when you feel good when you exercise–-or move–-(because the brain has released its feel-good chemical arsenal), you also feel good about yourself. That’s profound. Feeling good about yourself cannot be traced to a particular area or chemical in the brain.

Check this out:  You can trick your brain out of its “hibernation” by using your body. You simply got to Move it…Move it.

If you move your body, your brain will have no choice.

It will create new dendrils, process new imagery, new smells, new sounds. It will crank up all its dormant chemicals and send new body signals.

(For example, regular exercise increases dopamine storage in the brain, as well as triggering specific enzyme production. Which ones? The dopamine receptors in the reward center of the brain. Dopamine receptors produce exactly what we want: satisfaction.)

Regular movement which you do on a schedule is stabalizing. Our bodies love rhythm. And the rhythm of a schedule brings stability.

Accomplishments create satisfaction.

Feeling satisfied improves self-esteem.

Self-esteem, stability, feeling good: these are the things we move toward with every step we take.

Every move we make.

Any dance we dance.

So, can we get some satisfaction if we hit the floor like Mick? Absolutely.

 

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