Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Food sovereignty only really works in fantasyland


Well, fantasyland or on extremely small scale. As in, literal trading between friends and neighbors. Which is what people do already.

Things like this are all well and good and fluffy clouds and rainbows until there's a food-borne illness outbreak.

"Food sovereignty" sounds a lot like "I want those other companies to follow the rules, but not me!"

Yes, yes, Big Business is evil and all that: buy small, buy local. I got it. I'm totally onboard with that. Really, I am, and there are certain laws and regulations that really do stifle small, local business unnecessarily and I believe that should be changed. I'm just not sure why anyone thinks small farmers/businesses are immune from greed, safety shortcuts, and unsanitary food preparation. And if they really do believe that, I'd like to know what they think the threshold is for regulation. Because I'm sure the same people who want the right to sell raw milk and unlabled food would pitch a fit if a large corporation started doing the same.

Snake oil salesmen are the very epitome of small business entrepreneurs. It was those selling un-or-mis-labled "tonics" on the street that lead to the passage of the 1906 Pure Foods and Drugs acts - an act meant to protect consumers and increase consumer choice and confidence in the food and drugs they purchased. A hundred years later, now that we have one of the safest food supplies in the world, many consumers sneer at all food regulations. (That apply to them, anyway, now that they're trying to start up that goat farm they always dreamed about and discovered how complicated and expensive it is to follow all the rules).

If someone is trying to sell you something, how can you be anything but wary if when say, 'We don't need to be regulated. Just trust us.'

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Well, do I know what I'm doing?

The ever-vigilant Yesbiscuit recently linked to an article which contained some comments from the ASPCA about transport rescues:

“The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals plans to have standards and guidelines on transports by the end of the year, covering issues from veterinary care to making sure animals aren’t being driven hundreds of miles when adoptive homes can be found nearby.

A single dog in a car is probably manageable, but anything more than that you need to know what you’re doing,” President Ed Sayres said.” (Emphasis mine).

Here's a photo from a seven hour long for-fun road trip my husband and I took last weekend:


We didn't crate them for travel. I only have one crate right now. One and a half if you count the broken one that sits in the corner of the bedroom. It works to contain my well-behaved adult dog at night for sleepy times, but would fall apart if subjected to the stresses of car travel. Plus, it's more fun for them to look out the window. Doggy seatbelts would the best, and one day I will buy them for my dogs. One day.

We left them in the car alone while we ate lunch at a restaurant. This is a big no-no for many people, but I see no harm in it on a cool day.

The two puppies made an attempt about once an hour to climb into the front seats (easily fixed with judicious use of elbows); we had two instances of car-sickness; and towards the end of the day some bouts of crankiness that resolved themselves. They also got to spend their whole day with people (which they seem to, for some reason, enjoy), run around in four different parks (during which we lost 0 dogs, even though Buddy's recall is only about 50%); track approximately 8 tons of mud into the car, and boy did they all sleep well that night.

So, do I 'know what I'm doing'? Would I be given permission from the ASPCA to save the lives of dogs by driving them somewhere?

I mean, is this seriously rocket science? Maybe the ASPCA is unclear on the concept. Here, let me clear it up:

STEP 1: Put dogs in vehicle.
STEP 2: Drive the vehicle somewhere.
STEP 3: Give the dogs to someone who isn't going to kill them.

It still bothers me

I think Nathan Winograd should read this.

It continues to blow my mind that an otherwise apparently compassionate, intelligent person thinks invasive species are just hunky-dory.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Another Foster Dog

It turns out I'm a sucker for that whole, "don't want this puppy anymore, you take him or I'll have him euthanized" method of becoming a foster home.




Buddy is about 7 months old. He gets along with adults, children, other dogs, and cats. He walks nicely on leash, is crate trained, and mostly house trained. His favorite pastimes include cuddling on the couch, playing with other doggy friends, and making goofy faces. He'll be up for adoption from Mikey's Chance very soon. Get in line now, folks.

On a different note, this was the place where I was going to complain about having three medium to large sized dogs in an apartment. How crowded it was. Then my co-worker told me about a conversation she had recently with a homeless person she met at a gas station in town. He cares for two dogs, one of which just gave birth to a litter of puppies. They all live in a tent by the river.

Yeah. No more complaining about my spacious, central air-equipped, 2-bedroom living space.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Updates on Sammy

1) House training is going slowly. It's my fault. The last time I house trained a puppy, we had a sliding glass door to a fenced yard. Contrast the second it takes to slide open a door, with being in a second story apartment where going out to potty involves putting on shoes, coat and leash. I don't know how permanent city-dwellers do it. It doesn't help that I'm spoiled by Zelda the Perfect Angel.


2) I keep doing this thing where I forget that Sammy is missing a limb. I mean, I always know intellectually. But sometimes I'll be watching her play or run or just stand still and I'll be almost startled, 'Whoa, this dog of mine only has three legs! Weird.'


3) I called her former owner and got a little more information about where she came from. She is a bona fide ranch dog of the type that I keep running into around here (and that I plan to do more writing about later). They're working dogs, mostly used with cattle. When asked what breed they are, the owners say "border collie". When asked what they are, the owners say "cowdog". They don't go to trials or shows, so they are never registered with any breed registry. In fact when I asked the rancher if Sammy's parents or grandparents were registered anywhere, he laughed a little and said, "oh no, I don't have show dogs. She's a homegrown working dog".

This is what I know of her pedigree: both parents and at least all four grandparents were working cowdogs. Her dam lives on a neighboring ranch and Sammy's previous owner has owned Sammy's sire since he was a puppy. He apparently is an aggressive, hard-eyed dog who is especially good at heading the cattle and holding them away from the timber when they're at open-range summer pasture in the mountains.

It's really too bad Sammy won't be a real working dog like her relatives. Though I'm sure if she had to choose between being a dead collie and being a condo* collie, she'd choose the latter.





*though if all goes well, we'll only be in this apartment for another year or two.

Anecdotal Pit Bull #15


I forget her name. She is a 2 year old pit bull/heeler mix who came in to be spayed. She's a family pet, and has a child to play with at home. In the clinic she was nervous and kept tail tucked. Until I took her outside for a potty walk, then she relaxed and started bouncing up and wanting to play.

I think this is irony

My pet cat knocked my National Geographic off the table, and then scratched and pissed on the (excellent) article about animal domestication.