Social Enterprise for Animals


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Not a day goes by when I don’t sign into my email or search the web and find the phrase “social enterprise.”  It’s increasingly common where there’s “social change.”  More and more social justice groups are adopting it.  So what is it exactly that makes folks grab hold of it not unlike the sustainability frenzy?

Social enterprise offers a way to get to the heart of human values without having to take a single philosophy course.  And an unfortunate consequence, like sustainability, is for existing corporations to use this buzz phrase to manipulate consumer desires for a better world in order to continue business as usual.  However, I’m not going to get into the latter.  I’m more interested in its possibilities, especially for animal liberation. Continue reading

Trayvon Martin and Young Wolf


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What do these individuals have in common?

One was a young black male human and the other a young male gray wolf.  Both of them were killed this year in February.  Both of them belonged to groups that have been historically “treated like animals” and are still today targeted through suspicion of acts of violence.  Continue reading

Afro-Animal: Our Shared Struggle


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In 1906, black man went on a killing spree in Asheville, NC, killing six humans, some black, some white.  The city issued a two-day manhunt to find him.  When they finally found him, rather than put him to trial, the police lynched him on the spot.  He has since become an object of paranormal urban legend, with any memory of his race forgotten, save within the black community.

His name was William Harris. Continue reading

Environmental Justice for Animals


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Before some of y’all get mad or confused, the title is not an attempt to co-opt the phrase “environmental justice” away from communities of color plagued by environmental, health, and economic inequalities.  Nor is it an attempt to replace “animal rights.”  This post is concerning issues of space and habitat I’ve been grappling with for a while.  As I’ve started working directly with urban animals, urban black communities living in poverty, and this notion of interspecies community, I’ve had to rethink how I go about labeling some of these intersectional issues of habitat quality, the institutional shuffling of African Americans into ghettos that directly decrease their quality of life, the institutional displacement of animals in the city, unless they are “pets” under constant surveillance by “owners”, “entertainment” in a traveling circus, “livestock” in a backyard, captives in a zoo, or victims in a lab facility. Continue reading

When it comes to habitat, the animal rights community grows silent


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Individual of endangered leatherback sea turtle

In 2007, Minnesota’s Habitat Conservation Partnership announced it reserved “100,000 acres and counting” of wildlife habitat.  What makes this project innovative is that these 100,000 acres are connected land, not isolated, checkered patches that often do more harm to wildlife than good.  Organizations allied in this partnership line the website’s sidebar and share their excitement for this “milestone” event.  These organizations include hunter advocacy groups like National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever, and MN Deer Hunters Association.  I had to wonder, where are the animal rights groups in all of this?  Why weren’t they involved?  Continue reading

Everyday conversations between species: a budding science into animal-human communication


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“There are a million examples of animals speaking to us,” Marc Bekoff said to me in an interview for this blog.  “If people open their hearts and minds to animals then they’ll see them every day.”  For those who share their lives with dogs, breathe, eat, and love with dogs, understanding the dogs they live with is a given.  What is less understood is the possibility that those barks and whines are communicated with you specifically in mind. Continue reading

The next mass extinction, unless…


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From Think Global Green: An example of coral death by bleaching. As reefs fail, so do other marine ecosystems, leading to the mass extinctions occuring around the world in a single human generation.

It pains me to be the purveyor of bad news, but if we don’t stop the destructive cycle we’re on, we’re going to make Earth history by being the shortest lived species before facing extinction, killing many many other species as we go.  Two days ago, Reuters published an article on yahoo sharing the findings of a study by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO).  In a nutshell: “Unless action is taken now, the consequences of our activities are at a high risk of causing, through the combined effects of climate change, over-exploitation, pollution and habitat loss, the next globally significant extinction event in the ocean.”   We’ve heard this warning before.  In fact, we’ve been hearing it from researchers, scientists, and activists all over the world for the last decade.  And now it seems that grim future prophesied is upon us. Continue reading

Dear Readers

Dear readers:

To all of those who have taken the time to peruse my blog, I sincerely give thanks.  It has been a while since I have posted anything.  The reason is simple:  I lost my vision.  Ironic that in my quest for finding vision regarding animals in society that I would lose my vision for this blog completely.  How this happened was correlated to losing sight of what I wanted for life in general.  You could say I had a crisis and went AWOL from cyberspace.

After three months of inactivity in the blogosphere, I have returned with not so much a vision as an idea for how Animal Visions can sustain.  For one, I’m writing what I need to write and not what I should write.  I say this because in the months before, I posted in an effort to act like a journalist and before that I tried to be a scholar.  Neither persona worked, and so I am relinquishing all expectation henceforth and am doing what I should have done in the first place, which is write from where I am.

Additionally, I fell into a funk of bitter commentary on animal news that was either incredibly offensive or incredibly depressing.  I could only take so much of that before I just didn’t want to write anymore.  No more of that, either.

Finally, I didn’t know who I was writing for, even after maintaining the blog for over a year.  So I’ve decided to make matters simple and write what I need to say.  If you knew me personally, you’d know that this conclusion is a milestone for me.  What I need to say will not always follow the form of the way I have posted in the past.  Some of it may be fiction (because, after all, I am a fiction writer!).  Hopefully, current readers will appreciate that and join the conversation.

I appreciate all the comments and views the blog has received so far.  To whoever is reading, I give my warmest gratitude and look forward to seeing more of you in the future.



A Dog’s Tale


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I am reading the story “A Dog’s Tale” by Mark Twain, and as I reach the end, I am ready to fall to the floor and sob into the carpet.  Never mind that I am in the middle of a bookstore.  The dog’s tale is so depressing, especially since her tale may not be much improved two hundred years later, depending on where she resides.  Her status remains the same.  In many cases, her likeness to an African house-slave is eerily similar.  And vivisection is just as strong as it was two hundred years ago, though the burning excitement behind it to cut and explore may have fizzed by comparison. Continue reading