All Creatures

Tyson & the Pigeons,
Brian May & the Badgers

Two former superstars found purpose and redemption in their relationship with animals, great and small. Tyson draws lessons of loyalty and transcendence in his connection with pigeons. May fulfills his sense of duty by caring for the animals he loves, including the badger. Both find ways for healing and regaining the humanity their fame and fortune almost stole from them. In no way either would exchange their current serenity and wisdom for their glorious past.
Having the billing of heavyweight champion of the world following his name may have helped Mike Tyson for the few years he was on the ring, dispatching adversaries as you would with most of your emails: swiftly and almost absentmindedly. That lasted less than 10 years.
But for the rest of his life, it has been more like a curse. It may Continue reading

Garra Rufa

When Fish Meets Feet,
Rules Are Put to Sleep

Let’s picture you walking into a beauty salon by recommendation of a friend, who insisted you definitely must try it at least once. It’s Friday late afternoon, work is over, give yourself a relaxing time, he said, you deserve it, and you finally agree to give it a shot.
So you go and sit comfortably, close your eyes and let them work their magic.
As your mind drifts away, they wash your sweaty feet, gently massage them, soak them in some warm, soapy water, while you just sit there, taking it all in, letting it all go.
Until you feel some odd brushing on the tip of your toes. Almost like a soft picking, just enough to give you an unusual sensation. And again. And again.
Suddenly, a thought crosses your mind and you jump, alarmed. You open your eyes and look down and there they are, Continue reading

Farra do Boi

Holy Week in Brazil: Sacred
for Christians, Cruel for Oxen

Easter Sunday brings to a celebratory close the Holy Week for Christians all over. But to many Portuguese descendants in Brazil, it also means to be part of one of the most barbaric popular feasts connected to the Passion of Christ, the 200-year Farra do Boi.
Although illegal, the practice that marks the torture and killing of hundreds of oxen by a mob of believers, is still alive and Continue reading

Heart Breaker

Russian Donkey Forced to
Fly Over Beach Resort Dies

Anapka, a 40-something year old donkey, who was attached by a parachute and pushed by a speedboat for a terrifying flight over the Sea of Azov in Golubitskaya last summer, has died of a heart attack. An autopsy determined that stress from her incredibly cruel ordeal, conceived as a publicity stunt by a local Continue reading

Circus Fired

China Bans Acts
With Wild Animals

Perhaps the announcement was made to coincide with Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to the U.S. Knowing the topic of human rights violations by his country would be on the table, for example, it wouldn’t be too farfetched to imagine some political wrangling over how to divert the pressure, at least for now.
But be it as it may, the recent ban on circuses’ use of wild animals by the Chinese government does represent a step closer to a new attitude in our relationship with wild animals. In fact there’s a growing movement advocating an end for all instances of captivity of great beasts, regardless if it’s for educational or entertainment purposes.
China’s ban on all wild animal shows in some 300 state-owned Continue reading

Pet Offender

Suffolk to Track
Animal Abusers

Here’s a national registry that couldn’t have come any time sooner. Just like sex offenders are required by law to disclose their whereabouts to a nationwide database, so will people convicted of offenses against animals, at least in this Long Island, New York, county.
It’s the equivalent to the Megan’s Law, which was finally established after one too many brutal atrocities against children were committed by convicted criminals at large. Continue reading

My Wife Is a Dog

Man Marries His Pet;
Activists Smell a Rat

Honey, a five-year old labrador, is a wonderful dog. She’s beautiful, she’s alert and she’s evidently well tended to. The only thing is, her human companion is a certified nut and decided to marry her.
Just like that. The other day, he took her to a park in Australia and declared his undying but utterly disturbing love to her in front of 30 of his closest friends. They mostly laughed.
But the “ceremony” didn’t amuse animal groups one little bit. And it didn’t help that Continue reading

Serial Beaker

Psycho Swan
Out of Pound

Now you know why comedians place their highest bets on finding material with politics and public figures’ antics. Most of every other piece of news nature throws at us has, by itself, its own punch line. To add anything to the stuff that makes up 90% of the news is not just redundant, it’s just plain unfunny.
Take Hannibal, for example. Here’s a swan who’s always taken it Continue reading

Wrong Donkey

The Sun, Manya
& Brigitte Bardot

This story starts as a tragedy. Its second act is now a farce. And before anyone knows whether there’ll even be a third part, the British tabloids are already treating it as a comedy. All but one, that is.
Last month, a picture of a donkey, harnessed by a colorful parachute 50 meters above a Russian beach, caused outrage around the world. The stone-hearted owner of a small parasailing business who came up with the cruel stunt attracted almost universal scorn and, one hopes, must’ve lost a few customers too.
The curtain call for the second act of this unoriginal tale finds British tabloid The Sun allegedly buying the donkey for 70,000 Continue reading