What makes a person honorable?

I’ve thought a lot about this recently. Honor may have been valued in the past but since we tend to glamorize our past, it is tough to tell sometimes. But at least Honor as a concept appears to have been prevalent.

The overwhelming attitude these days does not seem to include honor in the decision making process. It seems to be all about “me”. I see evidence of this in so very many places but in my opinion a good example of this relates to COVID behavior.

Logically (wow is that ever missing from daily life!) I have to believe that the deliberate disregard of wearing a mask – and worse, attacking people for telling someone to – is simple selfishness. I can’t see any other reason! I think people are willfully ignoring the statistics and science – saying it is fake – because they want to justify their selfish behavior. Because what other possible excuse could someone have to not wearing something that could save another person’s life? No one is asking you to cut off a limb or sacrifice your child! They are simply asking you to consider the well-being of those you come in contact with on a daily basis. That just seems like a no-brainer to me. But maybe that is the problem. Some of us just aren’t using our brains.

Take, for example, the young people crowding bars without masks or social distancing. I understand that feeling of invincibility that it is so easy to succumb to when you are in your 20’s. But taking that out of consideration for a moment and assuming that they are feeling invincible – what about the relations of people you meet? Do you really not care if your selfishness kills someone because you gave it to someone who gave it to them?  Most people won’t admit out loud that they are that selfish – unlike that horrible woman who actually posted she doesn’t care if grandma dies as long as her kids can go out and play where they want. I can only imagine what kind of people they will grow up to be with a role model like that! What if it is YOUR parents or grandparents or child or grandchild that dies? Do you STILL not care?

The syndrome where it doesn’t matter unless it directly impacts you is running rampant in this country. The “me me me” attitude of get whatever you can, do whatever you like, and SCREW everyone else is pathetic! What makes it worse is that many people who profess to have faith in God and/or Jesus behave this way! The hypocrisy is mind-blowing! I see no honor in this behavior. But then again, people who are that selfish probably don’t value honor anyway.

Regardless of what they preach, they certainly are not practicing it! Like the utter disregard for the preacher in Louisiana who continued to have large gatherings without masks telling his congregation that God will protect them. Personally, I think God still expects people to use a modicum of common sense and respect! I’ve always loved the Arabic proverb reportedly said by the prophet Muhammad – “Trust in God But Tie Your Camel.” Basically, trust God but take precautions.

If you want to read the Sufi story, you can find it here: https://sufiway.eu/trust-in-allah-but-tether-your-camel/. Trust God – but wear a mask!

Ah, the Pandemic…

As weeks go by, we all hear more and more conflicting information as we try and stay safe. The infected and death tolls rise and it is hard to comprehend that we are experiencing a global pandemic! In this day and age, with all of the medical advances, how can we be experiencing this? It isn’t the 1920’s with the Spanish Flu pandemic, it is 2020 – almost 100 years later! How can we be in this position?  Suffice it to say, it is a rhetorical question.

But a real question is how are people weathering the limitations put on our movements in order to protect us and limit the spread of the virus?  My friends tease me that it has minimal impact on me. Since I am not working, I don’t leave the house much anyway. I get my groceries delivered, so I don’t have to go out for that. Yes, it is an extravagance! But to be honest, much of the vegetarian products I prefer are not available at the store across the street from me. So the $5 it costs me to have them delivered vs. getting in the car, fighting traffic as I drive 10 miles to the closest store that has them, doing the shopping with a mask over my face and gloves on my hands (no I haven’t done that yet), etc. Well, it seems like money well spent to me. Plus I know what I’m getting vs. going through those motions and not being able to get what I need when I get there!

My critical items are toilet paper (like everyone else) and cat litter.  I can pretty much adapt with everything else for a period of time. But this has been an eye opener – a little like an extended hurricane threat. Which brings up the question of how we are supposed to maintain social distancing guidelines if we have to evacuate (being on the gulf coast and hurricane season starting shortly)?  I’m packing up and going to friends in Georgia if that happens. But not everyone has that kind of option. It begs the question – what is our government – Federal and State – doing to ensure our safety? If this isn’t part of their responsibility, I don’t honestly know what they are there for. Our safety does include police and fire, infrastructure, etc. Not arguing that at all. And they have fiscal responsibility to us as well… That said,

Shouldn’t they be a little more worried about the infection and death rates rising?

Since I’m unemployed (and have been since before this started), I’m not subject to a company telling me I have to risk my life and come into work like others do. In this way I am fortunate. On the other hand, it also means I have no income coming in. Given that our unemployment system is severely hosed up, I still haven’t heard about my initial submission weeks ago. So I’m not counting on that getting fixed any time soon.

I understand the concerns about the economy. We are definitely in a recession and anyone who says otherwise is in denial. But what good is opening everything back up to business as usual if people start dropping like flies – more than they already are? Because people have already shown they have no common sense when it comes to adhering to social distancing. Miami beaches at Spring Break ring a bell?  The kids packing the beaches demonstrated that they have no common sense and suffered from the “It can’t happen to me” syndrome.  So I suspect that even where there is partial relaxing of the rules, many people will be stupid and just go for it with no concern for others.  I guess it boils down to what is more important – money, people, or fun.  I pick people. Actually I pick animals first, but that is just me – I’m an animal person. And they are suffering too. And then people.

Well, I’ve gone far afield from my original intention. Bottom line – I feel badly for people having trouble coping with staying at home. Me, I’m perfectly happy to do so. But these people who are gathering in close quarters without masks like the reverend who has been arrested multiple times and just says God will keep everyone safe – those make me crazy! I guess everyone who has died – over 60,000 in the US alone – well, if you go by his logic, God doesn’t care about them. I just don’t believe that. And he has balls to call himself Christian if he doesn’t care about the precedent he is setting and what he is implying about everyone who has died!

And the people protesting? Seriously? You care so little about your family and friends you are willing to risk killing them all because of some misguided notion that the government has no right? Well, guess again. It is a health emergency – they have every right – and responsibility! – to protect the public against the stupidity of some who can’t comprehend the science and facts.

I have always loved the saying “Trust in God, but first tether your Camel”. What does it mean? To me it means that you should trust in God, but you should also be logical. For example, don’t leave your wallet full of cash sitting on the table in a restaurant while you go pick up your food at the counter. That is just asking for trouble! Tie up your Camel! Do the logical thing and trust that when you do your part, God will do His. (Please no offense intended with the His…)  How does this relate to those examples? Trust in God to keep you safe, but do YOUR part by wearing a mask and keeping safe distances! Because to do otherwise just seems to me like you are TESTING GOD. And that, I believe, is just wrong.

So please – stay home if you can. Wear a mask if you go out. Even if you don’t care about yourself, there must be someone you care about that could die from this due to someone’s carelessness. Even if you have no symptoms, you can pass it on. That has been proven. By science and fact.

There I go again – citing science and fact. Silly me.  So be smart. Trust in God but tether your Camel.  Try to have peace until things get back to normal.

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Happy Easter…

When I was young, Easter was all about Easter Egg Hunts, and Easter Baskets, and dressing up for church. But now, it is about all of the animals that will be slaughtered for someone’s ham or lamb dinner. Don’t get me wrong – before I became vegetarian I fixed Leg of Lamb plenty of times – it was my Grandfather’s favorite! And Turkey on Thanksgiving and Christmas which was my Mom’s favorite. I still remember the Thanksgiving that I cooked the entire meal and then did not eat it because my friend made comments about the turkey being slaughtered. I’m surprised I didn’t become vegetarian then. I guess I was still suppressing the truth.

But when I couldn’t or wouldn’t suppress the truth any more, I made the change. And I’m trying to take it to the next step and eliminate eggs because of the horrific treatment they receive – killed in heartbreaking fashion as chicks because they don’t lay eggs and aren’t fit for meat. Apparently the males that are part of breeding programs that result in the hens laying more eggs aren’t suitable for meat. Not that that life would have been better, less terrifying, or less painful.

The thing a lot of people don’t realize is that unless you are like my Vet who doesn’t eat meat because she doesn’t like it, for people who make the choice to change based upon ethics who DO enjoy meat, every day can be difficult. We are bombarded with ads specifically styled to be as tempting as possible. And going to restaurants is a challenge. Most places still charge you the full amount for meals even though you ask them to leave off the meat, which is bullshit. And the jokes from co-workers can become painful and make work uncomfortable. The point is – it can be a difficult choice to live with. But it is a choice I make because I can’t accept the alternative. And it isn’t because someone is watching. I could slip from time to time and no one would know or care.

But I would know and I would care.

People who grew up vegetarian have it much easier. They don’t know the difference between the texture of Jackfruit barbecue and pulled pork barbecue because they have never had pork. But I do.

So on this Easter, as you sit down to eat your leg of lamb or ham or steak, take a moment to think about the animal that probably experienced a short and terrifying life before dying in a brutal manner for you to enjoy that meal.

It’s like that old joke about Eggs & Bacon for breakfast. The chicken was involved but the pig was committed.

It isn’t an easy choice to go Cruelty Free in your life. It changes how you look at everything once your eyes are opened. But I can look in the mirror and know that other sentient, living beings are not being tortured and killed so my life is easier or tastier. And that is an Easter Gift.

Faux “No Animal Testing except where required by law”

I’ve been MIA for a while, but I promise to be better.

As someone very against Animal Testing on Consumer Products (the Medical testing conversation is best left to another day…), I’m constantly irritated by companies that try and hedge their bets (basically, snow the consumer) with their comments like “only test where required by law”. Well, there is no such law in many countries, so the bottom line is choosing dollars over animals when deciding to sell in brick and mortar stores in those countries that do require it!

Companies with a long history of not testing on animals choosing to start up again in order to enter new markets are the worst in my opinion. They made the commitment not to test at one point, and gained a large market share of business. To choose to forsake that commitment now is truly heartbreaking! And because I have to go there – part of me wonders if this is because of the “less kind, less gentle” climate in the US under the current administration.

But we have a choice! There are so very many excellent choices that don’t require pain, suffering, and death!!! It is your choice!

A friend of mine sent me an invite to a virtual party for Younique this morning. This company falls under what I consider lazy companies. They claim they do not test the “finished product” on animals – but that does not ensure in any way that animals are not tortured as part of the materials formulation! They haven’t researched their suppliers. They haven’t gotten any Cruelty-Free certification. In my opinion they are lazy or don’t care. I replied to her invite politely stating that since they are not Cruelty-Free they are not an option for me. Sadly it didn’t seem to stop anyone else since orders have rolled in.

What kind of society are we when everything we have is built on the backs of a person or animal suffering for us to have it?

Compassion is on the Endangered Species List!

Yesterday, like many people, I read about the High School students at Winston Churchill High in Texas who dissected cats in class. While this is heinous enough, to add insult to injury their TEACHER thought it would be a good idea (because he was taught by a moron as well) to have the students JUMP ROAP WITH CAT INTESTINE – supposedly to demonstrate tensile strength. Apparently HIS moron teacher used that experiment when he was in college so he thought it would be a great idea to do it in his class!!!

 SERIOUSLY?????

 Because there can’t be any BETTER way to demonstrate tensile strength????

 Apparently the students are upset at how they are portrayed in the video one of the students took with their phone. REALLY????? I’d have gone to the principle’s office before doing any of it. In fact, I refused to dissect a frog in 6th grade Science and got approval for it!!!

 In this day and age there are so very many cruelty-free options for learning about anatomy I am astonished that parents are not breaking down the doors of schools to insist that their children be taught compassionately. And maybe some are, but apparently not enough or it still wouldn’t be going on. Is it a lack of compassion or a lack of interest? Who knows.

 I made a comment to a co-worker yesterday that people seem to be getting less compassionate. I thought about it more last night. I think the level of support that Donald Trump has achieved while spewing hatespeech is a telling point – do that many people REALLY hate anyone different from them that much??? I wasn’t raised that way so I can’t begin to fathom it. There were two teenaged boys in England that posted photos on snapchat of them swinging a cat around by its neck with taunting text on the photo “Come find me”. REALLY??? Are we just becoming overrun with Psychopaths and Sociopaths? Do their parents know their children are budding psychopaths and potential future murderers or do they just not care?

 In the past, people ate meat infrequently because it was expensive and not readily available in many cases. When they hunted it was to feed themselves and their family. Not all, mind you – the many drawing rooms of the wealthy attest to the psychosis of Trophy Hunting (BTW – a sport Donald Trump’s son proudly participates in…). But the general cruelty to animals – was it as prevalent then as now or are we as a connected society just much more exposed to it? I know that I had very unrealistic concepts about how animals bred for food are treated until I became active on Twitter. I had become a Vegetarian several years before – unable to bear the idea of an animal dying so I could eat meat. Don’t get me wrong – roast chicken and roast beef were two of my favorite foods – but not when I couldn’t delude myself about what I was actually eating any longer. But becoming more active in PETA and other organizations and participating in petitions on Change.org and other petition sites truly opened my eyes to the horror that so many animals experience in their frequently short lives. And it is all at the hands of humans.

 A quote I’ve seen on Twitter (@soldier_777) says “People have gotten to choose between right and wrong, but true humans have got to choose humane.”

 True humans MUST stand up for animals.

Sneaky Sneaky!!!!

So I suspect in response to more and more people becoming aware of the changes to Animal Testing policy for many Personal Care companies, they are trying to get around it by giving vague statements that at face value lull their potential customers into believing they are not conducting these cruel tests. They use language like:

“Only where required by law” – I love that one. It means they are selling their products in a brick & mortar store in China which means they have to test by law. If they sold just on-line, they wouldn’t have to. But they are doing the money grab. The sad thing about this is that while many of these companies have a long and disgusting history of unnecessary, cruel animal testing, too many of them have a history of NOT testing on animals! And when they decided to expand into China they very quietly changed their policy. So unless you as a consumer actively checked their website, you wouldn’t know they went back on their prior policy. I know I thought I was virtuously using cruelty-free products. When I looked at the products in the grocery store and didn’t see the Leaping Bunny, PETA, or other identifier saying they didn’t test on animals or were cruelty free, I honestly thought it was because the industry as a whole was no longer testing on animals so taking up real estate on the bottle or box was unnecessary. BOY WAS I WRONG. So when you see this nice little “Only where required by law” on sites like Clinique (which I have used since I was in my 20s) or Estee Lauder, that means they are testing in order to sell in a store in China.

“The final product I not tested on animals” – wow. So all that means is that any number of components of the finished product were tested on animals. They could have tested each of the individual components on animals, combined them, and slapped that label on to try and make their customers feel better. I was sad to see that on one of my Rusk products this morning.

“We do not test on animals”. Be careful – that doesn’t mean they don’t pay an outside company to test for them!!! That is the ultimate sneaky in my opinion because until I did a lot of research, I thought these companies were ok! But not necessarily.

So, it is a lot of work. You may not want to go there. However, once you find some brands that ARE good, you can keep buying them and just check the Leaping Bunny, PETA, or other cruelty free websites that maintain lists.  You also have to consider if you are ok buying from a company that doesn’t test but is owned by a larger corporate entity that does. At this point I am ok with that. I am hopeful that my dollars spent with these companies will show their parent organizations that it is possible to do the right thing and still make money!

I am doing more research on some brands I use, but I was happy to find that Milani, Wet & Wild (yay my eyeliner is ok!!!), Burts Bees, Toms of Maine, and Paul Mitchell are a few that are supposed to be ok. So are Urban Decay and Bare Minerals.  So when you are considering where to spend your hard earned money, consider if you would be happy knowing that a poor rat or rabbit or cat or dog was subjected to cruel, invasive tests in order for you to have shinier hair or smell good.

Just because they are not MY pets doesn’t make it ok.

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Random musings

I became a vegetarian and striving vegan 3 or 4 years ago. My eyes were opened by the many Change.org petitions revolving around factory farming and other animal cruelty issues. As an animal lover for as long as I can remember (my first cat followed me home at age 5….) I could no longer “trick” myself to into being ok with eating a sentient animal. And a Vegetarian was born!

As with all “ex” whatevers (ex-smoker, ex-drinker, ex-meat eater, etc…) I find it hard to understand how my friends and family – all of whom love animals – don’t see what I see. People are funny. As soon as something becomes “real” to us, we tend to think we discovered it and that everyone else should feel the way we do. I’m wrestling with that when it comes to being vegetarian. I’m trying to make it to Vegan – it is tough. I am thinking about everything I eat, which is good, but I’m still not 100% there – but I won’t stop trying!

So having made the jump to not eating meat and being a voracious participant on Twitter on animal cruelty related topics (@Fl_Scubafiend), I’m now trying to make it to the next step – removing all animal tested products from my home.

WOW!

Having foolishly thought in this day and age all companies had eliminated animal testing at least from cosmetics and personal care it was a terrifying wake up call! The desire to sell in a brick & mortar site in China is such a huge driver for so many of these companies. It makes me sad that instead of using their power as huge international organizations to drive change and make countries like China become progressive in their stance towards animal cruelty, they are chasing the almighty dollar instead of ethics. That makes me sad. And when I ran across a blog listing all of the sub-entities of some of these huge organizations that are guilty of horrific animal testing practices, I realized that my home is about to have a major overhaul. I’m sad that so many of the brands I’ve trusted my whole life – like Clinique, Johnson & Johnson, Jergens and Coca-Cola to name a few – are no longer companies I can support with my dollars. I guess given that horrible activities like the Yulin Dog & Cat Meat “Festival” in China continue to go on, I shouldn’t be surprised that they do not see animal testing as wrong. 

I will vote with my dollars. I hope you will consider doing the same. The research is tough, but eye opening! Good luck!