Hillary Clinton on animal rights

According to the Humane Society Legislative Fund, here is how they stack up:

Hillary Clinton ranks at the top as a consistent supporter of animal rights. As Senator she co-sponsored legislation on horse slaughter and animal fighting and to crack down on puppy mills. As Secretary of State, she led international efforts to combat wildlife trafficking.

Bernie Sanders ranks lower but is still an advocate, scoring an average of 90 in consecutive Congressional actions.

Donald Trump has defended his sons’ trophy hunting of African wildlife, including giraffes, buffaloes and lions. He has also lamented the decision by Ringling Bros. to phase out its performing elephants.

Ted Cruz (who dropped out) has been consistently at odds with animal protection sensibilities. He received a score of 12 in the 113th Congress and a zero in the first session of the 114th Congress and is not co-sponsoring any current animal protection legislation.

John Kasich (who also dropped out) has been active in protecting wildlife. He has set a moratorium on the sale of exotic animals. He has signed bills upgrading the state laws on animal cruelty and puppy mills and legislation allowing pets to be included in domestic violence protective orders.

So what do you think?


Three Blind Mice

Bijou, the little scamp, really tried me yesterday. I came home at 3 p.m. to find one dead and one live baby field mouse on the rug. The live one was so tiny, its eyes not yet open. I picked it up in a paper towel and took it next door to Eugene (he loves animals and rescued Mojo and two siblings), who said he would take it to the animal shelter. I gave him a can of formula that I had left over from Bijou’s early days.

Fifteen minutes later Bijou burst through the cat door with another one, also alive. He played with it, patting it around as it squeaked. I made that delivery to Eugene, forgetting to latch the cat door to keep Bijou indoors, and so of course by the time I returned from next door Bijou had fetched Number Three. Eugene could see me through his window holding my head as I knocked. We didn’t know what the animal shelter would do with them and didn’t want to know. If we were farmers or rural types we would have just taken care of them without a blink of an eye.

There were no more baby mice, but not for want of trying on Bijou’s part. He must have cleaned out that particular nest.

I don’t remember Mojo, my one-year-old who didn’t come home eight months ago, being so assiduous on the hunt. I’m sure he was doing what came naturally though. He would bring me presents on the bed, sticks, tree bark, and I was just waiting for the day when my hand in the dark would encounter a critter. Pinky, my heart, who left me five years ago, brought me a live mouse on the bed and we spent 30 minutes chasing it around the bedroom. That and other episodes are in my short book “Meow’s Way,” which won in the Animals Book Awards in 2014.

It is all part of being guardian to cats, anyone knows that, but it is the part I’d sooner do without.

Scottish Saga TV Series “Outlander”

I had read all seven hefty volumes heroically written by Diana Gabaldon of time traveling Claire Randall, an Englishwoman who accidentally passes through the standing stones in 1945 to wake up in 1742, or was it 1741? There she is, bewildered and lost, surrounded by Scotsmen racing past her on horseback.

The Scotsman who collects her and takes her back to his uncle’s castle is the new man in her life. Even though she already had a husband back (or forward?) in l945, readers no doubt heartily approve of her romance with Jamie Fraser. I know I didn’t mind.

Scotland is caught up in Jacobite schemes to bring King James back to the English throne, and Claire knows that Scotland is bound to lose the deciding battle with England on this quest, once and for all. So many of the clan chiefs will be lost ensuing in a massive wave of migration of their ragged remains to America. Having convinced Jamie that the battle of Culloden Field must be avoided, the two of them (passionately in love and married by then) try to wrench written history off course. To do this, they go to France, where Prince Charles is working to raise funds for the fight.

Added to this there is a British officer named Jack Randall who is a doppelgänger of her 1945 husband Frank. Jack is a vile man, unholy, depraved, a monster of a human being who meddles with Jamie and Claire. He is obviously the ancestor of Claire’s first husband Frank.

All very well, and a marvelous TV film production which is more than deserving of the big screen and several Oscars. We see the court of Louis XV in all its splendor, costumes, scenery, interiors, everything, notably the king at stool while courtiers and guests are treated to his mighty straining. His official mistress’ opulent gown which leaves her breasts bare, said mammary glands sporting jewels dangling from their tips. There is scheming and gossiping and a clandestine duel while Claire and Jamie seek to avert the course of history.

The weekly installments run on Saturdays at 6 p.m. for one hour, and I must wait impatiently for that time each week. What’s today? Only Wednesday!

The Meow of it all

I took 13-year-old Loaner to the vet yesterday for a check of her right eye. It looked milky and teared a lot, and the pupil was enlarged. Seems she has a detached retina, possibly caused by a blow to the head, and nothing can be done about it. I cannot fathom the head trauma, for Loaner is the quietest pussycat I know, sleeps the famous 18 hours a day and ventures out to the backyard as far as the nearest patch of grass. The other possible cause is age, which is more likely. And so her vision on the right will remain blurry.

While I sat in the outer room waiting for Loaner who was having sundry cosmetic things done (they call the nail clipping a pedicure), a truly gigantic pit bull came in with his owner. The big guy was trembling and snuffling as all dogs do when they are taken to the vet. I admired his stately proportions, a solid 120 pounds at least, and spoke to him and offered a hand to sniff before venturing to scratch his head. He licked my hand and before I knew it, had risen and placed his paws on my shoulders. I staggered a bit but assured his owner to leave him be, and the dog and I held a little conference before he settled down again.

The owner told me he had acquired the dog as recently as January. I asked how, and he told me he had found him running scared on the streets, and that there were cigarette burns on him. At this, the usual nauseated rage filled me, as it does when I must look at pictures of abused animals on Animal Petitions.

When they were called inside to the vet, another enormous dog, a Rottweiler, entered with his owner. This was my day to meet canine giants. He too was gorgeous, solid in all quarters and beautifully proportioned. One hundred twenty pounds, his owner told me. At the moment every inch of those pounds was quivering and clinging to the woman’s leg.

I collected Loaner and went home where, of course, nine-month-old Bijou was absent. This was my daily trial, the waiting for him to come home from his explorations. I knew very well he was ranging farther and farther outward in the neighborhood, and I was helpless to rein him in. The microchipping did not reassure me in the least. If he was injured or killed by dogs, cars, or other animals, there was nothing the microchip would do to save him. The worst part was not knowing what became of him if he never came home. Mojo did not come home one night 10 months ago. Nor did Tango five years ago.

People tell me I should keep my cats indoors at all times. I cannot come around to this logic; I might as well stuff them and put them on a shelf. If it is in the nature of a pussycat to enjoy his life outdoors, I do not want to deny him that. The best I can do is lock him down when I call him in at dusk. Bijou has been good about answering my calls of BIIIIJOOOOOOOO, which must resound throughout the neighborhood, and when he appears his delaying tactics involve a run up a tree, a zigzag over the walkway and grass, before finally surrendering.

But this day he did not answer my calls, and I ate dinner without noticing what was on my plate, watched the TV news unseeing. After more, fruitless calls, I traveled again the mental territories of loss should he never come home. Why do I keep bringing kittens home? Put myself through this over and over? The answer was obvious yet unpalatable at the moment.

At 8:35 p.m. I went out yet again and called, gave up, came inside to get ready for bed when I heard the cat door burst open in Bijou’s style of entry. Well, he was back after all. He was too exhilarated to eat, having had some adventure or other, and went to find Loaner before coming back to me. Safe again, for now, the cat door latched.

But then there is tonight, and the next, and the next…..

Stirrings in China on wildlife

Last year I met and made friends with a young Chinese woman who was about to graduate from UCBerkeley. Like all the youth from China who come here to study, her choice of major was one intended to further her own career or to be put to use by the communist government. They certainly don’t come here for a liberal arts degree.

She returned to China and we continued to correspond. I must have impressed her with my concerns for wildlife endangered by fierce poaching, for she recently emailed to inform me that their English-language newspaper, China Daily, carries ads by WILDAID and the American Wildlife Foundation urging against buying ivory.

She then did some online research and learned that Chinese celebrities (film actors) are mounting a campaign against the purchase of rhino horn.

Well, it’s a start.

The Trump sons shown here, having paid large sums of money for the deed, did not of course poach their leopard kill, but does that make their act any the less hideous?

Report from Rio de Janeiro

My friend in Rio, Ana, has been sending me unhappy news about sliding conditions in the city. Those photos in American newspapers of trash piled up in the water and shoreline of Copacabana Beach are all too true. The mayor, says Ana, hasn’t been able to do anything about it. An animal activist, she is outraged that he has mandated the killing of any animal caught on the street. Apparently, this action is supposed to keep the streets clean for the upcoming Olympics.

And what of the waters the athletes are supposed to compete in? Cariocas sunning themselves do not approach the water at all; sailors who are splashed with it have been coming down with severe infections. The news has reached the world, and a couple of athletes have opted to cancel their participation. Then there is the Zika threat. In that climate, there is more bare skin than not, even in the milder climate of their winter in August.

Ana tells me street crime is rampant, that cost is exorbitant, that the economy has been in a spiral owing to the corrupt government headed by President Dilma Roussef, who may be impeached any moment.

In sum, Brazil, Rio de Janeiro in particular, is not a good place to visit. The country, noted for surging prosperity when Renato and I departed it in 1980, has collapsed into itself. This is beyond sad. The people do not deserve what has happened.