Animal Skins on African Drums

Recently, at school, African drummers visited us to perform. Our class had a workshop on African drums. It was a whole lot of fun, there was singing, dancing ( I won a dancing competition they set up!) and a LOT of drumming. But there was a shock coming. When we were learning about the history of the drums, they told us what they were made of. The rum kit was made of GOAT SKIN and the bongos were made of COW SKIN. I am particularly fond of goats, and was not happy. When I tried to explain to them how animal skin is not right, they couldn’t quite understand.

These drums may have been old, but I’m afraid my money went to animal slaughter, quite by accident. They were from West Africa, a place poor enough to not have synthetic material. I would love to have a campaign to make it available to these people. Does anyone know any such campaign?

Skins from animals are no fun to them. We should value them for what they are, not what they can produce. To get skins animals suffer unnecessarily. There are so many alternatives to skins.

BETTER “LEATHERS”

1. Barkcloth

2. Cork

3. Recycled Ultrasuede

4. Glazed Cotton

5. Paper

6. Recycled PET Polyester

7. Degradable Polyurethane

And any other synthetic materials. These are all Eco-friendly. NOTE: The barkcloth does not kill the tree.

So, lets give the cows (and goats) a chance!

 

 

 

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Big Guns…Little Ducks

I’m quite fond of ducks. I feed them. I’m also an avid birdwatcher and delight in seeing a new species of duck. Whenever I go to a pond in my sub-urban area I’m happy they’re safe. Even though the countryside is a beautiful place, it’s no fun for ducks.

Australia is pretty much safe to ducks. Almost. If you’re a duck in the countryside in Victoria, South Australia or Tasmania you’re in big trouble. And if you’re in some NSW rice fields.

Every year the wetlands of these 3 states become gruesome battle fields. Due to hunters.

It’s called a “sport”, but don’t be fooled by the name. Sport is fun for every team, but the ducks are having no fun at all. It’s truly slaughter.The ducks killed increased from 270,000 in 2010 to over 600,000 in 2011

Ducks suffer when they are hit by pellets. If a duck doesn’t die straight away it may suffer for a long time before recovery or death, and predation by foxes. It’s estimated 1 in 3 birds shot escapes wounded and is left to suffer.

It’s also no fun for people. Some people have been killed due to duck shooting. For example, a 10 year old boy shot a man in the leg on the first day of duck hunting season in Victoria. Take action here to stop children hunting in Australia.

This so-called “sport” also endangers threatened species of duck. Even though the governments say it’s not allowed, it still happens. Such as the threatened Freckled Duck, my newest species of duck I’ve seen, is still killed.

Freckled Duck

Duck shooter numbers have decreased  from 95,000 in 1986 to around 20,000 in 2010/11. It’s time to make that number zero!

See this video:

Send a message to these governments to end the unnecessary slaughter of ducks:

http://www.animalsaustralia.org/take_action/duck-shooting/

If you live outside Australia don’t think that duck shooting isn’t as bad as here. Take action for ducks everywhere!

Remember,

Big Guns…..Little Ducks!

Rodeo Poetry

I love to write poems. They express my feelings and I have a talent for it. I’ve written a poem about rodeos.Enjoy!

The ground is unforgiving,
as his hooves
hit the ground.

The leather boots
dig deep
into the grubby flesh.

A cry of fear echoes
over the hills,
and is answered by cheers.

Shadows flicker
as he staggers
and falls.

The barren plains
hear cheering
for the relentless rider.

The thick rope
coils around
his bruised leg.

The burning sun
bakes his
frail body,

As he sees the bird
fly briskly
above him.

And he dreams
of such
a life

Free of his
never-ending
nightmare.

Rodeos are extremely cruel. It’s banned in the UK, several European countries and the ACT. The organisers say it doesn’t affect the animal in any way. But what they feel is panic, distress, fear and pain.

It’s bad for everyone, not just the animals. Most riders get serious injuries, and some can even die. And now they’re getting children to participate too!

Watch this video and see the truth. This is recent, Australian footage. Share this with everyone you know, and make it clear rodeos are not welcomed in our modern society!

If you’re Australian you can pledge to never go to a rodeo here:

http://www.animalsaustralia.org/take_action/pledge/rodeos/

I say NO to any RODEO!

Weekly Animal Product Spotlight: Catgut

Welcome to the Weekly Animal Product Spotlight. Every week I choose an animal product, well-known and unusual. I’ll give interesting facts, the horrible truth to make these, where they are found and alternatives. Enjoy!

Introduction

Catgut- Wait, what? Is it made from cat guts? Actually it’s a tough cord from animal intestines. Usually these unfortunate animals are sheep and goats, but occasionally they can be intestines of cattle,hogs, horses, mules, donkeys, kangaroos or water buffaloes.  On average, it takes the bodies of three animals just to make one string.

Production

To prepare catgut the animal must be killed, the intestines are cleaned, freed from fat, and soaked in water. Then the external membrane is scraped off with a blunt knife. Once again, the intestines are soaked in lye, then evened by being drawn out. Next, they are subjected to the antiseptic action of the fumes of burning sulpher.Then dyed if necessary, sorted into sizes, and twisted together into cords of various numbers of strands according to their uses.

Uses

For a long time, catgut was the most common material for the strings of harps, lutes, violins, violas, cellos and other stringed musical instruments.  It was also used for older snare drums. Most musical instruments are moving to alternatives. But there’ll always be the people with an excuse. Gut strings are usually the choice for many classical and baroque string players,and catgut strings are still preferred in concert-tension pedal/grand and some lever harps because they produce “better notes”.

Catgut suture was also a commonly used surgical material. Like catgut string, it’s being abolished and replaced by alternatives. Unfortunately, in developing countries catgut is still widely used.

Do you like tennis? It’s such a peaceful game. I’ve only played it on the Wii. If you like tennis, then you’ll be upset to know that catgut is also used in tennis racquets! It was much more common in the past, and it’s being replaced with alternatives as well. But it’s still being used due to excuses.  They say it is “high-performance”.

Alternatives

Most musical instruments are now being produced use strings made of steel or synthetic polymer.

Catgut is being blacked out in surgical procedures. Cotton is much cheaper and wounds closed with cotton or synthetic threads are less prone to infection.

As the tennis ball hits the racquet once again, synthetic threads are replacing the catgut.

It’s unusual to find catgut now, but always be aware of what you’re buying.

Catgut is a by-product of the meat industry, and will go out of business if we go meat-free. It’s better for everyone, and I have all the advice you need and have links to provide.

So, let’s do it!

A cello string made of catgut.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catgut

http://www.happycow.net/health-animal-ingredients.html

http://www.peta.org/living/animal-friendly-fun/animal-friendly-instruments.aspx

It’s National Desexing Month!

Attention everyone, it’s National Desexing Month!

Desexing saves lives!

Around 200,000 cats and dogs are put down in Australia every year. That’s roughly 23 animals put down every hour of every day. And in America it’s even worse. When we adopt from shelters most of the time the animals aren’t desexed.  Usually it’s due to being too expensive or not considered important. Are you one of these people in Australia? Then NDN(National Desexing Network) has got a great deal!

For the whole of July they are offering cheaper desexing for cats and dogs! We need to spread the word! Share these pictures below on Facebook or Twitter, your relatives and friends, on your bag, your car, your forehead!

Even if you are in America, having desexed pets is vital! Everywhere in the world, desexed pets are very important! In other countries you may not be able to share these images, but there are plenty of other images on the internet. Or take some time and design a poster. Every pet should be desexed! Here are the benefits of desexed pets:

Desexed pets

*Have reduced risk of getting cancer or other diseases of the reproductive organs.

*Generally live longer and healthier lives.

*Are less prone to wander, fight, and are less likely to get lost or injured.

*Are less likely to display territorial behaviour such as spraying indoors.

*Less likely to suffer from anti-social behaviors. They become more affectionate and become better companions.

If you have desexed pets there is no need to find homes for unwanted or unexpected litters of puppies or kittens either.

So what are you waiting for, get your pet desexed today!