The Pigs Who Gazed Upon their Killer with Trust


When I was in college, I watched a 6-mos-old pig be slaughtered. She resisted her captors, stretching backwards, trying in vain to separate herself from the hands grasped around sensitive ears. When a shackle was attached to her rear left leg, she screamed in agony and fear as she was hoisted - fully conscious - into the air. The slaughterer electrocuted her, her form went limp, and I cannot tell you if she felt her throat being cut. Her body reacted, as all bodies would to such violence, by shivering and shaking and rejecting death as much as possible.

The slaughterhouse is a small one, never disassembling more than a hundred animals in a day. The callous disregard shown by the “processor”, the students, and the professor haunt me to this day. She wanted to live, with every single fiber of her being. Her muscles - soon to be devoured by humans - ached to be moving away from that place. Her heart - eventually tossed in an orange plastic bin - pumped furiously, trying to move her forward, backward, anywhere but on that kill floor.

I can tell you why I am reliving that nightmare (a “luxury” that beautiful pig does not have). I won’t link you to the blog, although you will most assuredly be able to find it on your own. But I want to share the story of five pigs who died today. They did not die in a large slaughterhouse, victims of industrial agriculture. They died on a small farm, as part of a made-up “adult” 4H project. 

These are the five pigs. 


Pigs are inquisitive, sensitive, intelligent animals. And they can bond. The individual responsible for the deaths of these five pigs recognized that, “They are always super excited to see me, even more excited when I bring treats and the most excited when I brush them and give belly rubs. They run and grunt at me when they see me.” This is not someone incapable of recognizing that nonhumans experience pleasure, physical and emotional. This is someone who has been trained, from a young age, that other animals are here for a “job” - defined by humans, for humans. In the case of these pigs, apparently their “job” was to go on a “journey” with this woman that involved friendship, bonding, care-giving, and then their own bloodletting. 

Not a “job” I’d want.

When some kind-hearted folks learned of this woman’s public declaration of killing these five pigs, they left some comments discouraging the unnecessary stealing of lives. In response, the woman offered to stave off slaughter if only people would pay $5,000 for all five pigs lives.

If that does not tell you about the motivations of this person, I don’t know what will (except perhaps the photo below). When no one could either afford or justify giving money to further exploit nonhumans, compassionate people were accused of being cruel for NOT buying the pigs. 

If, and it is a big if, these pigs were seen as individuals who have a value outside of dollar signs and “pork”…well, I suppose they wouldn’t be dead.

Early on, the individual caring for these pigs presumed she would be sad and crying after their unnecessary slaughter.

Instead, she posted a gratuitous photo (I cannot bring myself to share it) of her and three other smiling humans posing before the skinned body of a once-thriving pig.

This is her idea of “humane”, of “good caregiving”. (Please note: A picture of a skinned pig hung from shackles is shown below the cut).

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— 1 year ago with 102 notes

Get the cute and help rescue birds! (I put my heart into designing this.The senegal was added in memory of Ellen’s beloved Mickey passing away.)
EDIT: If you want a 5$ print or anything like that, email me at



Get the cute and help rescue birds! 

(I put my heart into designing this.
The senegal was added in memory of Ellen’s beloved Mickey passing away.)

EDIT: If you want a 5$ print or anything like that, email me at

— 1 year ago with 151 notes

Love how these two patterns play together in this windswept shot. (via Vezilka)


Love how these two patterns play together in this windswept shot. (via Vezilka)

(via luna-piena)

— 1 year ago with 2143 notes


The Shah Mosque of Isfahan

Built during the Safavid period, it is an excellent example of Islamic architecture of Iran, and regarded as one of the masterpieces of Persian Architecture. The Shah Mosque of Esfahan is one of the everlasting masterpieces of architecture in Iran. It is registered, along with the Naghsh-i Jahan Square, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its construction began in 1611, and its splendor is mainly due to the beauty of its seven-colour mosaic tiles and calligraphic inscriptions.

Photograph 1 by: Omid Jafarnezhad

Photographs 2 - 6 by: ‘Horizon’ on Flickr.

(Source: blue-voids, via dougcmatthews)

— 1 year ago with 9052 notes


Kazuo Oga (various watercolour works c.1988)

Just. Wow.

Kazuo Oga is one of the most inconspicuously famous artists, which is inspirational in its own right by how humbling it is. You would think they were digital from an immediate approach, however upon closer inspection of the textures, lighting and layering it’s clear they’re perfectly hand crafter watercolour pieces.

His works, featured in the backgrounds of various Studio Ghibli films, are subtle enough to blend into the background of the films yet stand out alone as perfection of watercolour techniques and command of lighting.

Just considering there are scenes where the camera pans across his works for several long moments reflects the sublime quality of his work. And that he was able to develop enough artworks to supply several films with stunning backdrops is nothing short of breathtaking.

That’s a good word for it, “breathtaking”.

(via wataridorii)

— 1 year ago with 31109 notes






Omfg that walrus is doing sittups. Omfg

His form is almost better than mine.

:-O …………. :’-)

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— 1 year ago with 386238 notes


Is It Time to Treat Violence Like a Contagious Disease?

The idea that violence is contagious doesn’t appear in the Obama administration’s gun control plan, nor in the National Rifle Association’s arguments. But some scientists believe that understanding the literally infectious nature of violence is essential to preventing it.

To say violence is a sickness that threatens public health isn’t just a figure of speech, they argue. It spreads from person to person, a germ of an idea that causes changes in the brain, thriving in certain social conditions.

A century from now, people might look back on violence prevention in the early 21st century as we now regard the primitive cholera prevention efforts in the early 19th century, when the disease was considered a product of filth and immorality rather than a microbe.

According to their theory, exposure to violence is conceptually similar to exposure to, say, cholera or tuberculosis. Acts of violence are the germs. Instead of wracking intestines or lungs, they lodge in the brain. When people, in particular children and young adults whose brains are extremely plastic, repeatedly experience or witness violence, their neurological function is altered.

Cognitive pathways involving anger are more easily activated. Victimized people also interpret reality through perceptual filters in which violence seems normal and threats are enhanced. People in this state of mind are more likely to behave violently. Instead of through a cough, the disease spreads through fights, rapes, killings, suicides, perhaps even media, the researchers argue.

Not everybody becomes infected, of course. As with an infectious disease, circumstance is key. Social circumstance, especially individual or community isolation — people who feel there’s no way out for them, or disconnected from social norms — is what ultimately allows violence to spread readily, just as water sources fouled by sewage exacerbate cholera outbreaks.

At a macroscopic population level, these interactions produce geographic patterns of violence that sometimes resemble maps of disease epidemics. There are clusters, hotspots, epicenters. Isolated acts of violence are followed by others, which are followed by still more, and so on. The density maps of shootings in Kansas City or New York or Detroit look like cholera case maps from Bangladesh. 

Some of the best-known research on this phenomenon comes from analyses of homicides in New York City. Homicide rates nearly tripled between the mid-1960s and mid-1970s, rose in waves through the mid-1990s, and then fell precipitously, like a disease burning itself out. 

An act of violence doesn’t just stimulate other acts, but other kinds of acts. Killings lead to domestic violence which leads to community violence which leads to suicide. Such dynamics might sound almost mechanistic, as if violence could be considered in isolation from all the other factors — poverty, drugs, demographics, policing — that shape the society in which it occurs. That’s absolutely not the case, but neither are these factors solely responsible for violence outbreaks.

A view of violence as contagious doesn’t directly inform the Obama administration’s gun control plan, which is focused largely on gun availability and mental health services. President Obama did, however, encourage the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to resume public health research on gun violence, which was suppressed in the mid-1990s after pro-gun advocates took issue with findings that, at least statistically, keeping guns at home didn’t protect people.

(Source: Wired Science)

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(Source: quantumaniac)

— 1 year ago with 158 notes



And then I put skater budgies on my blog.

fucking adorable

(Source: 100304, via avianawareness)

— 1 year ago with 26348 notes