Thursday, March 25, 2010

Episode 22 Wild Mouse, Veganacious Podcast, Farmers Perception

Episode 22 Wild Mouse, Veganacious Podcast, Farmers Perception

Hello and welcome to the twenty second episode of Coexisting With Nonhuman Animals

On this episode, I'd like to introduce a friends new podcast, talk about teaching people to respect small animals, a perception of farmers, killing deer in national parks and killing sick race horses.

I'd decided to dedicate this episode of my show to my friend Barbara DeGrande , of, who has now started her very own podcast promoting Abolitionist Veganism, but I have a sad story to tell about a small visitor. While respecting my friendship with Barbara, I'd first like to talk about a very small friend, who I found in a bad way.

If you check my flickr page,I've included a link in the shownotes, you should be able to see it in the lyrics section, or on my blog , that the inside of my glasshouse was covered with Chickweed and clover ( ), in the "Few Day Old Chicks" photo album, you will notice its like a little green forest, with clover roughly the same height as the few day old chicks. When the chicks were small, we would keep the chickens safely in the glasshouse during the day, sealed up to protect our little friends from cats. I have friends who have cats, and they laugh off what cats do to other animals, "oh, last night mittens was playing with a bug", well, the bug was fighting for his or her life to escape. Chickens, and baby chicks especially do not like to play with cats, they are terribly afraid of cats. Im not sure if they would behave the same around dogs or other animals, but around cats, they freak out, making special noises I only ever hear them produce around cats. Its a special alert, "theres a cat trying to kill us". So, I made sure to keep them safe from cats, during the day while I worked, they would be safe in the fairly large glasshouse. Well, that little forest of clover and chickweed, that made a lovely carpet to walk over, was soon reduced to a muddy slop if I hosed inside the glasshouse. I've been trying to reseed the chickweed, it grows just fine everywhere else in the garden, but doesn't seem to like inside the glasshouse anymore. I'd been keeping the door closed, so the chickens couldn't enter, so that some chickweed and other weed like plants I'd left inside could have a chance to take off. Its strange I know, but I don't really care what starts growing in there, as long as theres something over the mud! The chickens will manage it once it takes off, now the Chickens are allowed to go anywhere in the back garden on their own, they wont be forced into strip grazing the glasshouse bare.

I'd been watering inside the glasshouse, when I noticed a chickenwire screen shaking. There was a hole at the bottom, and a little wild mouse had become stuck. Its body was threaded through a couple of holes at the bottom, much like a shoelace going through the eyelets of a shoe. I have no idea how, or why the mouse had gotten into that state, but it had happened, sometimes things don't need to be further explained. I was horrified when I realized what had happened, the pain the mouse must have been in, it must have been immense. Its little body was twisted every which way,I suppose it had somehow tried to bend to exit through another hole, and just made the situation worse. It had its head out one side, its ears stuck back behind the head hole, its main body was tightly pulled between that head hole, and a second hole where its feet were stuck. It had one back foot bunched up in pain, it could clench and unclench this foot, and swing its tail, but nothing more. I was very upset, and part of me wanted to take a photo to share with you, to show other people how the mouse had positioned itself. But this isn't a time for submissions, there was a little friends life at stake, and so I rushed inside to find a tool, anything, to get it out. The only thing I could find were some needle nosed pliers, long thin pliers, and I raced out to free the mouse. I noticed the mouse had wet itself, through pain or fear, I don't know, but it was surely in pain. The pliers were very blunt, no good for cutting through wire, but they were all I had. I thought about running to my work, about 700 metres, I could even have grabbed an Angle Grinder, but there really wasn't time. I slowly tugged and broke loops far away from the mouse, to try and reduce the tension around it, although it was fairly clumsy work. I had to pull to basically stretch the wire until it broke, and I worried about hurting the mouse.

It took a while, but I got the mouse out. It started to have a panic attack, like small birds will if you save them from a cat. Its eyes closed and it was breathing heavily. I left it alone in the glasshouse, with some chickweed I had picked beside it, as well as grain, if it felt like eating. I got some water for it, and watched from outside, with the door closed. It could barely move, I seriously think its neck or spine had been broken. I feel terrible, not knowing if its my doing, if I broke its body while I was pulling the wire loops apart, or if it had already been that way from how it trapped itself. I don't know how long the mouse had been like that, it must have been some time, it was in a terrible state.

I know I tried my best, but I feel very guilty that perhaps I severely hurt that little wild mouse while trying to free it. I left it in the closed off glasshouse overnight, with chickweed beside it, and partly draped over it to try and keep it warmer, and to provide cover. I checked in the morning and it had died.

I buried the mouse underneath a Silver Birch, alongside the two chicks that had been killed by cats, and the second hen we originally were given, who died mysteriously.

I had a little tribute by playing Grand Theft Auto IV, listening to a techno track remixed by a DJ called deadmaus, spelt "dead mau5", I was very respectful in my driving, despite surely doing over 300 kilometers an hour through crowded New York City streets, and Jersey, I didn't run over any pedestrians.

I feel terrible, because I feel like I could have hurt the mouse while trying to save it. I'd like to thank the twitter users Oracl, My Face is On Fire, guitardrone and NZVeganpodcast for saying I did my best to help. This episode is not about feeling sorry for myself, or asking anyone listening to forgive me, I'd like to share my happiness that Barbara now has a podcast for Veganacious.

Veganacious is probably one of the most well known Vegan websites, you can find Veganacious at, thats spelt vegan a c i o u s , .com

I'll let Barbara speak in her own words, she was kind enough to send me this recording.

Its thrilling that Barbara now has a podcast of her own, I believe podcasts to be an excellent way to provide information about Veganism, I think its interesting to listen to someones voice, if only to make fun of their Southland accent, the way they roll the r'rrrrrrrrrr sound, "are you a murrrrrderrrrrrerrrrr", "hello, I'm from Gorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre". Podcasts are also quiet, I doubt many people drive their huge cars about with Coexisting With Nonhuman Animals deafening the neighborhood, podcasts are also free and easy to listen to.

I think its great that Barbara now has a podcast for Veganacious, you can find it on her website, www., and I hope you will subscribe to her show in iTunes.

Heres a story that makes me feel good, from the

Citizenship lessons to teach children respect for worms

the story has a captioned photo of a worm on leaves, "I love you, Mr Worm: By age seven children will have learnt not to stamp on 'mini-beasts'"

Good citizenship is not just a question of respect for one’s fellow humans, it seems. The government has decreed that children should be taught not to hurt a fly.
New curriculum guidance says citizenship classes should pay due regard to the wellbeing of what it calls “mini-beasts”, including bees, ants and worms.
The classes are part of the “animals and us” section of the primary school citizenship curriculum. It says children can become “active citizens” by learning that “other living things have needs and they have responsibilities to meet them”.
By the age of seven pupils should have learnt that “humans have a responsibility to ensure the wellbeing of animals, including mini-beasts” and will have been told rules for “behaviour in areas where animals live”: for example, “not stamping on insects”.

The model lessons, which are not compulsory for schools, have been drawn up by the Department for Children, Schools and Families.
Children are also taught that it is against the law to leave dogs in cars on a hot day or to disturb fledglings in nests.
“A lot of children do not recognise insects as animals. They stamp on ants and torture spiders, but they wouldn’t kill a cat or a dog,” she said.

I think its just great that children are being taught that insects are animals too, and that while they may not seem to show emotions towards us, they are very lovely in their own way, and should be respected. If people could agree that small, seemingly common animals such as beetles and bees are beautiful and special, thats a great starting foundation to learn about Veganism. Of course I also wish Veganism were mentioned too, although being about 1%, I understand if there are CURRENTLY not that many Vegan teachers to spread the good word.
Anyone who has listened to my podcast before should know that I love insects, especially Damsel and Dragonflies. I spent a mountain of money on a 27 inch iMac, with the i7 upgraded CPU, the screen is so wide, I decided to change my desktop wallpaper of a close up Dragonfly, to one I took of it seeming to stretch out horizontally across the screen. Damsel and Dragonflies seem to be made for High Definition Widescreens, they are thin, long and very detailed.

Perception of Farmers

Heres a story from my local newspaper, The Southland Times, about how Farmers are commonly perceived now. I'll only read a small section, you can see all my sources for yourself by reading the shownotes on my blog for each episode, coexisting with nonhuman animals

"Dairy farmers spilling cow effluent were seen by the public as more of a threat to society than drink-drivers or murderers, Southland dairy farmer Mike Horgan told a dairy industry conference in Invercargill yesterday."
"There seems to be a consensus across our nation that a dairy farmer spilling a little biodegradable effluent is far more of a threat to society than a drunk driver or murderer," he said.
"The justice system and the media make a meal out of some farmer's effluent spill with regular front-page updates and threat of imprisonment, yet each day in this country, drivers still drive drunk (but) no-one shames these offenders to the same extent."
"Mr Horgan also took a swipe at actor Sam Neill's opposition to plans to house 18,000 cows indoors in the MacKenzie Basin, and the willingness of the "gullible public" to accept his comments without question.
"I would suggest his statement that `dairying was short-lived and the damage to the landscape was everlasting' is obviously a line from one of his fairytale films.""

Well Mr Horgan, compared to the land, anything we do is short lived, if you think I'm being too emotional about "mother earth", sounding like a Greenie who hates humanity, New Zealand farmers have changed operations en masse before, we used to raise sheep to be killed for their wool and "meat", in the last decade or so, conversions to Dairy Farms were very popular, I see no reason why it could not move away from Dairy again in the future.

And about Dairy farms being safe, or at least not damaging to the environment, heres a clip from Fonterra, the main dairy collective, sort of like "the milk board" if you'd like,

I don't really understand all the figures that come out about dairying, the figures given for how many who are "not complying", you know, polluting the country and making our rivers unsafe to swim in as well as killing any acquatic animals, the statistics are wildly varying. Farmers I've asked say "oh, its just one or two bad farmers who give us all a bad name, but you heard the Fonterra clip I played, it seems hardly any are doing a great job. Another site I've linked to in the shownotes is a Southland Times article, quote
"Southland dairy farmers are getting better at complying with effluent regulations, even though most of their national counterparts are struggling."

blah blah blah "only 60 per cent of dairy farms fully complying with regulations, down from 64 per cent in 2007-08."

"In Southland, full compliance has increased from 65 per cent to 69 per cent, even though the number of dairy farms in the province has increased from 658 to 752." So we have 752 dairy farms in a region with a population of only 100,000.

Heres an old story, about killing deer.

"A wet, windy and cold summer is making the job of an aerial deer hunter in Fiordland tougher than usual.
Department of Conservation biodiversity manager Lindsay Wilson said deer were not retreating to open areas like they usually did in summer.
"It's been quite difficult because of the weather ... the deer have not moved up into open country as they would've normally by now," Mr Wilson said.
Helicopter pilot Dick Deaker, who has 38 years' experience in deer recovery in Fiordland agreed, saying the weather had been "real bad" this summer.
"And the deer recovery business is 100 per cent reliant on fair to good weather."
Mr Deaker recovered deer with a syndicate of about four Fiordland helicopter pilots. The meat was trucked to a processing plant in Rakaia, near Christchurch, and most of it ended up in Europe, he said.
Mr Wilson described the hunters as the "unsung heroes of conservation" because DOC could never afford to do the work itself, he said.
"For us the implication of what those guys are doing is huge," Mr Wilson said. "It's a massive saving for the taxpayer."
About 7000 deer were shot and recovered from the national park every year.
Aerial deer hunting had stopped for about five years when venison prices tumbled, but resumed about three years ago.
DOC studies showed stopping the hunting led to deer numbers climbing and the park's native vegetation suffering.
"Since they started up again there's been a notable recovery in the condition of these plants."

I see, so the deer are to be cursed at for not moving into less covered areas as the hunters expected, these hunters are "the unsung heroes of conservation", and "its a massive saving for the taxpayer". SEVEN THOUSAND DEER WERE SHOT AND quote "recovered" FROM THE NATIONAL PARK EVERY YEAR. Wow. Thats about 7 times the amount of animals as killed by the Japanese whaling fleet, yet when New Zealanders kill animals, "they are unsung heroes of conservation". Don't the Whalers claim to be helping conserve whales too? "oh, we're just doing lethal tests on them to find out how long they would live for, you know, if we hadnt killed them, and then the meat is sold in cans and packets, we attempt to give it to the New Zealand embassy during a protest about how you protest killing whales".

I also found it strange that the hunting STOPS, when the sale price of the meat is lower, what, Deers are not "pests" anymore, if their meat is not worth X a kilogram? If these animals are so terrible for the environment, "oh, the national park, we have to save it from the awful Deer who want to ruthlessly bite the leaves off plants, oh, endangered species this,hunters are unsung heroes for conservation that…", you'd think they'd still be killing them out despite their bodies being worth a dollar a kilogram instead of a dollar ten cents.

I don't know too much about the horse racing industry, but I realise that the horses are "trained" to do what the tiny Napolean-esque midget bashing them with a whip dictates. This is another old story, I wanted to play this clip about the famous Mark Todd, New Zealand equestrian, who had one of his most famous horses killed.

I wouldn't be surprised if Todd really cared for his horses, I don't know if hes an evil man, or a lovely person, We heard that Gandalf the horse had suffered seizures and became blind in one eye, I suppose this is not really treatable, but fairly often you hear that when race horses get ill, they are written off like a car after a crash. A horse that had brought its owner and rider millions of dollars in winnings will be killed if it breaks a leg. You'd think with that kind of money, it could be fixed, hell,

<6 million man clip fade slowly up>back in the day, a whole man was re built for only 6 million dollars, this was in the 70's, I'm sure the technology have become many times cheaper, fixing part of a leg so the horse could be able to live free surely couldn't cost that much.

Instead, the horse is disposed of as if it were week old soymilk.

I hope you've enjoyed this episode, I've had quite a few technical problems making it, and I'm learning to use a new version of GarageBand. I hope that if you try and help a trapped animal in future, you have better results than I did.

Thank you for listening to Coexisting With Nonhuman Animals.

You can find the script for this episode, as well as downloads for every episode of Coexisting With Nonhuman Animals at coexisting with nonhuman animals .

If you want to contact me, even just to say you listened, send an email to, or on Twitter, j a y w o n t d a r t, I'd appreciate it.

Thank you for listening.


FLICKR account Link RE "Few Day Old Chicks"

Citizenship love worms

Perception of Farmers

Fonterra farmers polluting

southern farmers compliance up

(old story)



  1. Please be gentle in any criticism of the shows quality! I was having many different errors, including GarageBand crashing completely when I tried importing certain audio files. I could reconvert those files in iTunes and they would then import just fine into GB.

    The main issue was the microphone volume changing, seems to be some automatic setting where GarageBand changes the audio volume of the recording instrument. I'm looking into it now, very annoying, and I'm sorry if you were upset by the shows quality! I promise you will get your money back :P

  2. I noticed when you referred to non-human animals you used the word "it" instead of he or she. :P


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