Thursday, July 15, 2010

Episode 33 Penn & Teller

Episode 33 Penn & Teller Animal Rights

Hello and welcome to another episode of Coexisting With Nonhuman Animals.

Before I begin, I'd like to mention that the No Agenda podcast is once more having a survey, the last results were not so positive for Vegan listenership

ZERO voted, well, I've done my part, so has Lorraine Haines, so there will be at least TWO No Agenda Vegan who shows up in the results.  If you'd like to vote, to represent Vegans, you can find the survey at

I had a complaint that it uses the terms "loose" and "strict", I don't like saying "I'm a strict Vegan", it sounds so awful, "a strict disciplinarian" for example has their children living in fear of a beating.  I'm no more "strict" in my Veganism than I am strict about cheating.  I wouldn't call myself a "strict rule-follower" though.  To call yourself a "loose Vegetarian or Vegan" is just another way of showing how you are following some hip fad, that you decide to bend the rules sometimes, while still wanting to feel part of the cool group with that trendy label "vegan".

And finally, a year ago I signed up with the New Zealand Pork Board, to get some labeling stickers.  I have a roll of a few hundred stickers boasting of "100% New Zealand Pork", which are used on the plastic wrapping.  I put the stickers on pamphlets of my own design, over top of slaughterhouse photos, to show that no matter what fancy label gets put on the packaging, we shouldn't be killing animals, a little blue sticker is in no way a guarantee of a happy natural life.  So the Pork Board has my work address listed as a Butchery, I suppose.  I could order a whole lot more of their stickers and promotional posters.  Twice this week, the Pork Board have sent me a free magazine, first some "Taste" magazine, which mostly featured full page pictures of roasted animal bits, and today, a Woman's Day.  "Enjoy your complimentary copy of the latest Woman's Day magazine, from New Zealand Pork and Woman's Day Magazine".  What a weird thing to send, does the average butcher really care about "Katie Homes wastes away, 'I want to be skinny like Posh!"?  Not to mention "Woman's Day", sounds pretty sexist in 2010. 

But anyway, thank you NZ Pork Board for the two free magazines, retail value of about $4 a piece. 

A New Zealand police dog was recently shot by a criminal,

This has happened here before, I remember a well known Police dog decades ago being shot, the whole country was upset, the incident was caught on video.  Ok, so you have some criminal, on the run, with a GUN, very rare in New Zealand…do you really think they WOULDN'T shoot a dog?  The news clip showed little signs with each killed police dogs name, there were about 15 shown.  The sooner we stop putting animals in the line of trouble, the better.  Having police dogs is no better than having animals in war scenarios.  I remember reading about "anti tank dogs", dogs strapped to bombs who were to run underneath enemy tanks, the bomb would explode after coming in contact with the tank.  In practise, there were many problems, with the dogs afraid of the moving vehicles, they had trained with parked tanks. 

Reading from Wikipedia

"Some persistent dogs ran near the tanks, waiting for them to stop, but got shot in the process. Gunfire from the tanks scared away many of the dogs. They would run back to the trenches, often detonating the charge upon jumping in, injuring soldiers. To prevent that, the returning dogs had to be shot, often by the people who had sent them."

Other animals should be left out of our warfare.  We have no right to conscript animals as suicide bombers.  I think its awful that criminals have shot and killed police dogs, but its understandable, these people are trying to escape the police, are they expected to drop their weapons, sit down and be bitten by a police dog?  And I think its silly to call the killed dogs "heroes", as if that somehow makes up for whats happened, as if the dogs actual family would be proud of him or her for dying a patriotic death.  I'm sure those police dogs are trained to bite padded handlers, I'm sure they've never been shot at before, that they wouldn't understand they could be KILLED by the person they are running at.  We shouldn't risk the lives of other animals. 

Last episode I covered the ludicrous "Center For Consumer Freedom", a lobby group funded by Tobacco, Fastfood and Meat industries.  I've noticed this frankly sinister group appearing as a counterpoint to any supposed "Animal Rights" positions.  It seems to be common for media sources to have a soundbyte from the group as a defense from welfare reforms, or PETA stunts.  The public sees PETA member with billboards droning "blood, blood, blood on your hands!"  or"you're an awful person, for not killing animals, in the way we told you, to kill animals!"  Then, David Martosko from Consumer Freedom appears, "hey, PETA kill a few thousand animals each year, they even put the dead animals into a freezer, how weird is that right?  Only PETA would do something as awful as killing animals and then putting their corpses into a big fridge!  So that means true Animal Rights is nonsense too!  Come with us, your friends at The Meat Industry (trademark), because we certainly never kill animals!".

I've heard of Penn & Teller before, they are an American Duo who perform in Las Vegas, magic tricks and exposing fraud.  They are skeptics, they are proud Atheists and they challenge any claims of the supernatural, while showing how such tricks are truly performed.

They have a show called…umm….not sure if I can say this, would the Coexisting With Nonhuman Animals listener under 18 please press the fastforward button on your iPod to skip 10 seconds.  Ok, if you're 17 or under, have you rebelliously continued listening despite what the voice in your head just commanded?  Good, Penn & Tellers show is called Bullshit!, with an exclamation mark. 

This show is not shown in New Zealand, to the best of my knowledge.  Wikipedia initially said otherwise, but don't worry, by the time you hear this, I'll have hit that wonderful "edit" button and distorted an historical document to match what I believe to be true.

I used the magic of Bit Torrent to grab a few episodes from the other side of the world, who needs to believe in the supernatural when nature and science are so terrific, and REAL?  I try not to take anything for granted, I'm amazed each time I press a key on my Bluetooth keyboard, and magically my thoughts fly through the air, into the thin Aluminium slab thats a whole quad core computer. 

Penn & Teller seem to be a couple those fancy American buzzwords, "libertarians".  Not Librarians or Liberian's

I always thought MJ was meaning "LIBRARIANS", how its common to instead say "liBERRYian", whats more likely, to have a crush on a librarian, her hair in a bun and those sexy glasses, or a Liberian?  I was little ok, and probably had never even heard of Liberia or her estimated 3.4 million citizens.  Three million, ha, In your face Liberia, even New Zealand has a mighty FOUR.  Now I feel bad, I've lost my legions of Liberian listeners and caused a war between our countries, it seems like an historic nation, colonized by freed African American slaves, I've included a link in my sources.

From my limited understanding, LiberTARIANS are the right wing versions of Anarchists, they want no awful government telling their citizens its illegal to possess doomsday devices.

But hey, anything to get rid of those awful "liberals" and their Commie ideas of healthcare and a living wage.

I'd like to play for you a series of clips from the "PETA/ Animal Rights" episode.  They say all Animal Rights is featured, but mostly PETA.  Of course, any journalistic coverage of PETA will never come out positive, especially when they smear all of Animal Rights with the P word. 

Oh, and for people unaware of the duos act, only Penn speaks, his sidekick Teller is normally a mime.  Its a little odd, theres two people, but only one will speak.

Heres the opening

Right, so the Bull is brought on set to watch the one that talks pretend to brand the one that normally doesn't talk.  Isn't it wonderful to treat animals as property?  To have one taking up your shows budget, just to be on set, while you joke about burning your mute sidekick?

<2 weight >

I thought that was quite funny the first time I watched the show, Penn is quite an obese man.  What an odd thing to say, to make fun of yourself, hell, and everyone else who eats animal byproducts?  So 99% of society, and not a made up "like, heaps and heaps, 99%", but an actual 99%, that are not Vegan, are all obese?  The only way to be of a regular or thin weight is to be Vegan?

This joke gets brought up through the episode.

<3 crowd>

The joke about weight does seem to be somewhat true, all the featured um, "anti Animal Rights people" seem to be heavily overweight.   But of course, people come in all shapes and sizes, regardless of what we eat. l don't know any Vegans who are stereotypically short and deathly thin, I don't think any Vegan I know would ever make that claim.  "ahh, I'm malnourished from not drinking cows milk and eating bacon!"  And if you were appearing on the side opposite Animal Rights, wouldn't you be offended to watch the produced show at home with your family, as they mention how fat you are as part of your title?

So we've seen that all Animal Rights people are lunatics, probably without a quote "real job", who hold up cardboard signs outside animal shelters.  I don't think I could ever work at a shelter killing unwanted ex pets, but I guess its inevitable that some animals will be quote "put down".  Lets remember this clip, that Animal Rights people are nuts, and we are all against animals being put down, this topic comes up later.

<5 slavery>

    ⁃    I think comparing how we use animals to slavery can be offensive to many people, but its also logical.  For more information about modern slavery, please visit quotes on , Randy really has done a great job, and I'm not just saying that because I bribed him with an iPhone 4 for including a quote from this show!

Listeners under 60 years of age, get ready to fastforward just after "PETAS leader" is first mentioned

I cant believe she would actually say that, but I found the original source,

"Newkirk loved the notoriety, and still does; jousting with the media thrills her. "We are complete press (censored),'' she told me. "It is our obligation. We would be worthless if we were just polite and didn't make any waves."

The link is to michael, a staff writer for The New Yorker, the interview happened in April 2003.  Searching online, the results are dominated by the Center For Consumer Freedom and other anti animal rights websites.  But, Newkirk really called herself, and PETA….that….  Not only do they put half naked women in cages, or have the "state of the union UNDRESS", but to actually call her group…that word….unbelievable.  What else could PETA do to be more offensive?

I think anyone listening will agree that PETA is terribly sexist, and that we wouldn't defend their actions.  I am sad that so many people think PETA speak for Animal Rights, when we want NOTHING to do with them.

<7 chickens stupid>

I think you could guess how I feel about that clip…many animals act differently, and show intelligence in different ways.  Some dog breeds are mostly solitary, others work together better.  Chickens are birds, like all birds they live in close communities.  I don't know what my little friends would have to do to PROVE they are quote "intelligent", and I have no idea what any standard intelligence test for all animals would require.  Very few animals can recognize themselves in a mirror, but as Gary Francione has said, the dogs he looks after can recognize their own…um…scent…on a bush, even after a fairly long period of time.  Dogs may not recognize their reflection by sight, but they recognize each other through smell.  Chickens obviously have their own language, they talk to each other nonstop, and I can somewhat understand their different calls.  They make different noises when they see a cat, or a flying bird approaching them for example.  When I go into my backyard, my little friends will run towards me, and even when I DONT feed them grain or vegetables, they still follow me about the garden. 

You know a sure sign of intelligence though?  Being perfectly suited for your environment, the world around you.  Chickens are excellent at sleeping while standing.  Apart from a Mother hen nesting with her chicks warm in her feathers, all Chickens like to sleep upright, on a perch.  They can grasp very well with their feet.  Ms Hen has recently had a sore leg, I've been treating her and she's getting well again.  She had been hopping a lot, it hurt her to put weight on her right leg, so she would hop.  She learned to move quite differently, and still be active.  I'm very glad her leg is healing, but she was quite clever how she managed to cope.  She would even sleep, standing up, ON ONE LEG.  Humans are meant to be the smartest animals around, but I doubt anyone I know can sleep standing up, on one leg, clasping a tree branch.  And even if one or two people in the world COULD, our brains are exactly how many times larger than a Chickens?

Roger Yates recently posted a link on Facebook to a dailymail story,

"In a test of short-term memory involving numbers flashed on a computer screen, the apes comfortably beat their human opponents."

Chickens are very caring, very emotional, very clever little animals.

Whatever you use to define intelligence, animals definitely feel, and are definitely individuals. 

<9 holocaust "cheap shot">

Sadly, if a public speaker can hold a crowd, being compared to Hitler is INEVITABLE.  I'll show you a REAL Cheep Shot

Ah, thank you.

<13 guide dogs>

Is it really so scary to live in a world without very short men sitting and beating horses with part of a dead cow?

Wouldn't you rather have an artificial eye, being able to see for yourself, rather than being led about unable to see by a dog?  I have no doubt that artificial implants will be far more successful than using animals to aid our daily lives, nothing beats being able to see for yourself, having a guide dog wont show you the wonders of damselflies or Chicken Friends.  Just like Police Dogs, we shouldn't be using animals.

<14 experimentation>

I don't feel qualified to talk about alternatives to experimenting on animals, but I am fully opposed to using animals in "research".  Its easy to set up your coverage of this issue by having the apparently freakishly thin Vegans on one side, and a serious looking doctor on the other.  There are many good resources online about alternatives to testing on animals that I direct people to, rather than pretending I understand everything involved with researching new drugs, and you can hear such interviews included in programs such as the BBC's Animals And Us, which has interviews with doctors who use other methods. 

Notice the sad music while a Grandmother spends time with her family.  I agree that its certainly an odd situation.  I don't think I would want to use any medicine that contained animal products.  I have heard of Vegans who make exceptions when its truly their life or their death.  I feel uncomfortable on this subject and I'd like to hear any comments from anyone listening.  This reminds me of The Cat Issue.  I can certainly assume that any lifesaving drugs currently used can be reformulated to exclude any testing on or animal related components.

<17 killing chickens, eating chicken….>

I've often thought it was weird that there were so many laws against killing animals for a presentation, and yet its perfectly fine that 56 Billion land animals are killed each year, for what, for our pleasure.  I'm glad that they didn't decide to kill a chicken onshow, but Welfare groups shouldn't pat themselves on the back over those laws, just watch a counter such as the one on Abolitionist or copied to my own blog, to see how many animals are killed (by averaging out) each second. 

And yes, it seemed like one of the Chickens really WAS eating KFC….pretty gross….I don't know if all chickens would try and eat another dead unprocessed Chicken or not, its pretty gross to watch anyway.  I suppose many animals could eat their dead, just because other animals do something, does NOT mean I have to follow suit!

<18 hate people>

I certainly don't hate people, I like people, especially people listening, you, yes you, hello!  I think all actual Animal Rights activists are against animals being tested on, because we cant justify performing pointless tests on actually countless animals.  Remember my last episode?  We don't even know how many mice are abused for medical testing in the USA.

<20 kill all animals to save one person>

Well, thats an odd thing to say.  It would be like saying "I'd kill two people I don't know to save one of my family members".  I can certainly understand feeling closer to some animals, some of your friends and family over a stranger on the other side of the world, but to actually say you'd kill an infinite number of X, to save one of your own Y group?  Would Penn and presumably the mute Teller publicly say they'd kill everyone in some random, far away country, say, New Zealand, to save one homeless drug addicted American?  I don't think so.

I like this next clip

<21 lazy generation :) :) :) >

Ok, so I've established the superiority of modern music, Loudness War and lack of Michael Jackson aside.  I doubt the speaker knew the true pangs of war either, my friend Andrew was actually living in the Soviet Union, but he doesn't go on whining about how good I have it in New Zealand. 

Many of my best friends in the Animal Rights movement are a generation or two older than me, and we feel the same about Veganism.  Age is nothing but a number, and respect for animals is nothing new. 


I agree that being an uneducated person I often have to learn new terms to describe Animal Rights situations.  I speak simply about how I feel towards animals, if someone asks me about Veganism, I'll say that Animals are my friends, I grew up being told it was right to respect animals, but also that we kill some animals, for no real reason.  That doesn't make sense to me, and so I'm Vegan, and promote Veganism to help out all Animals.  I think thats easy enough for anyone to understand, although I do sound a bit Forest Gump.  "Veg-nism is like a box of dairy free chocolates…"

<27 28walk in freezer>

"PETA kill animals", hmm, that sounds an awful lot like a site run by The Centre For Consumer Freedom…nice to know they helped write the episode.  Yes, PETA have a freezer where they store dead animals….I'm quite sure that the animal shelter that was being protested also has a freezer of some sort.  And yes, in the video you would have seen Penn and Teller, wearing fur coats, leading dogs into the freezer and then closing the door. PETA in no way speak for all real Animal Rights advocates, ask Gary Francione, Elizabeth Collins, Randy Sandburg, Sam Tucker, Roger Yates, William Paul or Jordan Wyatt if they have large freezers filled with dead animals.  Speaking on behalf of the last guy, I'm sure we don't.  I think something is DEFINITELY wrong with PETA, if they kill basically ALL the animals left in their care, but its not like the average Anti Animal Rights person has some issue with having a freezer filled with dead animals, right?

<30 clip>

Again with that low blow, "ooh, she's giving a speech and you don't agree with her, quickly, throw in Hitler clips!". 

What a cheap ending to a show thats meant to reveal the truth about various scenarios.  To basically say that all Animal Rights is PETA…ugh, why couldn't the show be more like the BBC programs on Animal Rights, and have an impartial stance? 

I was actually impressed with the honesty of the credits scene though

I'm glad they listed how silly that "no animals were harmed" slogan is.  Just ignore the catering and costumes.  What a callous ending though, to sound like you just don't give a damn about anyone else. 

Ultimately, I don't expect any kind of fair treatment from mainstream media shows on the topic of Animal Rights.  We just need to go out there and promote Veganism the best WE can, through creative, and nonviolent Vegan education.  I'm constantly impressed by all the wonderful real world activism that friends such as Elizabeth Collins and William Paul perform, with public displays of information.  Talking about Veganism with consumers, thats how we will help all animals. 

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.

Police Dog A Hero

Anti tank dogs

Animal Intelligence, link from Roger Yates

Animals And Us: Contains information about animal testing

1 comment:

  1. Chickens can eat chickens whether processed or unprocessed, alive or dead. Cannibalism is an issue with the poultry industries. @ 2:54


Thank you for posting a comment :)

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.