Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Wanton Cruelty to Pigs

Whether or not we eat pork or animal meat we cannot but be horrified by the wanton cruelty displayed on some "pig farms" toward these helpless animals.

Not only are the pigs that are destined for slaughter trampled on, beaten in confined spaces and generally treated with sadistic brutality, even the piglets suffer the same fate.  Mother sows, unable to turn in their hellish "gestation crates", lie unintentionally on their farrow who desperately want to suckle on the hidden nipples.

Without any pain controlling drugs, pigs of all ages have their tails cut off and their testicles ripped out as they scream in agony.

Can anything more horrible be imagined in the animal kingdom?  I cannot explain why men or women can engage in this vile practice without any compunction or sorrow. 

A brave undercover journalist has laid bare the shocking truth about the fate of these gentle creatures where no eyes can generally see them.

This is a human rights blog first but as someone said to me "Most humans can express themselves and speak out against injustice shown them but animals are voiceless".

In the hope that someone will see this horror show and change their attitude to the rights of animals, I am appending here the YouTube video courtesy of PETA.


Saturday, 21 January 2017

US: Horrific Jail Experience for Death Penalty Protestors

On Tuesday, Jan. 17th, 18 people climbed the steps of the US Supreme Court and unfurled a huge banner that read “Stop Executions”.  They dropped red and yellow roses all over the steps (representing all the executed and their victims). Hundreds of supporters watched and sang as the police arrested them.

The group included leaders and ministers from Black Lives Matters, Sojourners and Red Letter Christians, as well as the anti-death penalty leaders, including members of “Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation,” people whose loved ones were killed but are against the death penalty.

"Though the action was beautiful, we paid for it dearly" says John Dear SJ. "The police put the cuffs on as tight as possible, and we heard the commander say, “Put them through the system.” For me, the officer pulled my right hand back and pinched the nerve on my thumb deliberately; I was sure he was going to break my hand. We thought another friend did have his hand and shoulder broken, so he was hospitalized. We were chained by the ankles, waists and behind our backs most of the time, and it was very painful. During our two horrific days in chains and jail, we had very little water, and for me, two pieces of wonder bread".

"On Tuesday night, (writes Dear) "we were put into very tiny cells with steel metal to lie on and bright lights on us. Once you lay down, you were covered in cockroaches. Not one person in the group slept and we each went through an unexpected, terrible ordeal. (Several of us, for example, were nauseous the entire time.)

On Wednesday, we were moved into the main cells of the courthouse, all chained together—ankles, waists, and wrists--and there met hundreds of guys awaiting court. We were arraigned at 5 p.m. on Wednesday night, pled guilty, and face sixty days in prison and a $5000 fine. The government is clearly going after us. We have a court hearing in late February, but we will work to put the death penalty on trial sometime in the Spring".

These awful conditions in US jails and the inhuman treatment meted out to non-violent protestors have nothing directly to do with Trump or Obama although these particular horrors took place under Obama's watch. The District of Columbia is responsible for the upkeep and conditions of its jail which has a shocking history.

For coverage of the protest itself see  www.law.com

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Chelsea Manning will be free on Friday 17 May

The good news has come, through the Guardian Services, that whistleblower Chelsea Manning will be free on 17 May this year.

Three days before the end of his presidency, Barack Obama has commuted the bulk of her 35 year sentence meaning that she will have served seven years on her release

According to the Guardian, "Nancy Hollander, Manning’s lawyer, spoke to the Guardian before she had even had the chance to pass on to the soldier the news of her release. “Oh my God!” was Hollander’s instant response to the news which she had just heard from the White House counsel. “I cannot believe it – in 120 days she will be free and it will all be over. It’s incredible.” "

My heartfelt congratulations to Chelsea, to her mother and family in Wales, and to all who joined in the struggle to have her released.


Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Apollo House Struggle Continues

The death of a much loved brother, Leo, on Christmas Day meant that I was unable to keep track of events at Apollo House.  Leo had dispensed with the clerical title from his name Fr Leo Morahan about sixty years ago and since then has been known as Leo or Leon.  For eight years we  worked together in the priesthood until I parted company with church and religion. Since then Leo supported my every action, however different, while he himself remained firmly within the fold.

The trauma of his (expected) death and its aftermath have left me out of touch. It was great then to learn of yesterday's march by Apollo House supporters to the Department of Finance in Dublin. They demand action on the housing crisis.  The government, embarrassed by the occupation and the widespread support for it,  had been giving lame excuses in the Dáil before Christmas.. The Department had, it appears, awarded this amount or that amount "to solve the housing crisis". Throwing money at a problem has been common since Mary Harney's time.The idea is to allocate money while continuing with the austerity programme.  It is literally a passing of the buck. "We have put money into the equation; run off now and attack someone else".

Any government worth its salt knows that the housing crisis demands immediate hands-on action.  In the face of enormous odds, Home Sweet Home and the Apollo House occupiers took that action. The march on a bitterly cold January day with over 700 supporters (my own estimate) means that they are alive and well, full of verve and intent.

January 11 is approaching.  The prospect of residents being flung out of their comfortable home is looming. I hope this doesn't happen.

Meanwhile hats off to Home Sweet Home, the Apollo House occupiers and volunteers and to the homeless both inside and ouside that building.