Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Anna's First Correction of "It"

So Anna's starting to read. It's really exciting.

Yesterday she was reading a Biscuit book, which are early reading books about a dog, Biscuit, who does things and says "Woof!" (I should write ad copy for children's books.) The one she was reading had a frog hopping on a log.

"The frog hopped on the log," she read and turned the page.

"It was..." she stopped, "Wait, that shouldn't say 'it,' it should say 'he.' I'm going to change it. He was hot on top of the log."

I told her she's right that we shouldn't refer to animals as "it", but corrected the change in this specific instance, since it was analogous to saying, "It's hot outside." The "it" in the book referred to the temperature of the log, not the frog. (Yes, she understood. And yes, I'm the son of an English teacher.)

But still, I'm pleased to see that she's understanding that animals aren't "its" and that they are, in fact, "hes" and "shes," or if you're unsure, "hes or shes," or the always generic but useful "theys."

I have, of course, talked to her about this subject before. If we lived in a world that didn't use words like "it" to describe sentient individuals, I wouldn't have to talk with her about it. But we do. So I do.

When I read a book that refers to an animal as "it" I will change the word to either "he" or "she" often without mentioning that I'm doing it. She knows that I do it though, because I will occasionally tell her when I make the change.

I will also change, for example, a mention of eggs (if they're being eaten by someone) to tofu. Again, I don't mention it to her every time I do it, but I have told her that I do it and I've explained that I change the words because I don't think the way it's written is nice to animals.

The time will come pretty soon when she will know exactly when I do this, and soon after that she'll read them on her own, and she'll realize just how many of her books refer to animals in this way. She may be surprised or dismayed, but I doubt it. She's very used to being the only vegan in a situation (for example, her class at school) and she knows full well that most people aren't vegan. She seems to be comfortable with those facts (though if you ask her, she'll tell you that she'd like everyone to be vegan).

She probably gets that from her dad.

Anyway, to make this long story shorter, she hasn't even fully learned to read yet and she's already correcting speciesist language. Go vegan kids!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Veggie Nugget #34

"Some people feel threatened by the prospect that in recognizing and upholding the dignity of other living beings, we betray our own dignity as a species. It should rather be asked how the human species gains dignity by creating worlds such as this for anyone to live in. Can one regard a fellow creature as a property item, an investment, a piece of meat, an "it," without degenerating into cruelty and dishonesty towards that creature? Human slavery was brutal. Does anyone really believe that nonhuman slavery operates on a higher plane?"

Karen Davis, from her book Prisoned Chickens Poisoned Eggs: An Inside Look at the Modern Poultry Industry (REVISED ED)

(Note: I would make a few cents or something if you bought this book on Amazon by clicking on that link. If you would like me to not make money on your purchase of this book (and seriously, I'm totally OK with that) just go to Amazon via a different route and buy it that way.)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Squirrel: Episode III

Well, the squirrel was released last Thursday, thus bringing the saga to an end, at least as far as I'm concerned. For all I know, he has a few years left of being a squirrel.

My friend Threse, who volunteers at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota and was nice enough to coordinate his release with me, took this photo of the squirrel shortly before his release. 

Looks way healthier than when I saw him a month ago. 

Here's video of the release. Anna got to watch. Liam was taking a nap. 

So yeah, I'm thinking of donating and/or volunteering at the WRC at some point in the near future. Seems like a place full of hope. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A ... video! And Pictures. And another video.

It seems like it's been a while since I've posted a video of the kids. Here you go.

In it, they talk about our upcoming trip to North Dakota to celebrate their youngest cousin's first birthday. Then they sing. Then we talk about the gash in Liam's lip, which he got when he fell down at an indoor playground. I didn't see it happen, but I assume his upper teeth cut into his lower lip. There was blood everywhere. He was playing again about 20 minutes later.

The Kids Talk and Sing and Stuff from Al Nowatzki on Vimeo.

Here are some photos of Liam's lip, just because.

I swear, I did not tell him to make this face.

Or this one.

Liam thought that since I was taking photos of him, he should get a blanket out and lay down on it. Then he asked me to take photos of him lying on the blanket. I obliged. 

Oh, and in case you're wondering, the squirrel I brought in to the rehabilitation center is going to be released this Thursday. Possibly photos and/or video to come.

Bonus video:

Rock and Roll! from Al Nowatzki on Vimeo.