Monday, April 24, 2006

Animal welfare versus Human welfare

Did you know that in China, wild bears are captured and tortured to help in the making of certain traditional Chinese medicines? No? Then read on. Although traditional chinese medicine (TCM) has a rich heritage and has a knowledge base that equals that of India’s own traditional medicine systems, it seems there are certain medicines that require the bile of a bear as an important component. Although there are medicines that can substitute for this, these particular bear-bile requiring medicines are still manufactured in China, and the means they use to acquire the bile is nothing short of cruel and inhuman! After the bears are captured from the wild, they are put in tiny cages, where a permanent stomach wound is inflicted in them, from which the bile pours out in a steady stream throughout….yes, these poor bears are kept alive in this condition for as many as 10 years, thrashing about in their cages in agony, pain, without proper food or even disposal of their wastes. When the lifespan of such bears in the wild is about 25 years, it seems not only such a waste of an innocent animal’s life and freedom, but also keeping it alive for up to 10 years in such a condition seems to me an utterly unforgivable act of cruelty. I don’t know what I can do to help prevent this and so did the only thing that comes naturally to me: Write. Write in the humble hope that anybody who reads this post who may be in a position to do something about it would do it. Or it could be as simple as making inquiries about such medicines before buying them, if you are a user, and making the choice to substitute it with something else that’s equally effective.

Now, the problem is that not only are animal components being used to make drugs (sometimes lifesaving, to give credit where its due) but that they are also used in totally inane, dispensable things like cosmetics and certain foods, that we could very well live without. For those who might see this particular “bear example” as something that may happen only in “traditional” medicine, it could be debated that the fate and condition of animals used in high-tech laboratories for the purposes of “modern” medicine is not much better either. So what’s the alternative? Although animal testing has proved to be a boon in many cases and has helped save countless human lives, it’s high time we discovered an alternative to this. Looking at it from the metaphysical point of view, maybe countless lives are saved by a process such as this, but what about the ultimate price we pay in terms of our conscience? May be we get longer healthier lives, but can we live with ourselves in the long run if this continues?

Friday, April 07, 2006

Being yourself...

Idina Menzel, the stunningly beautiful and talented singer, actress, and songwriter says:

“If we’re too big or too angry or too bold or too beautiful or too talented, it can scare people. It might scare other women, it might scare men, whatever it is.

I sort of found in my life that I’ve taken a step back and made myself smaller in order to try to fit in.

And that hasn’t worked. And we have to learn to kind of embrace what makes us unique, and embrace our strength and then if people don’t like it, **** it.”

How true that is!!!