4

The Animal Rights Coalition – Part 4

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Where we are: The Animal Rights Coalition (ARC) has been working to stop humans from using their names as insults. They have had no luck with submitting a petition or trying to meet with the members of the Human Council. Gregg Bear and Ivan Tiger decide that it is time to consult with a lawyer. (Links to the previous sections are found at the right)

Gregg and Ivan are waiting in the offices of Sharkfin and Sharkfin to meet with the attorney. A well-groomed Siamese cat approached them.

Siamese: Hello, I’m Greta. I’ve been assigned your case.

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Gregg and Ivan looked at each other. Was this some kind of joke? This cat was not going to intimidate a bunch of humans. What was she going to do? Purr loud?

Ivan: Meaning no disrespect….

Greta: You want to know why I’m not a shark, right?

Gregg: Actually, yes. We’ve been trying to get a bunch of humans to listen to us and we wanted someone to get their attention.

Greta: Actually, that’s why they sent me. If you two aren’t going to intimidate them, we certainly won’t.

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Ivan: What do we do?

Greta: First, you have to know what is going to get their attention. What can you do that they can’t ignore? When do you interact with the humans?

Ivan: We see them at the stores and at work. But that’s just the regular humans.

Greta: OK. But they’re all just regular humans.

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Ivan: Some of them are more important. They own things and tell other people what to do.

Gregg: We want to get their attention.

Greta: Then you need to make them understand that their insults are having an impact on their business. You need to tell people to stop using their products until the humans stop insulting you.

Gregg and Ivan left, confused. They had wanted to hire someone to sue the humans. This cat wanted them to educate the humans. They called another ARC meeting.

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Gregg: We met with a lawyer. She said that we need to get the humans to see that we’re important to their business before they’ll listen to us.

Cecile Ferret: I guess that makes sense. They’ve thought they’re better and smarter than us forever.

Joe Iguana: They take us for granted.

Ivan: That’s what the lawyer said.

Ralph: OK. What do we do?

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The animals talked about which businesses they might be able to influence. They decided that they would only do one at first to see if anything happened. The first business they targeted was Adderson’s Shoe Supplies. They posted this message outside shoe stores:

“Please buy a brand other than Adderson’s. Their advertising calls tired, stinky feet “dogs”. We want them to find a different way to sell their product. Thank you. ARC

The signs didn’t work. People still bought the shoes.

Gregg: I don’t think this is a very good idea.

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Joe: I don’t know why we chose shoes. We don’t wear shoes. We should have done food. Food is always good.

Cecile: Did you hear? We made the news!

“Tonight’s local take is the boycott ARC is trying to start against Adderson’s Shoes for slander. It seems the animals are finally tired of being insulted. Good luck!”

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Ivan: Great. We’ll need it.

Cecile: It gets better. Look at this:

Animal call for end to insults spreads. Several areas have picked up on the ARC animals’ quest to end animal name insults. Protest is gaining momentum.

Three months later: Due to grass-roots pressure from their customers, humans included, the Human Council began the process to identify and eliminate institutional animal insults.

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Pictures courtesy of Google Images.

 

13

Snoops and Kommando: Mensis Horribilis

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Greetings. Snoops and Kommando Kitty here. Normally, we wouldn’t interrupt a story (Mom would make us wait.), but we’re really stressed and she agreed to make an exception.

For any of you who are too young to have missed the Roman Empire (Mom says that’s lots of you), the title means “Horrible Month.” And we’ve had a horrible month. Technically, it’s three human weeks, but that’s a looong time in cat time.

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Our human sis-fur finally got married on September 26. We were NOT invited. That was probably OK. They didn’t serve anything we would have wanted to eat, and it was full of humans. And loud music.

That’s not the bad part. The bad part was that Mom and our human bro-fur were both away from home for TWO nights. No one to snuggle with. We could have starved. They didn’t even leave a phone or computer so we could talk to our friends (or order from Amazon).

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But that’s still not the worst. Sis-fur and husband have four cats. And guess who had to open their happy home to them during the TWO-WEEK honeymoon? That’s right, us! Mom says she tried to warn us but we wouldn’t listen.

Snoops: She’s crazy. I definitely would have made reservations at a cat spa.

Kommando: Right? How does she think we would have forgotten that?

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Snoops: Two weeks ago, we’re relaxing in the living room getting ready for our afternoon naps, when there’s crashing, and crying, and meowing, and humans in our dining room.

Kommando: I ran for cover. I thought we were being invaded.

Snoops: You hid for two days. The humans were going nuts, thinking you were lost. I didn’t tell them you were just being a scairdy-cat. I wanted to run those cats off.

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Kommando: Yeah. That would have happened. You’re tough with mice, but I bet those cats would’ve run you off.

Snoops: Did you get a look at them? They’re those small-boned, sleek ones. I bet I make two of them.

Kommando: Maybe. But the humans all say you’re the sweetest cat they’ve ever met. All you do is fluff and growl.

Snoops: Yeah. And Mom won’t even let me do that. She’s stuck us upstairs until they finally leave today.

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Kommando: It’s not so bad. We don’t have to worry about them eating our food or using our litter boxes. And Mom still sleeps with us and cuddles. There’s plenty of room up here to roam around.

Snoops: But they’re in OUR house. If they don’t leave tomorrow, I’m going to sneak downstairs and show them who’s boss.

Kommando: Right. I’ll get the camera and bandages ready.

Snoops: Grrr.

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(Note from the editor: Snoops and Kommando are showing no signs of stress. They are getting bored.)

All pictures courtesy of Google Images.

17

The Animal Rights Coalition – Part 3

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Where we are: The Animal Rights Coalition (ARC) tried to take a petition to a human council meeting, but were barred from entering. ARC wanted the humans to stop using animal names as insults. A guard took the petition and said that he would give it to council.

Two weeks went by before the animals received a letter from W. Charles Smith, President of the Council on Human/Animal Relations:

Dear Animals

We have received your petition listing your concerns about us using your names as insults. We appreciate your bringing this matter to our attention. I have assigned a committee to look into the matter.

Sincerely

W.C. Smith

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Julie Giraffe: Those rotten rutabagas! They’re just trying to get rid of us.

Roni Baboon: You’re right, Julie. They’re not going to do anything.

Chester Rabbit: I’m afraid you’re right. We’ll have to try something else.

Ralph Badger: Let’s dig under their building and let it collapse.

Benny Buffalo: No, let’s stampede them.

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Simon Skunk: No, we should sabotage their air filtration.

Chester: Calm down, everyone. That’s not going to make anyone happy. We need to work together.

Chrissy Calico: I don’t know what we can do. They don’t respect us at all. Remember what he called us? “Cute.” Humans don’t pay attention to “cute”.

Gregg Bear: OK, let me talk to them. They won’t think I’m cute and cuddly. I’m over 500 pounds of muscle and fur.

Ivan Tiger: I’ll go too. I can growl loud enough to scare any human.

Ralph: I guess that will work. But be polite. Otherwise, they’ll call you animals.

Chrissy: They are animals.

Ralph: I know. But humans use it as an insult.

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Gregg and Ivan walked over to the Council Hall and went in the front door. The receptionist looked up and asked if she could help them.

Ivan: Yes, thank you. We would like to see Mr. Smith, please.

Receptionist: Do you have an appointment?

Ivan: No, we don’t. Please tell him we’re from ARC.

Receptionist (knowing there would be trouble if she let a bear and a tiger into the building): Mr. Smith doesn’t see anyone without an appointment.

Ivan: Please tell him that we won’t take up much of his time.

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Receptionist (beginning to get nervous): I’m sorry, but you’ll have to make an appointment.

Ivan: Please just ask.

Receptionist: All right. Let me check.

She called someone and said that there was a bear and a tiger to see Charles. No, they weren’t threatening. They were very polite. She listened, then hung up the phone.

Receptionist: Someone will be out shortly.

Ivan: Thank you.

Ivan and Gregg moved to the side of the lobby and waited. Before long, two security guards arrived.

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Security Guard: What seems to be the problem?

Ivan: There isn’t a problem. We just want to see Mr. Smith.

Security Guard: Didn’t the lady tell you you’d need an appointment?

Ivan: Yes, she did. We just need a minute of his time.

Guard: He won’t see you. You need to leave.

Ivan: Why won’t he see us?

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The guard didn’t want to tell them that Mr. Smith was afraid of large animals.

Guard: He can see whoever he wants.

Gregg: That’s ridiculous. Just let us past. We’ll find him ourselves.

Guard (nervously): You need to go now.

Ivan was getting irritated. He let out a low growl. Gregg took a step toward the guard.

Gregg: Now see here…

Guard: Leave this minute or I’ll call the police.

Gregg: Let us past you.

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The guard picked up the phone.

Guard: Yes, we need you at the Council Hall. There’s a bear and a tiger here. We need you to get them out of here. They’re meaner than grizzlies.

Gregg: I AM a grizzly.

Guard: I mean they’re madder than wet hens.

Gregg and Ivan looked at each other in disgust and stalked out the door.

Ivan: I guess we’ll have to get a lawyer.

He took out his phone and entered the number.

Voice: Sharkfin and Sharkfin, Attorneys-at-Law. How may I help you?

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12

The Animal Rights Coalition – Part 2

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Where we are: The Animal Rights Coalition (ARC) has decided that they need to send a petition to the humans telling them how offensive they found the use of animals in a lot of the human insults.

Douglas Gorilla was ready to read the petition that his group had put together to the rest of the members.

Douglas: We spent quite a lot of time putting this together and would like the input of everyone else to make it as good as possible.

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Dear Humans

We would like you to reconsider your usage of animal names in your insults. For example, “hairy as an ape,” is not considered an insult in our world. We would appreciate you not using it in such a manner either. There are many other examples of problem phrases.

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We feel that such insults stereotype us, generally in a negative way. You use “snake in the grass” to define someone who looks harmless, but can’t be trusted. Snakes live in the grass because that’s a logical place for someone to be who doesn’t have feet or legs. They only feel threatened if someone comes near. Humans with big feet and boots are especially scary to snakes.

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We would be happy to work with you to create a list of more appropriate insults at whatever time and place is convenient for you. We will provide a translator, if you like.

You may respond to carabbit@arcanimals.org, We look forward to hearing from you.

 Sincerely,

Animal Rights Coalition

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Douglas: We thought that everyone could sign so they know it’s a group effort.

Ida Hyena: I think it’s great. If I hear one more “laughing like a hyena joke,” I might have to bare my teeth in public.

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Jeni Dodo: I agree. We could suggest that they could just use “dumb as a rock,” rather than “dodo”, it would be great.

Chester: All in favor of sending the petition?

The result was unanimous. They decided that they would deliver the petition by hand/paw. Chester and Chrissy Calico were chosen so the humans wouldn’t feel intimidated.

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A few days later, Chester and Chrissy went to a human council meeting. They were stopped at the door.

Guard: This is a human meeting. No animals.

Chester: We just want to deliver a petition to your council.

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Guard: Let me check.

He called someone on his phone. Chester and Chrissy waited patiently. The guard explained the situation. They heard him say, “Actually, they’re pretty cute. Nothing dangerous at all.”

Guard: He said that you can’t go in, but I can take your petition and they will look at it after the meeting and get back with you.

Chester and Chrissy looked at each other. It seemed like there was no other option. They gave the petition to the guard.Image result for rabbit and cat

Next week: What will the humans do with the petition? Will they even look at it?

 

All pictures courtesy of Google Images.

 

 

 

 

8

The Animal Rights Coalition

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Chester Rabbit called the quarterly meeting of the Animal Rights Coalition (ARC) to order.

Chester: Welcome everyone. We need to finish one item from our last meeting before we can move on to today’s agenda. We have to finish our discussion about how to address the human use of animal names as insults. The first thing we need to do is reopen the topic.

The animals started to talk among themselves. This item was very important to all of them and they were eager to get back to work.

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Buddy Squirrel: I move to reopen the topic.

Ralph Badger: I second the motion.

Chester: All right. How many in favor?

Paws and hands went up around the room.

Chester: How many opposed?

Dead silence.

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Chester: The motion passed. Ballou, please turn on the recorder.

Ballou Bear, whose mother was a huge movie fan, flipped the switch. It was so much easier to get started now that they could record rather than manually write down the notes. The simians had insisted on the purchase. They were tired of always being the ones to write.

Chester: The best way to start is to identify exactly what we mean by insults. Remember the rules: no talking over others, no arguing with someone’s ideas, and no intimidation. One idea per animal. If you choose to present multiple ideas, wait until after the others have had their turn.

The animals quickly lined up to speak:

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“catty/catfight” – Why is it that when two women say nasty things to each other it’s being catty? We’re not mean. But even worse, if they end up actually hitting each other, it’s a catfight? Everyone knows that most of us don’t fight, and if we do, it’s most likely the males.

“eat like a pig/act like a pig” – Where did we get the reputation that we’re sloppy and eat too much? We’re actually clean animals; we use the mud to cool off. And we don’t eat that much compared to what we weight. We’re this big because of the way we’re made, not because we eat too much.

“dog-faced/dog” – Why are we the standard for ugly? We’re just like every other species. Some of us are good looking, some not so much. But to classify all of us as ugly is just mean.

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“eat like a bird” – They say it like it’s some kind of eating disorder. We eat like we do because we have beaks. We can’t pick up a lot of food at one time. We eat all through the day; we need energy for flying.

“ugly duckling” – This insult is just rude. Why would you call someone’s child ugly? We know it’s because the baby swan didn’t look like the baby ducks, but that doesn’t mean it was really ugly.

“batty/bats in the belfry” – What makes us the standard for crazy? We fly at night, but so do owls, and they’re supposed to be wise. As far as hanging out in a belfry, it’s a good place to sleep. It’s high, it’s isolated, and the humans can’t get at us.

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“a leopard can’t change his spots” – Of course we can’t. That would be like asking them to change their skin. Why does that get connected to people who can’t change their bad habits? Our fur is not something that should be changed.

“big as a cow” – we agree with the pigs. Just because we’re made a certain way doesn’t entitle humans to use it to insult other humans. Maybe they should be more like us and just accept each other.

“badger someone” – We’re persistent and thorough. How did that get translated into a person who becomes offensive trying to make a point? It seems like they don’t even understand how any of us really are.

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The other animals all nodded in agreement.

Chester: I think that’s a good start. Now we need a few animals to draft our petition to the humans. Is anyone interested?

A bear, two gorillas, and a beaver all agreed to work on something.

Chester: Does anyone want to schedule an extra meeting for next month to decide what our next steps will be?

Douglas Gorilla: So moved.

Ballou: Second.

The motion passed.

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Next week: Do the animals think the petition is ready to go to the humans?

7

Cat Forum: Food Musings

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Greetings. Snoops and Kommando here. Welcome to this month’s Cat Forum. We are going to talk about the distressing habit humans have when it comes to naming their food.

It started when Mom and our human brother went to Stratford, Ontario, to see a play. They said they were also going to a cat café. We were a little distressed at first. Sushi bars serve sushi, and oyster bars serve oysters. Mom explained that they were visiting cats, not eating them. They got to cuddle cats and sit with them, so all was good. Although they did smell a little weird when they got home.

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But it got us to thinking about how strange human minds are sometimes. Mom has a recipe for Cats Head Biscuits. We were mortified. She was going to cut the head off some poor cat? Well, no. It’s just a big biscuit that’s supposed to be big as a cat’s head because of the flour they use.

There are a lot of other foods that sound like someone’s eating parts of animals when they’re not. We can’t figure out the names. We’re meat eaters, and they aren’t even the tastiest part of the animal.

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  • Beavertails – fried dough stretched to resemble a beaver tail (Canada)
  • Elephant Ears – fried flattened dough, topped with melted butter, cinnamon and sugar (North America)
  • Monkey Bread – pieces of sweet dough covered with cinnamon, sugar, butter, and pecans, baked in a pan then pulled apart and eaten (Hungary)

And what’s the deal with buffalo wings and chicken fingers? Everyone knows that buffaloes don’t have wings and chickens don’t have fingers. If chickens did have fingers, they’d be disgusting. Have you seen what they do with their feet?

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  • Buffalo wings – deep-fried chicken wing section coated with a vinegar-cayenne pepper sauce
  • Chicken fingers – pieces of chicken breast meat that are coated and deep fried

We thought that ants on a log might be tasty. Do you know what that is? Raisins, peanut butter, and celery! No ants at all.

Welsh Rabbit? No rabbit, just cheese and bread.

Sweetbread? Not sweet and not a bread.

Mincemeat? No meat.

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Egg Cream? No egg and no cream.

Ladyfinger? No lady, no finger.

We could go on, but we’re tired.

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Now do you understand why we sniff everything you give us?

(We followed Mr. Google to British foods because, apparently, they have a lot of funny names. We can’t tell you. We couldn’t figure out which ones were food. If we go back, we’ll study the language first.)

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Mom wants us to apologize for not getting out to visit lately. It would have been her 30th anniversary last week, and she’s been useless not keeping up with things. We’ll apologize for her. We can’t do anything without her signing us in. So, it’s not our fault. But we have missed you.

12

Cat Forum: A Day at the Spa

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Greetings. Snoops and Kommando here. Thanks for joining us here for this month’s Cat Forum. Today we’re looking at the important issue of how you can de-stress after a hard day of supervising the neighborhood, hunting, and looking for the perfect napping spot.

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One of the best ways to relax is to get a massage. Some cats find a human to do this. If you are looking for a human, you need one who uses their whole hand. It feels like extremely good cuddles.

Some humans use their fingertips. They call it acupressure; we call it prodding. However, many cats report that after the prodding, they do feel a lot better.

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We prefer a cat-to-cat massage. No one knows where our stress points are better than another cat. And when they’re done, you don’t need to worry about being dumped on the sofa afterwards. You can just relax and take a nap.

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Some of you say ‘nip is relaxing. We don’t want to recommend it here, because it excites as many kitties as it relaxes. Of course, most kitties do fall asleep after the excitement. So, it probably is relaxing.

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If you do choose to relax with ‘nip, make sure you get it from a reliable trader. Some cats have reported finding oregano and other herbs mixed in. That is definitely not relaxing.

A couple of good, long stretches are good for relaxing. Remember to hold the stretch momentarily to get the most out of it. If you are an active hunter, you may associate stretching with hunting. In that case, we do not recommend trying to relax this way.

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Some kitties like to relax with music. We recommend something in the classical realm, with lots of soothing strings or piano. Do not listen to that current human music with the loud crashes and human yowling. It will cause you more stress than you currently have.

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If the source of your stress is a housemate, there are two ways to deal with it. Our preferred method is to chase them out of the area. Not only will the running help you de-stress, you no longer have to deal with the source of the stress.

The other alternative is to find a quiet space of your own. However, if you’re stressed because someone has invaded your quiet spot, you’ll need to have several back-ups. Pests can usually find you.

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 Last, but not least, is a nice, long nap in a warm spot. We recommend a blanket, a sunny spot, in front of a fire, or in your bed. Do not use a human lap. Just about the time you get settled in, they will decide it’s time for a snack.

Talking about all of this relaxation is making us sleepy. Purrs and snuggles from Cat Forum.