Just A Baby

My mission is to address man’s relation to the animal world. This often comes with how we treat animals as pets but also encompasses our own relation to food. Food a daily ritual to survival and also happiness. And a new revelation disturbs me on many levels.

Many foods we eat are meat and a part of an animal. Whether it be ribs of a cow, the belly of a pig, the wings of a chicken. We eat flesh and meat, we grow it until it is worth slaughtering. But one thing that was so accustomed to me all my life I just again never really sat to think about. Our family friend is heading to Vietnam and asked what we needed if anything to bring back. Often what is expensive and hard to get is baby shrimp. This shrimp can add lots of flavors to our noodle dishes. My mother and mother in law use this all the time. Ive known to grow up seeing and eating it in my meals.

But then a simple word, went unnoticed. The keyword “baby”. Yes its just a animal, just a lower life form, it makes our food taste great. But I mean, lets say it again, BABY shrimp. Baby Shrimp. Lets get BABY shrimp to add to our soup. Yeah one of the main ingredients is a BABY shrimp in asian noodle soups. I couldn’t stop repeating this to myself and it actually hurt my head. Do we really need to use a baby for noodle flavoring?

I’ve seen in the China Towns of New York where large baskets or containers are filled to the brim with tiny little shrimp. They also fetch a high price. It is so commonplace in our culture I just never even noticed. How could it be that we need to use a baby. I mean I think the word baby, I think of my pregnant wife with my child. I think of my niece who is a little over one years old. Just innocent babies with no understanding and so free and happy about the world. Just about to embark on life and take on all it has to offer.

But wait, these babies don’t get that chance? These babies are just harvested for flavor. They get no chance at life, they get no chance to swim and be free. Merely a fraction of there anticipated is lived. Life is already short and we cut it even shorter to the 1% of what it should be. We take babies by the millions and kill to use for flavoring. I have no idea how they are harvested or killed. But I can’t imagined it to be very good. Probalby in some small pond where it is cramp and dirty. That is the only life they know. A sad existence.

I visited the Korean store H Mart the other day, and then I also saw baby crabs as mini meals served. Thousands of babies served. Also what little life do they have. What value did we place on them. Nearly nothing. While before my revelations to turn vegetarian and the rest of society. This is common place. There is no wrong doing or immoral placed on here. So what is there to change. But now i’m sickened at the sight at the thought of what happens to babies of any kind.

My eyes were opened once again at same of the many horrors we humans can do. Yet it is infused in our culture and food. No other thoughts or resolutions. Just sadness.

China Helping the Elephants?! Say What?!

You’re talking about hundreds and hundreds of years of culture and history when it comes to ivory. Its so deeply rooted in the Chinese and asian traditions about the powers of elephant tusks, rhino horns and other exotic animals. They can bring you great power, great luck or even in the bedroom some mystical bullcrap. But told for centuries and given such strength of validity from I don’t know how or where. But the nonetheless it is embedded in the culture.

So for China to come and want to help the elephants is absolutely amazing. Whether it will do any good will be remained to be seen. But in the end, at least they are trying and making awareness. There is not much to gain as a country to shut it down. In this New Year Times piece, you can read: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/31/world/africa/africa-ivory-china.html?_r=0

You can read all sorts of outcomes here.

Will this save the elephants? This is what experts on the plight of elephants say:

• It all depends on the price. If China simply shuts down its legal ivory trade but does little to combat the much bigger illegal trade, then the price of ivory (now about $500 a pound) will stay high, giving poachers an incentive to keep killing.

• Making all ivory illegal in China could actually push the price up, like illegal drugs.

• Neighboring markets will be crucial. If Vietnam, Myanmar, the Philippines and others do not take similar steps, then many Chinese will simply buy their ivory from other places, which will keep demand high.

• African elephants face other threats, including habitat destruction and increasingly deadly contact with humans. In Kenya, a truck speeding down a highway recently rammed into an elephant and killed it.

• Many elephants are also hunted for bush meat. China’s new policy will not affect that.

• If the Chinese government really commits to combating the ivory trade, then the price of ivory could collapse. Criminal organizations and poachers will then abandon the business, and Africa’s elephant herds could recover for the first time in years.

But with that, it comes down to enforcement. If you’re the #1 consumer and you can make a real stance. It will have real change. I am scared it will drive trade underground and to other Asian countries. But at least it will make it tougher to get. Hopefully other countries can adopt same policies and make a change. Also Africa, needs to step up its game and combat people from within. However the demand, if their is limited supply, the elephants can repopulate. One step forward is better than none at all!