Archive for May, 2011
Even before this year’s earthquake and tsunami, the Japanese government agreed to stop commercial whale fishing. But after those disasters, fishermen––who resisted the order beforehand––realized that it would be impossible to keep hunting whales as the severe storms had torn to shreds their ships and all on-land whale slaughtering operations. What is not known now is if both government and fishing operations have likewise agreed to cease hunting for dolphins.
The Sea Shepherds, the fearless group using every conceivable harassment to hound Japan’s huge whale hunting operations on several seas, eventually forced Japan’s government to cease whale hunting. The earthquake and tsunami simply crossed the tees and dotted the eyes making that final decision. However, that nation’s dolphin hunters operate out of a different location in the city of Taiji. The Sea Shepherds and other anti-dolphin organizations made Taiji famous in 2003 with a Academy Award winning documentary called “The Cove.”
Taiji fishermen annually join their counterparts in several small villages along Japan’s coast to hunt, capture, kill or encage some 20,000 dolphins a year. Sanctioned by the Japanese government, the dolphin hunting season usually runs from about October through April. The Taiji fishermen keep those dolphins, not immediately slaughtered, dissected and distributed to restaurants and fish markets, swimming in tight-spaced ocean pens until buyers pay upwards of $20,000 each for them. A few of these magnificent fish mammals are sold through the Ito Fishing Cooperative which sells them to aquarium, water park or other dolphin entertainment acts. The rest go to restaurant chains to be featured as mahimahi.
During the tsunami, although Taiji itself did not suffer extreme damage from the killer storm, dozens of dolphins held in the ocean pens were heard screaming in agony as the waves pushed them against rocky shores. Eventually, all the dolphins suffered horrible deaths from ocean upheavals and beatings. The storms cut short this year’s dolphin season, but it remains to be seen if fishermen from Taiji and other villages will resume dolphin hunting this coming fall.
Before he became the dedicated disciple who wrote three-fourths of the New Testament in Bible prophecies, Apostle Paul, was a highly educated Pharisee who had vowed to find, imprison or kill the few Jews who were new followers of the recently-crucified and resurrected Jesus Christ. When he was stopped along the road going to one of those round-ups, he was stopped with a vision and words from heaven which asked, “Saul, Saul why persecutest thou me? . . .
It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks” (Acts 9: 1 – 7). Japan had best take warning from the recent earthquake and tsunami and stop hunting dolphins. At some point, they must recognize that needlessly attacking God’s creatures is attacking Him. As the changed Paul soon learned, indeed it is hard to kick against the pricks!
Scanning the front page of the New York Times’ “Global Edition” for the last two days, one would assume that the most important issues in the United States are: Air strikes on Libya; Europeans jockeying to replace the disgraced head of the International Monetary Fund; Volcanic ash cloud closing German airports; President Obama’s travels in Europe, etc. There is nothing on the front page about the tornadoes devastating middle America. Is it not of “Global” interest that these “unexplainably” violent tornadoes have killed nearly two hundred people, and 1500 more are missing, and may soon be presumed dead?
Honest local newscasters admitted that people were asking if Climate Change caused traditional tornado alley to become so massively violent this year? But national newscasters avoided the question as much as possible. When one network weatherman was asked, he said that there was insufficient scientific data to confirm or deny Climate Change––i.e. Global Warming––as the reason. That weather forecasters across the nation insist on giving daily weather news and forecasts, while providing no discussion of the ultimate reasons is astounding! Were these “experts” trained in television performance or weather science?
But now people in the Midwest publicly ask about Climate Change, even if newscasters don’t. And, as always in a democracy, only persistent public demands for truth can break political, corporate and media stonewalling about Global Warming. In a few days, when it is clear that these tornadoes have killed some 2,000 Americans, that wall MAY crack. Corporate moguls deny that exclusively burning coal for energy led to recent weather anomalies devastating whole towns in Australia. Their counterparts in Japan insist that building stronger walls to protect nuclear power plants can resist the types of massive earthquakes and tsunamis that killed thousands there. And in the U.S., corporate moguls blanket television ads with smooth commercials touting the benefits of cracking open rocks beneath the earth for natural gas, while ignoring the truth that such practice ruins water supplies for thousands of people. Corporate America will likewise attempt to control the truth about Global Warming’s affect on this week’s killer tornadoes.
The deaths wrought by these tornadoes could have been prevented if American leadership had faced the truth about Global Warming and acted responsibly. It is no longer viable to let corporate greed hold back the tide of truth. In Bible prophecies, The Lord Jesus depicts lies leading to death as ultimate evil: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8: 44). Americans must insist that its leaders tell the truth!
Cheetahs, the fastest animals on earth now race toward extinction. It is not any fault of their own. Man is leading them to a quick demise. Thinly built, with long legs, movable spines and large breathing capacity, cheetahs can reach 75 miles an hour faster than any automobile, even getting to 45 mph in just two seconds. Upon eying their prey––i.e. gazelle, birds, hares, gnu, warthog, impala, wildebeest calves, etc.––cheetahs can run them down in 20 seconds or less. But that vast amount of potential prey requires large tracts of land. And that’s the problem. People want the land, and they take the cheetahs’ habitat and prey.
At the beginning of the 20th century, over 100,000 cheetahs lived in Africa and Asia. Now only some 12,000 are left in Africa, and 150 in Iran. As if stealing their land were not enough, human beings also want the cheetahs’ beautiful tan coats with splashing black spots. So poachers put bullets in the air to kill even the fastest running cheetahs so they can cut off their pelts to sell in illegal markets. Of course, it is illegal to kill them and to sell their pelts. But criminals have no regard for man’s laws. In addition, the same farmers and land developers who take the cheetahs’ land in the first place, may also kill them if a hungry cat presumes to kill cattle grazing on what it thought was its own land.
Speaking of laws, why do people not recognize that there are higher laws––i.e. God’s laws––which may not allow people to take over lands that have belonged to animals for thousands of years, and that God made man responsible for the care and upkeep of these animals. Man’s right included only the necessary killing of domesticated animals, or sea life, within strict Biblically defined limits. Genesis 1: 24 – 25 reads: “And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” Verse 30 says that every green herb was to be food for man and beasts.
Only after the fall of Adam and Eve and after Noah’s flood, did God allow the killing of animals for food (Genesis 9). And with the call of Abraham and his descendants––and the start of Judeo-Christian faiths––God then limited acceptable animals for food consumption. From the beginning, God had covenants with both animals and people. These agreements included boundaries for each interdependent group. From Genesis to the Book of Revelation, nothing in God’s Word gives one of these covenant groups the right to destroy the other. But today, that is exactly what man is doing. By greed, ignorance and negligence, man is destroying the animal kingdom and one day soon, and very soon, God will call man to judgment for such egregious covenant breaking (Revelation 11: 18).
Earlier this month, the National Research Council, part of the esteemed National Academy of Sciences, sent a stunning report to Congress: Global Warming is real, its effects are becoming serious and something must be done about it! But with their usual failure to act on anything of urgency, members of Congress simply rolled over and went back to sleep––and that in the arms of those corporate scions who really don’t want anything done about the advancing destruction Global Warming heaps upon this nation.
Written at Congress’ request that the panel of scientists would give the nation’s governing body “action-oriented advice” on how the nation should react to Climate Change, the report is titled “America’s Climate Choices.” Among other “advice,” the report insists that emitters of carbon dioxide should at least be taxed to encourage them to stop sending greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Elizabeth McGowan of SolveClimate News, also lambasts lawmakers’ non-reaction to the report: “The average air temperature in the United States has leapt two degrees in the last five decades. Yawn. Coastal regions in the country are disappearing because of rising sea levels. Hit the snooze button. The already-arid Southwest is becoming drier. Snore.”
She also says that scientists must find a new way of communicating with lawmakers. Yeah, I agree: Maybe hitting them over their heads with two-by-fours would do the trick! What will it take for these guys to wake-up? Listen, this year alone, we have had: huge regions of Texas burned away with brush fires; deadly tornadoes ripping through the Mid-West; and now unprecedented flooding roaring through the South. In many sections of the country, dark stratus clouds heavily-laden with water float over the earth with threat of violent storms, while some citizens have yet to recover from last winter’s heaviest snow falls. And, any researcher worth his or her salt, knows that these exacerbations come from Global Warming. But members of Congress go from extremes of denying that Global Warming exists to fear that any action against it would further slow the economy. Paul Bledsoe, from the Bipartisan Policy Center, says that it will take “religious leaders, minority groups and other organizations to push Congress relentlessly.”
Yeah, maybe that’ll help. But the Bible says “Where there is no vision, the people perish (Proverbs 29: 18).” Politicians don’t want to “see” or understand the devastation that Global Warming brings to this country and the world, because they don’t want to. The love of money restrains efforts to turn this nation toward a truly greener economy. While joining action groups to wake up these sleeping leaders, believers must get out Christian prayer books and PRAY. Or, indeed we all perish!
For the second time in six months, dozens of bodies of dead pelicans have washed up on America’s southern shores. Even more of these animals were sickened. By the end of 2010, someone had killed 250 pelicans in North Carolina and Florida, and left hundreds more disabled. This month another 30 dead or badly injured birds washed ashore. The situation is so dire that a task force has been formed with officials from police and sheriff’s departments, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The task force is now working frantically to solve the mystery of what is happening to this bird––which also happens to be another disabled species. These officials, along with The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust offer a combined reward of $ 8,500 for information on who is killing these birds. According to Connie Pleti of the Topsail Voice, “The birds have been mutilated and harmed in such ways as being stabbed, cut, shot, tendons sliced, decapitated and their wings cut off.” North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Law Enforcement Officer Doug Jones adds “I don’t believe they died naturally. These are not accidental deaths. They are malicious and deliberate. It is a state and a federal offense to harm these protected birds.”
Those animals still alive were so in such bad shape that they had to be euthanized. Toni O’Neil, director of the Possumwood Acres Wildlife Sanctuary in Hubert, North Carolina, said of one bird: “It looks like a bomb has gone off in the wing. It’s that shattered and smashed so completely.” She insists that people are actually killing the birds: “We . . . said last year when it ended that when warm weather came back and fishing picked up again, it would start again. Well, it has been warm for the past few weeks, and fishing has started again and the reports and the dead and injured pelicans have been coming in, just like we said.”
Robert Jones of the American Bird Conservancy explains that this brown pelican can be found from Chesapeake Bay to the Gulf Coast as well as in California. “It is the only North American pelican that plunge-dives to catch its food. It may have a wingspan of up to seven feet and weighs about eight pounds.” Almost wiped out in the 1960s and 70s from DDT use, the Brown pelican was placed on the Endangered Species list.
“What comes around, goes around” was a popular saying several years ago. And several Scriptures about birds agree with that sentiment: “Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life” (Proverbs 7: 23). “. . .for the wickedness of them that dwell therein? the beasts are consumed, and the birds; because they said, He shall not see our last end” (Jeremiah 12: 4). Its time to get out wholesale Christian t-shirts with the message, “To Needlessly Slaughter Birds Endangers Your Own Life.”
Like most of the large mammals in the world, the leopard is an endangered species. And among the several species of leopard and its cousin cats, the snow leopard is nearest to extinction. As with most animals on earth––loss of habitat, deforestation, farmers protecting their herds and slimming food sources contribute to that status. But in the case of the snow leopard, poaching for its gorgeous fur is the leading cause of its rapid demise. And, of course, some herbalists in Asia insists that snow leopard body parts are needed for medicinal purposes. Living in the mountains of Pakistan, India-administered Jammu and Kashmir, the Himalayas, and Mongolia, the snow leopard has great talent for elusively blending into landscapes––but not enough to stop hunters anxious for the millions it gets for its pelts on the black market.
Because of its exquisite beauty, this leopard has high international regard. Stiff penalties for poachers and illegal international fur traders greatly enhance its protection as an endangered species. But as yet, coordinated government efforts have done little to protect the animal. For instance, early last year, the Mongolian government decided to allow foreigners to hunt the leopards, but only for “scientific purposes.” But the Snow Leopard Network, a world-wide organization dedicated to snow leopard conservation, flooded that government with so many letters of protest, reminding that council that this leopard is a highly endangered species and must be protected.
That may be one small victory in the much larger war that responsible citizens of the world are waging against those who would drive every animal to extinction that would enrich the coffers of animal poachers who have no morals and no regard for anyone or anything on earth but themselves and their pocketbooks. There are some people that only God can stop. Thankfully, wholesale Christian Bibles makes clear that He absolutely will do so in man’s final hunting season!
Like most non-human animals on earth, rhinoceroses are an endangered species. But as if the usual enemies––i.e. deforestation, loss of habitat, other animal predators, pollution from toxic waste and pesticides––were not enough, these multi-ton animals are slaughtered because some people will pay enormous prices for rhino horns. Whether their prey rhinos living in Asia or Africa, rhino hunters do not care. Nor do they care which type of rhino they kill––The Asian One-Horned Rhino, The White Rhino, The Black Rhino, The Javan Rhino, and the Sumatran Rhino. Poachers kill rhinos for the animals’ horns. With inhumane cruelty, these hunters cut off each horn because they can get thousands of dollars for it in parts of Asia and especially in China, the main importer of the item.
The situation is so dire that in some countries officials medically dehorn their rhinos to protect them from poachers. Of course some poachers simply drug the animals and cut off their horns, living them alive to suffer and die alone in the wild. Another country, Nepal is trying to round-up all the endangered one-horned Asian rhinoceroses so they can move them to more protected sites. But experience has shown that hunters still illegally enter these sites to hunt rhinos. In South Africa, where some 300 rhinos are hunted down and dehorned each year, police now vigorously hunt down and jail rhino poachers. Last February in a gun fight with these criminals, police shot and killed five of them.
Such hunters risk their lives for an animal’s horn, because of the growing demand for these horns in Asia. Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) use the horns to treat fever, other serious ailments, antidotes, for energy enhancers, and especially as aphrodisiacs. But Western-based scientific research at the Zoological Society of London, and even at the Chinese University in Hong Kong, have proven that the rhino horn has absolutely no therapeutic value, that it would take huge doses of rhino horn to slightly lower fever temperatures in mice.
But no matter! Asian TCM “healers” have no plans to stop the practice of paying thousands of any currency for rhino horns. While admitting that herbalists should protect endangered animals, one TCM black market trader said recently, “. . . we are equally obliged to use these antidotes to cure the patients. In my opinion, human lives are much more important than those of the animals.”
How arrogant! God decided to keep the rhino species alive, along with men and women, on Noah’s ark (“And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female (Genesis 6: 19).” Now, people presume the right to kill rhinos and other animals as they see fit. Indeed Bible prophecies both demand and promise that swift, definite and eternal judgment is coming, if there is no practiced repentance, for such egregious disregard for God’s obvious and direct will.
Because of a family member who loves cats, this writer wanted to avoid the controversy, but several national organizations now claim that, in addition to Global Warming, birds across the country are falling prey to feral cats. Wildlife Extra posits that there are over 60 million feral cats in the United States. And the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) has demanded for years that something be done about feral cats. Researchers at the University of Nebraska (UN) even suggest that a good way to stop the avalanche of bird disappearances across the country is to start killing cats. Moreover, they are definitely against the common practice of catching stray cats, neutering them and then releasing them back into the wild. While this may seem to decrease the stray cat population, they explain, it does nothing to stop cats from stalking birds. Bird-advocate organizations cite Australia which poisoned feral cats in order to save that continent’s rarest parrot.
While the UN report naturally upset cat lovers, ABC lauded the report. One official with that organization insists that the University report is “must read for any community or government official thinking about what to do about feral cats.” Bird advocates insist that feral cats are invasive predators that multiply, spread disease and kill native wildlife. “The difference is that we’ve had cardinals and blue jays and blue birds here that have existed for thousands of years, and we’ve just had cats for a few hundred years,” said Bob Johns with American Bird Conservancy. “What’s happening now is that the predators are now exploding.” Bird advocates further point out that more than 30 bird species have been wiped out, that domesticated cats are just as prone to kill birds as wild cats, that 60 to 80 percent of feral cats carry the parasite responsible for toxoplasmosis which is most harmful to pregnant women. The report says communities must: cease building feral cat colonies, euthanize cats or kill them with gunshots to the head, chemical injection or carbon dioxide asphyxiation––rather than just neutering them. Phyllis Larsen, part of a feral cat management group, argues that killing cats is not an effective method for feral cat management. She says these cats help to control pest populations like rabbits, squirrels, mice and other rodents. While she admits that cats do kill birds, she submits other reasons for the rapid bird declines in the U.S.: habitat destruction, herbicides, insecticides, cars, open windows, cell towers, etc.
Feral cats are but a small segment of wild beasts roaming the United States posing a danger to people and other animals in nature. But even those holding domesticated cats must admit that this is an animal which cannot be trained or tamed. Is it not time to produce wholesale Christian T-shirts to argue that birds represent God: “As birds flying, so will The Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem (Isaiah 31: 5), and point out that cats who kill defenseless birds do not represent Him at all.
No less distinguished authority than the Center for Disease Control issued a report this week admitting what the overwhelming majority of scientists have denied for years: bedbugs carry diseases! The peer-reviewed study based in Vancouver, Canada, in inner-city high drug use neighborhoods found that these pests actually transmit drug-resistant bacteria. Researchers collected five bedbugs from three patients and found that: “Three bedbugs from one patient contained methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and the two from the other patients each contained vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE).”
Published in the Center’s journal, “Emerging Infectious Diseases,” the study pointed out that these bugs could be the reason that MRSA bacteria, a staph “superbug” that is resistant to common antibiotics, is spreading among hospital patients. Mike Stobbe of the Associate Press, writes that MRSA is deadly if it travels through the skin into the bloodstream. Supposedly, VRE is less dangerous.
Dr. Marc Romney, a specialist in infectious diseases and one of the group’s researchers, said that they noticed that when the number of bedbugs spiked in a slum neighborhood near Vancouver’s waterfront there was a simultaneously spike in the number of MRSA cases in hospitals and clinics in the area. Before that, most of the research was around health care workers, from whom it was assumed that MRSA was spread. “Even though this is a small study, it suggests that bedbugs may be playing a role in the transmission of MRSA in inner city populations where bedbug infestations are a problem,” Romney said.
This especially true in view of the fact that national governments do not really have effective deterrents against this nasty vermin. While several national governmental divisions have invited exterminators to closed meetings on bedbug infestations, apparently they have not discovered effective ways to permanently kill these pests by generations––since DDT was banned some years ago. Hopefully, now with this explosive new research, local and national governments and private entities will commit the necessary funds for more effective research.
The rapid increase of insects harmful to mankind, such as lice, bedbugs, mosquitoes, etc., is one sign of the end-times. Many of the coming plagues promised in the Book of Revelation coincide with those illustrated in Exodus (chapter eight) and Psalms where God used detrimental insects to force Egypt to free the Israelites: “He sent divers sorts of flies among them, which devoured them . . .” (Psalms 78: 45; “He spake, and there came divers sorts of flies, and lice in all their coasts” (Psalms 105: 31). At the same time that harmful insect populations such as bedbugs are increasing today, there is a rapid decline in populations of insects which are helpful to mankind and other animals, such as bees and butterflies. And again, the scientific world is not trying to find out why!
What if a sane person walked into a famous museum and deliberately slashed a Van Gogh, Picasso or other famous painting brutally with a sharp steel knife, so badly that restoration would be impossible? When caught, that person would be sent to jail for a very long time. Right? Moreover, artists, critics and art lovers around the world would be outraged, demanding that the culprit be given life imprisonment or even execution. Such are systems of human laws, systems measuring treasures which societies agree have worth without measure, values that must be protected at all cost.
So can someone please explain why men feel free to kill God’s living works of art in nature, killing them at will, without any reason other than the sport of it? And why they expect to get away with it? Do they really believe that driving His works of art into extinction, wiping them off the earth forever, are not crimes requiring punishment?
Take the beautiful nyala antelope, found mainly in the southern horn of Africa, in the mountains of South Africa and Ethiopia. The male nyala stands some four feet high to his shoulders and has unbelievably beautiful horns twisting high up towards the heavens. The females feature soft, dainty fawn-like qualities. Numbering between eight and twelve thousand in the 1960s, nyala numbers are now down less than a thousand, and some researchers say down to only 150. In addition to habitat loss, high-altitude farm cultivation, and harassment from dogs, the nyala antelope has primarily been prey to illegal hunting.
While nyala are supposedly fully protected by local and international conservation laws, enforcement of those laws is generally lacking. Most western hunters simply kill them for sporting trophies, while native hunters kill them for meat, to use their horns for local medicines and to make nipples for traditional milk bottles. The only time hunting them for meat may have been acceptable is when Ethiopian citizens lived in the wild, trying to escape a civil war. Otherwise, natives have more than enough meat to eat, and clinics and modern-day nipples as well.
Thus, in a few years, this exquisite example of God’s artistic creation will be gone forever. Sometimes feral dogs prey on these magnificent creatures. The Bible speaks of two kinds of dogs. One is the four-legged kind. The other is the human kind. Bible prophecy says that the human ones will not be allowed in heaven: “For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie” (Revelation 22.15). Hmm. Sounds like those who kill animals like the nyala for sport, game and play, who destroy God’s works of art for no viable reason, unless these hunters repent and call out for His mercy through Christ Jesus, they will incur much greater punishment than that which may come from slashing works of art by men.