Animal Species and the Language Police

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has taken offense to phrases that they say trivializes cruelty to animals. They call it “Speciesism”. In a recent Twitter post, they wrote “Words matter, and as our understanding of social justice evolves, our language evolves along with it. Here’s how to remove speciesism from your daily conversations.”

PETA suggestions for replacements of what they consider ‘Anti-Animal’ Language.

The response to this tweet was not particularly supportive of the concept. For the most part, the internet laughed.

“So you’re saying that there’s more than one way to skin a cat.”
“You’re flogging a dead horse.”
“So you’re advocating violence against flowers now.”
“PETA probably has bigger fish to fry…oops.”
“So, Curiosity thrilled the cat (not killed).”
“Hey peta! You forgot to let the weather know it has to stop raining cats and dogs.”
“I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag, sound too pig headed, but want to address the elephant in the room, there is more than one way to skin a cat.”
“We should also address the 800-pound gorilla in the room who is the perfect weight because we don’t body shame here.”

There are hundreds of phrases that are inspired by animals. Do they trivialize cruelty to animals or are they simply a reflection of our interesting and complex language? How is our language being shaped by the growing influence of Pressure Group Language Police?

‘Hop like a bunny’ over to The Phrase Finder for an excellent compilation of Animal Inspired Phrases. If you don’t follow this link then all I can say is “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”
For more Animal Idioms, with some fun photographs, ‘train your eagle eyes’ onto 25 Amazing Animal Idioms. I’m not ‘sending you on a wild goose chase’, really!

What is your favourite animal idiom?

 

The Elemental Muskrat – Reshaping the Banks of Their Watery World

Alberta water

One evening I watched some Muskrats ‘working like beavers’ at a friends farm. The muskrat is a largish rodent that looks like a stocky rat. It seems harmless enough, but has the ability to reshape the banks of any body of water it decides to call home. In this photo, you can see a cut in the bank where one of its underground dens has perhaps collapsed. If they dug bank burrows under the windmill on the other side of the dugout, it might eventually cause a big problem!

Alberta Water
Muskrats primarily eat a wide variety of plants. This pair were transporting sweet clover – doesn’t it almost looked like a bridal bouquet!?

I really was disappointed when I downloaded my muskrat photos and looked at them on my computer. The early evening light wasn’t optimal for capturing detail with a zoom lens. I fancied the photos up with a few filters, but all in all, I’d say they are good examples of what ELJAYGEE calls  Second Best Shots

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Elemental.

A Satisfying Day at the ‘Gamma Dogs’ House

We recently became ‘Grandparents’ to a puppy, though the term ‘puppy’ seems odd for a dog that never was very small and is growing really quickly. Our daughter and her husband are taking their puppy, Ghost, to puppy classes and are making good progress in establishing themselves as the ‘Alpha Dogs’! This training is quickly forgotten, however, in the excitement of a day here at our rural Red House. We joke that I am so far down in the dog’s ‘hierarchy of obedience’ alphabet that I am the ‘Gamma Dog’.


“So many smells. I wonder if any of them are dog approved food. The ‘Alpha Dog Lady’ sure didn’t like the dead gopher I found here last week.”

“Sniffing, running, digging, rolling! People – I need a bowl of water!”

“And I’m done. Could someone carry me to the car?”

This week’s WordPress.com Photo Challenge is Satisfaction.

Are you a dog owner? Or – do you just enjoy a dog when it visits, then get to send it home with the owners?

I Don’t Want Your Squirrels

A Black Eastern Grey Squirrel – an introduced species.

Really – I don’t want your squirrels. They are your problem. If you don’t want them at your place, why do you think I want them at mine?

Do you think you are being humane by transporting them out to the country to release them? Well, you aren’t. You’ve just signed their death certificate, but you are too ‘sensitive’ to kill them yourself.
– You’ve removed the squirrel from a home range where it knew how to find food, water, shelter, and how to stay safe.
– You may have trapped a mother squirrel – her babies will be left behind to die.
– You’ve spread a non-native introduced animal into yet another habitat where it doesn’t belong.

In the past week you’ve brought me two squirrels- a brown Eastern Grey Squirrel and a black Eastern Grey Squirrel. The magpies were quick to spot them, and followed them around and harassed them. With major predators, like hawks, owls, weasels, fox and coyotes, the squirrels will not likely last long. That’s good news for life in my forest.

In a perfect world, someone would drop you off in my forest for a few days too. How long did you spend in the trap – was that terrifying? You would wander through the woods, naked, with no food or water, no roof over your head. The Coyote Pack would be close by…

I love mankind … it’s people I can’t stand!!
– Charles M. Schulz, The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 5: 1959-1960 –

Cabo San Lucas – Donkey and Pancho – Boats and Sea Lions

We were in Mexico last week – specifically Los Cabos, which is a municipality on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, in the state of Baja California Sur.

Though we spent most of our time in San Jose del Cabo, the Cabo San Lucas Marina was the scene of the most excitement – if you like all the things that ‘bob’ on top of or ‘swim’ in water. This Marina has 380 Slips and 33 Megayacht Berths and just about every craft had a name!

559-cabo-submarine

 

559-donkey-i

 

559-cabo-san-lucas

The Sea Lion might have a name too. If you Google ‘Sea Lion Cabo San Lucas Marina’, you will find several items about ‘Pancho’ the bandit sea lion. The sleek dark beast demanded fish from every boat that came in to dock, and it would aggressively attempt to ‘take’ any fish it spied. A flock of brown Pelicans followed the sea lion, supplying diversionary tactics that kept the fisherman busy scooting the birds off the motor and the back of the boat. It was all quite entertaining!

Have you ever owned a boat? Did it have a name?

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Names.