Alessandro Forlani’s guide dog, Asia, helps him see. But when Forlani got an unexpected chance to meet the new pope Monday — and found himself temporarily speechless – Asia helped out with that, too.
Forlani, a visually impaired radio reporter, wasn’t sure he would be allowed into the pontiff’s first meeting with the press because dogs are prohibited from the auditorium in which it was held.
“As I waited in line to enter the hall, the security guards told me that most likely I wouldn’t be allowed to get in with the dog,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “But after a few minutes, Vatican officials gave me the green light and I was accompanied by a Swiss guard to the audience hall.”
To Forlani’s surprise, he and Asia, a yellow Labrador, were shown to seats in one of the front rows.
He listened to Pope Francis talk, and then stood in the background as reporters who had been approved to meet the pope lined up to greet him.
Although Forlani was not on the approved list to meet the pope, he was approached by Vatican officials. “They said that Pope Francis had asked to meet me,” the reporter wrote. “He had seen Asia and wanted to see both (of) us.”
Once standing with the pope, Forlani — despite being a host for Italian public radio — was at a loss for words.
But Asia helped out again, serving as a conversation starter, according to Rome Reports.
Forlani, once the words came, asked for a blessing for his daughter and wife, which Pope Francis provided.
“And then he thought about my dog saying, ‘and one for the dog.’ He reached down and patted my dog,” Forlani said.
Pope Francis’s namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, was the patron saint of animals.
(Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 21st, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alessandro forlani, animals, asia, blessed, catholic, dogs, guide dog, host, italy, meets, pets, pontiff, pope, pope francis, public radio, radio, religion, reporter, rome, visually impaired
But now a Republican pundit — tired of Mitt Romney being bashed for taking his dog for a 12-hour ride on the roof of his car — has seized upon what he sees as a juicy nugget from Obama’s memoirs to fight back.
(That’s the thing about memoirs, anything you say in them can and will be used against you.)
“Say what you want about Romney, but at least he only put a dog on the roof of his car, not the roof of his mouth,” conservative blogger Jim Treacher writes in his column for the Daily Caller, DC Trawler.
In a further warning to “libs,” Treacher, with all the emotional maturity of a third grader, adds: “And whenever you bring up the one, we’re going to bring up the other.”
In the book, Obama, referring to his time living with his stepfather, Lolo Soetoro in Indonesia, writes:
“With Lolo, I learned how to eat small green chill peppers raw with dinner (plenty of rice), and, away from the dinner table, I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy). Like many Indonesians, Lolo followed a brand of Islam that could make room for the remnants of more ancient animist and Hindu faiths. He explained that a man took on the powers of whatever he ate: One day soon, he promised, he would bring home a piece of tiger meat for us to share.”
Obama was about seven and living in a different culture when he ate what everybody else was eating. Romney was an adult, with children, when he strapped his Irish setter, Seamus, in a crate, to the car roof for a 12-hour ride to Canada.
One wouldn’t expect a seven-year-old, being raised in an environment where eating dog is culturally acceptable among some, to take a stand against the practice any more than one would expect one of Romney’s children to stand up and say, “Dad, this is stupid and wrong, don’t do it.”
It’s not like Obama went out and killed, skinned, gutted and grilled a neighborhood dog — as Romney supporter and fund raiser Fred Malek was once accused of doing (before the charges were dropped against all but one of the friends with whom he was partying at the time). Cultural differences being what they are, eating dog in Pusan is one thing, eating dog in Peoria is quite another.
Repulsive as I find eating dogs, disgusted as I was seeing them caged, sold and butchered to order on the streets of South Korea, I kept reminding myself when I was there that I was visiting another culture.
A small and declining minority of the population still eats farm-raised dog meat. I would like them to stop doing that. But, last time I checked, I wasn’t in charge of dictating the customs of foreign lands. And I don’t think every seven year old in Seoul who eats what their parents put in front of them is evil.
As political ammo goes, Treacher is shooting blanks.
(Top graphic: rightwingnews.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, asia, asian, barack obama, blog, campaign, car, conservative, crate, cultures, customs, daily caller, dc trawler, dog eating, dogs, dogs against romney, dreams from my father, eating dog, fred malek, indonesia, irish setter, jim treacher, mitt romney, obama, obama ate dog, pets, presidential, republican, ride, right wing, roof, seamus, south korea
The Chinese government has banned a 600-year-old tradition in the province of Zhejiang — an annual street carnival in which dogs are butchered, cooked and consumed.
Public outrage led to the decision, Xinhua, the official news agency said.
The October dog-eating carnival in Qianxi township commemorates a local military victory during the Ming dynasty in which dogs were slaughtered to ensure they did not bark and alert the enemy, the report said.
According to a Reuters report, dogs are killed and skinned in the streets, partly for tradition’s sake, partly an effort by vendors to show their dog meat is fresh and safe, as a way to ease buyers’ worry that the meat may contaminated.
Opposition to the event — thousands of web users swamped social networking websites to protest the carnival — is just the latest example of evolving sensibilities in China and other Asian countries when it comes to dogs, with dogs becoming viewed less as food source, more as companions.
In April, an impromptu road block by animal welfare activisits and other citizens kept a truckload of 500 farm dogs headed to a slaughterhouse from reaching its destination.
Around 200 people helped block the truck — that’s it in the photo at the top of this post –at a toll booth for 15 hours. Eventually, they were able to negotiate the dogs’ release for $17,000, saving the dogs from being slaughtered and served as food.
(Photo: David Gray / Reuters)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 22nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal welfare, asia, blockade, canceled, carnival, china, consumption, dog, dog eating festival, dog meat, dogs, eating dogs, farms, festival, internet, opposition, qianxi, slaughter, slaughterhouse, social networking, truck, zhejiang
In yet another sign that the animal welfare movement is gaining its legs in China, public pressure has led officials of the city of Jiangmen to withdraw their plans to ban dogs in urban areas.
The decision saved the lives of thousands of animals.
City officials had issued a notice that — to prevent rabies and establish a “more civilized” city — they would ban dogs in three urban districts of Jiangmen. Residents of those areas were ordered to turn their dogs in, and those that didn’t faced having their dogs confiscated and euthanized.
The decision to drop the ban drew praise from the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
“Civilized cities don’t ban the ownership of man’s best friend. Killing dogs rightfully owned is an outright violation of basic citizens’ rights,” said Grace Ge Gabriel, IFAW Asia Regional Director, who is from China.
“Banning and killing dogs are ineffective solutions to preventing rabies, which has been successfully controlled in many parts of the world with education, vaccination and sterilization. We are pleased to see Jiangmen city officials back down from their knee-jerk decision yielding to public outcry.”
You can read more about the ban, and the overturning of it, on Gabriel’s blog.
Lacking national animal welfare legislation and rabies prevention mechanisms in China, local governments have previously resorted to mass dog culls in an effort to “prevent rabies” or to “clean up a city.”
But in Jiangmen, the order enraged many pet owners, who made their voices heard through the online forums, blogs and social networking sites in China.
“I am tremendously happy and proud to see that public uproar from within China stopped this unethical killing. In the past we were only able to stop some of the dog culls with international pressure,” said Gabriel.
“IFAW stands firm with the millions of animal caring people in China who desperately want to see the country to promulgate animal welfare legislation—the most effective way to ban the culling of companion animals, once and for all.”
The overturning of the ban is another sign that, as pet ownership grows in China and other Asian countries — including some where some members of the population still eat dogs — the animal welfare movement is been growing stronger.
Three months ago, more than 500 dogs being trucked to a slaughterhouse in China were freed from that fate when an animal activist spotted the truck transporting them on the highway, went on line and used social media to arrange an impromptu blockade.
Around 200 people helped block the truck at a toll booth for 15 hours, eventually negotiating the release of the dogs.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 5th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal rights, animal welfare, animals, asia, ban, china, chinese, city, cull, dog, dogs, grace gabriel, ifaw, international fund for animal welfare, jiangmen, pets, rabies
More than 500 dogs being trucked to a slaughterhouse in China were freed from that fate when an animal activist spotted the truck transporting them on the highway, went on line and used social media to arrange an impromptu blockade.
Around 200 people helped block the truck at a toll booth for 15 hours — until they were able to negotiate the dogs’ release for $17,000, saving the dogs from being slaughtered and served as food.
While farm-raised dogs are traditionally eaten in China and some other Asian countries, the man who arranged the spontaneous road block over the Twitter-like social media site Sina Weibo, in addition to being an animal activist, reportedly suspected they were stolen.
After spotting a truck packed with hundreds of whimpering dogs on a Beijing highway, he put out a call begging fellow animal lovers to come and help him force the driver to release the animals.
Many of the animals were dehydrated, injured and suffering from a virus; at least 68 have been hospitalized, and one has died, the Associated Press reports. Video footage taken Tuesday showed the animals barking and whining in cramped metal crates.
“They were squeezing and pressing on each other and some were biting and fighting, and I saw some were injured or sick,” said Li Wei, manager of Capital Animal Welfare Association and one of the people who participated in the rescue. Li said at least one dog had died in the truck.
The rescue was remarkable on several levels. It was a rare successful case of social activism in China, a sign that new sensibilities are rising when it comes to dogs, and that the traditional practice of eating them is, for many, intolerable.
China has no animal protection laws for dogs or livestock, but animal welfare movements are growing there and in much of Asia.
The activists reached an agreement with the driver to purchase the dogs for about $17,000 dollars — most of which was contributed by a pet company and an animal protection foundation, Li said.
AP reports that dozens of volunteers have flocked to the Dongxing Animal Hospital in Beijing where they are helping to clean cages and mop floors. Sixty-eight dogs were at the hospital, many of them bandaged and hooked up to intravenous drips. Most were severely dehydrated and some had parvovirus.
The rest of the dogs have been taken to a property on the northern outskirts of Beijing where Li’s group is caring for them.
“When I saw the poor dogs on Twitter, I cried and cried, but I thought there was no way they could stop the truck. So I was very surprised when they did it and I wanted to help,” said Chen Yang, 30, a woman who tended to a dog that had given birth to four puppies just after the rescue.
The volunteer response indicates a growing awareness for animal rights, said Lu Yunfeng, a sociology professor at Peking University.
“Dogs were historically on the food list in China and South Korea, while they were loved in Western countries,” Lu said.
But in China, “as people became well-off, they had money to raise dogs, and while raising these dogs, they developed feelings for dogs,” he said.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 19th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: activism, animal rights, animal welfare, asia, attitudes, beijing, block, blockade, cages, changing, china, cramped, dog, dog meat, dogs, eat, eating, freed, meat, movement, purchased, released, rescued, road block, saved, shipped, sina weibo, slaughterhouse, social media, truck, trucked, video
A new genetic analysis indicates that man’s best friend descended from Middle Eastern wolves, contradicting previous suggestions that the dog first evolved from wolves in Asia.
“Dogs seem to share more genetic similarity with Middle Eastern gray wolves than with any other wolf population worldwide,” said UCLA’s Robert Wayne, who along with his colleagues studied more than 48,000 DNA sequences in dogs and grey wolves from across the world. ”Genome-wide analysis now directly suggests a Middle East origin for modern dogs.”
The journal Nature reports on the latest development in the ongoing debate on its blog, The Great Beyond.
Previous work on mitochondrial DNA suggested East Asia was a more likely origin, while other studies have pinpointed Africa.
“This new Nature paper is a much more comprehensive analysis because we have analyzed 48,000 markers distributed throughout the nuclear genome to try to conclude where the most likely ancestral population is,” Wayne said.
The new paper is more consistent with archaeological evidence, with the oldest dog remains coming from the Middle East around 12,000 years ago, Belgium 31,000 years ago and western Russia 15,000 years ago.
The new analysis did find that some ancient east Asian dog breeds have similarities with Chinese wolves, suggesting there was some mixing between these animals after domestication, or that these breeds actually derived from Chinese wolves.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 19th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, asia, dna, dog, dogs, evolution, genetics, genome, markers, middle east, nature, origin, origins, pets, populations, robert wayne, science, ucla, wolf, wolves
The centuries-old custom of eating dogs in China could become a crime under a proposal that is expected to be sent to the National People’s Congress in April.
What would be the nation’s first law against animal abuse would fine anyone caught eating dog or cat up to 5,000 yuan and up to 15 days in jail. The law would fine “organizations” involved in the practice between 10,000 yuan and 500,000 yuan.
Dog is an age-old delicacy in parts of China, especially in the frigid regions of northeastern China. Nationwide there are dog farms where animals are raised for their meat ande fur.
The proposal comes as a new generation of rich, pet-loving urban Chinese comes of age, the Times of London reports.
Earlier attempts to draft an animal welfare bill in China were dropped after public complaints that human rights should be perfected first.
Dog meat, as in some other Asian cultures, has long been promoted by practitioners of traditional medicine for being high in protein, boosts energy levels and increases male virility.
One waiter at the Cool Old Lady Dog Meat Restaurant in the northeastern city of Shenyang said animal protection awareness was altering popular attitudes about eating cat and dog, according to the Times story. “Personally I think these two animals shouldn’t be food. They’re lovely. I just work for this restaurant to make a living, I have no choice. If the law is passed, I think our restaurant will sell other dishes.”
In recent years, animal rights activist groups have sprung up in many Chinese cities, fighting to halt mass shipments of cats and dogs, crammed in wire cages, from the north to the markets and restaurants of Guangdong. Activists have published photographs on the internet to raise awareness of the fate of the cats.
(Photo: Dogs being sold for meat at Moran Market in South Korea/by John Woestendiek)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal rights, animal welfare, asia, asian, ban, cats, china, custom, dog meat, dogs, draft, eat, eating, fines, jail, korea, law, legislation, national people's congress, practice, proposal, proposed, restaurants, tradition