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Counting Cats, Saving Bears.

For a while now my wife has supported a charity (a genuine one) called Animals Asia. Indeed she has adopted a bear called January – the month of her rescue from a bile farm. Don’t worry she (the bear) lives in China. Regular readers here will know I blog rather than bleg (I don’t make a habit of supporting every cause that ambles down the road – NSFW but ought to be required watching for any office manager) so if you got a few quid spare this really is a good cause. Animals Asia is also involved in trying to prevent the vile trade in cats and dogs for eating. I marinate meat after it’s dead. In parts of Asia cats and dogs are tortured whilst alive to “improve the flavour”. Many of these are stolen pets.

Anyway, over to Lizzy (who is running the Manchester 10km for this)…

Since 1993 Animals Asia has rescued Asiatic black bears, also called moon bears, from bile farms across China and Vietnam, and cares for them in rescue centers in Sichuan and Tam Dao, Hanoi.

Moon bears are listed in the most critical category of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species, however there are more than 14,000 trapped on brutal farms, sometimes for up to 30 years. It is illegal to take them from the wild in China but many are still killed for the gall bladders or caught in leg traps as new stock.

Bear farming is illegal in Vietnam and is now banned in 20 out of 31 Chinese provinces.

My goal is to raise £415 for Animals Asia. £415 is the cost of gall bladder surgery for one bear. All of the bears need to have their gall bladders removed because of the severe damage caused by bile extraction on the farms.

Thanks for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page.

Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity and make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer. So it’s the most efficient way to donate – I raise more, whilst saving time and cutting costs for the charity.

It’s a very good cause.

Moon Bear

Moon Bear

38 Comments

  1. john in cheshire says:

    NickM, you’re very persuasive. It’s not a lot, but you extracted some cash from my sparsely populated pocket. Best wishes.

  2. Maz says:

    Ditto. Running and bears. What’s not to like? Good luck to the missus.

  3. RAB says:

    Lizzie must be one fit lady Nick (in the nicest possible way of course!) I hope she has trained properly. I turned up to do a mere 6k run in my thirties thinking I could do it with no training at all. After 2k my hamstring popped, fuck was I in agony!

    But on the serious topic, my wallet has opened, and the moths have left the building.

  4. Tim Newman says:

    O/T: the Manchester 10km

    I was living in Manchester and was relatively active in the NW running scene when this race was first put on in 2003. Problem was, there was already an old and established annual Manchester 10km race put on by one of the running clubs. More than a few runners were mighty pissed off when this new PR stunt (because that’s pretty much what the Manchester 10km is) pushed aside an established run without ever a mention. An ex-GF’s father, who was a brilliant runner (coming 16th or so in the Great North Run in his prime), refused to enter the race on grounds of principle.

    I kind of agreed with him. I used to do runs like the Bolton 10k, Sale 5m, and Salford 10k (I still have the slate coaster from that one, dished out to all runners, on the desk beside me here in Nigeria) which were organised by the amateur running clubs by volunteers: everyone pitched up and paid a tenner, then off we went. The original Manchester 10km was run in the same vein, basically a serious run which all the running clubs looked up to and there was some pride in the race from its “owners” and participants. The new Manchester 10km, with all its corporate sponsorship and TV cameras, pretty much made the amateur one irrelevant. They could have at least called it something else, FFS.

  5. Mr Ed says:

    Thanks for bringing this up, bears are intelligent creatures, intelligence should be valued in everything, particularly as socialists hate and fear it, and these bears deserve better, I for one shall donate. Nice point about genuine charity, the only genuine one that spring to mind are the local Mountain Rescue teams in the UK.

  6. NickM says:

    Tim,
    Point taken but it’s really about the bears and also my wife wanting to learn to run and it’s the only real game in town. I think the way you put it is a microcosmic version of the idiocy shortly to happen in East London.

    RAB,
    Yes, she is training. She’s doing well. Lizzy was one of those people – there are lots (inc me) who almost had our interest in sport utterly killed by school PE lessons.

  7. Ian B says:

    This isn’t going to be popular, but…

    Sorry, can’t agree. Animals are animals. They don’t have rights. There’s nothing wrong with eating cats and dogs and no reason to think there is some moral distinction between cat meat and pig meat other than arbitrary Western convention.

    “Charities” like this are simply part of the proggie network on the Animal Rights wing of the coalition which is the enemy of liberty, and giving them money is just pouring more funding into that network. These people are Progressives, and empowering them empowers Environmentalism, Vegetarianism, Statism, Transnationalism and other negative -isms.

    I wrote a post a while back pointing out that if The Unions were the big problem up to 1979, the big problem now is the Third Sector of Charities, Pressure Groups, NGOs, etc. A lot of naive libertarians seem to argue that these “civil society” groups are an alternative organisational means to government. In fact, they are the driving force behind the expansion of State power at both the national and international levels, and any support for them is digging our own graves. I realise that you will be offended by this, but basically your wife is being a Useful Idiot.

    The problem with pressure groups isn’t whether or not they get State funding. That is a misleading narrative. They’re all “fake”, in the sense that they use a loss-leader of doing something vaguely charitable as a means of gaining power. Chinese bears are fuck all to do with us, and it is this whole evangelical mindset of interfering with other people for nebulous “good” causes that is the very thing that Libertarians need to do away with if we’re to have any hope of getting our liberty back.

    These people are the enemy.

  8. Tim Newman says:

    Point taken but it’s really about the bears and also my wife wanting to learn to run and it’s the only real game in town.

    Oh yeah, quite. Go for it girl, and all that. Just wanted to sound off a little. :)

  9. Mr Ed says:

    @ Ian: I would agrees that the bulk of ‘charity’ are not ’3rd sector’ but extensions of the State, either financially, or by ideology or both. The Mountain Rescue charities in Britain actually demonstrate that the State is not necessary for emergency functions and provide a real example of how a free society could operate.

    In respect of bears etc, in English charity law, as it evolved fom Elizabeth I until the Nulabour terror, providing for animal welfare was regarded as beneficial and charitable, as it was seen as raising the moral stature of humans. There is scope for nuanced distinctions between activities of the anti-human Orcs and those who are not.

  10. Ian B says:

    The 3rd sector isn’t an extension of the State. The State is an extension of the 3rd sector.

  11. Thornavis says:

    Ian B
    Did you miss the bit about cats and dogs being tortured before death ? OK I know abattoirs aren’t the most humane places but we at least try not to make food animals last moments too painful. I can’t for the life of me see how an objection to animal cruelty leads to all the proggy horrors you denounce, just give it a rest for once and accept that some of us don’t like animal cruelty and are perfectly capable of making a distinction between compassion and busybodying.

  12. Thornavis says:

    Nick
    Ian B’s intervention has prompted me to put a cheque in the post, unintended consequences and all that.

  13. Ian B says:

    I can’t for the life of me see how an objection to animal cruelty leads to all the proggy horrors you denounce,

    Well, it might be that you’re just not very bright then, or something. Sending off a cheque to animal rights nuts just to spite somebody on an internet comment section would tend to support that analysis.

    I take it you’re in favour of banning all animal experimentation for medical research, are you?

  14. Thornavis says:

    Ian B
    Prickly aren’t we it was meant as a joke, as I think most people would realise, I would have sent a donation anyway. calling someone dim just because they don’t accept the logic of your argument is pretty lame, you don’t really like people disagreeing with you, do you ? No I’m not in favour of banning all animal experiments for medical research, that’s a weak strawman, not really worth a response.

  15. Ian B says:

    Why are you sending money to a campaign group who are in favour of that then? You did read the website before rushing to write that cheque, didn’t you?

  16. Thornavis says:

    On the subject of running and charities, here’s a good post on the difficulty of deciding whether a charity is worth supporting or not.
    http://www.fcablog.org.uk/2012/04/the-inscrutability-of-charities/

  17. Thornavis says:

    Ian B
    Because I choose what do do with my own money and sometimes it involves making tricky and contradictory decisions, it’s part of life’s difficulties. I have an ISA for instance which is deposited with a bank that is very keen on investing in wind power, which I’m not, I make no claims to ideological purity. You’ll have the pleasure of stringing me up from a lampost for being a closet econut after the revolution.

  18. JuliaM says:

    “I take it you’re in favour of banning all animal experimentation for medical research, are you?”

    I can’t see where he said that. And you must realise that that too is strictly regulated and controlled for minimal avoidable pain, just as our abbatoirs are?

    I’m with Thornavis. Our attitude to animals is what shows our humanity.

  19. Ian B says:

    “Animals Asia believes that animals or animal parts should not be obtained, traded or used for the manufacture of traditional medicines or other medicinal or non-medicinal products.”

    “Animals Asia does not support the use of animals in experiments in principle, believing the deliberate infliction of suffering on sentient animals, not for their benefit, to be wrong.”

    “Animals Asia challenges the need to use animals in the testing of medicinal products. Animals make inappropriate models for the testing of products designed for human use.”

    “Animals Asia will work with and support those organisations which are working to create a world free from animal experimentation and will use our expertise and knowledge, where appropriate, to encourage the development and implementation of humane alternatives to animal testing.”

    and

    “Animals Asia believes that the use of animals and animal parts in the production of textiles, clothing, jewellery, trinkets and ornaments, is entirely unnecessary, ”

    Hope you don’t like wearing leather shoes, then.

    They’re ALF-lite.

  20. JuliaM says:

    They may be, but in this matter of bear-farming and food-animal torture, their interests and mine combine. It doesn’t mean I have to agree with their other stance.

  21. RAB says:

    I agree Julia, meat should be tenderised AFTER slaughter, not before.

    My father was a master butcher. He also had his own Abattoir. Aged 5 I used to sit in the car with a Beano and a bottle of pop watching him slaughter cows and didn’t bat an eyelid. They were humanely slaughtered you see.

    But occasionally he had a Rabbi come in to slaughter for Kosher (no Muslims in the 50′s to speak of ) and it used to turn him up, as the one knife slash method is common to both religions. And the Rabbi, being a man of books not butchery usually made a piss poor job of it. So dad used to hussle the rabbi into a back room and get his staff to finish off the poor animal as quickly as possible. Dad may have been a butcher, but he hated animal cruelty.

  22. MrsNick - Lizzy says:

    First of all, many thanks to everyone who has been to the site or left a donation. It’s really adding up. I really am going to have to run 10 km now! (instead of drinking wine with my feet up in front of Midsomer Murders, my previous exercise of choice).

    “Charities” like this are simply part of the proggie network on the Animal Rights wing of the coalition which is the enemy of liberty, and giving them money is just pouring more funding into that network. These people are Progressives, and empowering them empowers Environmentalism, Vegetarianism, Statism, Transnationalism and other negative -isms.

    I never knew I was such an enemy of all things holy! I would like to set everyone’s mind at rest that despite the bears, veganism (vegetarians, pah – splitters), atheism, former LGBTTTT – God knows how many letters they are now – university membership and non-leather shoes, I’m not part of some global conspiracy to force the world into Mao jacketed, hemp wearing Communism.

    Obviously not everyone will agree with the aims of a charity or, indeed, charity itself. That’s their business. Animals Asia is not an Animal Rights organization but is Animal Welfare based. There’s an important difference. Animal welfare is the position that it’s acceptable to use animals but to minimize any negative effects on them as far as is possible. Animal Rights advocates view animals as ‘non-human persons’ that shouldn’t be used in any way – not even programmes such as AA’s Doctor Dog. It’s quite a difference.

    However bear farming does cause severe pain and distress to the animal and has no benefit whatsoever, neither to the bear or human. It’s cheaper, cleaner and kinder to synthesize ursodeoxycholic acid in the lab.

    As regards the animal testing. No, they don’t support it as a principle but why should they? It’s not their stated role. If you hadn’t been so selective with your quotes, it would be clearer that they do support the development of testing for medicinal products that “promote the use of non-animal alternatives, which reduce the numbers of animals used, which reduce the need for repeated tests, and which improve the welfare of animals used, provided these methods form part of the process towards the cessation of the use of animals in testing”.

    Far from harassing scientists and attacking labs, they are involved in it. One quarter of all bears taken from the farms die and these are used in research by Animals Asia vets and other scientists to help improve veterinary medicine. It would be a waste to do otherwise. However the desire to find alternatives to animal research is not limited to such dangerous animal hugging zealots:

    “No-one wants to use animals in research, and no one would use them unnecessarily. Animal research is considered a last resort, to be used only when there is no alternative method. In the UK, strict regulations and a licensing system mean that animals must be looked after properly and may not be used if there is any other way of doing a piece of research.”

    http://www.understandinganimalresearch.org.uk
    Understanding Animal Research was founded at the end of 2008 by bringing together two UK organisations, Research Defence Society and Coalition for Medical Progress.

    In the mean time I’ll carry on being the useful idiot.

    Cheers,

    Lizzy

  23. Ian B says:

    Well, you carry on then Lizzy. But since this is a nominally libertarian political blog, it is entirely appropriate to point out that this kind of crap is how money pours into the Proggie network that takes our liberty away.

    I’m not part of some global conspiracy to force the world into Mao jacketed, hemp wearing Communism

    Unfortunately, by doing this you are. On the fringes. In the same way as the “moderate” Left act as a halo of support and defence around the “extreme” Left.

    You’re not actually a vegan are you?

  24. Thornavis says:

    Mrs Nick
    Well said, ignore Ian B he hasn’t actually got any coherent argument about this just assertions and an insistence that he’s right because he’s right.

  25. Ian B says:

    Well no, I’ve actually got a thorough analysis of how the Progressive network works, rather than some vague fluffy stuff about “moon bears”. I mean, take it or leave it. You want to give them money, fine. But this being a libertarian blog and all, it is actually worth pointing out that giving money to the opponents of libertarianism isn’t necessarily an optimal strategy.

    Look, let’s take another example. Would you like research to defeat cancer? Great, so would I. But, suppose as a libertarian you are also opposed to anti-smoking legislation, which you might be. It is then reasonable to point out that giving money to many- basically, all- cancer charities is funding the anti-smoking network, so you might want to consider whether that is actually wise.

    The other thing to note is that the Enemy always arrange their organisations to segment the market from “moderates” to “extremists”; hence you get “moderate” Green organisations, and extremist Green organisations, and so the moderates say “oh, we’re not the ELF, stop tarring everyone with the same brush”. But a wise analyst recognises that they’re all pulling in the same direction.

    And of course, we have the final question of busybodying. What, precisely, are chinese bears to do with us? The presumption that one can interfere with others in “a good cause” is precisely what led us into this mess of a massive State that drags somebody into court for drowning a squirrel. The challlenge for libertarians is to return to an understanding that other people are not your (or my) business and try to roll back the tidal wave of prodnosery unleashed on us by the Charidees and their gangs of implacable reformist missionaries.

    So, I’m just looking at this from a position of pragmatic libertarianism. It’s no good complaining about the Enemy, then giving them money, is it?

  26. NickM says:

    Ian,
    Do you actually know what you sound like?

    A complete tin-foil hatter?

    Yup.

    A controversialist for the sake of it?

    Yup.

    But also you sound like a Marxist.

    Your “thorough analysis” is like a Marxist’s. You see everything through a single lens because that’s your axiom set.

    And yes, she is a vegan.

  27. Mrs Nick - Lizzy says:

    Hi IanB

    Yes, I’m a vegan. Nick eats meat. It’s a mixed marriage.

    Lizzy

  28. Ian B says:

    Sigh.

  29. CountingCats says:

    Ian,

    This moon bear charity is in many ways precisely the sort of civil society activism that libertarians, in general, support and promote; or at least accept. If you disagree with the aims of any organisation, then great, that’s your right and argue your position.

    The problem with these organisations isn’t that they promote a particular position in the marketplace of ideas, but that there is an overbearing government for them to try and influence.

    I agree with you that C19th puritanical activism led to the officious nanny state, but that is not the fault of the impulse to do good (whatever ‘good’ may be) – that will exist in any society where people are decent. In fact, C19th organisations, mutuals, charities, are often cited as models to be aspired to.

    If Lizzie involves herself with this lot then she is in a position to argue against petitioning government to involve itself.

  30. Tim Newman says:

    “oh, we’re not the ELF, stop tarring everyone with the same brush”

    That’s what we say in Total. :P

  31. Ian B says:

    Cats,

    The part that you and others seem to be having trouble grasping is this-

    The problem with these organisations isn’t that they promote a particular position in the marketplace of ideas, but that there is an overbearing government for them to try and influence.

    The reason that we have the “overbearing government” is because your beloved “civil society activists” have demanded it.

    And this-

    I agree with you that C19th puritanical activism led to the officious nanny state, but that is not the fault of the impulse to do good (whatever ‘good’ may be) – that will exist in any society where people are decent.

    Is this not the crux of the matter? Thanks to your wonderful “civil society activism”, it is believed in our society that there is a moral obligation to “do good”. This is why among genuine liberals, the term “do-gooder” is perjorative.

    In other words, this kind of massive “civil society” infrastructure exists not due to “decency” but due to the impulse to interfere, to do good, to save the world, to lead others on a path to moral salvation. Whether they want to walk that path or not.

    In fact, C19th organisations, mutuals, charities, are often cited as models to be aspired to.

    And this perception is precisely what we must change if we want a free society again. I have been writing about this for a long time; since before you kindly offered me a blogging spot here, indeed. “Civil society” is not an admirable structure to aspire to. It is the source of the problem. Too many Libertarians have become bullheadedly dogmatic about “The State” without any proper analysis of where the State comes from, why it has its current form, what we can actually do to dismantle it.

    The State is just a tool. It is just another “civil society” institution. What it does; what it is required to do, why it expands into ever more areas, is due to the demands of that salvationist movement you believe should be admired.

    So, it comes down to this-

    This moon bear charity is in many ways precisely the sort of civil society activism that libertarians, in general, support and promote

    Libertarians who do that are, quite simply wrong. If they really want smaller government and the return of the private person, they are cutting their own throats by supporting structures that pull in precisely the opposite direction. They may as well be fucking for chastity.

  32. CountingCats says:

    Ian, I understand the point you are making, but a mutual healthcare organisation, or a variant thereof, is pretty much a necessity in a society without socialised medicine. They are inevitable, and from the point of view of your average wage earner, a Good Thing.

    True, they lead to a Bad Thing, but how do you prevent that progression? People, for their own peace of mind, need a mechanism to share risk and will put one in place. Tut tutting and shaking your head is no solution to the problem.

    We have to work with human nature, not try and subvert it. That is one of the things which distinguishes us from the enemy.

  33. NickM says:

    Ian,
    Thanks awfully for threadjacking. If you want to post about your One True Narrative then do it on your own dime. You can here. This was a simple apolitical post about a charity which is essentially apolitical and has as it’s cause something which I find it difficult to believe anyone could object to. You really are a negative fucker aren’t you who sees “proggies” under every bed?

    I would appreciate it if you don’t reply to this here. Enough of this thread (ironic that it started about bile…) has been wasted on your (to most folks) incomprehensible hobby-horse* already. That BTW is not a kindly request.

    Can we please get back to bears and cruelty to animals.

    *Do you ever think the reason it’s mostly incomprehensible to most people is that it is verging on your own monomania?

  34. CountingCats says:

    Nick,

    See.

    I think we should all adopt a policy of keeping threads on topic. Except where we don’t, of course.

    Yeah, Ian, make it a posting and then we can all get stuck in. I do think you have got a point, but I also think it needs to be nuanced.

  35. Ian B says:

    Cats,

    I have no desire to cause Nick to embarrass himself further.

  36. CountingCats says:

    You are happy for anyone else to embarrass themselves, why the preferential treatment for Nick?

    Is it he’s holding the evidence?

  37. Paul Marks says:

    The state is NOT an extention of the “third sector” – the state is based on force, charity (real charity) is based on voluntary donation (of time as well as money).

    I know no more about this particular charity than I know about the underwear of Ming the Mercyless – but I do understand the political principle of charity.

    Forced charity is like dry water – it is a contradiction. That is why state (read TAX support) corrupts charities – turning them into extenstions of the state (extentions of the state – not the state as an extention of charity) staffed by paid hacks who get their jobs from adverts in the Guardian newspaper.

    So what if Samual Pufendorf (17th century German philosopher) argued the opposite – Sam Pufendorf was wrong (about this and lots of other political stuff as well), Paul Marks is right.

    Oddly enough most people do not like the thought of other people starving to death (and so on) – so that means either statism, or voluntary (charitable) effort. True charity is the ALTERNATIVE to statism – not part of statism.

    Nor are charitable people always socially repressive people, for example J. Butler was not into persecuting prostitutes (that is a myth).

    As for anti animal cruelty charities – actually they are less likely (not more likely) to get state support than other charities. And many anti animal cruelty people tend to be rather conservative in their politics – they are not all National Socialists like Adolf Hitler and other Progressives.

    As an historical note……

    I wish Gladstone had got an animal cruelity charity in that selection of charities his Oxford university student society did. He actually got fallen women – and that field of charitable activity caused him a lot of political problems. Had he been spending his spare time looking after worn out pit horses (or whatever) it might have led to less smutty talk behind his back.

    Although I suppose his political foes could still have said – “Gladstone, spends a lot of time with old horses, something a bit weird going on there, perhaps he is……”

    Lastly on a note of self pity…..

    Able to run ten miles?

    And here is me, fat as a pig (due to being stuck in a coffin sized box all day).

    I could not walk ten miles now – let alone run ten miles.

    Boo Hoo….

    Paul turns away in self pitying despair…..

  38. DNS says:

    I’ve asserted my libertarian right to make my own mind up and made a donation regardless of the consequences.

    It’s a good choice for a 10k. If I found myself in Manchester city centre, I’d want to keep running as well. Shift it to Liverpool and I could qualify for the England team.

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