Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dogs Used as Live Bait

Rane and I were surfing through a pet forum when we came across a thread titled 'Petition to Stop Using Dogs as Live Baits".

I've heard of how rabbits are being used as baits in dog racing competitions, but Dogs as Live Baits? That's the first time I've heard of it. I clicked on it and this was what I saw.



The Above Picture is taken from The Sun

Please help to sign the petition if you will like to save these poor dogs from being live baits.

Please click on this link to read more about the Dogs Used as Shark Baits.

Abstract of the article "Stray dogs are being skewered on hooks and dragged behind boats as live shark baits ............"




Rane's Words

Though the start of the petition is a good move, it will do little to eradicate the problem of sharks being endangered, and dogs being cruelly used as live baits. I personally feel the root of the problem is people's love for eating sharks. When there's no demand for sharks fin, meat and/or cartilage, no one will bother to hunt for sharks as to supply for the growing market.

Although the solution sounds like a simple approach, it'll take a long time for people to stop consuming sharks, especially when Shark Fins Soup is termed to be a Delicacy by Asians.

I'm a Chinese who is born and brought up in Singapore. Since young, I have been to wedding dinners and other functions that serve 6 to 10 course dinner comprising of various chinese dishes. During dinner, most guests will look out particularly for the shark fins soup. It seems to be the highlight of every dinner. If the shark fins were added to the soup in small portions, people will start criticising on how stingy the chef was.

It seems to me that people are more concerned about how good a deal they are getting. Since shark fins soup is usually one of the more expensive dishes in the whole course of meal, people take it that by having more shark fins in the soup, you are getting a better deal. At times, it makes me wonder if these people truly enjoyed having shark fins soup or were they more concerned about the monetary value of the shark fins itself.

I have to admit that shark fins soup taste delicious, But in my personal opinion, it isn't the taste of the shark fin itself that taste awesome. It's a combination of the chef's culinary skills on top of other ingredients, such as chicken and pork bones, dried scallops and that is used to prepare the broth. To be honest, even if the chef were to substitute the shark fins with rice vermicelli, I would have found the soup equally delicious.

At times, I even detest the taste of the shark fins itself because it wasn't prepared properly and the shark fins ended tasting fishy; with a slight foul smell (like those of an unfresh fish). Ironically, I have read that shark fins itself is tasteless.

To be frank, I didn't know the extent of cruelty when people hunt for sharks and what the impact of declining sharks has on our environment. Worst of all, I didn't know that sharks are getting endangered until I started watching a documentary film on television.

I was utterly disgusted when I saw how these fishermen cruelly chopped off the fins of the sharks while they are still alive, before throwing their bodies back into the sea. When being thrown into the sea, these sharks are still alive and struggling to live. I felt really sick upon seeing how bloody the ship was stained and how that part of the ocean started turning red as those people started 'dumping' countless of shark bodies back into the water.

Since then, I've told myself to avoid eating shark fins soup so long as it's within my capable means. Needless to say, shark fins soup is going to be off my list of dinner menu when my big day comes.



Some Interesting Facts

Why the Huge Popularity of Shark Fins Soup?
Apparently, shark fin as an ingredient dates back to the second century BC in southern China. Traditionally, it was the wealthier classes that could afford shark fin and it became associated with privilege and social rank, a symbol of extravagance and wealth. However, as the buying power of people in Asia has increased exponentially, the demand for shark fins has likewise grown.

Wasteful Nature of the Finning Industry
Once the shark is landed, the fins are hacked off (often while the shark is still alive) and the rest of the animal discarded overboard. This means that 95%-99% of the shark is wasted. As a result of increased levels of industrial shark finning, poor coastal communities in the developing world that rely on shark meat for their protein are reporting serious declines in shark catches.

Sharks without Fins Can't Survive
Usually, the shark is caught, and while it is still alive, its fins are chopped off by fishermen. The poor shark is then thrown back into the sea. Without its fins, it cannot survive. It either bleeds to death or drowns, as sharks cannot swim without their fins and need to swim forwards to get oxygen.

Endangered
A study in the northwest Atlantic ocean revealed that shark populations have declined by more than 50% in the last 15 years. Some species, particularly hammerhead sharks, have declined by an alarming 89%. Scientists believe this is reflective of a worldwide trend.

The above information is extracted from the following websites:
Shark Savers
Wild Singapore

Sharks in Hot Water (abc.net)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

3rd October 2008, Friday

Rane noticed that my bunny sister, Tehxi (pronounced as Tei-See, which means milk tea) hasn't been eating for a day. This was very unlike her, as eating was her favourite past time. She can never resist the temptation of food and that probably explained her size.

Feeling worried, Rane sent her to our family doctor (veterinarian) even though Rane herself was sick that day.

The doctor felt around Tehxi's stomach and did not detect any lumps., which may be signs of accumulated furball. Unlike dogs and cats, bunnies/rabbits aren't able to vomit, thus furball tends to accumulate in their digestive system. If it isn't passed out, it may lead to an extremely dangerous condition known as GI stasis.

Rane has accepted the veterinarian's suggestion of force feeding Tehxi with semi solid food, in hope that it will

The veterinarian did not encourage x-ray as there is a low chance of deteching any signs of obstructions in Tehxi's digestive system, since furball will probably not show up on the x-ray. Moreover, Tehxi has to undergo anaesethesia in order to have an x-ray taken. This will further aggravate her condition.

As surgery was invasive, the veterinarian will only proceed with it when Tehxi's condition further worsens, when she still hasn't eaten by her own initiative from the 3rd or 4th day onwards.

Tehxi returned home and Rane nursed her the entire day. Tehxi even had the privileged of sleeping on my mattress. Afraid that the mattress will be permenantly given to Tehxi, I squeezed myself into the teeny tiny available space.

Me staring hard at Tehxi.

I tried to pretend that I was falling asleep, just so that Rane will not chase me away for 'disturbing' Tehxi's rest.

I was clearly looking unhappy, and Tehxi turned around to comfort me by saying that she just needed to rest for a little while as she wasn't feeling well.

I felt a little embarass by my previous act, thus I decided to give up my mattress for Tehxi, who needed it more than more.


However, little did I expect that the very first time Tehxi and I shared a mattress, would be the very last time too.

Tehxi didn't make it through the night. She passed away in the wee hours of 4th October 2008 at 1.36am. Even though Rane and her sisters were full of tears, I believe Mage was the saddest of them all. Tehxi actually passed away on Mage's birthday.

Even though everyone in the family was really upset over the Tehxi's death, she was thankful that Tehxi died a natural death; (we were glad that) we did not come to a point whereby we have to decide between allowing Tehxi to suffer immense pain or to euthanise her.

May we meet again Tehxi, wherever death will bring us to.





Tehxi died peacefully in Mage's arms.
He carried her for 2 whole hours, while waiting for the person from the crematorium to pick Tehxi up.


video

A video (dated August 2008) of Tehxi eating her favourite vegetables.


Rane's Words


Initially, I prayed and hoped that Tehxi will survive through this episode with some miracles. As time passes by and her condition got more serious, I only prayed that she will hang on long enough to see Mage for the very last time.

Even though Tehxi spent most of her time with me, she has this special bond with Mage as she was Mage's chosen bunny. When Mage first gotten Tehxi, he had some commitments and wasn't able to care for her. I agreed to put her up at my place for 3 months. What was supposed to be a short term stay resulted in a long term stay as I've grown attached to Tehxi; too attached to let her leave.

In the end, she stayed in my house for good. Despite that, Tehxi always got that extra bit of attention from Mage each time he visited and Tehxi really enjoyed that, right up till that very day she was about to leave.

Mage took 20 odd minutes to travel to my place from the very moment I rang him up. During which, we carried Tehxi out from her cage and let her rest on the floor. Within minutes, she flipped to her side. That was a very bad sign. Based on past experiences, rabbits only lay on their side when in deep sleep, or awaiting death.

I quickly held her up and carried her in my arms. By then, Tehxi's breathings were no longer heavy. Instead, she took slow and light breaths. There were many times I had to stare at her hard to see that her nose twitched slightly with every breath she took. I kept encouraging her to hold on for a little longer as Mage is on his way to see her. I assured our love for her, each time family and I patted her head.

As I continued to whisper sweet nothings into her ears, I could sense that she was losing warmth, even though she was still alive. I knew that it was time for her to leave, but she just hung on. Even as I continued to rub her ears, they felt really cold as I kissed them.

In between all these, Tehxi kicked hard a few times, as if she was struggling to keep herself alive for the very while more. Each time she kicked, she lost control of her bladder and she seemed to feel apologetic about it. There were many times I was tempted to ask her to leave peacefully and not worry about us but I decided against it, as I felt that she really wanted to take a good look at Mage for the very last time. I couldn't stop telling her how much brave a girl she was for putting up such a fierce fight. The emotional roller coast I went through at that time wasy beyond words.

After what seemed like eternal, I heard the doorbell rang. Mage has finally arrived. I handed Tehxi over to Mage. After a very short while, Tehxi seems to lose any signs of life. She has passed away peacefully in the arms of Mage, just as she was waiting for.




A picture of Tehxi when we first gotten her. She was so small, she could barely fit into the butter container.


See how much she has grown over the years? From a puny underweight baby, to a chubby overweight bunny.


Side Note

As Tehxi started struggling after she flipped to her side, Sugar was staring at the window with fear in her eyes. She started backing backwards with her eyes still fixed on the window, or rather the space outside the window. My father wondered what happened and urged Sugar to walk towards the window, but she stubbornly refused to, even as my father dragged her there. The moment my father let go of her, she ran off immediately and hid under the chair, still looking scared.

It was only a long while after Tehxi passed away (approximately 15 minutes to half an hour), did Sugar started behaving normally.

We (my family and I) believe that Sugar could see what we couldn't; that someone or something was here to bring Tehxi away from us.