S s


Scrapie    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  viral disease of sheep.

Our definition:  A Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE) disease affecting sheep (like Mad Cow Disease) caused by prions (only “discovered” in 1982, prions are neither bacterium nor virus; they lie dormant in a system for years before bringing on lethal disease).  Prions cannot be killed.  They are not destroyed by heat processes that are used to kill bacteria and viruses in animal food processing, ie in the animal rendering industry which processes animal by products such as blood, bone, feathers, fat, and other slaughterhouse waste products into food for farm animals and pets.  Most farm animals are herbivores and are of course not meant to eat parts from dead animals.

And in fact the story gets worse. Scrapie or Mad Sheep Disease has been endemic in US sheep herds since 1947, and the government has done little or nothing to eradicate it. Significant numbers of scrapie-infected sheep have undoubtedly been ground up every year and fed back to other animals.”

Shear    verb

Oxford Dictionary definition:  1. clip wool off (sheep etc)

Our definition:  Sheep are sheared by people paid by volume, not by the hour.  Therefore they work fast and rough with no regard to the suffering of the animal.  The fast work leads to many injuries and brutality as the shearers get through as many animals as they can in the shortest possible time.  Time is money.  PETA undercover investigators filmed the brutal treatment of sheep in many shearing sheds in Australia, capturing on camera sheep being beaten and stamped upon and injuries crudely stitched up.  Authorities shown the footage were more concerned with the illegality of the filming than with the violence committed.

Shellac    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  resin used for making varnish.

Our definition:  Shellac is a resin secreted by the female lac bug, on trees in the forests of India and Thailand.  When the flakes of resin are scraped off the branches, the males have already flown away but many of the females who remain are killed or injured.  It is processed and sold as dry flakes and dissolved in ethanol to make liquid shellac, which is used as a brush-on colourant and wood finish.  In addition to its use in industry, shellac is incorporated into some fruits, coffee beans, and candies as confectioner’s glaze.  Some vegans avoid confectioner’s glaze because lac bugs may be killed during shellac production.  Lac used to produce red dye may be even more injurious to lac bugs because while shellac comes from lac-bug secretions, lac dye’s colour comes from the insect bodies themselves.

Shoe    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  1. foot covering of leather etc., esp. one not reaching above the ankle.

Our definition:  foot covering which can be made of various materials including cotton canvas, rubber, synthetic microfibre material or animal skin (ie leather).  Leather is not good (see the L Page).

Shrimp    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  1. small edible crustacean.

Our definition:  Shrimp are swimming crustaceans with long narrow muscular abdomens and long antennae. Unlike crabs and lobsters, shrimp have well developed pleopods (swimmerets) and slender walking legs; they are more adapted for swimming than walking. Historically, it was the distinction between walking and swimming that formed the primary taxonomic division into the former suborders Natantia and Reptantia. Members of the Natantia (shrimp in the broader sense) were adapted for swimming while the Reptantia (crabs, lobsters, etc.) were adapted for crawling or walking.  Some other groups also have common names that include the word “shrimp”; any small swimming crustacean resembling a shrimp tends to be called one.

Shrimp are either caught in the wild by trawlers which use huge indiscriminate drag nets and kill 20 pounds of bycatch (eg turtles, sharks, rays) for every pound of shrimp caught; or they are farmed using toxic chemicals (eg Pesticides, antibiotics, sodium tripolyphosphate, and borax) and after a decade of ‘production’ the area will be too toxic to use for another 40 or 50 years.  The females of farmed shrimp can also expect to have their eye stalks removed in an effort to get them to develop mature ovaries and spawn.

Silk    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  1. fine strong soft lustrous fibre produced by silkworms.

Our definition:  Silk worms are a type of caterpillar who make cocoons out of silk to wrap themselves in while they mature into moths.  Humans boil the cocoons, with the live baby moth still inside, so that they can unravel the silk. Tens of millions of silk moths are boiled alive every year; it takes 2000 to 3000 cocoons to make 1lb of silk.  And silk moths are sentient. They have a neurological system and being boiled is a painful death.

Slaughter    verb

Oxford Dictionary definition:  1. kill (animals) for food etc.  2. kill (people) ruthlessly or in large numbers.

Our definition:  The Oxford Dictionary would have you believe that the word slaughter has a different meaning depending on who’s getting slaughtered.  We say it doesn’t!  Slaughter is slaughter, regardless of the species on the receiving end: To kill ruthlessly and/or in large numbers.

Snare    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  1. trap, esp. with noose, for birds or animals.

Our definition:  A wire noose designed to catch wild animals.  It tightens the more they struggle and cuts into their skin, strangling them to death.  These traps are of course completely indiscriminate and many family pets, as well as wild animals, are caught, horribly injured and/or killed by them.

Sturgeon    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  large edible fish yielding caviar.

Our definition:  Sturgeons are native to subtropical, temperate and sub-Arctic rivers, lakes and coastlines of Eurasia and North America.  They are distinctive for their elongated bodies, lack of scales, and occasional great size: sturgeons ranging from 7–12 feet (2-3½ m) in length are common, and some species grow up to 18 feet (5.5 m). Most sturgeons are anadromous (migrating up rivers to spawn)  bottom-feeders, spawning upstream and feeding in river deltas and estuaries.  While some are entirely freshwater, a very few venture into the open ocean beyond near coastal areas.

Sturgeon are primarily benthic feeders (feeding on the river bed or ocean floor), with a diet of shells, crustaceans and small fish. They feed by extending their syphon-like mouths to suck food from the benthos.  Having no teeth, they are unable to seize prey, though larger individuals can swallow very large prey items, including whole salmon.  Sturgeons feed non-visually.  They are believed to use a combination of sensors, including olfactory sensors, tactile chemosensory cues on the 4 barbules, and passive electroreceptors (ampullae of Lorenzini).

Many sturgeon leap completely out the water, usually making a loud splash which can be heard half a mile away on the surface and probably further under water. It is not known why they do this, but suggested functions include group communication to maintain group cohesion, catching airborne prey, nuptial behaviour, or to help shed eggs during spawning. Other plausible explanations include escape from predators, shedding parasites, or to gulp or expel air. Another explanation is that it “simply feels good”.

Sturgeon can live 100 years and have been around since the dinosaurs.  Because of their long reproductive cycles, long migrations, and sensitivity to environmental conditions, many species are under severe threat from overfishing, poaching, water pollution, and damming of rivers.  There is also a noticeable decline in sturgeon populations as the demand for caviar increases (see Roe on the R page). According to the IUCN, over 85% of sturgeon species are classified as at risk of extinction, making them more critically endangered than any other group of species.

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