Leaked

Story continues from yesterday

[This is a darkly comic satire not recommended for readers under 12]

Story continues tomorrow 😉

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Maddicts was remade with Comic Life by Plasq

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Surveillance

Story continues from yesterday

[This is a darkly comic satire not recommended for readers under 12]

Story continues tomorrow 😉

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Maddicts was remade with Comic Life by Plasq

vegan, animal rights, vegan comic, vegan graphic novel, animal rights graphic novel, satire, activism, animals, cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, dogs, elephants

Things don’t always go according to plan

Story continues from yesterday

[This is a darkly comic satire not recommended for readers under 12]

And …And …

Story continues tomorrow 😉

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Maddicts was remade with Comic Life by Plasq

vegan, animal rights, vegan comic, vegan graphic novel, animal rights graphic novel, satire, activism, animals, cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, dogs, elephants

Mobilising the troops

Story continues from Friday

[This is a darkly comic satire not recommended for readers under 12]

18 March  2027

Prime Minister mobilises British troops.

Elsewhere…

Elsewhere…

But …

Story continues tomorrow,  🙂

Click here if you don’t want to wait 😀

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Maddicts was remade with Comic Life by Plasq

vegan, animal rights, vegan comic, vegan graphic novel, animal rights graphic novel, satire, activism, animals, cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, dogs, elephants

Chatting away non-stop

Story continues from yesterday:

****

In a few short minutes Luke and Emma were crossing the meadow side by side, heading for the woods.  Luke chatted away non-stop while Emma swished her tail and listened contentedly.

“Truth is Emma,” he explained, “I’d love to take you home with me but I really don’t think me dad’d let me.  Honestly, you should ‘ave ‘eard the fuss ‘e made over a couple o’ rabbits.”

On the other side of the wood was another meadow, even more beautiful, with trees here and there and, to Luke’s delight, something else.

“Ooh quick Emma, over here!  It looks like a lake or somethin’!”

Luke rushed ahead laughing and calling her to follow.  Cautiously, she did.  It was such a lovely hot day that Luke couldn’t resist getting into the clear, cool water.

“Come on, it’s ok, it’s not deep,” he called, “come in with me, it’s fun!”

Emma tentatively dipped her trunk into the water and had a good long drink.  Luke grinned.

“Yeah, that’s it!  Now come all the way in and play with me.”

He laughed and sloshed about and splashed her so that soon she wanted to join in.  She reached out her trunk to him and he put his hand out to her and she trod heavily, slowly, down into the lake.  She drew up a big trunk full of water and showered it all over herself, and Luke.  She splashed and she played and felt free.  And so did Luke.  It was just the best afternoon.

When they got out of the water Emma laid down on the warm grass to be dried by the sun, and Luke sat with her, leaning against her chest.  Eventually, reluctantly, he looked at his watch. 4.32.

“I have to go now,” he told her sadly, “but I will come back if I can.”

He didn’t know when that might be.

“You do like it here don’t you?”

He knew she must and was satisfied his outlawing had paid off again – she’d be much happier here than in that concrete enclosure.  She’d have freedom; she’d have space; he only wished she wouldn’t be on her own.

“There’s prob’ly rabbits here,” he told her, “rabbits make good friends.  The thing with rabbits is, you ‘ave to be patient.  They might seem a bit stand-offish at first but once they get to know you they’re very friendly.”

He stood up and said goodbye, confident she’d understood.  

He slipped back in to the zoo and locked the gate so that everything, well, almost everything, was as he’d found it.  He decided it would be a good idea to hang on to the keys – he’d need them next time he visited Emma.  

It was 4.57 when he arrived at the coach so he was in good time for Mrs Tebbut’s prompt 5pm departure, but for some reason she was crosser than he’d ever seen her.

“Luke Walker!  Do you have any idea what you’ve put us through?  You have disrupted the day for the whole class!  You are a selfish, thoughtless child and I will be sending a letter home to your parents!”

“For what?” thought Luke.

_______________________________________________

Unbeknown to Luke, seven months later, in a national newspaper:

THE DAILY NEWS

Elephant Finds Sanctuary At Last

Emma in newspaper for web page

Seven months after the 24-hour disappearance of the lonely elephant at Dillingsgate Zoo, she has been found a place at The Elephant Sanctuary.  ‘Companions for Nelly’ campaign organiser, Joanne Russell said she cannot adequately express her joy at today’s outcome.

“We can only thank God for bringing to light Nelly’s lonely existence by causing her to wander off by herself and ignite a media storm. If it hadn’t been for the zoo’s mishap of leaving her gate open, the world might never have been aware of her miserable solitary confinement.”

Seven months ago the alarm was raised at Dillingsgate zoo when keepers discovered that Nelly was missing. She was found the following day in neighbouring woodlands but not before the news was reported in local, national and international media.  This put the spotlight on conditions in which Nelly was kept.

“Elephants are very social animals,” said Ms Russell, “and it was heartbreaking to learn that Nelly had been without any companionship of her own kind for almost twenty years.”

Thanks to the overwhelming public support for Ms Russell’s campaign, Nelly has now been found a place at the award winning Elephant Sanctuary where she will be able to live out her days in natural surroundings in the company of her own kind.

*********

You can read the whole of Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er Chapter 2 here.

Chapter 3 coming to this site soon!

Want it now? No problem – just order the paperback from Amazon! (It’s got the first eight chapters) 😀

Keeping a low profile

The story continues from yesterday:

******

It didn’t take long for Luke to work out where he might find what he was looking for.

“Somebody what works here will have keys!”

It never occurred to him that he would need a particular key for the particular lock he wanted to open but, as it happened, that wasn’t going to be a problem.  When the zoo was built over thirty years earlier, it boasted the largest number of animal enclosures in the country.  It was deemed impractical to have hundreds of different keys so the same three locks were fitted to everything: one for animal enclosures; one for outer gates; and one for buildings.  Each key-holder carried the same three keys.  That was all anyone needed.  It was all Luke needed. 

zoo keys

Back in the hubbub of the zoo, Luke kept a low profile.  It felt good to be outlawing again.  He saw plenty of zoo workers but there was no way of knowing whether they had keys without asking them.  Then he heard a familiar jangle.

“I know what that means,” he thought, triumphant, “that man’s got keys on his belt!”

The man was alone.  At a grassy, low-fenced enclosure inhabited by small, furry animals Luke didn’t know the name of, he caught up with him.  The man seemed engrossed in what he was doing, or perhaps lost in his own thoughts.  Luke could see the keys dangling against his hip and crept up so close behind him he could almost reach them through the wire fence.  Just as he was about to touch them a loud voice, crackling from the man’s walkie talkie, startled his hand back.  The voice sounded impatient.

“Brinley! Can you hear me? I need you to open the Goods Entrance – the delivery’s just arrived.”

“I heard you! I’m on my way.”

The man, and the keys, hurried out of the enclosure.  Luke followed him at a discreet distance.  He went past a sign which said ‘STAFF ONLY’ and up to a big gate.  No one else was around.  The walkie talkie shouted at the man again.

“HURRY UP BRINLEY! It’s that bad tempered lorry driver!”

“I’m coming! I’m coming!” said Brinley.

In his rush he left the keys in the gate after unlocking it and rushed up the track.  He would probably only be gone for a moment or two.  But that was enough.

Luke ran as fast as he could to get back to the elephant.  It was easier to go unnoticed than it had been on the way out because there was some kind of commotion on the other side of the zebra enclosure.  He overheard something as he passed through which assured him it was nothing to concern him.  The elephant was waiting right where he’d left her.

“I got it! I got the key! Sorry it took so long.”

He unlocked the gate and led her out.

“That’s it, out you come,” he encouraged her, “I don’t know your name so if you don’t mind I think I’ll call you ……… Emma.”

Emma seemed as happy as he was about her outing and she trumpeted with joy.

“Shhh shhh,” Luke looked up into her big, dark eyes, “we’ve got to be sneaky, remember?”

He pointed to a gate behind Emma’s enclosure beyond which he could see a wide open space – a meadow bordered with woodlands.

“Let’s go this way,” he suggested, “don’t worry, no one’ll see.  They’re too busy lookin’ for a lost little boy. Hope they find ‘im.”

elephant rescue

*****

Story concludes tomorrow but if you can’t wait that long you can read the whole thing here 🙂 or buy it in paperback 😉

Z is for Zoo

Zoo    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  zoological garden: public garden or park with collection of animals for exhibition and study.

Our definition:  Place where wild animals are kept and/or bred in captivity.  Zoos are prisons.  Prisons in which innocent individuals are kept incarcerated for their whole lives, though they have committed no crime.

Elephants, for example, in the wild, are used to travelling many miles a day in herds of about ten related adults and their offspring. They are very social animals.

elephants captive and wild

In zoos, elephants are usually kept in pairs or even isolated.  Their enclosures are incredibly small, compared to what they are used to in the wild, and as a result they often show many signs of being stressed out or bored, like engaging in repetitive movements.  Stress behaviours can include repetitive movements, pacing back and forth, head bobbing, rocking, repeatedly retracing their steps, sitting motionless or biting the bars of their enclosure or themselves.

What makes life so difficult for zoo animals is that they hardly have any privacy and lack mental stimulation and physical exercise.  Even though you might think that zoo animals would get used to a life in captivity, they really don’t.  Even animals that are bred in zoos still retain their natural instincts after many generations of captive breeding.

Hippos captive and wild

Animals like polar bears or felines are used to hunting; this habit is replaced by the zoo with regular feedings.  Most animals kept in zoos would naturally roam for tens of miles a day.

Zoos claim to help with conservation. However, hardly any zoo registers their animals on an international species database and most zoo animals are not endangered at all.

Even though there are thousands of endangered species, zoos have only been able to return about 16 species to the wild with varying level of success. Most zoo animals released in the wild don’t survive. This is because zoos don’t provide the right environment for a successful captive breeding project. The animals would need to live in habitats resembling their natural ones, especially in terms of climate and fauna. The animals would also need to be raised with minimal human contact and in populations large enough to provide a natural social balance and a suitable gene pool.

Surplus animals are the unwanted animals for whom there is no more space, when zoos have bred yet another cute little baby to attract visitors. They can even be the cute babies themselves when they’ve stopped being cute at the end of the season. Zoos have a systematic “overproduction” of animals. These surplus animals are either killed – and sometimes fed to their fellow zoo habitants – or sold to other zoos or dealers.  Selling animals is a profitable way for zoos to dispose of them. Dealers will sell them to hunting ranches, pet shops, circuses, the exotic meat industry and research facilities. Surplus animals are also found for sale on the internet.

To sum up: DON’T GO TO THE ZOO!  If a school trip is being organised, tell your teacher why you don’t like zoos and ask them to take you somewhere better.  If they won’t listen, explain what zoos really are to your friends and then get together to petition the school.  If they still won’t listen, just ask your parents to let you stay home from school that day.  Maybe they could take you on a better trip instead, such as to a museum or art gallery.

That reminds me – see what Luke Walker, ‘animal stick up for-er’, did when he was forced to go on a trip to the zoo – now that’s a boy who acts on his conscience! (Though he is sadly unappreciated by those who know him 😉 )

E is for Elephant

E is for Elephant

Elephant    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  Largest living land animal with trunk and ivory tusks.

Our definition:  Elephants are large mammals of the family Elephantidae and the order Proboscidea.  Two species are traditionally recognised: the African elephant and the Asian elephant.  Male African elephants are the largest surviving terrestrial [land] animals and can reach a height of 4 metres and weigh 7,000 kg. All elephants have a long trunk, used for many purposes, particularly breathing, lifting water and grasping objects.  All African elephants, male and female, have tusks whereas only some Asian males have tusks. About 50% of Asian females have short tusks known as tushes – which have no pulp inside.  Usually in mammals tusks are enlarged canine teeth, but in elephants they are actually elongated incisors and are essentially no different from other teeth. One third of the tusk is actually hidden from view, embedded deep in the elephant’s head. This part of the tusk is a pulp cavity made up of tissue, blood and nerves. The visible, ivory part of the tusk is made of dentine with an outer layer of enamel.  Their tusks can serve as weapons and as tools for moving objects and digging. Elephants’ large ear flaps help to control their body temperature.  African elephants have larger ears and concave backs while Asian elephants have smaller ears and convex or level backs.

Elephants are herbivorous and can be found in different habitats including savannahs, forests, deserts and marshes. They prefer to stay near water. Females, known as cows, tend to live in family groups, which can consist of one female with her calves or several related females with offspring. The groups are led by an individual known as the matriarch, often the oldest cow. Elephants have a fission-fusion society in which multiple family groups come together to socialise. Males, known as bulls, leave their family groups when they reach puberty, and may live alone or with other males. Adult bulls mostly interact with family groups when looking for a mate. Calves are the centre of attention in their family groups and rely on their mothers for as long as three years. Elephants can live up to 70 years in the wild. They communicate by touch, sight, smell and sound; elephants use infrasound (low frequency sound), and seismic communication (sometimes called vibrational communication) over long distances. Elephant intelligence has been compared with that of primates and cetaceans. They have self-awareness and show empathy for dying or dead individuals of their kind.

African elephants are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, while the Asian elephant is classed as endangered. One of the biggest threats to elephant populations is the ivory trade, as the animals are poached for their ivory tusks. Other threats to wild elephants include habitat destruction and conflicts with local people.

Horribly, in addition to murdering them for their ivory, human beings have exploited elephants for entertainment in zoos and circuses for centuries; and now the military thinks they might be useful for sniffing out bombs!

Thank goodness for The Elephant Sanctuary, Tennessee, a natural habitat refuge developed specifically for African and Asian elephants, which is home to beautiful animals, rescued or retired from zoos and circuses, who can now live out their lives in a safe haven dedicated to their well-being.

elephant sanctuary

Bella and Tarra

Bella and Tarra

In the secrecy of the wooded back hills of rural Tennessee an unusual relationship had developed. Some speculated but
no one really knew what attracted the two opposites or the length of time their enchanting relationship had gone
undetected. What we do know is that on the surface it appeared that these two had little in common; one was singularly focused and soft spoken, even a little shy, but a proud territorial type with an appetite for meat. The other a gregarious chatterbox with a wandering nature and a taste for a plant-based diet. This remarkable friendship could be considered a love story of sorts; definitely what fairy tales are made of.

Bella and Tarra 2

In 2003 the white stray canine wandered into our habitat and befriended The Sanctuary’s founding elephant, Tarra. The inseparable friends were incredible in their devotion to each other.  Bella trusted Tarra so completely, she would let the giant elephant stroke her stomach with her foot and caress her with her trunk.  Bella and Tarra found sanctuary together in the 2,200 acres of the Elephant Sanctuary; swimming in ponds, exploring new paths, and resting side by side in the sunshine until Bella passed away in October 2011.

The Elephant Sanctuary have set up a fund in memory of Bella which will be used to support both the ongoing care of their elephants as well as the care of strays, like Bella, who wander into Hohenwald seeking sanctuary and friendship.  A portion of the proceeds will be used to support efforts of local humane associations and their efforts to care for strays in need of a permanent homeCLICK HERE if you want to contribute to this very worthy cause.

Shirley

Shirley was captured in the wild in 1953 when she was 5 years old.  She performed for twenty-four years with the Carson and Barnes Circus, then lived at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo for another twenty-two years.

Her back right leg was broken thirty years ago when she was attacked by a fellow circus elephant.  She is missing a large section of her right ear as result of a fire which not only injured her ear but also left several scars on her back, side and feet.

But, in 1999, at age 51 Shirley was able to retire to the Elephant Sanctuary, Tennessee – HURRAH!

And look at her now 🙂

Shirley in barn

July 6, 1999
Shirley and Tarra liked each other right from the start! Shirley showed Tarra all her injuries that she received when attacked by another elephant at the circus. Tarra sympathetically inspected each injury and the two elephants caressed each other with their trunks.  Fruits and vegetables awaited Shirley when she entered the Sanctuary Barn. Cabbages, oranges, watermelon, squash… all sorts of yummy food to show Shirley how much we already loved her! Tarra squashed the watermelon, then helped herself to much of it.

Shirley's cake

July 22, 2013

Shirley’s 65th birthday party was a BLAST!  Shirley has given us every reason to believe to that we will be celebrating her birthday for many years to come.

Gorgeous 😀

Sissy

Sissy was captured and separated from her mother and family in Thailand in 1969 when she was one year old, and then shipped to America where she became the favourite attraction at Six Flags over Texas Amusement Park petting zoo.

Sissy with tyre

Sissy lived alone in a zoo for many years with no friends. She had to be creative and improvise. The tyre she carries is not the exact tyre she had growing up but it has become an acceptable substitute.  Sissy likes to take her tyre with her just about everywhere she goes.

She was at the Frank Buck Zoo during the record flood of 1981, when she and many of the Zoo’s animal collection were swept from their enclosures. Sissy was presumed dead but when the waters started to recede, she was spotted.  Actually it was her trunk that was spotted, wrapped around a tree limb, sticking just above the water line. It would be another 24 hours before the water level dropped enough for Sissy to free herself from the tree that her body and trunk were wrapped around. Sissy suffered long-term emotional trauma from that horrifying accident.  Several who were close to her have said that the threat of a pending storm causes Sissy to become petrified with fear. Her phobia of water was so deep that for years Sissy would allow only one keeper to give her a bath.

In 1986, Sissy was shipped to the Fort Worth Zoo for breeding. This was the first time since infancy that Sissy would be with others of her own kind.  Sadly her socialization skills were not developed, making interaction with the other elephants difficult for her.  Additionally, Sissy was now separated from her longtime keeper and was now expected to respond to strangers.  She reportedly showed signs of aggression toward her new keepers and did not relate well with the other elephants. Those who knew her well observed that Sissy was miserable.

After some time at El Paso zoo where she was mistreated, she was finally allowed to retire to the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee –

and look at her now!

Sissy with her sanctuary pal, Winkie

Sissy with her sanctuary pal, Winkie

Sissy and Winkie, best pals

Sissy and Winkie, best pals

Sissy watches as Winkie takes her first tentative steps into the sanctuary pond

Sissy watches as Winkie takes her first tentative steps into the sanctuary pond