Old closes and streets of Glasgow

Thomas Annan, a middle class commercial photographer, published a series of photographs, commissioned in 1868 by the City Improvement Trust. The photographs captured the conditions of Glaswegians at this time, where landlords squeezed them of their money gained through dangerous work where owners made so much. Today Glasgow is a very much different place, or so it seams.

Nothing much has changed except the workhouses are no more. Instead we have bars and restaurants of multinationals paying low wages whilst making millions of their own. Streets littered with their waste. So much for progress. The rich get richer and the poor……….

The full set of photographs taken can been seen on my Flickr site, urbanartist.


Glasgow Graffiti

Two new graffiti pieces photographed in Glasgow City Centre. This is the type of work I love. It says something to the viewer.

Amazon worst employer 2016

Amazon have a great website, great customer service, great deals, and a good responsive postal service. But this comes at the detriment of low wage, poor employee benefits, scandalous employment human resources. People are timed and if they don’t meet the time are sacked on the spot. People are having to live in tents on the premises as they are forced to travel to gain employment. Such is life living in Scotland where the government look to gain credibility within world governments but have forgotten about its own citizens. Amazon, like Sports Direct and Asdas parent company Walmart are able to cut costs as they treat their own staff like those of the third world.

You can stop this by refusing to use these companies.

In the line of Duty

You might already know Police Dog Finn’s story.This German Shepherd was out on duty with Hertfordshire Constabulary one night in October when he was stabbed multiple times in the head and chest while helping to detain a suspect.

Finn survived – but only just. After a four-hour operation, and weeks of recovery time, Finn’s finally back on his feet and has just returned to work.

Protect police dogs like Finn

Currently, the law classes police support animals as ‘property’ which means someone who attacks a police dog can only be charged with criminal damage – just as if they’d smashed the window of a police car or damaged a piece of equipment.

But this isn’t right. Police dogs are far more than property. They are intelligent, sentient, highly-trained team members who put in years of hard work protecting the public – and, as Finn’s story shows, even risking their lives. The law needs to recognise their exceptional service. And animals like Finn deserve justice.

Please write to your MP and ask them to support ‘Finn’s Law’ to change the legal status of police support animals.

Take action now

People all over the country have been rallying in support of Finn. After more than 100,000 people signed a Government petition, there was a House of Commons debate about ‘Finn’s Law’. Many police forces – who witness these animals’ bravery first hand every day – want to see the law changed, too.

Now we just need to make sure there is enough political momentum to make this happen.

You can help, by letting your MP know that this issue is important to you, and asking them to contact the minister responsible for policing about introducing new legislation to protect animals like Finn.

Email your MP

With your help, we can make sure something good comes out of Finn’s horrific ordeal.

Bear bile and the paralympics

Today, Monday January 9, National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” included a segment on the farming in Korea, for bear bile, of Asiatic Black Bears, also known as Moon Bears. In a bit of bitter irony, the animals will serve as mascots at the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games to be held in the South Korean town of PyeongChang next year.

Reporter Elise Hu, NPR’s Seoul correspondent, tells us:
“An hour’s drive south of Seoul, you can find a bear-bile farm, one of 39 sprinkled across the country. Here, farmer Kim Kwang-su keeps 230 moon bears in rusty cages.

“He breeds them and cages them for the legal minimum of 10 years. Then they’re slaughtered for their gall bladders. In East Asia, bear bile is believed to solve a host of health problems — from hangovers to heart disease. The bears are never let out.”

We learn that South Korea has banned the practice of milking bears of their bile while they are alive, “But the animals are still living in captivity until they’re killed.”

So after ten years of life in cages, the bears are slaughtered for their bile.

The story, which aired on “Morning Edition” can be heard or read, and pictures can be viewed, on the “Parrelels” section of the NPR website at http://tinyurl.com/zpobop8

Parrelels is NPR’s International News Blog.

The story is also currently on the front page of the Morning Edition site.

I hope you will share it widely. And please take just a moment to let NPR know that the story was appreciated. You can thank Morning Edition, where the show aired, at http://tinyurl.com/zeaj9fz and thank Parellels, responsible for its production, and where it is hosted on line, at Parallels@npr.org

I thank activist Susan Weingartner for making sure we saw it.

Horse blood

It’s a horror movie – hundreds of pregnant horses are hooked up to machines that drain their blood, even until death! All so big drug companies can sell their hormones to industrial pig farmers!! EU ministers meet in just 2 weeks and could ban abusive animal products like this. Let’s jolt them into action with a massive call to action – sign and tell everyone!

Tilikum can now be at peace

Tilikum, the orca who killed SeaWorld trainer Dawn Branchau, and two other people over the course of his life, and who was made famous by the film “Blackfish,” died yesterday, Friday, January 7. The news is in hundreds of papers today, probably including yours. Most of the stories share perfunctory details, including Tilikum’s long battle with a respiratory illness, and some quote SeaWorld’s web site lines of his having died “surrounded by the trainers, care staff and veterinarians that provided him around-the-clock world-class care,” and the company’s suggestion that he was old for an orca. I will point out two stories of note:Though the Scottish Daily Mail coverage is standard, the copywriter who chose the heading seems to have strong feelings on the issue; the article is titled, “Free at last: Captive killer orca dies.” (Page 11 – unavailable online except to subscribers.) If I have Scottish subscribers who read DawnWatch regularly I would love to know it, and I hope their letters to the editor will acknowledge that touching headline.
The Christian Science Monitor, a highly respected paper, non religious, that is now published daily on line, and weekly via a print magazine, took a tone different from most media outlets, and a wider outlook. It’s article, by David Iaconangelo, is titled, “Tilikum legacy: How one orca changed SeaWorld; The orca whale, profiled in the 2013 documentary ‘Blackfish,’ became a symbol of the cruelty of captivity for animal-rights activists and much of the public.” Sharing much of the information in the standard Associated Press coverage, Iaconangelo went further:

“The orca’s story was often a tragic one, involving three human deaths in three separate incidents. The film that documented those incidents, ‘Blackfish,’ stoked a movement that questioned the ethics of keeping wild animals in captivity – a movement that is likely to outlive Tilikum.”

Note that he refers to “wild animals in captivity” rather than only orcas.

He writes, “SeaWorld’s decision to end its orca breeding program shows that shifting public attitudes around animal welfare can and do influence how businesses treat animals, conservationists say.”

And importantly, though he shares SeaWorld’s suggestion that age 36 is “about typical” for an orca death, his report ends with this line:
“His death comes the same week as the death of 105-year-old ‘Granny,’ a once-captive killer whale later freed in waters off of Vancouver and tracked by scientists, whose data eventually served as the underpinnings of endangered species classification.”

You’ll find the full story on line at http://tinyurl.com/ztzkhyx and I hope you will share it widely.

The Christian Science Monitor only prints and shares letters that are in response to articles in its weekly magazine. It seems likely, however, that a daily online story that gets a lot of positive feedback is more likely to end up in that weekly print magazine, so I encourage you, via the website, to leave a positive comment on the story. You can do that at http://tinyurl.com/h4pnadb

Even more importantly, as your local paper has surely covered Tilikum’s death, (or can, via you) and you are highly likely to be published in your local paper, please take a few minutes, on behalf of poor Tilikum and all of the other animals who suffer in captivity for human entertainment, and send a letter in their honor to your editor. The Christian Science Monitor story provides a nice guide of sorts for letters that look at the wider issues.

It’s easy to find the email address for a letter to the editor. Just go to your local paper’s website and scroll to the bottom of the page where you will usually see a small “contact us” tab, which will include contact information including that for letters to the editor. If you can’t find it anywhere on the website you could just call the paper and ask for the email address, get it in about thirty seconds, and store it for later regular use. Or you could ask me for help finding the address. I am also always happy to help edit letters to the editor of your paper — until you get the hang of making them short, to the point, and heartfelt on your own.

Always include your full name, address and phone number when sending a letter to the editor.