A little bit of everything

Welcome to Aristurtle, a title lovingly ripped off from the Science of Sleep. This really is just a little bit of everything, a news digest pulled from many different sources. Generally anything that makes me want to rant tends to make it onto this blog, with very little plotting or advanced planning.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Say hello to the new superpower

In these times of economic recession, it can be tempting to get caught up in the issues of one's own country. Recently, however, I came across a website and a cause that made me realise there are more problems and more tragedies in the world than can ever be accounted for.

Just one of the many issues I have with China is their seemingly blasé disregard for human and animal life, not to mention living standards. The organ trafficking which was (and still is, in all likelihood) operating through Death Row in Chinese prisons was officially admitted to by the Chinese Government only last summer.

According to the Chinese newspaper China Daily, two out of every three organs transplanted there come from executed death row inmates. Families of said executed inmates are most often left without a body to bury or even ashes to spread. The Chinese government has promised to address the issue in cooperation with the Red Cross, but it's just one of many things that the country needs to tackle.

The abuse that I want to talk about, however, is perpetrated on innocent animals.

Chinese traditional medicine involves the use of a number of odd ingredients, one of them being bear bile. Even for someone who does not read Chinese, the labels bearing pictures of bears make it pretty clear.

I can't blame China totally for what goes on, as this animal abuse is ongoing in Korea and Vietnam as well.

Asiatic black bears, also known as "moon bears" , are used to supply this bile. They are kept in stunted cages too small for them, and suffer greatly from lack of space. The photo above shows one such cage, in which the bear can hardly move. This will lead to stunted growth, unhealthy joints and general trauma for the bears.

Catheters are inserted into the bears' gall bladders through a hole made in the bears' abdomen. These catheters are crude, cheap and often unclean and the likelihood of an infection for the bear is high. This means that the bears often die in pain and suffering before they have any chance of being rescued.

Thankfully, there are several organisations working to rescue and care for these animals. Animals Asia, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Chinese government (apparently...) are all working towards ending this cruelty.

Check out http://www.animalsasia.org/ for the full story.

I've never been a fan of the Chinese, but since they seem to only be growing in power it seems we won't have a choice. There's a new superpower in town. I think a closer examination of the new bully in the schoolyard could paint America in a pretty favourable light.

Let's be honest, as superpowers go, there have been worse, and there certainly will be in the future.