Dumbo (1941 and 2019)

Kat Eschner's newsletter about animal-human relationships Vol. 2 Iss. 10

This issue of CREATURE FEATURE is brought to you by the a cocktail named “Remember the Maine” and the THREE AMERICANOS I drank today (It’s Thursday as I write this). My stomach is killing me. I don’t have these coffee-eating elephants’ intestinal fortitude.

Image description: Dumbo from the 1941 film talks to a mouse in a parade marshal’s uniform standing on his trunk. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Watching the original Dumbo as a kid had a big influence on Tiny Kat’s thinking about animal rights. I refuse to rewatch it as an adult, though. (There is a lot wrong with that movie, it’s racist and ableist among other things.)

Keeping elephants in solitary

The Bronx Zoo’s elephant Happy, well, isn’t. Animal advocates have spent years trying to get her moved to a sanctuary where she can have company and space, and this week, Representative AOC got on board. Happy was in the news last fall because of an (ongoing) animal legal personhood case launched on her behalf.

Extra credit: An elephant named Lucy is at the center of similar conflict in Canada. Here is the best piece on her story, from The Globe and Mail’s Jana Pruden. Lucy’s case got thrown out of court just last week in a ruling that could have far-reaching consequences for animal personhood cases.

...Maybe zoos could just try a holographic elephant instead?

Cat scratch fever: NY legislators pass ban on cat declawing

New York is on the verge of becoming the first state to ban the declawing of cats this week, writes Jesse McKinley for The New York Times. All that remains is for the state governor to sign the bill into law, and then those who get their cat declawed will face a $1000 fine (is this enough? I feel like this isn’t enough to really deter anyone bent on declawing their cat.)

The bill, which had been fought for several years by some veterinary groups, would outlaw several types of declawing surgeries except in cases of medical necessity, and forbid any such surgeries for “cosmetic or aesthetic reasons.”

The Assembly sponsor, Linda Rosenthal, a Manhattan Democrat, said those reasons include pet owners who “think their furniture is more important than their cat.”

There once was a gay Jewish bullfighter from Brooklyn

Seriously. His name was Sidney Franklin, and in Spain, he was known as El Torero de la Torah, writes Charlie Innis for the Brooklyn Reader. Franklin’s history has recently been unearthed by the American Jewish Historical Society.

Bonus round: In Spain, where it’s still practiced, bullfighting has become tangled up with far-right politics, wrote CNN’s Jack Guy in January. Last month, a bullfighter with direct ties to the Vox party got heat for a flourish with a handkerchief.

Bonus round

More things I read this week.

Please read me

My most recent work.

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  2. What running ultramarathons and giving birth tell us about the limits of human endurance