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Twisty ethics Karma Farms, a horse breeder in Marshall, Texas, has introduced a new, horrifying question to the practicum of animal rights philosophy: should we breed monstrous animals solely because we can? Karma Farms' "Twisty Cats," bred from polydactyl (extra-toed) cats, are born tacking front forelegs. Karma Farms' owner Vickie Ives Speir claims the cats get around as well as do normal cats, and do not suffer pain as a result of their deformity. Karma Farms claims it has no intention of selling the footless cats, but Ives does plan to attempt to register the Twisty Cats as a breed, which has sent animal rights activists into a fury of online anger. It does appear to the Mote that the cats are welt-cared for, and Speir has spent much of her life working in such noble vocations as humane officer and veterinary assistant. Still, all this raises the question: "eeeeeuuw."

Slippery oil coverage A Mote Nip to the Associated Press' editor who let slip this quote from a Chevron USA spokesflack in reporting on brutal killings in Nigeria: "A couple of environmental groups have claimed that we are complicit in several deaths in Nigeria which involved the military police, and the fact is we have no involvement whatsoever; Chevron spokesman Mike Libbey said."

In fact, as Mote Scout Jym Dyer points out, one of the more astonishing facts about these deaths is that a Chevron Nigeria spokesperson did admit to complicity! In an interview with Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now, Chevron Nigeria rep Sola Omole said that Chevron management called for the Nigerian navy and Mobile Police (MOPOL) to storm Chevron's Parabe oil platform, an attack in which two activists -- Jola Ogungbeje and Aroleka Irowaninu -- were killed and others wounded, and eleven protesters in all were detained. If the editor had done some rudimentary fact checking, or contacted environmental groups, he or she might have actually produced a news article instead of a Chevron press release. For more information, see Democracy Now's web site at <www.pacifica.org/programs/ nigeria/drilling.htm>.

Project Censored Mote Kisses of congratulation to Hope Shand and Pat Mooney -- whose story on Terminator Seeds in the Fall 1998 EIJ is sharing third place in Project Censored's annual Top Ten Censored Stories list -- and Marti Matsch, whose Winter '97 EIJ story on Coca-Cola's failure to meet its own recycling goals placed twenty-fourth. Read about the rest of the winners at <www.sonoma.edu/ ProjectCensored>.

Out of this world? "The planet exists for our benefit. If the climate is too cold, we must alter it with greenhouse gases. If the soil is too dry, we must melt the polar icecaps to irrigate it. Only then will we regain the spirit of the frontier -- the harnessing of human ingenuity -- that made the United States great." The anti-environmental ravings of a LaRouche-style crackpot? Welt, perhaps not. The planet in question isn't this one: The quote is the Mole's paraphrase of the thesis of The Case For Mars by Robert Zubrin (co-written by Richard Wagner). Formerly a senior engineer at Lockheed Martin, Zubrin is the originator of Mars Direct, a campaign to send a manned spacecraft to Mars with just enough fuel and food to get there. The crew would then use Martian water and C02 to make fuel for the return trip. Zubrin and Mars Direct have garnered a fair amount of favorable press attention.

Then again, maybe your first guess wasn't all that far off. Before he became the darling of the Discover Magazine set, back in the dark days of the 1970s, the EcoMole knew Zubrin as a vigorously emotional Great Lakes campaigner for Lyndon LaRouche's US Labor Party.

The Mole certainty committed her share of youthful political indiscretions, and is willing to grant most anyone the benefit of the doubt: Zubrin may have left LaRouche's sphere of influence Long ago. The Mole will even admit that a global debt moratorium, a hobbyhorse of the USLP during Zubrin's tenure, wasn't really such a bad idea. Still, the Mole does wonder: is there a spot reserved on that one-way Mars flight for LaRouche's long-term nemesis, the Queen of England?

Immoral combat Mote Nip: Killing endangered species is an integral part of a new video game, African Safari Trophy Hunter, marketed to kids; players kill virtual elephants, rhinoceri, crocodiles, lions and other African animals, and collect trophy heads. The game comes from Wizardworks, best known for the game Deer Hunting. Wizardworks is owned by GT Interactive, one of the largest software publishing companies. To gripe, contact Ronald W. Chamowitz, Chairman & CEO, GT Interactive Software, 417 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10016.

Our day in court Mote Kisses to Superior Court Judge David A. Garcia, who ordered the State of California to adopt regulations to protect the public from exposure to the fumigant methyl bromide. Garcia ruled in favor of Pesticide Action Network, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth and Pesticide Watch, who filed suit last June against the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR). The decision marks a turning point in California environmentalists' long battle against methyl bromide, an acutely toxic and ozone-depleting pesticide that routinely drifts from farm fields into adjacent neighborhoods. The order requires DPR to adopt new regulations for field applications of methyl bromide -- which could result in significant reductions in its use -- and puts in question the entire process California has used in its annual re-registration of methyl bromide.
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Publication:Earth Island Journal
Date:Jun 22, 1999
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Previous Article:Positive Notes.
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