Meggan Anderson and the window-hurt pigeon
The PETA -- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals -- activists who staged a noontime protest today on the F Street Plaza in Eureka arrived with friendly optimism plus a pile of fake green ivy, a curvy near-naked woman painted like a snake and a quiet leaflet-and-sign plea (no megaphone antics here) to stamp out the vile and mostly foreign trade in the skins of exotic animals -- like crocodiles, alligators, snakes and lizards and such, some of whose skins are torn right from the living flesh after the poor things have been paraded on a death march to their destiny, say the activists, in order to make flashy fashion accoutrements for you and me.
They left sadly, less than an hour later, bearing with them a near-death more homely creature in a little shoebox.
The pigeon had been contentedly cooing and pecking about underfoot with the other resident pigeons, who daily tend the cobbles down there relieving children of the corn kernels brought as bait for entertainment. But about three quarters of the way through the PETA protest -- which was peaceful, by the way, and drew a small but supportive trickle of onlookers -- the whole flock swooped into the air and arced around the fountain and then -- "smack!" -- one of them flew right into the glass door of Shoe Envy, which faces the Plaza.
Yes, yes, the irony.
The PETA activists rushed to the pigeon's aid. Inside Shoe Envy, clerk Katrina Mosler grabbed an empty shoe box and some paper towels -- can't leave the bird lying there in front of the door -- and they placed the pigeon gently inside it. Moments later, the snake lady -- Meggan Anderson, an actress and model from Los Angeles who owns cockatiels, so she knows a bit about birds -- sat wrapped in a sweater in the group's van cradling the box with the pigeon in it. She placed a finger on the bird's breast. "I think I can feel it breathing." The bird's eyes were shuttered to slits, its feet edging skyward -- hard to tell its state of being. The group planned to call a vet.
Before they left, Jena Hunt said Eureka was the activists' last stop on their journey to spread the word about the cruel trade in exotic skins (their fliers spoke of fashion-driven animal abuse here on the homefront, as well). Hunt, also an actress, is the campaign coordinator for PETA's international grassroots campaigns -- she's also the petite, fetching person who peeved local media boys earlier today by leading them to believe she would be the naked snake lady. Boys, get over it: There was nothing wrong with Ms. Anderson's portrayal of a sexy beleaguered snake. Take it from the fellas in the beat-up red car who made two passes around the Plaza shouting things like, "That's sexy awesome!"
And now, more scenes from today's PETA protest:
Scott Thompson, of Eureka, said the PETA protest was A-OK with him, although he fully embraces the hunter instinct inside him. "I would wear fur if that was, like, where I was at in my life," he said. "If it was necessary for my survival. But I would never do it for vanity, ever. And I have enough cotton and wool -- this is wool [he fingered his lovely Arcteryx sweater] -- to keep me warm. I don't need to hunt."
Russell Wade, talking a bit stiffly because of a broken jaw that's slowly healing (he's tried in vain to get medical help, he says], was all for PETA's cause. But, he wanted to know, why doesn't PETA focus on domestic animal abuse instead of galavanting off on foreign causes? Jena Hunt, international campaign coordinator for PETA, told him one of their staple issues is, in fact, going after domestic factory fur farms, but also that they just want Americans to stop buying the foreign stuff.
Mark Sterling, of Eureka, and his companion dog Jazz -- half fox terrier, half Jack Russell, whole cuteness -- chat it up with PETA's Jena Hunt. Sterling was actually lured to Old Town by those Los Bagel's ads hawking cheapskate bagels and coffee -- good call! -- and saw the PETA folks prepping for their protest there.
In non-naked news, Rep. Mike Thompson spoke with Bloomberg yesterday about Congress' AIG spank.
Naked PETA Beauty in EKA! : There's still time! Noon at the corner of 2nd and F! "I'll gladly bare some of my skin if it will help save animals' skins," says PETA's Jena Hunt. "We're asking Eureka residents to take a bite out of cruelty by giving snakeskin and other exotic leather the boot."
UPDATE, 11:45 a.m.: The ol' bait-and-switch. Jena Hunt tells Mike Dronkers on KHUM that she'll stay clothed, but there'll be a different naked person.
Western Meadowlark. Photo by Donald Metzner, courtesy of Cornell Lab of Ornithology
The news is not good for the avian bunch.
According to The U.S. State of the Birds , a report released today on bird populations, almost a third of the 800 species of birds in the United States are in deep shit.
Said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar in a news release :
From shorebirds in New England to warblers in Michigan to songbirds in Hawaii, we are seeing disturbing downward population trends that should set off environmental alarm bells.
And yes, it's our fault.
The report especially points to our penchant for slicing off the tops of mountains for coal, clearing land for roads and transmission lines and gas and oil wells, planting windmills and other energy producing endeavors that fragment habitat (or sometimes even chop up birds themselves).
Hawaii, says the release, is ground zero for the disastrous declines. And:
... 39 percent of species dependent on U.S. oceans have declined.
Our marbled murrelet is counted among that sad crowd.
But, whew, the report shows us the way out of the mineshaft:
...the report also reveals convincing evidence that birds can respond quickly and positively to conservation action. The data show dramatic increases in many wetland birds such as pelicans, herons, egrets, osprey, and ducks, a testament to numerous cooperative conservation partnerships that have resulted in protection, enhancement and management of more than 30 million wetland acres.
The Nature Conservancy has paid $14.2 million for 4,543 acres of the Shasta Big Springs Creek Ranch in Siskiyou County, Calif., where it plans to restore about 20 miles of stream. It has secured a conservation easement on the ranch's remaining 407 acres, where the rancher will continue to live and work.
The Shasta River and Big Springs Creek, whose cold waters are important to juvenile salmon, pass through the ranch on their way to the Klamath River. From the conservancy's news release :
...the area could also become one of the last and best strongholds for coho and other salmon species in California.
Cleaning up the cow's act is actually a big deal. When you think "suffering salmon" on the Klamath River, maybe those charismatic mega-villains, the dams run by PacifiCorp, pop into your head.
But Felice Pace, keen river watcher, has been trying to tell us to think "ag." Check out his March 1 post on Klamblog about the North Coast Water Quality Control Board's effort to develop a plan to restore the officially impaired Klamath's water quality. Says Pace:
The #1 source of these impairments is well established but not well known: it is the agriculture industry.
That isn't to say ranchers aren't stepping up with their own solutions. Our Japhet Weeks explored this in his 2007 piece on upper Klamath basin ranching .
There was a massive 7.9 earthquake in the vicinity of Tonga just a few minutes ago; here's info from the USGS . There has been NO tsunami alert issued for our region. Repeat: NO TSUNAMI ALERT FOR HUMBOLDT COUNTY.
There's been tons of seismic disturbances in that area recently , it seems. Check out this awesome video of an underwater volcano erupting thereabouts earlier this week:
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