Feel Good Sunday: Home Sweet Home for Donkey Survivors of the Skin Trade | Straight from the Horse’s Heart

By the

The National Council of SPCAs in South Africa is delighted to report a positive, uplifting and heart-warming outcome relating to donkeys rescued from the horrific trade in their skins.

We report that five donkeys have arrived at a beautiful property in Bethlehem in the Free State where they will live out the rest of their lives. The donkeys were adopted according to the standard procedure, which involves a formal application to adopt an animal, including demonstrating that one is able to afford private veterinary fees and committing to looking after the animal for the rest of its natural life.

A further 14 donkeys will travel shortly to a new home. Their adoptions have been approved as all the required administrative procedures have been undertaken.

These donkeys were rescued in the Sani area in early 2017. They were initially cared for at the Sani SPCA, but since their operation is not far from the Lesotho border post, it was feared that the donkeys might be stolen. Their welfare and safety were top priorities, so a decision was taken to move the donkeys to other SPCAs.

The journey to their temporary homes started early on the morning of 24 February 2017, when they were safely loaded into trucks and their journey to the Benoni SPCA and the Kloof and Highway SPCA began. No issues were encountered. Several stops were made en route to Johannesburg to provide water and facilitate checks by our inspectors and veterinarian.

The end of the story is a very uplifting one not only for the donkeys, but for all the dedicated staff involved who worked tirelessly to ensure their safety and to secure their future.

Donkey hide contains a gelatine which is claimed to carry medicinal properties. The gelatine is a key ingredient in China’s ejiao industry, which produces tablets, tonics and a sweet syrup. Donkeys from all over the world are slaughtered, often illegally after being stolen, and their hides exported to China to fuel demand for ejiao.

The “donkey skin trade” continues, but so do our efforts to monitor situations, respond to information received and to take whatever steps may be appropriate when necessary. Criminal charges have been laid in several instances, cases brought before the Courts and convictions obtained. The National Council of SPCAs commits to combating the scourge of the donkey skin trade tirelessly and steadfastly.

http://animalpeopleforum.org/2017/04/22/home-sweet-home-for-donkey-survivors-of-the-skin-trade/

Source: Feel Good Sunday: Home Sweet Home for Donkey Survivors of the Skin Trade | Straight from the Horse’s Heart

Vinca – Good Witches Homestead

Source: Vinca – Good Witches Homestead

COMMON NAME:  vinca
GENUS:  Vinca
SPECIES:  V. major, V. minor; both perennial
FAMILY:  Apocynaceae
BLOOMS:  spring
TYPE:  perennial
DESCRIPTION:  Perennial vinca is a fast-spreading vine with blue flowers. V. major is a more vigorous grower and has larger leaves and flowers. The annual bedding plant vinca {actually Catharanthus roseus} has attractive five-petaled white and pink-to-red flowers and dark green, glossy leaves. The plants reach a height of 10 to 15 inches and spread almost 2 feet across.
CULTIVATION:  Annual vinca {C. roseus} is extremely heat and drought tolerant and thrives in full, hot sun. It blooms prolifically from early summer until frost. Perennial vinca is particularly useful as a ground cover because it grows equally as well in sun or shade. Blooming, which occurs in late spring, is much better in the sun, however.

Twelve species of this genus are native to Europe. V. major, also known as greater periwinkle, blue buttons, and band plant, and V. minor, known as common periwinkle, lesser periwinkle, and running myrtle, are the two species most widely grown.
Rosy periwinkle, a tropical species, contains an alkaloid necessary to make the drug vincristine, which is used to treat many forms of cancer.
The popular pink and white vinca used as a bedding plant is officially C. roseus, though it was known for many years as V. rosea. It is native from Madagascar to India and is known as rose periwinkle and old maid.
Vinca has been cultivated for centuries. The number of common names alludes to the variety of purposes for which this plant has been used and particularly to the magical powers it was thought to possess. Known as devil’s eye or sorcerer’s violet, vinca blossoms were sometimes worn in the buttonhole as protection against witches. If placed over the doorway, vinca was thought to keep away witches.
During the Middle Ages criminals on the way to the gallows traditionally wore garlands made from vinca blossoms. The Italian name for the plant is the flower of death, and it was often planted on the graves of children.
Belgians believed that the flower was a symbol of virginity and would spread vinca petals in front of bridal couples as they left the church.
It is from the pink and red vinca that the phrase “pink of perfection” originated. An old English book, The Vertues of Herbs, Stones, and Certain Beasts, suggests that “Perwynke when it {the leaf} is beate unto powder with worms of ye earth wrapped about it and with an hearbe called houselyck it induceth love between man and wife it it be used in their meales.”
Red vinca, also called joy of the ground, planted outside the garden gate symbolized an invitation to the passer-by to come in and look at the garden.
The medicinal uses of vinca are varied. Vinca tea made from the blossoms was used, according to an ancient herbal, if the “mother’s milk was running too full.” A tonic made from dried, full-grown leaves was used for intestinal problems. The leaves, mixed with other herbs, were thought to help diabetes. An ointment made from the leaves was used to treat skin disorders, particularly on the scalp, and the raw leaves were chewed to stop a nosebleed. The young shoots were boiled and eaten to prevent nightmares and to soothe nervous disorders and hysteria. Long strands of the creeping vine were wrapped tightly around the legs to ease muscular cramps. Perhaps the favorite reason for indulging in a daily dose of vinca was the superstition that it would help one be happy and comfortable and have grace.
Because it is evergreen, vinca has been chosen as the symbol of fidelity and friendship. The blue blossoms represent the pleasures of memory, red blossoms mean early friendship and white blossoms are symbolic of pleasant recollections.

Vinca has been chosen by the city of Geneva as its floral emblem.

 

On Keeping a Spiritual Journal | The Druid’s Garden

Recently, I took some time to go back through the many spiritual journals I have kept on my journey deeper into the mysteries of the druid tradition and my relationship with nature. These journals spanned over a decade. They included a bit of everything: garden interactions, meditations, nature observations, events in my life of deep spiritual significance, recipes, notes from gatherings and visits, stories, experiences with rituals, and much more. I am so grateful to have kept these journals and re-reading them allowed me to rediscover so many pieces about that journey. They allowed me to see not only my own growth over time, but reminded me of important events and encouraged me further on my path.

 

Journaling and writing down one’s journey doesn’t come easy for many, and I, too, have to work at it!  Further, in working with those new to the druid path through my work as an Archdruid with the AODA, I’ve come to realize that many folks don’t know how to keep a spiritual journal nor what it can be used for or why they should do it. In my professional work as a writing professor, I know how difficult it is for some people to write anything because they lack the tools, motivation, or inspiration to do so. So, given this, I thought I’d take the time today to write about spiritual journals, why we keep them, and tips and strategies for keeping them (and keeping them well).

 

Why keep a spiritual journal?

When you are engaging in a spiritual practice of any kind, it is really helpful to document that practice. So let’s start by exploring the reasons why you would want to keep a spiritual journal.

 

The difference between sacred spaces and mundane spaces. One of the aspects of spiritual practices is that we are in a different head space for the duration of those practices than we are in the regular world. This is true not only of meditation and rituals but also of visits to natural places. We may gain deep insights or have moments of clarity and awakening and retaining those insights are critical for our development. If we don’t write them down, we are very apt to lose them.

 

I have found that in order to “not lose anything,” I have to write down my experiences in ritual or meditation immediately after they happen (often, I will write in my journal before I even close a sacred grove in ritual or before I leave the forest). This allows me to write about these experiences while they are fresh and in the forefront of my head. If I put off writing down my experiences, the longer that time goes by, the less I will remember and remember accurately–especially because visits to wild places and rituals alter our consciousness.

 

Inaccuracy of memory. Our memories are imperfect instruments and we can forget many things. If we write our experiences and understandings down (or use one of the other methods I share here), we offer our future selves a record of those experiences, which is a powerful spiritual tool. Trying to keep everything in our heads is a sure way to lose some of the critically important details or insights we gain as part of our spiritual practices.

 

Some journals that are mixed media/collage with spiritual themes...

To illustrate this, I’ll share a story here. I was out foraging for the day by myself, and I ended up in a really brushy area that required me to slog my way through about a two-acre bramble and brush patch. During this experience, I was in a deep meditative space. I had a critical number of keen insights about nature–all in a row (it must have been the stars aligning). The problem is, I had too many at once! (One of those keen insights about nature became my earlier discussion of weedtending, weedwalking, and weedcrafting while a second became my discussion of first-aid responder plants). I had recently lost my small journal I usually carried in my crane bag (to a river–it carried it away!), so I didn’t have anything to write down my insights on that particular day. And so, lacking any other means, I tried to commit as many as I could to memory. When I finally got back later that evening, all had escaped except the insights on the two posts I included above. Try and meditate as I might, I could not find the other insights anywhere in my brain–they were left in the bramble patch!

 

Keeping a Record. Documenting your practices and experiences through journals offers your future self a record about what you are feeling, experiencing, and the things you are engaging with at that particular point in time. This is a wonderful tool for tracking and understanding your own spiritual development. I love going back and reading my old journals and seeing just how far I have come! It’s also helpful to look at the journals and get a sense of what I was struggling with then, what I’m still struggling with, and what new things have come up.

 

Focusing, Expanding, and Reflection on Your Thoughts.  Journaling is not just a process of writing down exactly what happened or what the insights were, but it’s also a powerful tool and opportunity to ponder or sit with those experiences further.  And so, we gain a double benefit from this work. Reflecting on experiences that just happened allows you another way, which I see as another form of meditation, into those experiences. First, I have found often that after I finish a physical journey, spiritual journey, meditation, ritual, or whatever, writing down what has happened and my thoughts and insights about what has happened allows me to further shape and expand those thoughts (and actually, this is why I got into blogging!)  Part of it is that you are not just getting the initial insight, but taking the time to think about it deeper and focus on it through the journaling experience. This helps the insights and experiences come into sharper focus. Second, reflection also allows us to slow down and think about what we experienced, synth sizing our experiences and our own understandings. We can pick things apart, turn them around, wonder about them, and really gain the ability to see them from multiple angles there in our journal.  It might be that this kind of work needs to happen over a longer period of time than one entry, and that is perfectly acceptable as well.  I’ll also mention here that research in writing studies strongly supports both of the above–we learn through writing and we gain much from reflection!

 

Content of the Journals: What to Write

The question of what should go into a journal is obviously a very personal one.  Here are some possibilities for you to consider:

 

Documenting regular practices. In many of the esoteric traditions, keeping a “magical journal” is a required practice. It’s very helpful to document regular practices and their effects, especially over time. For example, each day I do the AODA’s Sphere of Protection ritual. In the years I was really learning it, I wrote down daily what happened. Now that my practice has stabilized, I no longer find it necessary to write down each day’s sphere unless something out of the ordinary happens during the sphere; but I still find myself writing about it regularly. I do write about my regular meditations, and that’s part of my habitual journal practice.

 

Some more spiritually-themed journals with colorful watercolor pages...

Salient, important things. I once spoke with a woman who told me she was spending more time writing in her journals than in her spiritual practices and was frustrated with the length of time it took to journal. I inquired further and discovered that she was writing down literally everything she was doing. While this certainly is an approach that you can take to spiritual journaling, I’m not sure its one I’d advocate. You’d spend more time, as she did, writing than actually engaging in your spiritual practices! Instead, what I advocate is writing down things of meaning, of salience, and of significance. In other words, I don’t write down every little thing (“I drove to the park”) but I do generally document what I did, what happened, and what I thought about it (“in my walk in the woods, this struck me because of…”).

 

Ideas, Plans, and Goals. I have found it useful to write about goals, ideas, and plans. If you write goals, check in on them regularly and see how you are progressing with them (a simple goal might be to develop a regular daily protective practice, or to spend more time in nature, or to observe the full and new moons in some way).

 

Nature observations. I have found it particularly helpful to document my observations and interactions with nature, given that I’m on a path of nature-based spirituality. For this reason, I almost always take a journal when I’m going out and about (even a small one I can carry with me, although I have a propensity for small journals getting eaten by bodies of water!)

 

Some nice leather journals (both filled!)

Reflections over time. At the end of the journal, when I have only 10-20 or so pages left, I find it really useful to go back through the journal and record any patterns in my thinking, any changes, anything that sticks out of significance to me. It may take me a year or more to fill a journal, but is a very good practice and then helps me “launch” the next journal with a vision and goals in mind.

 

Photos, drawings, plant matter, and memorabilia. You don’t have to be limited to words alone–consider adding drawings, photos, plant matter, and other memorabilia.

 

The Look and Feel of Your Journal

Especially when you are starting out, the finding or making the right journal is really important. There’s something about opening up a fine journal, one that you are attracted to, and writing in it. It’s nice to see it sitting on our shelf, nice to hold and cherish. Your journal might be something you make or something you buy. (I can write a post on bookbinding and spiritual journal making if there is interest. Let me know!) You may also find that you may develop certain preferences (thickness of paper, lined or unlined, etc).

 

I think that there is something special about keeping a physical journal and I would strongly recommend you keep your journal physically. For one, if you are taking it into nature and into sacred spaces with you, the last thing you want is an electronic device in those spaces. The screens have a way of pulling you away and into them rather into the space. If the purpose of the journal is to record words, I would suggest using old-fashioned methods.

 

On the outside: If you are going to go with a purchased journal, You want a journal that lays flat, that is enjoyable to write in, and that is well constructed.  One place to look is on Etsy and similar places and seeing if you can purchase a nice journal that was handmade with care and love.  You’ll support an artist and also have a wonderful journal.   Some journal makers (especially those working in leather) can make a journal cover that you can then replace the insides. This means that you could buy one journal + cover, and then when you are done, put the cover on a new journal and keep going, placing the old journal on your shelf. This is a nice option and represents a limited investment.

 

On the Inside: One of my very early spiritual journals was a simple affair, but homemade. I began by purchasing some hot press, low quality watercolor paper and folding them in half, making signatures. I bound the journal using a Coptic stitch technique with two boards. Then, in each of the pages, I did a simple watercolor wash. The watercolor pages dried and then, when I opened the journal, I had a variety of colorful surfaces on which to write.

My first dedicated spiritual journal (made when I joined the AODA)

You can do the same thing with cheap watercolors and any journal designed for multiple media or mixed media (these are readily available in arts and craft stores). These kinds of journals will be thicker and contain less pages, but will be sturdy and wonderful for colorful washes and bold printing.

[…]

 

Source: On Keeping a Spiritual Journal | The Druid’s Garden

SSRI antidepressants increase risk of intracranial hemorrhage « Jon Rappoport’s Blog

From healthline.com: “Intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) refers to acute bleeding inside your skull or brain. It’s a life-threatening emergency. You should go to the emergency room right away or call 911 if you think you or someone you know is experiencing ICH.”

By Jon Rappoport

The public has learned about the increased risk of suicide and violent behavior (including murder) stemming from the use of SSRI antidepressants. Now there is more:

Psychiatric News reports (4/7/17): “A study published in February in JAMA Neurology has found that patients taking antidepressants that are strong inhibitors of serotonin reuptake (SSRIs) may be at an increased risk for intracranial hemorrhage, particularly during the first month of use…”

“The results showed that compared with patients taking [the older] tricyclic antidepressants, patients being treated with SSRIs had a 17 percent increased risk of experiencing an intracranial hemorrhage. The risk was highest during the first 30 days the patients were taking the medications.”

SSRIs include: Celexa; Prozac; Paxil; Zoloft; Lexapro; Luvox.

Here are quotes from other Psychiatric News articles about SSRI use and bleeding:

“Physicians prescribing selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) should make patients aware of the possibility of gastrointestinal bleeding, especially if they have pre-existing risk factors or are taking other drugs that increase risk, said a University of Pennsylvania psychiatrist.”

From a January 2014 study in the American Journal of Psychiatry—“Short-term SSRI use—even as little as 7 days—elevated the risk of upper gastrointestinal bleeding, especially in male patients. Just as with NSAIDs and aspirin, physicians should carefully monitor for this side effect.”

Note: Suddenly withdrawing from these drugs can be very dangerous. Psychiatrist Peter Breggin publishes this warning: “Most psychiatric drugs can cause withdrawal reactions, sometimes including life-threatening emotional and physical withdrawal problems. In short, it is not only dangerous to start taking psychiatric drugs, it can also be dangerous to stop them. Withdrawal from psychiatric drugs should be done carefully under experienced clinical supervision. Methods for safely withdrawing from psychiatric drugs are discussed in Dr. Breggin’s new book, Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal: A Guide for Prescribers, Therapists, Patients and Their Families.”

rug Withdrawal: A Guide for Prescribers, Therapists, Patients and Their Families.”

Source: SSRI antidepressants increase risk of intracranial hemorrhage « Jon Rappoport’s Blog

Peony – Good Witches Homestead

Source: Peony – Good Witches Homestead

COMMON NAME:  peony
GENUS:  Paeonia
SPECIES, HYBRIDS, CULTIVARS:
P. lactiflora {Chinese peony}-many hybrids; single or double. P. suffruticosa {TREE PEONY}-shrub; does not die back in winter.
FAMILY:  Ranunculaceae
BLOOMS:  late spring
TYPE:  perennial
DESCRIPTION:  Peony greets spring with offerings of very large, beautiful blossoms in pinks, white, and shades of red. The foliage is neat and attractive, and the plants create an appealing, low {2 1/2 to 3 foot} shrub during the summer months. Peony flowers are full and measure 4 to 6 inches across.
CULTIVATION:  Probably one of the greatest attributes of peonies is their longevity. Some peony plants are reported to be more than 100 years old. Once established, peonies should not be transplanted. The plants are tolerant of a wide range of soils but will perform best in neutral or slightly alkaline soils that are light, fertile, and rich in organic matter. Peony roots should be planted so that the eyes are exactly 1 1/2 inches below the soil level. Mix in generous amounts of humus or peat moss before planting. In northern areas, plant in full sun. In hot southern climates, provide a bit of shade.

Called the blessed herb, peonies have been used for centuries for their magical and medicinal properties. Among the powers that peony was thought to possess are the ability to protect shepherds and their flocks; to ward off storms, demons, and nightmares; and to preserve the harvest from danger. Peony is the Greek symbol of healing and the Japanese symbol for a happy marriage and virility. It is the Japanese floral emblem for the month of June.
The Chinese have grown this flower for over 2,000 years. The name for it there is Sho-yo, which means “the beautiful,” and it is considered the flower of prosperity. One Chinese emperor called peonies roses of spring, and a single specimen sold for as much as 100 ounces of gold. According to the Chinese calendar, the tree peony is the floral symbol for March.
The medicinal powers of the plant are legendary. It was named for Paeon, physician to the Greek gods, and a student of Asclepius, {god of medicine and healing}. Leto,  goddess of fertility, told Paeon about a magical root growing on Mount Olympus that would soothe the pain of a woman in childbirth. When Paeon went to get this root, Asclepius became jealous and angry and threatened to kill his pupil. Leto begged help from Zeus, who saved Paeon from the wrath of his teacher by changing him into the peony flower.
Perhaps because of this legend, peony seeds have been given to pregnant women for centuries. It was also thought that the roots, held over a person’s head or around the neck, would cure insanity. Other medicinal uses included the prevention of epileptic convulsions and soothing the gums o teething infants. Pliny, a Roman statesman, said that peonies are the “oldest of plants, and are an important medicine that cures twenty ills.”
Superstition warns us, however, that the plant is protected by woodpeckers. If you try to gather peony for medicinal purposes while a woodpecker is in sight, your patient might die.
The magical powers of peonies were thought to be even stronger than the medicinal ones. Mothers in rural areas hung strings of peony seeds around an infant’s neck as a protection against the “Evil Eye.” The seeds, particularly if soaked in rain water, were worn as an amulet for protection against witchcraft and the devil. The plant’s reputation for supernatural powers was enhanced by its phosphorescent qualities-some plants actually glow in the dark. For the most potent magical powers, seeds and roots were gathered in the dead of night.
The first peonies, considered important healing herbs, were brought to England by the Roman legions in 1200. They have been cherished in England since then, first for their medicinal value, and then for their unparalleled beauty. Peonies have been in the United States since early colonial days. For the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876, peony was used to symbolize the American spirit, ambition, and determination to adapt and thrive.
The only country ever named for a flower was Paeonia, located in what is now northern Greece. It was a legitimate country complete with a government, army, and imperial ring, but it was conquered during the Persian Wars.
Peony is the state flower of Indiana.

The language of peony is shame, for it was thought to be the hiding place of a dishonorable nymph.

From the Land Down Under: “China Wants Our Donkeys Dead or Alive!” | Straight from the Horse’s Heart

OpEd by Andrea Jenkins – Donkeys of Australia

Over the past few months I have read many articles about donkeys. There was one article I read a couple of weeks ago though that really hit a nerve.

The article included a stunning picture of a donkey, gazing out from his paddock. The barb wire that cut across in front of him indicated that he stood just behind a fence. It led me to imagine a stranger stopping road side with camera in hand, readying the exposure for the autumn sunlight and the yellow daisies. He waits, aware that the donkey has his ears pricked and stands attentive to this new energy invading his home. Curious, this gentle, wise creature meanders over to say hello. The stranger shoots and then is gone, taking a moment in time with him to use as he wishes.

I don’t know this donkey personally. Perhaps he is your donkey? Or someone you know? I imagine other photos he stands in, cuddled by the grandkids, lazing in the sun, a beloved family member that sits in frames on the mantelpiece for the world to see.

I’d love to own this donkey, yet I’m happy I don’t. I don’t think I could bare it. The stranger has not taken this particular photo to show how cherished and adored this donkey is. Mortified, I read the caption: good enough to export.

Yes, sadly, this donkey has become the latest face for donkey export to China. He is pitted next to the words of Barnaby Joyce as a creature with a price tag, an economic commodity, an edible product worthy of export. The nerve it struck was raw. It rocked me to my core. How can we be asked to look at this magnificent creature and see it as a dead product being shovelled into the mouths of those that search for a miracle elixir for eternal youth and vitality?

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. Like I said, I’ve read many articles about donkeys over the past few months. In fact, I’ve read, watched, spoken on the phone and data analysed the horrors the ‘insatiable’ appetite for Ejiao brings crashing to our shores.

It’s been extremely challenging for me to witness the creature I love more than anything get decimated in such a brutal way, but I feel I must walk with them through this struggle as they have walked with us through constant struggles throughout time. I must stand with them now and help their voices be heard. It is with their characteristic traits of love, compassion and humility that I proceed to further my education and, hopefully, the education of others, with regard to the issues facing Australian donkeys.

I am sure many of you have read the horrors that are linked with the donkey skin trade. I’m sure you have read that what is, essentially, donkey poaching, has become a regular occurrence in some parts of Africa. I’m sure you have read about the exorbitant prices donkeys are now selling for and the fact that those living in rural villages can no longer afford to replace their donkeys, leaving them without a means to collect their water or send their children to school. I’m sure you’ve heard of the donkey slaughter houses, the string of animal welfare concerns and the shocking statistics that draw many to believe our beloved donkeys are vanishing from this world. I am not sure, however, that you have been able to find much information on the current Australian situation and what it means for Australian donkeys.

So here I am, writing this article for you. It is my aim in writing that I am able to summarise what I have learned, to date, on Ejiao and how this skin trade is expected to affect our Australian donkeys . I am by no means claiming to be an expert on the matter. I am simply one girl who uses Google and the telephone and has been willing to dive into the hay stack, so to speak, and try and find some answers. This brings me to the second aim in writing this article. It is also a desperate cry for help. It is my wish that we may come up with a structure for research and action together as we venture forward with, and for, our beloved donkeys. What I write now details the journey Ejiao has taken me on so far.

When I first heard whispers that China wanted our donkeys, I wrapped myself in the safety net I, and many others, naively believed we had. It seemed that we did not have the numbers of donkeys required to make the idea of donkey export viable. That teamed with the vast and unforgiving landmass the donkeys inhabited seemed to make the cost too much for a return that was far too small. It still seemed that culling was the preferred method of eradication.

Yet, as time passed, donkey populations in China—and globally—started to dwindle, demand for Ejiao skyrocketed, pressure on global markets to supply the increase in demand grew exponentially and the viability of exporting donkeys to China suddenly changed as the price tag kept rising. Pressured with ongoing enquiries the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Resources (NTDPIR) compiled a report into the potential of donkey farming in the Northern Territory (September 2016).

Again, even though the report ultimately found that donkey farming was viable, either as a stand- alone venture or complimentary to the cattle industry, I thought we had a safety net. The safety net seemed to be that there was no Tier 2 processing facility and no operational export protocols to China. Reading that the capital outlay required for such a facility would be somewhere between the $50-$100 million mark and knowing there were no operational protocols for export to China made it sound, again, that the donkeys were to stay on Australian shores.

Yet, as I researched further and talked to more people on the phone I began to understand the saying ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’ really does apply to the situation here. Everywhere I turned looking for the next piece of the puzzle I got offered a piece that didn’t fit. I found that when I stopped allowing myself to get distracted by the technical jargon of protocols I, instead, found a big picture with most of the puzzle already in place. Like I say, I am only one girl and I am fully aware that I have more research to go, yet this is how I have come to see the big picture so far.

China wants our donkeys. The Australian agribusiness sector wants to expand export opportunities and make as much money as possible. Station owners want the feral donkeys gone. Farmers want ways to diversify their stock to get them through tough times. Multi-species abattoirs are being built with heavy Chinese investment. Chinese investment in Australian agribusiness is seen as desirable. Trial kills of donkeys are currently happening. More wild donkeys are already being rounded up. The Coalition Government has recently signed a Joint Statement with China to hugely expand market access for Australia’s red meat and live animal export industries to China. Barnaby Joyce is publicly announcing that Australia will be providing edible donkey skins to China and pushing it as a big, new market. Tariffs on hides and skins exported to China are being eliminated between 1st January 2017 and 1st of January 2022. The price of wild donkeys being rounded up and sold has already drastically increased.

So what does this all mean? Yes, China will be getting our donkeys. There may be a few little things to sort out in terms of protocols but it is happening. No one is standing in the way and stopping things from progressing forward. Most of the information I have read indicates that wild donkeys will be rounded up and breed as livestock for the Ejiao trade. Edible donkey skins will be exported to China. Some of the donkey meat will be sold within Australia as pet meat. Some of the meat will be sold internationally for human consumption. It also seems that, as the export market to China opens up under these new trade agreements, donkeys could potentially be live exported to China as well.

Even as I write that last sentence, my heart breaks a new. Not only will I be living in a country that potentially has no wild donkeys left. Not only will I be living in a country with fields of donkeys tagged and fattened ready for the slaughterhouse truck. I will also be living in a country that makes the conscious choice to send sensitive, emotional, smart, alive creatures on a ship, destined for a place of unfathomable animal cruelty. Do you think you can live in the country I describe? Unfortunately, this is what we are facing.

Of course there are obvious animal welfare concerns as are always evident with creatures subjected to the tortures of live export, yet there are more subtle and insidious concerns at play too. One thing I am concerned about is that wild donkeys are to be rounded up and sold as breeding stock. Will the breeding jennies have any much needed maintenance and care? Will their hooves be trimmed? Will their health be attended to? An ongoing animal welfare issue with the Ejiao trade is the lack of donkey healthcare as it is only the skin that is deemed valuable making money spent on overall health a waste of finances.

Another concern is the distances donkeys will be transported to abattoirs. The multispecies abattoir being built in Charleville will apparently be transporting donkeys from the Northern Territory and perhaps even South Australia. Will these donkeys be given the required rests, food and water? How tightly will they be packed in? If rounded up from the wild and trucked, how are foals and pregnant jennies going to be cared for? How will they be treated as they are rounded up, trucked and, ultimately, slaughtered? As ‘pests’ donkeys are not given the same protective rights as other animals in Australia. I will admit that I don’t know how far their protective rights are striped due to their classification as pests yet it is important to ensure that their welfare is adhered to at all stages of transport and processing.

Yet another concern I have is how will this big, new market be regulated? Can anyone start farming donkeys? How is the government going to monitor who is involved in this trade and how this trade is carried out on a day-to-day basis? As the avenues for export open up, there needs to be regulation on this trade, right from the small, hobby farms to the largest stations in the country, along with any wild stock that are mustered and sent straight to slaughter. Many of the people who are going to be involved are experienced in the needs of cattle and are not educated when it comes to donkeys. It is my desire that, for those joining this industry, they are required to gain further donkey specific education.

Now I write about my biggest concern: that our wild donkeys will become extinct and we will either be left with donkeys stuck in a horrific cycle of breeding and slaughter or with no donkeys left at all. This concern comes from a couple of factors. One factor is that no one knows how many donkeys we have to start with. There has been no accurate headcount of donkeys in Australia ever. Yet those, like Barnaby Joyce, who are pushing donkey skins as the next big industry, claim on a very public platform that Australia has millions of wild donkeys. This is simply not the case. The NTDPIR has a far more realistic estimate of the number of wild donkeys, stating that they believe there are roughly 50 thousand donkeys in the Northern Territory—although this figure is thought to be about ten years old and is not considered reliable. If we don’t know how many donkeys we have in the first place, how can we know if this trade, and the way it is to be carried out, will be sustainable?

Another factor is that, with the current Ejiao demand, upwards of 4 million donkeys are already believed to be slaughtered each year and the global donkey population literally cannot keep up. This is being reported with the dwindling of numbers in different parts of the world. It is believed donkey populations in China have halved, Mexican donkeys are considered endangered and some are predicting that, if things don’t change, the African donkey could be extinct in as little as five years If indeed our donkey population is somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 our donkeys could be wiped out be Ejiao demand in a matter of weeks. Even if farming does occur in the near future, stock numbers will need to be built up and stabilised. This will take time as donkeys have a long gestation period and do not breed well in stressful situations. If export opens up as we expect it could under these new trade agreements and wild donkeys are sent straight to multi-species abattoirs for processing it might not be long before they are all gone.

In conclusion, I would like to ask that we unite in action going forward. I know it might seem too big an issue to tackle or too graphic an issue to engage with. This does not have to be the case. No action towards this cause will be wasted. Everything counts. I know signing petitions may seem pointless but they are not. One petition to help Australian donkeys, that has over 5,000 signatures, has been mentioned in a news articles that details Barnaby Joyce and his new donkey skin trade desires. It is important that we continue to make our voices heard.

Another suggestion for action is to research a small part of the situation here and report it back to the various donkey societies, or to the facebook page I have created. An area for research might be to keep an eye on how many donkeys are being rounded up, record prices of donkeys at auctions and who is buying, figuring out if the abattoirs near you are exporting donkeys, monitor the news for further information etc. If you are happy to engage with media you could look for news reporters and TV hosts that are willing to run a section on Ejiao (in a respectful manner). You could apply pressure on different organisations to get an accurate population count so that we have more reliable information on the sustainability of the skin trade. You could help change the classification of donkeys as ‘pests’ so they are granted more protective rights.

There are so many ways you can help. Even if it means simply sharing your own donkeys with the wider public more and more in an effort to alter common misconceptions associated with donkeys, perpetrated by the Australian media. It is important that more people come to realise how smart, sensitive and loving these creatures are. The more that people connect with the donkeys, the more of a movement we will be able to create to support them through this crisis.

I thank you so much for taking the time to read the article I have put together and I hope it is has been informative. Below, I have added links to information I have collected and the points that have been touched on through this article. I have also attached the ‘Under the Skin’ campaign by the Donkey Sanctuary UK. If you would like to stay updated on the Ejiao trade, please sign up. Lastly, I would like to say feel free to follow my new Facebook page ‘Donkeys of Australia’. I have set it up with the aim of creating an information hub. Thank you once again for reading and I look forward to working with you to ensure a bright and sustainable future for our donkeys.

Links:

Under the Skin https://www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/under-the-skin

Donkeys of Australia https://www.facebook.com/Donkeys-of-Australia-1088323071303237/

Petitions:

https://www.change.org/p/australian-donkeys-face-being-bludgeoned-to-death-with- sledgehammers-if-live-exported-to-china

https://www.change.org/p/adam-giles-please-don-t-allow-china-to-export-our-australian-wild- donkeys

Barnaby Joyce http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/other-industries/barnaby-joyce-eyes- potential-new-market-exporting-donkey-skins-to-china/news- story/0d2b690a54e020368b939192d97f5526

New Trade Agreements http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/03/24/donkey-meat-beef- agriculture-australia-china-trade-wider-ever

New Trade Agreements http://www.skynews.com.au/news/top-stories/2017/03/24/china-talks- trade–prosperity-with-turnbull.html

Donkey Farming Report https://dpir.nt.gov.au/primary-industry/agricultural-developments/donkey- farming

Multi-Species Abattoir Charleville http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-08/charleville-processing- plant-set-to-open-2017/8004938

AACo Abatoir becomes multi-species abattoir http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-11/aaco- darwin-abattoir-buffalo-slaughter/8012144

Application to export to China under new trade agreements http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04- 07/aust-agricultural-company-applies-access-china-beef-market/8417796

Old article indicating the tone of the media when commenting on donkeys-

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/queensland-to-become-the-ass-end-of-australia- 20090621-csw6.html

AusTrade-Information on Tariffs http://dfat.gov.au/trade/agreements/chafta/fact- sheets/Pages/chafta-opening-new-opportunities-for-australian-products-in-china.aspx

Source: From the Land Down Under: “China Wants Our Donkeys Dead or Alive!” | Straight from the Horse’s Heart

Dreaming 102 – Elder Mountain Dreaming

Middle World: As the illustration below shows, when you are experiencing in your dreams or the in-between (states of waking and dreaming) of the “pulling or sucking upward” experiences. This means that your astral body (soul) is being sucked up by a outside source (ifo ships). Fight and resist this as much as possible and wake yourself up to pull yourself out. Sucking up which is an outside influence.

Under World: As the illustration below shows, when you are experiencing in your dream state or in-between (waking and dreaming)  the falling downwards is a natural state and not to be frightened. This is when one must begin to deal with the karmic astral body in the underworld. One should “never” work with their karmic astral body shadow and the various consequences of such interaction, it is mandatory to keep healing boundaries “outside of the underworld.” If the “falling downward” begins to happen its time to work with grounded disciplines and sobriety. This is the time the realm opens to heal personal issues at greater levels than normal and begin to work with a shaman of experience.

As a dreamer (shaman) I counsel and guide with experienced wisdom, for those wanting to ground and stabilize this activity of one’s soul body. I work with the different levels,  practices and grounding disciplines of  the processes all levels of the soul, paranormal experiences, out of bodies, multiple levels of dreams, dreaming and more advanced dreaming.
tumblr_o4wk3fqf1i1qayzxjo1_1280

Art: Pierre Julien Fieux

Source: Dreaming 102 – Elder Mountain Dreaming

Wolves can be shot on sight in most of Wyoming after state takes over management | Straight from the Horse’s Heart

by as published at the Casper Star Tribune

Wyoming assumed management once again of wolves within its borders on Tuesday, and those apex predators wandering outside the northwest corner of the state can be shot on sight.

The Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., entered its final order in favor of Wyoming in a lawsuit that landed wolves back on the endangered species list in 2014. The court announced in early March that it had upheld the state’s plan but had not issued its final order.

Tuesday’s decision is what Wyoming wolf managers hope is the last legal battle in a roller-coaster legal process.

 “All indications are that this decision shows once again that Wyoming’s plan is a sound management plan,” said Brian Nesvik, chief of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s wildlife division. “They will remain in the hands of state management. For Wyoming this is, again, this is a time for us to celebrate. This is a good thing for Wyoming to be able to take on another wildlife resource.”

No changes were made to Wyoming’s wolf management plan from when the state oversaw the carnivores between 2012 and 2014, Nesvik said.

That means Wyoming will manage the 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs outside of Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Reservation.

Wolves in 85 percent of the state are considered a predator and can be shot on sight, similar to coyotes. They are classified as a trophy animal in the northwest corner of the state and subject to fall hunting seasons. Those seasons have not yet been set, Nesvik said, adding that wolves in those areas cannot be hunted right now. The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission will set those seasons after a public comment period…(CONTINUED)

http://trib.com/lifestyles/recreation/wolves-can-be-shot-on-sight-in-most-of-wyoming/article_b22f00b2-cc8e-50d0-99eb-fd2b24f8608d.html

Source: Wolves can be shot on sight in most of Wyoming after state takes over management | Straight from the Horse’s Heart

Occult systems: the trick behind them « Jon Rappoport’s Blog

by Jon Rappoport

April 28, 2017

It should be obvious to readers who’ve been with me for a while that I attack delusion in more than one place. Political systems, medical systems…and so-called spiritual systems.

That’s because I happen to believe in legitimate limited government, healing, and the unbounded life of the individual spiritual being.

Occult systems, which propose they have a hidden secret at the core, which will be revealed after a long and exhaustive search, are, at best, deluded, because they are concealing CONTENT.

By content, I mean information, knowledge, pattern, some facet of what already exists. This is a dead-end.

There is nothing wrong with truthful information. But….

Suppose we had a secret society called The Inner Core Flame X42. And we sold our members on the idea that, after a series of ascending initiations, they would arrive at the X, the secret of secrets.

Well, what could X be? Some nugget of information, some formula or phrase or fact or made-up fact about existence that is supposed to solve problems and enlighten consciousness.

But consciousness is dynamic. It isn’t a key looking for a lock.

Consciousness is dynamic because it creates. It creates new realities.

It isn’t primarily a container for What Is, for what already exists.

If there is a secret about consciousness, that’s it. IT CREATES.

So no matter what X we cooked up, it would become obsolete, of minor value.

Humans are ripe for buying an X because they are trained, and train themselves, to place the highest value on What Already Exists.

That’s mind control par excellence.

Occult systems deliver what controlled minds expect, and that’s why they’ve flourished. That’s the only reason why.

But there is another way.

When a person sees the “artistic” blow-by-blow creation of these power structures, in progress—rather than the finished product—an entirely new consciousness arises.

“If they can create Reality for me, I can create my own.”

“If they are artists, I can be an artist, too—but in an entirely different direction.”

The Matrix ceases to be a monolith. It is revealed as an ongoing weave, and one can see the process at work.

Then, one’s own insight operates on behalf of liberation.

A person can actually see how he cooperates in the progression of accepting “the weave.”

And he sees other options.

Therefore, as I put together The Matrix Revealed, I made sure to show Matrix as a work in process, an ongoing enterprise, a work of art, as it were, that can be dismantled—as a person takes another road of his own.

This is vital. It transforms victimization into inspiration.

In my work, I was assisted by interviewees who profoundly understood all this.

Source: Occult systems: the trick behind them « Jon Rappoport’s Blog

Ozark Encyclopedia – B – Boneset – Mountain Man Traditional Healing

Author: MMH

Boneset – Eupatorium perfoliatum

Parts used: leaf, flower

Traditional uses: Used as a purgative. Infusion taken for colds. Used as a tonic, sudorific, stimulant, emetic and antiseptic. Infusion taken for “ague,” colds and flu. Used as a stimulant. Infusion taken for sore throat. Decoction of plant used as a gentle emetic. Plant used as a fever medicine.

“Stimulant, febrifuge and laxative. It acts slowly and persistently, and its greatest power is manifested upon the stomach, liver, bowels and uterus. It is regarded as a mild tonic in moderate doses, and is also diaphoretic, more especially when taken as a warm infusion, in which form it is used in attacks of muscular rheumatism and general cold. In large doses it is emetic and purgative. Many of the earlier works allude to this species as a diuretic, and therefore of use in dropsy, but this is an error, this property being possessed by Eupatorium purpureum, the purple-flowered Boneset, or Gravel Root. It has been much esteemed as a popular febrifuge, especially in intermittent fever, and has been employed, though less successfully, in typhoid and yellow fevers. It is largely used by the negroes of the Southern United States as a remedy in all cases of fever, as well as for its tonic effects. As a mild tonic it is useful in dyspepsia and general debility, and particularly serviceable in the indigestion of old people. The infusion of 1 OZ of the dried herb to 1 pint of boiling water may be taken in wineglassful doses, hot or cold: for colds and to produce perspiration, it is given hot; as a tonic, cold. As a remedy in catarrh, more especially in influenza, it has been extensively used and with the best effects, given in doses of a wineglassful, warm every half hour, the patient remaining in bed the whole time; after four or five doses, profuse perspiration is caused and relief is obtained. It is stated that the popular name Boneset is derived from the great value of this remedy in the treatment of a species of influenza which had much prevailed in the United States, and which from the pain attending it was commonly called Break-Bone Fever. This species of Eupatorium has also been employed in cutaneous diseases, and in the expulsion of tapeworm.” ~Grieve MH

*** Cautions: Contains trace amounts of the toxin pyrrolizidine. Caution should be taken when using internally. Large doses emetic. *** 

Tea for fevers and chills – “Boneset tea is a favorite remedy for chills, fever, and ague.” ~Randolph OMF 107

Root tea for colds – “My mother says as a child she had malaria with chills every other day and fever. An old aunt of her mothers came to visit and told her brothers to go into the woods and get the root of a certain plant called ‘bone set’. She took the roots, washed them, and boiled them, and made a tea. This my mother had to drink, and it cured her, and she has never had a chill to this day.” ~Parler FBA II 1767

Applied to body for malaria – “A cure for malaria is to take the oil from a plant called a bone set (Eupatorium) and apply to the person with malaria.” ~Parler FBA III 2676


Grieve, Margaret A Modern Herbal (MH)

Moerman, Daniel E. Native American Ethnobotany (NAE)

Parler, Mary Celestia Folk Beliefs from Arkansas (FBA)

Randolph, Vance Ozark Magic and Folklore (OMF)

Source: Ozark Encyclopedia – B – Boneset – Mountain Man Traditional Healing

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