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Friday, December 10, 2010

Noon Today: UN Human Rights Day Event at UNM SUB

Join the UNM Office for Equity & Inclusion for Human Rights Day 2010 on Friday, December 10, from 12:00 to 1:00 PM in the UNM SUB Atrium for music, poetry, speakers and information tables celebrating 62 years since the signing of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

The event is also co-sponsored by the Albuquerque International Association Student Group; Afghan Student Association; Amnesty International; Asian Family Center; Association for the Advancement of Minorities in Medicine; Associated Students for Empowerment; Black Student Union; Community Learning & Public Service (CLPS)/UNM Service Corps; Coalition for Immigration, Race & Social Justice; Coalition for Peace & Justice in the Middle East; ENLACE; Mexican Student Association; Net Impact; Out Queer Grads; Pakistani Student Assocition; Political Science Graduate Student Association; Project for New Mexico Graduates of Color; Queer Straight Alliance; and Raza Graduate Student Association (RGSA).

Click for more information on Human Rights Day 2010.

The theme for Human Rights Day 10 December 2010 is human rights defenders who act to end discrimination. Human rights defenders acting against discrimination, often at great personal risk to both themselves and their families, are being recognized and acclaimed on this day.

Human rights defenders speak out against abuse and violations including discrimination, exclusion, oppression and violence. They advocate justice and seek to protect the victims of human rights violations. They demand accountability for perpetrators and transparency in government action. In so doing, they are often putting at risk their own safety, and that of their families.

Some human rights defenders are famous, but most are not. They are active in every part of the world, working alone and in groups, in local communities, in national politics and internationally.

Human Rights Day 2010 will highlight and promote the achievements of human rights defenders and it will again emphasize the primary responsibility Governments have to enable and protect their role. The Day is also intended to inspire a new generation of defenders to speak up and take action to end discrimination in all of its forms whenever and wherever it is manifested.

The story does not end after 10 December 2010. The focus on the work of human rights defenders will continue through all of 2011.

December 10, 2010 at 10:22 AM in Civil Liberties, Events, International Relations, Minority Issues | Permalink


Heifer International (HI) is an organization that claims to work against world hunger by donating animals to families in developing countries. Its catalog deceptively portrays beautiful children holding cute animals in seemingly humane circumstances. The marketing brochure for HI does not show the animals being transported, their living and slaughter conditions, or the erosion, pollution and water use caused by the introduction of these animals and their offspring.

By definition, animals raised for food are exploited in a variety of ways. The animals shipped to developing countries are often subject to; water and food shortages, cruel procedures without painkillers, lack of veterinary care resulting in extended suffering as a result of illness or injury.

A large percentage of the families receiving animals from HI are struggling to provide for themselves and cannot ensure adequate living conditions, nutrition, and medical care for animals they have been given. HI provides some initial veterinary training to individuals and the initial vaccines. But, long term care for these animals and their offspring is up to the individuals.

To make matters worse, animal agriculture causes much more harm to the environment than plant-based agriculture. The fragile land in many of the regions HI is sending the animals cannot support animal agriculture. Although they say they encourage cut and carry feeding of the animals to avoid erosion, the reality is often quite different.

The consumption of animal products has been shown in reputable studies to contribute significantly to life-threatening diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and a variety of cancers. Regions that have adopted a diet with more animal products see an increase in these diseases. The remote communities supposedly served by HI have no way of dealing with the health consequences of joining the high-cholesterol world.

While it may seem humane and sustainable to provide just one or two dairy cows here or there, the long term consequences are an increased desire for animal products in local cultures leading to an increase in production. These communities may be able to absorb the additional water use of one or two cows, what happens when there are hundreds or thousands of dairy cows, each consuming 27 to 50 gallons of fresh water and producing tons of excrement? The heavy cost to animals, the environment and local economies is not figured into HI's business practices.

Posted by: JC | Dec 11, 2010 8:51:24 AM

So does "JC" think these people should just starve and have no way to make a living? I bet this person has never had to go without.

Posted by: Leni | Dec 11, 2010 10:28:22 AM