Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Thursday, April 09, 2009


I am trying to adapt the old adage about the one-eyed man in the land of the blind, as quoted by Tom Waits on Singapore. But I am finding it increaingly difficult. How does: "In the land of the mad, the bipolar bloke who only hallucinates some of the time, seems relatively sane"? No, it doesn't grab you by the short and curlies does it?
I have never made any secret of the fact that I have mental health problems. Like a large proportion of the human race, especially in the increasingly complicated and stressful society of the Western World, my faculties ain't what they should be. No, let's stop pussyfooting around. Some of the time I am as mad as a bagful of cheese, and I am sure that my leadership of the CFZ has reflected that sad fact on occasions through the years.
However, at least as far as our activities with animal welfare are concerned, we behaving reasonably normally. Reasonably normally, that is, compared to PETA.
What the hell is happening to animnal welfare organisations? As shown in these pages, the RSPCA has mutated from a benign organisation that gave out information leaflets about tortoises with shell rot, and helped old ladies who could not afford to spay their pussy. But PETA, these days at least, are just barnpots.
They were formed in 1980, and combated the fur trade, vivisection and cruel sports by litigation and high profile demonstrations, which often involved a pretty female celebrity taking her clothes off. Woo Hoo!!! There should be more public nudity in animal rights. But recently, like so many other organisations, they have started to become victims of their own dogma and have started making such ridiculous public statements that it is hard to take them seriously.

In october last year they started a campaign to rename all members of the petromyzontidae, chondrichthyes, or the superclass osteichthyes as "sea-kittens" rather than "fish". Hmmmmmm.
"If everyone started calling fish 'sea kittens,' they'd be a lot less likely to violently kill them for food, painfully hook them for 'sport,' or cruelly confine them to aquariums," a spokeswoman said.

Christ on a Bike!!!

(By the way, at the point may I digress? The last time my brother heard me come out with that expression, he solemnly pointed out that there was no tradition of two wheeled transport in the Holy Land 2,000 years ago. He should know; being a vicar he is an expert. However, if there is any archaeological evidence to the contrary please let me know).

But back to PETA. Their latest idiocy is even more of an own-goal. It has been 25 years since a synthesiser pop duo consiting of a dour northerner who had once edited the Captain Britain comics, and a bloke wearing shades who always stood still, first hit the public consciousness. Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Pet Shop Boys hit the British consciousness. Since it has been proved that the band are NOT named after an unpleasant activity involving gerbils and vaseline, what have they got to do with animal rights? Neil Tennant is after all a national treasure.

Well not to PETA. BBC news this morning reads:

Pop group Pet Shop Boys have revealed they have turned down a request by animal rights group Peta to rename themselves the Rescue Shelter Boys. "Peta Europe has written to Pet Shop Boys with a request they are unable to agree to," reads a post on the band's official website. But the band admits the request "raises an issue worth thinking about".

Peta's letter requests the name change due to the cruelty which they allege takes place in the pet trade. If the band were to agree to the name change, it continues, it would "encourage your millions of fans to consider giving a home to an abandoned or unwanted animal from an animal shelter".

PETA have done one of two things here. They are either bonkers, or they have been very subtle, and by making a deliberately stupid request, got publicity from all sorts of people (like me, for example) who would not normally have covered their campaign.

Now that is clever.

PS The Pet Shop Boys 10th studio album Yes has just been released, and it certainly has its moments

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Basically, PETA are bonkers. One of their main founders takes the view that a quick and painless death is preferable to captivity and thus that is what all PETA shelters do to any animal brought to them: they kill over 98% of all animals donated.

This has gotten so outrageous that the US State of Virginia has begun the legal proceedings needed to revoke the status of PETA as an operator of animal shelters and grant it the status of a slaughterhouse, on the completely reasonable grounds that their premises are not a shelter for animals but a place of death.

PETA is also highly unusual amongst animal welfare organisations in their use of money; most places use the bulk of their money running what are effectively animal holding systems, rehabilitation systems and basic vet facilities, plus the low-end staffing costs needed for the above. PETA by contrast spends the bulk of its cash on advertising campaigns and pay for senior executives, and spends next to nothing on animal shelter facilities (and gets away with this by killing everything it receives).