Tag Archives: ethics

Animal Rights vs. Animal Welfare [TNR = Trap, Neuter, Re-Abandon]

11 Aug

Last time, we talked about semantics.  The Humane Society (HSUS), is not associated with your local shelter, and a very small amount of their money is granted to any shelter.  The vast majority of HSUS funds are kept for its own agenda (27).  I told you we would discuss what the primary agenda of HSUS is if it’s not the rescue of dogs and cats. 

Before we get into that, lets review animal rights vs. animal welfare, because the difference will become pertinent to this discussion, and the following posts as well.  Important note:  These terms are politically and emotionally charged so I tried to get (extra!)-valid sources, and I also tried to find a source aligned with each respective side for their own definition.  Because both sides of the ethical divide believe their philosophy is the most sensical and humane, there was a decided slant when they defined the opposing view.  I also tried to do very minimal editing, just changing slight things so the sentences flow, but never the meaning.

An animal is in a good state of welfare if (as indicated by scientific evidence) it is healthy, comfortable, well-nourished, safe, able to express innate behavior, and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress. Good animal welfare requires disease prevention and veterinary treatment, appropriate shelter, management, nutrition, humane handling, and humane slaughter. Animal welfare refers to the state of the animal; the treatment that an animal receives is covered by other terms such as animal care, animal husbandry, and humane treatment.1 Protecting an animal’s welfare means providing for its physical and mental needs.

  1. https://www.avma.org/resources/animal-health-welfare/animal-welfare-what-it

I think it’s fair to say that many people believe that animal welfare and animal rights are one and the same. And while there is definitely some overlap, from a technical perspective, as I alluded to above, they are actually opposing viewpoints.

Believe it or not, the definition of animal rights is actually very difficult to nail down, depending on if you ask a lawyer, an animal rights advocate, or a philosopher.

But we can stick to defining it at one core principle any person would agree with- animal rights concerns itself, in large part, with the notion of the legal entitlements of [non-human] animals that pertain to giving that animal:

  • An independent life and thus the freedom to pursue its activities as it chooses to do so within a set legal framework.
  • At the very least, basic considerations and rights (on par with similar human ones) that would allow them to avoid needless suffering.

Affording rights to animals is not about letting them do whatever they want or allowing them every single right a person has, but it is about allowing them to have the possession of their own life and the avoidance of suffering that may be imposed upon them by humans.

With respect to this and current law, an animal is not a legal person. Your dog is technically a piece of property and not its own legal entity, as a human would be. In other words, your pet dog is closer to having the legal status of the chair you sit on than it does a person.  [Animal rights activists] are for the right of an animal to choose its own destiny much like a person can. Animal rights is about ensuring humans cannot use animals in many of the same ways they once did (and still do) use slaves. It’s about giving animals the right to their own destiny, a destiny that’s not chosen, by and large, by someone or something else.

                       28). https://study.com/academy/lesson/animal-rights-ethics-arguments.html

My takeaway points:

Animal welfare is observable, measurable, and evidence-based.  It is (supposed to be) practiced by all entities that work with animals in any capacity.

Animal rights is a philosophy, and it is difficult to implement or measure because historically that is not how our system has been built.  Animal rights is more of an ideal and future goal.

In my opinion, the largest difference between animal welfare and rights is the use of animals.  The animal rights side does not believe humans should be engaging with animals for research, work, entertainment, food–nothing. Animal welfare proponents acknowledges that society already uses animals for a multitude of things.

It’s a judgement call where you stand, and your decision has implications for the rest of our discussion.  So next time (promise!) we will talk about what HSUS wants to accomplish as an organization.

Working Interview (Part Deuce)

14 Apr

I feel very strongly about this subject.  See my first post [I think it’s titled:  The Working Interview:  A Concerning New Trend in Veterinary Medicine or something like that just type key words in the search on my blog] about it to get one (of at least 4) examples of my personal experiences with going through working interviews.  And it’s become totally commonplace in veterinary field.  And I’d like to comment how it’s unethical, and suggest different ways to forge that trust with potential employees–rather than exploiting them.

-Firstly, I’m not talking about your veterinary observation hours to beef up your application, nor am I talking about shelter volunteer hours for community service.  Finally, this is not a story about an internship for grades, school credit, or required experience where you know the expectations and are guaranteed to get something (NOT money, but letters, hours, recommendation, etc. . ., etc. . .) back.  I am referring to an additional interview where you perform duties and give your time to a for-profit business with the HOPE of receiving employment.

-Secondly, I feel like veterinary hopefuls want to feel righteous in giving their time away.  Like they have more passion if they are willing to work longer, crummier hours, for no benefits, and little/no money.  This is untrue–giving away your time and services doesn’t make you a better vet school candidate, show that you have more passion, or prove that you are a genuine, and better person–it only makes you more naive  AND helps the conditions at veterinary medicine stagnate.  By allowing these practices to continue by participating in them, remaining silent about them, or stigmatizing others for speaking out–YOU are contributing to unfair, unethical, and unsafe practices in a field that we all love.  Stop it!  Read some history about the industrial revolution and see how the workers who went on strike (against conditions appalling to today’s standard, and just well, standard practice back then) were emotionally, psychologically, and sometimes physically beaten down by big corporate, middle management, and peers–to see how the working interview is a repetition of by-gone times.

Job-hungry, interviewee, what to do If the WORKING INTERVIEW comes up:

-Most importantly, be aware what you are giving up if you agree to an interview.  Maybe you don’t care, in which case refer to #2 above.  Maybe you’re desperate for a job, in which case, I’m sorry.  I’ve been there too.

-Ask what to wear.  Chances are, if the potential employer requests you wear scrubs, they are expecting you to perform hands-on work, not just observe.

-Ask exactly how many hours and days will be required.  If they are non-committal or shady, I would think twice about working there.  Because, if they’re already trying to get work out of you before you’re even hired, what will it be like when you are totally dependent on that employment once hired?

-I never feel comfortable bringing up compensation, especially before you are hired, but if you have the guts (and are willing to gamble the job position) ask if you will be compensated for the time.

-DO ask what will occur if you happen to get injured during the working interview.  And don’t let them slide past the question without a firm answer.  Veterinary medicine is fraught with potential risks and harms, and you need to know how this will be handled.

-Ask what tasks you can expect to perform.  If you are uncomfortable doing any of those things as a non-employee, DO bring up why you are concerned, ie–I’m not certain I feel comfortable accepting the risk of monitoring antithetic when I am not familiar with your particular equipment or procedures.

-Don’t sign anything you are not comfortable with–and this might mean walking away from the job opportunity.  I signed stuff, and totally regret it.  It’s not right, and they know it.

-Lastly, get it in writing!  Make sure the above answers to your questions are in written form and both you and the business has a copy.  This is for everyone’s protection–and imperative.

-And the very worst part about the working interview:  Saying no to it is saying no to the job opportunity.  And that’s not ethical or right on the part of the hiring entity.

Of the employer/head vet/office manager requesting the working interview, I say:

-Would you feel comfortable defending your hiring practiced to the Department of Labor?  If not, than you need to adjust things, because you realize what you are doing now is NOT legit.  If so, proceed to my next question.

-Would you, and DO you tell your best, most particular client–this person does not work here, b/c we can’t trust the resume alone, and is going to practice technical skills on your pet?  If not–that’s not OK.  If you would–first, I give you props for having big kahonies, and 2nd continue to my third question.

-What are you going to do if this working interviewee gets injured while performing the duties of this “interview?”  This is a big question, and huge liability.

-And finally, what are you going to do if this working interviewee hurts/damages/kills a patient?

Ways for Employers to Circumvent the Working Interview:

-Look at your trusty volunteers or observers and hire the worthy.  I know the flakes are more common than not, and you should be hiring those that prove they are dependable over time.  You already know and trust them, AND they’re giving their time on their own accord.  Win-win.

-For added emphasis, I make this it’s own point.  Check out all references.  Actually talk to the people that worked closely with the candidate and listen carefully for subtitles/discrepancies.

-Make a test.  Time them filing a series of files (include business names starting with “the” and difficult ones like O’Hara, deWitt, etc…).  Have them write an essay.  Have them fill and label a prescription.  Have some math on there.  A whole thing, not just basic typing, but things they will actually need to know at your specific practice.

-Hire the good interview candidate based on resume, interview, and CHECKED references.  But do it on a fully-disclosed and discussed, paid, probationary period.  Have that person work, with highly-supervised guidance, and after a certain pre-determined, pre-discussed (PAID) time-period do a full evaluation/review where both parties talk about the good, the bad, and whether to continue the working relationship.  Honestly, this is good policy anyway.  I always had questions at jobs that I hadn’t anticipated at the interview, but there never seemed enough time to address them once I was already working.

-Hire the person, and if they don’t fit, do a shitty job, or mess up hugely–terminate their employment.  Yeah, it’s more trouble, but such is owning a business.

I would like to see the end of exploitation of all workers.  Even in the health care and service industries.  I don’t think that money is a good excuse to keep these kinds of things going–just ask Jeff Bezios or the Waltons/Lowrys how popular it is for them to keep it up.  Let’s stop making excuses and start finding solutions to change these things for the better.

Trump Terror

11 Nov

I was actually happy when Trump got the Republican nomination.  I thought Jeb Bush, with his family-backing, and Texas oil money, and far-right support was more of a threat.  I highly doubted anyone would take Donald Trump seriously.  I mean, all he had going for him was money and trash-talk!  I felt voting for him was akin to voting for a Kardashian.  They’re in the same camp–you know their names from the stupid stuff they say and do on television, but you don’look to them for any serious leadership.

And I knew if nobody took Trump seriously (because HOW could they!!!) that whatever democrat was running would be a shoe-in.  I wasn’t sad to see it was Hillary.  I had actually voted for her over Obama in the primary that first time around when she ran.  I knew her face, thought she worked really hard as Secretary of State, and yeah–I wanted a woman in the White House.

But I thought women’s rights were farther ahead than they actually are.  I really think if Hillary were a man, things would have played out differently.  It would have been an EQUAL assessment of two candidates.  Not just a singular attack on one and blind-spot toward the other.  They would have dug into her dirty laundry–sure–that’s part of the political game these days.  And believe me, they ALL have their share of dirty laundry.  The political machine is so caught up in money now, that ALL candidates that make it to a certain lever most certainly made back room deals to get funded.  They all owe somebody.  Every politician has to water down a certain policy they care about, because a special interest group contributed to their campaign.

That makes them all lairs.  They all manipulate.  Every politician is shady.  I expect it.

But they would have used the bad stuff to equal disadvantage, apples-to-apples.  They didn’t.  When people called Hillary a liar, I was like–yeah.  Of course.  But what I didn’t expect was to people to hold that against Hillary in a militant way, when they didn’t hold the male politician to the same standard.  I would challenge that every accusation, every piece of dirty laundry found on Hillary was used against her in a more drastic way then it is used against any man that has run or held office.  People were a LOT harsher on Clinton then they’ve been on most males in politics.

The patriarchal double-standard reared it’s ugly head.

Even so, I didn’t think the country would go for Donald Trump.  How could they?  He is a caricature.  He’s all fluff and propaganda, and realty TV!  He has no political experience, no solid policy ideas, only hateful sound-bites.  His business dealings were murky.  The guy claimed bankruptcy and didn’t pay taxes.  He wavered on issues, and lost all three debates.  His supporters were the trashiest, most backward, belligerents in the country.  He got caught candidly admitting his penchant for sexual abuse.  Americans would not get behind any of that.  We might like to see the train wreck on TV, but we expect more decorum and have higher standards for our president.

The leader of our country–the leader of the world.

I was in absolute shock when we didn’t.

This week was difficult.  I felt suddenly scared and alone.  I knew every person from my small town voted republican.  I felt since Trump is against many of the minority groups I belong to (women-in social standing, impoverished, gays) that my Utah work managers were also.  My hometown was also.  My Facebook friends were also.  My parents were also.  I was suddenly marginalized.  Cowering at the fringes.

And my groups are actually dominant groups OF the marginalized groups.  The illegals, people of color, transsexuals, Muslims–all have it way worse.  If I felt scared and alone, how must THEY feel???

I saw many Trump supporters come across my Facebook feed.  And they shut-down dissent by telling anyone liberal or sorry about the win to “get over it.”  They discounted their opinions, silencing their views.  I try not to make waves on Facebook.  Or at work.  I know I am more progressive then my small-town peers.  I understand I have lived in more states, have more education, watch documentaries and learn about issues.  I’m a moderate, but a progressive one.  That sets me apart from most loud political views.  I get that people that just don’t know, don’t necessarily hate, but they are ignorant.  I can let some things go.  And I am usually quiet.  I scroll past the politics that are opposite to my views, the hate-memes, and ignorance.  Because these people are family.  Or they are my past.  I grew up and went through every year of schooling from kindergarten to senior year with some of these people–it’s just not worth it.

But when people started hassling Cool on her Facebook page, I stopped to think.  She was upset and posted why.  People wrote long diatribes, personally attacking her.  People told her to shut up about it.  People said to “move on.”  And in a society that just accepted what Trump stands for, and voted him in the highest office–I decided we could no longer afford apathy.

A lot of the reason he got voted in was because people didn’t like either candidate so they didn’t vote.  A whole, big section of youth, and moderates, and democrats just didn’t vote.  Which left privileged people to make our decisions.  People whose lives look nothing like mine.  People who don’t have the same problems and worries as me (or other marginalized groups).  It made me think a lot of that Holocaust quote, which I will not directly quote (because I’m too lazy to go search for it, and I already have more tabs open then I like) so I will sum the sentiment up:  They took the criminals, and I was not a criminal so I didn’t say anything.  They took the gypsies, and I was not a gypsy so I didn’t say anything.  They took the Jews and I was not a Jew so I didn’t say anything.  So when they came for me–there was nobody to speak for me.

We always have to remember how the Holocaust started so nothing even remotely similar can repeat itself.  It’s not just about some tyrant stealing power–it’s the apathy and silence from the real majority that allows that to happen.

And Cool and I spent a very large part of the year watching WWII (and everything around the periphery of that) shows, interviews, and documentaries.  I know what apathy can lead to, I know how things got started in Germany back then.  So I felt motivated to stand up where I could in my own life.  I made a new policy that I would not be silenced by the privileged few.  I would not stand down as a woman.  I will not hide as a gay.  I will not let my poverty minimize my power.  And I wouldn’t stand by and say nothing when others were hassled–not anymore.  I will act with integrity and stand for what I believe in.  Even if it causes confrontation.  I will deliberately show my ethics and speak my morals.  I have to counter the negativity and hate that was just sanctioned by a vocal majority by stopping the silence and apathy.  First in my own life, then maybe even on a larger scale.

Here’s what I wrote to Cool (and her frenemies on Facebook):

hypocracy

 

And I wrote to her (and those frenemies of hers):

“Words of wisdom: I will not be shut-down or silenced. I will continue to voice my ethics and let my values guide my actions. Hate has no place here. Don’t let societal pressures make you falter. Speak your mind. Speak your truth.”

Because right now it’s super-important for all those just marginalized by the ignorants and the haters to have a voice.  Remind people we’re here and we’re just as valid.  And we have dreams, hopes, and rights.  We deserve an equal chance.  We deserve respect.  That dissent is not unpatriotic.  To speak out for injustice is as American as you can get.  It’s what this country was built on.

I also got brave and wrote from my heart on my own Facebook page.  Knowing I was outnumbered by right-wingers.  Knowing there was hate for my groups just under the surface.

“I try to keep politics off my page. Nobody really wants to hear it–you’re not changing anyone’s mind. And I don’t identify with either party. I think with all the money, and lobbyists, and Super-PACS all candidates that make it that far have to be corrupt just to be in the game. But I am in shock and dismay.

For me, this 2016 election result is not about red or blue, winning or losing, it’s about standing for my values, and modeling my ethics. I will not be shut-down and I will not falter in defending my morals for fear of antagonism. It’s not about, “move on, get over it.” Trump’s values do not align with mine. And friends/family I hope I know you well enough that Trump’s quotes/feelings are not in your heart either.
This is a country of immigrants, mentally ill, minorities, women, gays, impoverished, of “other.” Big-Money shouldn’t have the largest and last say in all matters. As a proud American I recognize how fortunate I am to be born here and at the status that I hold. But that’s all it was–luck, completely out of my control. I will raise my voice to defend the little people– outsiders like myself–because that’s the kind of person I am.
If you can’t respect that, if you are ignorant to the sentiment of this message–mostly I feel sorry for you. And a little afraid. For myself, for the others like me, for this great country, and for you. God bless, and may the universe be kind to you and yours.”
I was disappointed I only got 3 likes and one comment–none of those from family.  So the fears and isolation are real.  Those people on my Facebook WOULD turn against me.  I have to watch my mouth and watch my back.
But I will not be silenced.  I will not go down without a fight.
I took my new personal-policy of not being silenced to my job yesterday.  Crissy bought us ice cream.  She got 4 different flavors of candy bars.  Derick the Douche loves Reese’s PB cups best, so she specifically got ice cream in that flavor for him.  He claimed it before he saw it.  The rest of us decided which flavors we wanted.  Derick then saw the ice cream, and saw his flavor was smaller then the rest.  He said he wanted oreo instead (it was the biggest).  But an Indian gal had already picked that one out.  White, male, privileged, dominant Derick the Douche wanted it, and pushed for it.  She conceded.  I spoke up–“No Siama already chose that one.”  And I like PB, and didn’t particularly care which ice cream flavor I ate (I love ALL ice cream!) so I told him to take the Twix one I had picked.  He pouted and tried to take hers anyway.  I put my foot down.  Which, I never would have done before.  He’s always that way.  It was none of my business.  But under my new policy, I was not going to stand by and let him bully a minority and take the (perceived) better ice cream away from her.
I used my policy a second time in the same night.  A chronically slow, co-worker, who is always late, always lagging on his buckets, and actually disallowed to do basic tasks because he messes up, ruffled my feathers.  I always do the document imaging at work.  My co-workers don’t like to.  Everyone is supposed to do it.  We even have it assigned to a certain color.  But I do the lions share-no matter what color I am assigned.  Night after night.  Because I am a hard worker.  I’m motivated.  And it needs to be done.  I’ll do the scanning–ALL of the scanning.  Night after night, month after month, year after year-I do the majority of the scanning.  To the point, they don’t even know HOW, some of them, including the boy in this story.
For once, Crissy (who is just a sub and usually doesn’t work) was helping with the scanning.  She got stuck and didn’t know what had gone wrong, and this kid (Josh) was near so went over to help her.  But since he never scans, didn’t know how.  And they all just KNOW that I’m the scanning bitch at work.  In an accusatory tone, he called my name–like ‘YOU fucked this up, now come over and fix your mistake so Crissy can finish our work.’  That’s what his tone and body language said.  And he’s used that tone on me before.  Usually I let it go to keep the peace.  Even though it’s a totally inappropriate tone for work, and completely condescending.  I usually let it go.  Even though it makes me mad and makes me feel ‘less than’ I let it go.
But last night I called him out on it.  I said, “Are you asking for my help or accusing me of something?”  And he still looked agitated and a little hostile toward me so I continued, “You don’t need to use that accusatory tone on anyone at work–especially when you’re asking for their help.”  Turns out, I had not messed anything up.  But even if I had–so what?  And um–scanning is not MY job.  They are supposed to be doing their share and they never do–so don’t come accusing me of anything regarding scanning!  Anyway, Crissy had pressed something wrong, and it was no big deal, I simply showed her how to fix it, and we went on with work.  But my defense had made the kid mad.  He was storming around, slamming his stuff, and had a shitty demeanor for the rest of our shift.
But I wasn’t silenced.
And that felt good.  In a week where shock and horror ruled.  So I will continue on, living ethically, not hiding behind fear or apathy.  I will act with morality, defend those without a voice, and stand up for my beliefs–because they’re just as valid as Trumps, and those who voted for him.

I Don’t Understand Cereal

6 Aug

I’m not sure who came up with pouring milk on a grain.  This makes it soggy, and I’m pretty sure not that many people love soggy food.  Did someone just come up with the concept in order to make the right amino acid balance?  Or carb/protein?  Or maximize vitamins or something?  It seems sort of thrown together.  And who thought–wow this tastes like a$$, I’ll fix it by pouring a bunch of unrefined sugar over it?!  And sell it to kids!  It seems to negate the whole idea–of balanced breakfast.  Why else pour milk over something that’s supposed to crunch?

Another thing I don’t get is why cereal is marketed to primarily children, then secondarily a diet food for moms on the go?  Do you have to be a child or mother to like dairy-covered sugar-grains?  Cereal commercials and cartoons are intertwined–you can’t tell when the program ends and the advertisement starts!  The Trix Rabbit, Lucky Charms Leprechaun, Cheerios bee, etc. . .  do for sugar and obseity what Joe Cool the camel did for cigarettes and cancer.  It’s not ethical.

 

Fact:  “Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!  In a study of 65 cereals in 10 different grocery stores, Cornell researchers found that cereals marketed to kids are placed half as high on supermarket shelves as adult cereals—the average height for children’s cereal boxes is 23 inches versus 48 inches for adult cereal.” 

 

(it wouldn’t let me past the link, I don’t know why)

Fact:  “The team measured the eye angles of 57 different kids’ cereal characters in 10 grocery stories across New York and Connecticut, and found that the character’s eyes were cast down at an average angle of 9.6 degrees. By contrast, cereals that were marketed to adults featured spokespeople whose eyes looked almost straight ahead, or looked up at a 0.43 degree angle.”  Forbes

(I tried to post the link to each of these websites and wasn’t able to?)

Fact:  “(Reuters) – U.S. children are consuming more than 10 pounds (4.5 kgs) of sugar annually if they eat a typical morning bowl of cereal each day, contributing to obesity and other health problems, and cereal makers and regulators are doing little to address the issue, according to a study released on Thursday.  The Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C.-based health information non-profit, said its report covers more than 1,500 cereals, including 181 marketed to children.”

 

 

 

 

cereal--to kids

As a child I was insanely jealous of these brothers at my daycare–they got Cookie Crisp for breakfast every morning, and my cereal was not allowed to contain sugar.  Now I look back and think–who the fu(k is giving straight sugar to children first thing in the day??!  Inappropriate.

I’ve never liked it.  Doesn’t matter the brand, flavor, or concept of the cereal–I think it’s pretty gross.  But I’m not a fan of milk by itself either so maybe that has something to do with it.  Not liking it is unfortunate because it IS fast.  And as a busy hypoglycemic, it’s imperative I eat a fast and “balanced” breakfast.  I’ll take a spoon of plain peanut butter over cereal.  Another reason I don’t like it is eating it is effortful.  You have to use a spoon, catch the grains, then you have icky colored or grain-infused milk at the bottom of the bowl.

Who eats this stuff?  Unless they’re in a dessert bar or something, that is.  I’ll stick with my oatmeal.

Dental is Not Medical?

9 May

I’m sure 4 out of 5 dentists would disagree, Group Health.

 

Health insurance and I have always had a thing.  I don’t really know how that got started, but here’s a quick run-down:

-Before I was 24 (I don’t remember exactly how MUCH before now) my parents yanked me off their insurance early and without any warning.  I think they did this because they had just found out I was gay and were acting homophobic, and to a lessor extent felt I was acting entitled and wanted to save their money.

-Not knowing what to do, and not having the means or motivation, I remained uninsured.  My veterinary hospital job (a small, privately-owned business) of course did not offer insurance.

-During this time, I went to the school medical center where they told me I was too late to get sutures (did nothing for me) under my mandatory student health fee.  It was the only time I utilized my student health “privileges.”  I can’t remember how much it added to my tuition every semester.  When I needed rabies vaccinations they were not covered by my health fee and I had to pay over $300 out of pocket because I wasn’t in their vet program–I think their classes get vaccinated as part of their tuition.

-Also during this time I had to go to the Emergency Room on a Sunday.  I received an IV, anti-nausea injection, and had a brief conversation with someone who charged me $1200 for less then 3 minutes.  I was also charged $840 for emergency room type nickle and diming fees from everyone and their brother who was within a blocks radius.  Which of course I could not afford on my practically minimum wage vet assistant salary.  Though they said they didn’t accept payments, I created my own payment plan and paid $100-200/month until the bill was paid off.  They do not send you to collections if you pay on it consistently.

-Other then that I never went to a medical doctor.  I got glasses & contacts on CareCredit and went to the dentist with my own money.  I paid for my own Invisalign on CareCredit as well.

-For the first time ever, a veterinary job (in Seattle) offered me health insurance as part of my benefits package.  I was dismayed to find out how much my “benefit” would cost me monthly and tried to revoke it.  I can’t remember if they took away my health insurance, paid it themselves, or gave me a raise to pay it.  And I only lived in Seattle for a year, so if I had insurance it wasn’t for very long.  And when I went to the dentist there, I had to pay anyway, because if I had a plan, that wasn’t on it.

-I never went to the doctor or had any health problems during this time either.

-By the time I moved HERE I had already been without health insurance for a long time.  And didn’t have any conditions, prescriptions, or problems, so I didn’t really want to pay for it.  When my job “offered” it I was wise to the me paying for my own benefit scenario and refused.  They were very worried about liability so they gave me a “raise” in order to force me to be insured.   I thought since I had it, I would try to utilize it to get my money’s worth.  But the only thing I really use it for is teeth and eyes.  Group Health covers neither.  But they do cover acupuncture and chiropractor visits (in full).  So that makes sense *sarcasm* And when I called the gal on the phone had major attitude and treated me stupid for thinking dental WAS medical.

-I got glasses using my insurance.  And it was cheaper then when I had paid for it all on my own using the CareCredit card.  The exam and service was hardly outstanding though.

-As soon as I talked about going part-time, my employer yanked away my health insurance.  They did this before I actually went to part-time hours.  The manual said that to be considered full time you had to work that amount of hours for 60 days, so I figured it would be the same going from full to part time as well.  It was not–at least for me.  AND  even though I had anticipated 30 hours b/c our employee manual said 30 hr was considered FULL time, and I mostly wanted to keep my vacation time, but the insurance didn’t hurt.  When I brought that up, they said the employee manual wasn’t a CONTRACT and they were now considering full time MORE hours, (so I couldn’t have that status).  BUT  the receptionist who works exactly 30 hours (only because she works through every lunch and gets paid for it) still got to keep her vacation time.

-My boss then had the audacity to try to pressure me into finding private insurance b/c she couldn’t imagine being uninsured and it was a liability. . .

-During this time I never so much as got a cold and had no need for medical attention of any kind.

-Later when the 2nd vet got divorced and needed health insurance, it was granted to her even though she worked a maximum of 29 hours a week, and that’s being generous because she constantly strolled in 8-8:30 AM (late).  So I guess it’s not the number of hours but WHO YOU ARE at my last job to qualify for benefits.

-When Obama was proposing mandatory health insurance and comparing his plan to Canada’s system, I was fully behind it because Canada knows the story.  Even when work began to fret about the changes, I thought–good now they will HAVE to pay for my health insurance, serves them right for playing so dirty.  But it didn’t happen that way at all.  My job is another small business so they were exempt–I was again on my own.

-I was a part-time student and they made student insurance ONE credit over part-time status.  I was in a loop-hole, and I felt Obama mislead me.  This was not like Canada’s system at all!  This seemed to me like coercion to get healthy people to pay into the system in order to expand benefits for people with preexisting conditions.  And why should I (already near the poverty line) have to pay for other sick people when I am healthy?

-But I am a rule follower so even though I disagreed I tried to see my options.  I applied to Medicare.  Even though I am a part-time student and part-time employee, I was not poor enough to qualify.  Again–who would be if not people like me?  So I checked into my state’s funding for Medicare rejects.  They have a discount program for people of low financial means that are not quite low enough to be considered poverty.  And the news?  My cheap insurance would be catastrophic coverage ONLY (no check-ups, prescriptions, co-pays, nothing at all unless I suffered some tragedy) for a mere $210/month.  And the offers went up from there.  I checked into my other options and I would be looking at $250/mo–at least.  And that’s if I didn’t want anything.  If I actually wanted anything back for that money it was sky-high–I’ve repressed the numbers b/c they were so horrible.

-I have still not had any sort of medical attention, or had so much as a cold (thanks sleep schedule and Zicam!) since I’ve been off health insurance.

-It’s all I can do not to scratch eyes when Planned Parenthood is touting the benefits of the new healthcare plans on Facebook.  And everyone who likes it writes it’s because they have such-&-such condition and now they can get healthcare!  Paid for healthy people like me forced to pay into the system, but that don’t actually use it.  Sounds a lot like redistribution of funds (from healthy to sick, no matter the income) to me.  So I can see the comparisons to socialism–and I am not for it.  I can’t afford to pay for the medicare of some old, sickly smoker. . .

And so that was a little longer story then I anticipated explaining how:

a)  Obama misrepresented his plan and I stupidly voted for it

b)  I got stuck in a whack loophole

c)  insurance companies and greedy bastards

d) employees of small businesses (vet hospitals) are screwed

e)  Cat’s Meow is shady with their benefits, and I’m glad I don’t work there

f)  dentistry is for reasons unknown is not a medical profession

g)  I am willfully uninsured

h) now that I wrote this jinxy post I’m going to get hit by lightning and require a bunch of emergency medical attention.  Hopefully not–but if I did I would try for Care Credit or make small payments. . .

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Fast Food: Detained, Strip Searched, Sodomized

16 Apr

EnronAll from phone instructions of a person claiming to be a police officer or upper management. Enron 2 It sounds crazy, but I remember taking Social Psychology for extra credits in the summer and people will do strange things.  For instance, whe group mentality drives people to shout “jump” to a suicidal person on a ledge.  Or how the ethos at Enron let them perpetrate such obvious crimes.  Humans are wired in certain ways, and it can have very scary consequences.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strip_search_phone_call_scam

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

 

Here’s what happened from http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20051009/NEWS01/510090392/A-hoax-most-cruel-Caller-coaxed-McDonald-s-managers-into-strip-searching-worker:

She was a high school senior who had just turned 18 — a churchgoing former Girl Scout who hadn’t received a single admonition in her four months working at the McDonald’s in Mount Washington.  But when a man who called himself “Officer Scott” called the store on April 9, 2004, and said an employee had been accused of stealing a purse, Louise Ogborn became the suspect.  Summers said “Officer Scott” in Mount Washington knew the color of Ogborn’s hair, as well as her height and weight — about 90 pounds. He even described the tie she was wearing.  Summers, 51, conceded later that she had never known Ogborn to do a thing dishonest. But she nonetheless led Ogborn to the restaurant’s small office, locked the door, and — following the caller’s instructions — ordered her to remove one item of clothing at a time, until she was naked.

By the time the caller telephoned the company-owned McDonald’s in Mount Washington in April 2004, supervisors had been duped in at least 68 stores in 32 states, including Kentucky and Indiana. The targets included a dozen different restaurant chains.  Managers of at least 17 McDonald’s stores around the nation had been conned by that time, and the company already was defending itself in at least four lawsuits stemming from such hoaxes.  Some of the strip-searches weren’t even reported to police, because embarrassed restaurant officials were reluctant to publicize them, said Jablonski, the ex-FBI agent. The fiercely competitive chains also initially were reluctant to talk to each other. “For a variety of reasons, they were slow on the draw,” he said.

By now, Ogborn had been detained for an hour. Her car keys had been taken away, and she was naked, except for the apron. She would later testify that she thought she couldn’t leave.  “I was scared because they were a higher authority to me,” she said. “I was scared for my own safety because I thought I was in trouble with the law.”

He pulled the apron away from Ogborn, leaving her nude again, and described her to the caller. He ordered her to dance with her arms above her head, to see, the caller said, if anything “would shake out.” He made her do jumping jacks, deep knee bends, stand on a swivel chair, then a desk.  He made her sit on his lap and kiss him; the caller said that would allow Nix to smell anything that might be on her breath.  When Ogborn refused to obey the caller’s instructions, Nix slapped her on the buttocks, until they were red — just as the caller told him to do, Ogborn testified later.  Louise Ogborn had been in the back office for nearly 2½ hours when the caller said she should kneel on the brick floor in front of Nix and unbuckle his pants.Ogborn cried and begged Nix to stop, she recounted in her deposition. “I said, `No! I didn’t do anything wrong. This is ridiculous.”  But she said Nix told her he would hit her if she didn’t sodomize him, so she did.

Like the rest of her ordeal, it was captured on a surveillance camera, recorded on to a DVD. And it continued until Summers returned to the office to get some gift certificates, and Nix had Ogborn cover herself again.

And finally, she realized the same. She called her manager — Lisa Siddons — whom the caller had said was on the other line. Summers discovered Siddons had been home, sleeping.  “I knew then I had been had,” Summers said. “I lost it.  “I begged Louise for forgiveness. I was almost hysterical.”  Summers watched the store video later the same night, saw what Nix had done, and called off their engagement. She hasn’t spoken with him since, according to her attorney.  She initially was suspended, then later fired, for violating a McDonald’s rule barring nonemployees from entering the office. A couple of weeks later, she was indicted on a charge of unlawful imprisonment, a misdemeanor. Nix was indicted on charges of sodomy and assault.

Many police departments filed their case away under “miscellaneous” because they couldn’t figure out how to pursue the caller, Prewitt said, or had trouble figuring out what crime, if any, he had committed.  Several departments were able to trace the calls to phone booths in Panama City, Fla. But that was as far as any had gotten until the Mount Washington hoax.  He eventually learned the call had originated in Panama City, and that the largest seller of phone cards there was Wal-Mart. But that didn’t help much — the largest seller of everything is Wal-Mart, and it has three stores in Panama City alone.

The camera at that store was trained on the registers, and it showed the purchaser was a white man, about 35 to 40, with slicked-back black hair and glasses. The same man could be seen on Flaherty’s video entering the other Wal-Mart, where he was wearing a black jacket with small white lettering.  Flaherty and a colleague flew to Panama City on June 28, 2004, and local officers immediately identified the jacket as the uniform worn by officers of Corrections Corp.of America, a private prison company.  When they showed it to the warden at the company’s Bay Correctional Facility, he identified the man as David R. Stewart, 38, a guard on the swing shift.  Stewart denied making the calls, but when confronted, he started to “sweat profusely and shake uncontrollably,” Flaherty wrote in a report. Stewart also asked, “Was anybody hurt?” and said, “Amen, it’s over,” according to the report.

Stewart eventually was brought to Bullitt Circuit Court, where he pleaded not guilty to solicitation to commit sodomy and impersonating a police officer, both felonies, as well as soliciting sex abuse and unlawful imprisonment, both misdemeanors. He was released on $100,000 bond pending his trial Dec. 13. His bond was posted by his brother, C.W. Stewart — a retired police officer from Cheektowaga, N.Y.  Detectives in other jurisdictions say they didn’t press charges because the caller’s crime would be a misdemeanor for which he could not be extradited.

Across the United States, at least 13 people who executed strip-searches ordered by the caller were charged with crimes, and seven were convicted.  But most of the duped managers were treated as victims — just like the people they searched and humiliated.  Many of the supervisors were fired and some divorced by their spouses, Annunziata said. Others required counseling.  But the duped managers have been condemned by others.

McDonald’s blamed what happened on Stewart and Nix, over whom it says it had no control. The company has sued both of them.  In court papers, McDonald’s also has blamed Ogborn for what happened to her — saying that her injuries, “if any,” were caused by her failure to realize the caller wasn’t a real police officer.  Questioning Ogborn during a deposition, Patterson suggested that although she had no clothes, she could have walked out of the office, but stayed voluntarily to clear her name.  “Did it ever occur to you to scream?” he asked.  Her therapist said she followed orders because her experience with adults “has been to do what she is told, because good girls do what they are told.”

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I Don’t Subscribe: Celebrate Something Else [Anti-Valentine’s #7]

14 Feb

As the obnoxious gay fellow sitting next to me in class found out when he cheerfully asked if I was excited for the impending “holiday.”  If you don’t remember my practical explanations of why the day is created for gains of capitalism, unfair to males, encourages gendered and unreasonable expectations from women, is detrimental to the environment, and HURTS people (diamond miners), look back at my annual blog post.  

2 year anneversary 013

As I have exhausted all angles trying to persuade you to discontinue celebrating such an awful tradition, this year, I appeal to choice.  OK, I get it, February isn’t the greatest month.  Especially following those gigantic holidays of Novemeber, December, and January.  February is back to the grind.  And it’s still cold.  And there’s really nothing real to celebrate until Memorial Day.  By real, I exclude St. Patty’s day, another concocted day that is abused to celebrate getting drunk on green beer.  And Cinco de Mayo, where Mexican restaurants get into the black for the year by peddling. . .  “Mexican” food, and yet more alcohol.  

Lesle's eye-breasts

But I’m getting off the point here are some special events that have occured on February 14 in years past.  And any one of them could have a celebratory holiday devoted to it.  More Worthy Cause for Celebration:

1778:

  • The United States Flag was formally recognized by a foreign naval vessel for the first time, Anatomy 28when French Admiral Toussaint-Guillaume Picquet de la Motte rendered a nine gun salute to USS Ranger, commanded by John Paul Jones.

Yay!  Boating and America and the flag!  What’s not to like?  OK, we already have Flag Day, Independence Day, and you’re not feeling a holiday devoted to sailing for whatever reason.  There’s more:

1794:  1st U.S. textile machinery patent granted, to James Davenport, Philadelphia

Clothes and fashion!  But I see this becoming a capitalistic nightmare–let’s move on.

1872:  1st state bird refuge authorized (Lake Merritt, California)

LF unicornsNothing here to hate on.  And maybe a parade featuring birds would be in order.  Or free admission to all avian-related places.

1876:  A G Bell & Elisha Gray apply separately for telephone patents Supreme Court eventually rules Bell rightful inventor

Yes!  Phones and communication–we cannot live without those.  This could easily take over V-Day with all those Apple-heads everywhere.

1889:  1st train load of fruit (oranges) leaves Los Angeles for east

1899:  U.S. Congress begins using voting machines

Politics get more honest.  But they have a long way to go before a fair system is achieved *cough heffalumps and woozelsabolish lobbies*

1919:  United Parcel Service forms

Again, another service we absolutely could not live without.  

1920:  League of Women Voters forms in Chicago

Girl-Power!

1924:  IBM Corporation founded by Thomas Watson

wine countryMore communication things–I see a trend here. . .

1936:  National Negro Congress organizes in Chicago

Yes!  The beginning of Civil Rights!

1946:  Bank of England nationalized

1963:  U.S. launches communications satellite Syncom 1

1966:  Wilt Chamberlain breaks NBA career scoring record at 20,884 points

Such a great fact, but without drinking involved I’m not sure non-sports enthusiasts would be on Oct 2011 031board–and definitely not so close to Superbowl and the Daytona 500.  Moving on. . .

1966:  Australian currency is decimalised.

1971:  Richard Nixon installs secret taping system in White House

1976:  U.S. performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

LF penguinsBoo, hiss to all the resultant nuclear waste getting dumped in the state.

1978:  1st “micro on a chip” patented by Texas Instruments

Communication!  I’m telling you, this needs to be the communication holiday.  Pay homage to all of this technology we can’t get by without for even 10 minutes.

1989:  World’s 1st satellite Skyphone opens

See?

1989:  The first of 24 satellites of the Global Positioning System are placed into orbit.heart flowers

GPS too?  I’ve decided I’m replacing Valentine’s Day with some sort of communication celebration.

1990:  Space probe Voyager 1 takes photograph of entire solar system

All right!  So I think I’ve decided on the history of communication technology holiday.  Now, what makes a holiday great?  Food, definitely   Special beverages for sure.  A parade never hurts.  Something–festive.  And obviously, communicating to many people or in  some awesome way to celebrate history.  Well, we have until next year to decide 🙂  Happy Communication Day everyone!

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Andy Purr Shark

5 Nov

This is a long overdue post.  For you sensitive-sauruses it regards death and euthanasia, so if you can’t take that sort of thing–stop reading.

You know when an event is fresh in your mind, and you want to write all about it and how it made you feel–but you’re super busy?  So you make a note to do it later.  But then, when you have the time, it seems like the event is no longer as relevant   Like you missed a certain window, so maybe you shouldn’t write about it at all?  That happens to me frequently.  Which is also the reason I haven’t posted the murder or moving blogs I started a while back.  Then, the longer you hold on to those posts–the farther back and back the actual event is.  Until it’s a distant memory and not pertinent at ALL.  But I’m posting this one (and probably those other 2 as well) because Andy deserves to be recognized.

Andy was a good buddy.  And my work took him in because his original owner moved to a place where she couldn’t have pets.  So she had a mind to euthanize the buddy.  And his kidneys were bad.  But he was spared and lived another year or more in the clinic.

At the end, it was hard to tell if it was time to euthanize.  And I didn’t want to do it for our own convenience   That is no reason to end a life.  So I was trying to be very mindful about how Andy was doing, not what our work schedule dictated.  But you know when you look at something every day, how you might get too close and not SEE the details anymore?  Maybe that happened to me.  Andy seemed much the same between Wednesday and Friday.  I didn’t think we should do it Friday, because it didn’t really seem like he was suffering.  Then Saturday was the same story.  He didn’t seem much different to me.

And suddenly, Andy’s former owner started visiting a lot.  And requesting we call her so she could be present when we euthanized him.  Which I had/have mixed feelings about.  I consider moving to a place where you can’t have pets irresponsible.  I have ALWAYS had pets when I’m trying to move.  And it’s a serious pain, and hugely limits my rental possibilities, and ramps up the costs, but you do it.  You call around and that’s your first question–Do you accept cats?  How many?  What’s the rent/pet-rent/deposit?  Because of pets I have always payed more and lived in crummier places–but that’s the way it is.  You don’t just move and THEN find out they’re not allowed and go euthanize them or take them to the shelter.  You think of your pets FIRST if you have them.  So that kind of thing is NOT cool with me.  But there is no such thing as TOO much love, and you could tell Andy remembered her, and when I say I’ll do something I’m true to my words. . .

Cool and I went in to check him and give him SQ fluids on Sunday before we went to Green Bluff’s Apple Festival.  I didn’t want to euthanize Andy JUST because it fit better into our schedule and no one would be there Sunday, so we fit it into our plans.  He looked much the same, was in the same sun-spot, and gave us a big purr, but wouldn’t stand up to eat.  But it didn’t seem like he was suffering and warranted any phone call to bring a vet in.  But my boss just happened to breeze in.  She was on her way to euthanize a dog of a friend.  And she was sort of hurried and rushed.

She said–What are we keeping him alive for?!  Let’s get it done.  Which I hated.  No one likes insensitivity, and she was just trying to maximize her time.  But she had a point–Andy wasn’t going to get any better.  He had already slowed down, and we knew his time was fast approaching.  And I wondered–did I spare him on Friday or Saturday for him?  Or because I wasn’t ready?  And I don’t believe in making a creature suffer for my own selfish reasons, so I really had to take stock.  When I looked at Andy, he looked up and sort of urped.  Through his anti-nausea injection.  Then I wondered if he’d just been sitting there since Friday nauseous.  Which is one of the WORST feelings ever.  So I said OK, but we have to call his former owner b/c she wants to be present.

And my boss didn’t want to do it in front of her–she was rushed and wanting to move on and euthanize this dog, and I could tell she didn’t have any respect for an owner that was so irresponsible.  But I persisted that the owner had written her phone number on a paper and asked me to call her if it was going to be done during our off-hours.  And my boss–was just like too bad.  So what could I do?  I thought it was a little unethical–but then again this owner no longer had any say over the cat.  But it was a precarious situation none-the-less.

And Cool was still there with me.  My mind was on Andy.  I wanted him to have love during his last moments.  I wasn’t thinking about anything except him.  So as Cool stood by, my boss unceremoniously injected the Beauthanasia and Andy died.  Then he did the ugly agonal breaths that no one likes to see.  And my boss just went about her business  gathering supplies for her next euthanasia.  None of her characteristic sensitivity or familiar explanations about the process.  Then, I remembered Cool standing there.  She looked disturbed.  So we put Andy’s body in the freezer and hastily left.

It was Cool’s first euthanasia.  And no sensitivity at all.  She was upset by the disrespect for life.  She was near tears and picturing Andy’s ugly post-death breaths.  It was not a good experience.  Which makes it difficult to explain why I’m OK with helping put animals down in my line of work.  Or trying to explain that was unusual and the doctors are mostly always sensitive and compassionate–it was just an off day for a clinic cat. . .  It put a damper on our fun plans–the day really.

So when it’s time to euthanize Sloppy-Joe, I’m going to have a hard time convincing Cool to do it.  Because of her Andy experience she is inclined to let Sloppy die on her own accord at home.  Which I think is worse.  It’s a lot more suffering then gently helping them out. . .

But anyway, I miss (and Beezer-kitty) misses Andy.  He was a good purr-shark and loved by all.  But we know he’s in a better place now.  And it WAS awkward when I saw his former owner next.  Someone had indicated to her that I had called in the vets to euthanize him (not the case, as I hadn’t been convinced myself).  Making it all the more evident that I didn’t call her to be present.  But I figured what was done was done, and bringing up the truth did not really matter at that point.  I just went with it and told her I missed Andy–which I do.

Whistle-Blower, Whiner, or Wolf?

15 Jul

I don’t have to explain myself.  This is my blog, and I’m allowed to say what I want on it.  If you don’t

Angel or Devil?

like it–don’t read it.  BUT I want to mention a couple of things, just for clarification purposes.  Yeah, I’m feisty, but I don’t want to give my readers the impression I’m thoughtless, bitter, and hateful.  That’s not me.  At.  All.

Sometimes I wonder if I should even write a blog. As much as I enjoy writing and getting things that bother me out of my head, I’m paranoid about who reads it–and censor it heavily based on my suspicions. Which really isn’t the point.  But more then that, I am sensitive to criticism. Not my best quality, and yet so, so, SO difficult to change.  Maybe I’ll disable comments all-together.  Which isn’t the point either.

This Wal-Mart = Veterinary Hospitals post is a good example. When I wrote it, I didn’t think that much of it, honestly. I had watched a documentary (as I often do) and it didn’t resonate with me all that much b/c my own work experiences at vet hospitals (the only jobs aside from University employment that I’ve ever had) were/are very similar.  So without naming hospitals/employer names, I wrote down the similarities.  And upon writing the comparisons–based upon my 100% true veterinary experiences–which are varied. . .  Well, I received hostility at worst, and dissent at best. Which then made me wonder–should I have written it in the first place?

First, I take the POV that I have nothing to hide.  As a victim (for lack of better word) why should I have to censor the bad behavior of others because those in “the establishment” do not like it, do not acknowledge that it occurs (commonly!), and do not want to change it??  It’s the role of a whistle-blower, I think.  And those people take a lot of heat, before their actions and honesty are commended.  Look up:  A. Ernest FitzgeraldMyron MehlmanJeffrey WigandGary WebbHarry MarkopolosSherron WatkinsPeter RostLinda TrippFrederic Whitehurst.  I see I’m going to have to look for some books on those people and the corruption they dealt with!  Anyway, the role of the whistle-blower is not all that popular, but necessary for improvement and change.

But then I think:  Is it FAIR and ethical for me to whine about this?  Especially in a public forum?  On a small scale–the hospitals involved wouldn’t love it, and don’t really get a chance to defend themselves.  I could really get myself in hot water over it too.  Especially since the places I’ve worked and names of veterinarians are all over my blog–though not in that particular post.  A person with a brain could probably put the two and two together. . .  NOT smart on my part.  At.  All.

On a larger scale–does my whining hurt a profession that I love, and have all my life?  I have been one of the biggest proponents of veterinary medicine (just look at my past posts, my former dream, and all I have enjoyed/put up with for the last 17-ish years) and want to see the profession excel.  Does my complaining (legit or not) hurt the image of a veterinary hospital, hurt business, and damage the reputations of the ethical hospitals and employers?  Plus my particular hospitals and employers?

Thirdly I (with the help of haters) think–Am I a bad, unethical person for having a problem with these veterinary job commonalities in the first place?  A wolf, trying to ruin an awesome, and for the most part compassionate profession, if you will.  A lot of people would role with the punches, overlook the ugly, and be thankful for the good parts of the job.  Does my negative feelings about past jobs make ME the problem in all of it?

These are questions I have.  And, as follows, I’ll explain how my intention is none of the above.  I don’t consider myself a noble whistle-blowing victim, a whiny cry-baby, OR a hostile wolf trying to bring down the institution.  My point for writing what I do about any issues in veterinary medicine, is to generate awareness to the people in a position to change things (veterinarians/employers) to FIX things.  I want the profession to be better, that’s all.

I do not mean to call-out any particular person/veterinary hospital (in general posts about work–in some personally directed posts, I obviously do).  I do not think my employers for the most part had bad intentions toward their employees, and as such, don’t think they need to be personally raked over the coals (Well. . .  Mostly).  These are people that had their plates full, other priorities, or no experience dealing with labor matters.  Or had a messy midlife crises as the case may be.  Yes, I have worked under some shady circumstances that were not always ethical, lawful, or nice–but in an effort to be a better, more ethical person myself,  I will try never to use names from here on out, AND I will realize consequences of each post, before I publish it.

I want to see veterinary medicine succeed and grow. But there are some issues that need to be addressed so the career can grow and prosper gracefully.  Standards need to be met, and especially, staffing issues need to be mended.  Veterinarians are IN veterinary medicine because they are compassionate people wanting to help animals (and their owners) but that doesn’t preclude their staff from common decency.  Vets and business owners need to pay attention to the deficits and work to correct them, instead of just calling me out for tattling.

Saying something about the problems in veterinary medicine (and no matter what one person’s one individual experience is, there ARE problems) does not make me evil.  I am not out to destroy veterinarians–I simply want to see the wrinkles ironed out so veterinary hospitals can live up to a higher level of care–not just for patients, but for their staff too.  There’s always room for improvement.

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Who Says Eating Healthy Can Be Affordable?

12 Mar

I beg to differ.

Rainbow Market!

I am the hugest proponent of the Grocery Outlet.  I mean, I talk up their stellar prices so much that they should really give me commission.  Everyone I know, has heard me tout the Outlet as the best place to grocery shop.  Thanks, Dad!  He always used to buy everything he could on the grocery list there before we went anywhere “real.”  As a kid, I absolutely hated going there.  It made me feel scummy.  And poor.  But as a cheap-skate, my dad insisted it was THE place.  And now that I pay my own way–I concur.

Sure, the store is often dirty, the shelves can be bare sometimes, the employees seem a little disgruntled, and there are sketchy people in there.  Always.  BUT, BUT, BUT the prices are so low–it makes up for all of that.  We’re talking a pint of Ben & Jerries for $1!  When normally the best you can do is when the pints go on sale:  2 pints for $5.00. Grocery Outlet gets off brands, things regular stores didn’t sell during holiday seasons, and dinged cans.  I say, who cares if the products aren’t consistent or the packaging is a little banged up?  I regularly save just as much as I spend when I shop there.  My grocery bill would be double if I didn’t go there.  It’s so great that it makes Wal-Mart seem expensive.  But I shop there too.  And at the Win-Co.  And sometimes Cash & Carry.

Anyway, my point is, as soon as we started watching calories, our options at these discount stores shrank drastically.  The affordable groceries?  Canned, processed, cheese-filled, salty, soda, candy.  We started having to go to Safeway to find low-cal options, more produce, reduced-fat creamer, lean meat, or any vegetarian (ie lower calorie) options.  What a shame!  I have to choose between my health and my pocket book.  And right now–I’m choosing to save money.  Out of necessity.  But I don’t have to like it.