Now you really have to ask yourself, is two heads really better than one? Especially if those two heads are on one body. Conjoined twins were born last Thursday in China. These two baby girls share everything from the neck down except a spine and esophagus (for which they each have their own).
The condition the twin has is called dicephalic parapagus, this happens when a fertilized egg fails two fully divide. The results of the lack-of division can be easily absorbed looking at the picture.
Conjoined twins occur on average once every 200,000 births, and of those 40-60% are stillborns. The survival rate for conjoined twins is low, between 5-20%. The twins in China have an uphill battle against them, but there are success stories as you can see in the video below.
The first historical account of conjoined twins was in England in 1100, two girls were conjoined at the hip.
The term Siamese twins was coined by the second conjoined twins born in Thailand 1811, these brothers shared a liver and were joined by flesh below their chests.
Dividing conjoined twins is dangerous; many twins opt out of the risks, living their lives together forever. Often the risk for one twin is higher than for the other because of how their organs are arranged. Since surgical separation began in 1950, 75% percent of the procedures have allowed one twin to survive.
The Chinese newborns will most likely spend the rest of their lives together due to their bondage. Doctors say it would be almost impossible to separate them.
If you live in Japan and you see a truck full of live dogs or cats making its way to southern China, you know instantly the fate awaiting those four legged friends is not good. Last Friday someone sharing the road with one such truck did not like what he saw. The driver pulled his vehicle in front of the truck of furry cargo and forced it to slow down and eventually pull over. Simultaneously the driver was posting information to his blog alerting other animal rights activist of what and where this was going on.
The driver/blogger’s words did not go unheard, about 200 activist came to aid in the rescue of dog cargo. The dogs in the truck were being transported to culinary institutions (restaurants) in southern China to be eaten.
I have written before on the Chinese/ Japanese century long taste for cat and dog meat in my article: Eating Dogs, and Wearing Cats. For most Americans, eating dogs and cats is unheard of. And in China, animal rights activists are a relatively young group. A new group maybe, but they are certainly not undedicated.
There were 430-520 dogs rescued last Friday as a result of the drivers awareness of what was going on. Of those dogs many were stolen from their owners, which is not an uncommon fate for dog owners
How many dogs can you fit into one cage?... Horrible
who pets never return home. Some of the stolen dogs the activist found sill had collars with nametags on them (indicating that they had owners). Cats are also a subject of Chinese delicacy and fashion, where they are eaten and worn like dogs. For more information click: HERE
Traffic on the road was backed up while the standoff lasted 15-hours, between activists, police, and the truck driver. Police could not do anything as the trading of dogs, for whatever purpose, is not illegal. The end result of the activist effort came when activist bought the would-be-eaten dogs for 115,000 yuan ($17,000). Which still does not compare to the World’s Most Expensive Dog.
Dog and cat meat in China is thought as a “warm food” that comforts the soul much like Chicken Noodle Soup is thought of in America. Neither the truck driver, nor the destination restaurants will face any legal charges. Police said the truck had all of the proper permits and certifications to transport and trade the dogs.
Puppy Paws, Anyone?
The healthy dogs rescued will be cleaned up and up for adoption in a month if original owners do not claim them. Many of the dogs were suffering from sickness and are being transported to animal hospitals.
Activists are struggling to get a law passed that would ban the inhumane dog and cat trade, but as for now, its tradition. Long held beliefs never die easy and it is in the hands of the activist to get things done. Let those who showed compassion to the dogs be an example of a peaceful protest with a compromised solution (purchasing the dogs).
Also read about dogs in Japan being rescued from the radioactive evacuation areas around the failing Fukushima plant: Rescue Misson, Dogs
“Years from now, when my grandchildren ask me what happened to all of China’s trees, I’ll have to say, ‘We made them into chopsticks.’ Isn’t that pitiful?” – A quote from Kang Dahu. Kang, is a member of an environmental movement in China known as the “Chopstick Crusade”, the group is made up of volunteers working to make people aware of the impact disposable wooden chopsticks has on the nations forests.
China uses about a hundred trees a day to give citizens a one-time use utensil- the chopstick. The “Chopstick Crusade” and “Bring your own Chopstick” movements are spreading throughout China to end this. Environmentalist hope to decrease the number of 45 billion, which is how many disposable wooden chopsticks are currently being made annually by country. By using re-usable utensils, the number 25 million, which is the number of trees chopped down annually to make China’s chopsticks could be spared.
China’s Environmental Protection Foundation states that at current de-forestation rates: “forest will disappear from China in 20 years”. The foundation constructed a tree using 30,000 used wooden chopsticks; they then chopped it down. Once sixteen feet in height, the toppled tree rests beside a sidewalk in downtown Shanghai. It’s a public display of the unnecessary waste caused by chopsticks. Beside the fallen tree volunteers like Kang Dahu offer information, statistics, and most importantly re-usable chopsticks to the public- that was in 2010.
In 2011, Greenpeace has done a similar project creating several more chopstick trees and planting them in a Beijing mall known as “The Place”.
Skeletons of the Trees They Once Were
Chopsticks can be made out of a variety of materials from metal, plastic (recycled), and porcelain- but the Chinese favorite is the disposable wooden. In America we too use one-time use utensils at many fast food restaurants. American one-users is generally made of plastic, yet it is an avoidable waste just the same. Plastic forks, spoons, and knifes (not to mention cups, and straws) go into landfills with plastic bags (even the plastic utensils are often initially sealed in a bag) , and single use water bottles- maybe it is time for an American “Bring your own Cutlery” movement.
So when you (wherever you are) look at the image of the chopped down chop stick tree, think not that this is an issue for the (possibly?) foreign country, but to your own community as well- what does your society waste? Can that consumption (number) be decreased? And most importantly what can YOU and those around you do to make a change?
These are all good questions to ask yourself. The answers may not be simple, nor easily accomplished, but every individual action (like bringing your own cutlery to KFC) adds up, and makes a difference. So that if someone were to gather up all your individual waste- that bag would be small. That’s what is most important, because if all people followed your example, the world would be a cleaner, greener, place- preserved for generations to come.
Alternatives to single use products with the same purpose are biodegradable utensils. You can find them offered at Greencupboards.com using the link below:
The Big Splash: Hong Dong, the one million dollar Red Tibetan Mastiff
How much did your dog cost you? I got my dog Baab, a German Sheppard Airedale mix for $50 dollars at the pet store, at a discount with a coupon. I got my cat, Noah, an orange and white Tabby, for $60 dollars from the humane society. This seems reasonable to me, so when I hear about a dog being sold for (insert Dr. Evil impression here) One Million Dollars! My jaw drops, and I cant help but think that canine is more of a status symbol than a best friend. The million dollar dog will be cared for; it will receive food prepared by chefs, and lounge around the manson of one Chinese coal baron.
The Red Tibetan Mastiff is believed to bear the reincarnated soul of monks and nuns unworthy of heaven by some. The dog, named The Big Splash was purchased for $1.5 million dollars, it’s name translates to Hong Dong in Chinese.
Hong Dong, at eleven months, weighs 180 pounds as of right now, and it is growing. Red Tibetan Mastiffs can get up 286 pounds. Hong Dong’s breeder, Lu Liang, says that the dog is a “perfect specimen” and worth the price paid.
The owner will be able to offset some of the dogs maintenance costs if he chooses to breed it, charging $10,000 a time is said to be a reasonable amount for breeding. Which is a sound investment seeing as the offspring could later be sold for 1.5 million as their father was.
It is rumored that Buddha owned one of these dogs. The Red Tibetan Mastiff gets it’s price in part for its exclusivity, rarely seen or bred outside of Tibet, and seldom seen out of China. In the last five years the price of a pup has gone from $5,000 to its current price of 1.5 million. The dog is to a Chinese new rich, is as BMW or Mercedes is to an American businessman; a status symbol.
Hong Dong and his owner
The dog, the Red Tibetan Mastiff, has an average lifespan of fourteen years. This means that maintenance/ food cost aside, the owner has spent $107,142 a year. Hong Dong and his breed are renown for their watchdog skills, they have been used throughout history for this purpose, guarding monasteries and sleeping soliders alike.
I personally could never spend a million dollars on a pet, for none other reason than that an animal is not an object. I got my dog and cat because I wanted to care for them, and more importantly I wanted them to love me and be a household companion. I cannot buy an animals love, although I can buy an animal, some may think that these are the same thing, but they are not. Hong Dong will be taken care of my people hired to do so, I am sure the owner will interact with the dog but it will not have the same companionship to it as does a one owner pet. And for a one owner pet, the price does not matter because it soon becomes more than an animal; it has become a friend.
It is legal to kill a bear on its 10th birthday and sell its gallbladder in South Korea.
Smokey says no to wildfires, but what does he say to the South Koreans, and Chinese when they come to extract his bile while he is still alive? I’ve got a feeling he would say a little more than no. When I first started writing this article I’ll have to admit I did not know what bile was. Using my dictionary (gotta love the Mac dashboard) I found that bile is a bitter greenish-brown fluid that aids digestion and is secreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. Now you might be wondering what the Koreans want with Smokey’s bile, and you should be.
Bile is used as a cure for many diseases, including the common hangover. The bile can also be made into an alcohol, and sometimes into shampoo.
Extracting bile from a bear while it is alive is illegal in South Korea; yes that is a law, yet sadly this law is not enforced. It is legal to kill a bear on its 10th birthday and sell its gallbladder in South Korea. Because the later is legal the first law is diminished to nothing more than a suggestion. It’s very hard to regulate an industry that allows bears to be slaughtered and organs removed, yet enforce fair treatment of them while they are still alive.
1600 bears have their gallbladders drained twice a day while locked in little cages in South Korea. Yogi bear and his family have open wounds in their abdomen where their bile is extracted. In China where bear farming is also legal there are 10,000 bears in the farms. A new farm in China has not opened since 1994 and 45 farms have closed since then so the projected number may actually have decreased.
Huang Yuanfan, at 84 years old bears a 3-inch horn.
Being horny has a different meaning for one man in China. The Chinese man has sprouted a unicorn horn on the back of his head. Huang Yuanfan, at 84 years old bears a 3-inch horn. At first, Huang explains, he tried to pick at it like a scab but the horn continued to grow. Eventually he even began to file down the protuberance with no luck as this just delayed the growth of the horn.
“Doctors say they don’t know what caused it, but if they try to take it off it will just come back,” Huang told reporters,
Huang is not alone in his horny-ness, there have been other reports of people growing horns as well. Coincidentally, all of these abnormalities occurred in China.
95-year-old Zhao (image) says the horn causes her no discomfort but it blocks part of her view. Another grandmother of seven at 101 years old has a very devilish looking horn on her forehead and what looks like another beginning to sprout on the other side.
All of the horns reportedly started the same way, as a dark spot like a mole. This mole look-alike then began to protrude from the person’s head and then they became aware that they had a horn problem.
Ma Zhong Nan, another horn bearer from China had his discovery of the horn when he was bushing his hair. Ma Zhong Nan’s horn has grown to about 4 inches in length.
Horned skulls have been found by archeologist such as the one pictured, which brings some people to believe that there was once a race of horned people. This could be the reason for the modern day horned folk in China, the horns, it could be reasoned, are genetic.
One horn is already visible, the other one is sprouting.
As of right now neither the scientific society, nor
A horned skull.
Zhong Nan’s horn has grown to about 4 inches in length.
the horn bearers, knows why people are sprouting horns. Any speculations?