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Self Defense Tips
By Maggie Poling, Grade 9

Imagine you’re walking home from school when a man suddenly jumps out of the bushes and confronts you.  What do you do?  Your instincts may tell you to fight back with a punch in the ribs, a bite of the wrist, or a stab in the eye.  On the contrary, doing just that may get you into more trouble.

An attacker is very unstable, running through the motions with adrenaline as their prime source of energy.  You don’t want to attack someone who obviously isn’t thinking straight, so what do you do instead?  One of the best ways, in fact, is to “de-escalate” the situation. Try to calm the person down.  If it’s a robber asking for money, just give him the money.  Or, if someone is verbally abusing you, try to agree with them (even if you don’t actually second their opinion, don’t let them know that right now).  This may sustain the attack from getting worse.

There are simple steps you can take to avoid a confrontation, also.  For example, if you’re out at night, travel in a group.  Also, remember to keep your confidence.  If you look like you know where you’re going, and you appear to be alert, a possible attacker might just back off.  Of course, carrying a cell phone and letting someone know where you are going throughout the day could prove to be beneficial, too.

Although these suggestions are good, there’s only one thing you can do to be your most self-defense-savvy-self.  The biggest tip I can give you is to take a self defense class.

Research where they’re provided in your community, and take it with a friend to make it more fun.  Although this may go against de-escalating the situation, sometimes, knowing your karate chops is the only thing that will keep you safe.

Source:
http://kidshealth.org/teen/safety/safebasics/self_defense.html

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If Slaughterhouses Had Glass Walls
By Emily Smith, Grade 11

Imagine a country farm: happily content cows gnawing blades of bright green grass under the sun, a mother hen clucking about with a flock of fluffy yellow chicks at her feet, and perhaps a prize-wining “Wilbur” rolling through a mud puddle.  Now think again – these images euphemize the meat industry.

The American meat industry slaughters more than 30 million animals each year, in cruel and massively unethical ways.  From birth, baby chickens are thrown into assembly lines and divided by sex; the male chicks, useless to hatcheries, are dropped into high-speed grinders alive.  Female chicks are shoved into cages too small to spread a single wing; as a result of growth-hormones, “factory farmed” chickens are “grown” three times faster than free-range chickens, and because the bones can not keep up, their legs simply collapse.

If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.

While cows suffer in the slaughterhouse, conditions on dairy farms can be even worse.  Because workers pay little attention to the cleansing of machinery, dairy cows develop mastitis (an inflammation of the utter), which creates extreme discomfort for the cow; and lessens the quality of the milk by producing a pus-like substance of Somatic cells (which have been linked to cancer.)

Do those “Got Milk?” ads still have you convinced that drinking milk is OK? Consider this: no species naturally drinks milk after the age of weaning; especially not milk from another animal.

Like chickens, pigs are kept in tight spaces too small to turn around in; eventually, some pigs literally go crazy.  The European Union, who deemed this method radical, will have completely banned the practice by 2013.

So, why has little been done about factory arming until now?  In 1958, the Humane Slaughter Act became a United States Federal Law, but the industry is so corrupt that it has not been enforced.

Think the meat industry is only hurting animals?  Think again.  According to a study at Cornell University, the vast majority of all cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and other forms of degenerative illness link back to meat-based diets; and can be prevented by stripping meat from one’s diet.  The American Heart Association reports that meat-eaters have higher risks of obesity, coronary heart disease mellitus, and cancer.  That is not to say that vegetarians are completely free of disease; however, scientists have found that vegetarians have a stronger immune system and are less susceptible to the flu than meat-eaters.

So, what can you do about it?
  1. Convert to Vegetarianism: Do you have trouble visualizing a future without meat?  No problem!  Tasty alternatives like Smart Dogs! and Boca Burgers are available to satisfy even the most reluctant meat-eater.
  2. Raise awareness: Some people have no idea what goes on behind closed factory doors, but everyone should be informed of their options, especially those that concern their health.


For further reading, consider Fast Food Nation or Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle.

Source(s):

http://www.peta.org/living/vegetarian-living/vegetarian-101.aspx
http://awic.nal.usda.gov/nal_display/index.php?info_center=3&tax_level=3&tax_subject=182&topic_id=1118&level3_id=6735& level4_id=0&level5_id=0&placement_default=0
http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4777
http://www.innerself.com/Health/advantages_of_vegetarianism.htm
http://www.sixwise.com/Newsletters/2008/September/17/The-Pros-and-Cons-of-Being-a-Vegetarian.htm

Joseph Cook
5/19/2011 04:50:05 am

Emily, can you point out any particular slaughterhouses to which your article's accusations apply? Surely, it is going too far to suggest that every meat manufacturer uses such low standards in meat processing.

Also, by what standards are you declaring these cruel actions (on the part of the meat industry) as "massively unethical"?

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Emily Smith
5/31/2011 08:00:39 am

Joseph,

Thank you for taking the time to read my article - I appreciate your comments.

I agree - not all slaughterhouses treat animals inhumanely, but most factory farms do, and eighty percent of all meat in America comes directly from those factory farms. If you search the news you will probably find a plethora of undercover investigations, testimonies, etc. Here are a few articles that you might find interesting:

http://www.mercyforanimals.org/beef.asp

http://www.sustainabletable.org/issues/factoryfarming/

http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2004-07-20-chickens_x.htm

Also, if you've got the stomach, watch a few of these videos:

http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=4217527

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJ--faib7to

What I mean by massively unethical is this: the cruel and unusual treatment of any animal. To me, delivering blows with a crowbar to the head of a cow, or tossing baby chicks, still living, into a grinder, is exceedingly unethical - animals grieve, play, love, etc. just like humans. If this abuse had been dealt to humans there would have been consequences, and I'm sure you would agree that if it had indeed been done to humans, you certainly wouldn't have supported it.

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KelseyG
6/1/2011 09:41:20 am

I really enjoyed your article, Maggie!

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KelseyG
6/7/2011 12:47:10 am

Emily, I don't mean to be mean, but how will boycotting meat stop the slaughter houses? A group of people boycotting something doesn't typically stop it--Just take Christians boycotting Harry Potter!

I don't want these animals to get hurt and abused the way they do either.

Also, I disagree with the fact that meat makes people obese. I used to think that until I watched this documentary called Fathead. It's on instant watch on Netflix if you're interested in checking it out! It's not just a boring documentary either--It's funny in parts, if I remember correctly.

Overall, it was a good article, though.

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