September 17, 2016

Horse 2164 - Pumpkins and Penguins

We live in a changing world. The world is heading slowly towards a state where some the things we once thought commonplace might not be around for future generations to enjoy due to issues like climate change, habitat destruction and the pressures of farming. There are some people though, who don't stand idly by and watch as the world falls to pieces; some people who care enough to make a difference; some people who will not accept the world that might be.
In particular, the members of the Pumpkins and Penguins Association of Australia (the PPAA) are fighting for the preservation and protection of pumpkins and penguins so that future plebian people can enjoy them.

We've all seen the terrible horror which is wrought every October in America, when Pumpkins have their innards scooped out and candles are inserted for Halloween. As culture creeps across the world, we're beginning to see that here too. But who cares for the pumpkins? Who says no to the insidious peril plaguing the pumpkins?
Likewise, it is possible to go to Phillip Island in Victoria and watch as the Fairy Penguins march up the beach to their nests. In days of yore they would have made the trek from the bitterly cold Southern Ocean to their little spots of calm unmolested but today they have become a public spectacle and they are in as much peril as the pumpkins.

In late 2016, the PPAA was launched to try and do something about these two vulnerable tribes of small things. Of course the obvious question is why pumpkins and penguins? What possible connection could they have with each other? The reason is simple. Both the flesh of pumpkins and penguins is essentially inedible. It is only through processes like boiling, baking and burning that pumpkins and penguins are remotely palatable.
The other connection has to do with those lamps made from pumpkins in October. Traditionally the source of candles for pumpkin lamps came from whaling but owing to conventions on the sea, most shaping has ceased and the whaling that still occurs is frowned upon. As a result, the makers of long lasting pumpkin candles have had to source new materials and this has meant massive reductions in worldwide penguin populations. As aquatic creatures who live in extremely cold conditions, penguins have a thick layer of blubber and they also produce oils. These oils and blubber are both flammable and burn so consistently that it is simply cheaper to extract material from penguins than it is to refine other oils. If you were to set a penguin on fire (heaven forbid), you would get an even burn for a long time but you would not be able to do very much with the rest of the penguin afterwards. After penguins have been processed, they are usually discarded; to the benefit of no-one.

There is the theory that it could be just as easy to stem the creeping tide of Halloween but that ignores the wider problems of pumpkins and penguins being mercilessly slaughtered every year at Christmas as well. The anonymous society S.A.N.T.A, which is already on several watch lists including Amnesty International and The International Labour Union is well known for its continued use of slave labour but it is less known for its exploitation of penguins as beast of burden. Not only are penguins are favoured because of their ability to withstand the cold but when a penguin has come to the end of its useful working life, it is mercilessly discarded after having its oils and blubber extracted.

The PPAA came together after two seemingly unconnected protest groups came into contact with each other on the steps of the Victorian State Parliament Building. After realising that they shared common grounds, the two groups merged and the Pumpkins And Penguins Association Of Australia was launched. Its first meeting took place on the south bank of the Yarra River and it very quickly grew in size from a membership of fourteen to literally tens. It is estimated that if current membership sign up trends continue, then by the year 6016 there could be as many as 147,758,563,300 members. The future could be very promising indeed.
It maintains a very visible presence at major events and displays its black, white and orange banner proudly. Although there have been some unsavoury actions taken by the militant wing of the PPAA who call themselves Ornge, which is mostly for the advocacy of pumpkin peace and rights, these are isolated and generally shunned by the rest of the association.

The PPAA' most vocal supporter is eccentric billionaire and philanthropist Leon Muss, who in addition to his continuing campaign to keep humans on Earth until at least 2028 because expeditions to Mars (which is a cold dead rock) to investigate future colony plans is patently an idiotic idea, has also contributed to the PPAA's causes through his awareness campaign on radio and television. The series of advertisements with the slogan "OH NO IT'S BURNING" has been criticised for its graphic depiction of burning penguins, using found footage which was covertly recovered from S.A.N.T.A.
In addition to this, the independent candidate for the Senate in Victoria, Ryan Ryan, made reference to the PPAA in one of his stump speeches but failed to secure the necessary funds to make it onto the Victorian Senate ballot paper.

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