poems of the month

orpheus in soho

a seriously sexy man


measuring my face


old clothes

modern iranian poems

my hero

face at the bottom of the world

perhaps (maybe)

the diogenes sequence

where to store furs

i am and am not:
      fragments of rumi

destiny and destination

the zen of no-enlightenment

the iraqi monologues

already backwards

a light in ruins

separate amputations

the sexy jihad

awaiting the barbarians

the smell of possibilities

ultimate leaves

rejoice in the dog

post-millennium maggot

the book of nothing

confession from belgrade

dispatches from the war against the world

albanian poems

french poems in honour of jean genet

the hells going on

the joy of suicide

book disease

foreground trouble

the transcendental hotel

cinema of the blind

lament of the earth mother

uranian poems

haikai by okami

haikai on the edge

black hole of your heart

jung's motel

leda and the swan

gloss on rilke's ninth duino elegy

jewels and shit:
poems by rimbaud

villon's dialogue with his heart

vasko popa: a shepherd of wolves ?

the rubáiyát of
omar khayyám

genrikh sapgir:
an ironic mystic

the love of pierre de ronsard






the maxims of michel de montaigne

revolutionary maxims

nice men and
suicide of an alien

anti-fairy tales

the most terrible event in history

the rich man and the leper


art, truth and bafflement




the three bears

three albanian tales

a little creation story



one not one

an occitanian baby-hatch

ancient violence
in the amazon

home, sweet home no longer

the ivory palace

helen's tower

schopenhauer for muthafuckas

are doctors autistic ?

single track in the snow

never a pygmy

against money

did franco die ?

'original sin' followed by
crippled consciousness

a gay man's guide to soft-willy sex

the holosensual alternative

tiger wine

the death of poetry

the absinthe drinker

with mrs dalloway in ukraine

love  and  hell

running on emptiness

a holocaust near you


londons of the mind &
dealing death to the caspian


a muezzin from the tower of darkness

kegan and kagan

a holy dog and a
dog-headed saint

an albanian ikon

being or television

satan in the groin

womb of half-fogged mirrors

tourism and terrorism

the dog from sinope


this sorry scheme of things

the bektashi dervishes

combatting normality

fools for nothingness:
atheists & saints

death of a bestseller

vacuum of desire: a homo-erotic correspondence

a note on beards

translation and the oulipo

the visit

towards the zen of sex




metamorphotos NEW LINK



tombeau de kurt schwitters

three movements of melting ice




Nuadú, God of War

field guide to megalithic ireland

megalith of the month

houses for the dead

ireland and the phallic continuum

irish cross-pillars

irish sweathouses

the sheela-na-gig conundrum

french megaliths

the church of lazarus and the dogs




'western values'

a small town in france











Doctors kill more people than 'terrorists' do.

Governments kill
a hundred times
more people than
terrorists do.


So what's the problem
with 'terrorism' ?








are those who ask you
how you are
only when they really
want to know.







this site only




300 African lions
400 Asiatic black bears
and 1,300 tigers
are bred and fed here
in tiny, filthy cages:

just one of many "farms"
in southern China:
Great Culture of the Ages.

Tiger wine
concocted from unimaginable
and meat
makes Powerful Chinese Medicine.

£200 a litre.
Makes you very strong.

Very, very cheap.
And so tolerably wrong.



adapted from a report from


by Danny Penman, 12th March 2007

Cruel almost beyond belief, a Chinese farm breeds hundreds of tigers in rows of battery cages ... so they can be killed and turned into wine.

King, the Siberian tiger, stares at me through the bars of his cage. His two beautiful, graceful companions pace back and forth across their tiny compound. They look crushingly bored. The most exciting thing they can do is paw mournfully at the dirty pools of rainwater on the floor of their cage.

Oh, what shoulder, & what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart ?

Although the Xiongsen tiger park, near Guilin in Hunan Province, south-east China, appears to be a depressingly typical Third World zoo, with a theme park restaurant and open areas where tigers roam, it actually hides a far more sinister secret: it's a factory farm breeding tigers to be eaten - and to be made into wine.

In row upon row of sheds, hundreds of tigers are incarcerated in row upon row of cages which they never leave - until they are slaughtered.

Visitors to the park can dine on strips of stir-fried tiger with ginger and Chinese vegetables. Also on the menu are tiger soup and a spicy red curry made with tenderised strips of the big cat. Visitors can wash it all down with a glass or two of wine made from Siberian tiger bones.

A waitress at the farm's restaurant tells me proudly: "The tiger meat is produced here. It's our business. When Government officials come here, we kill a tiger for them so they have fresh meat. Other visitors are given meat from tigers killed in fights. We now have 140 tigers in the freezer.

"We also sell lion meat, bear's paw, crocodile and snake. The bear's paw has to be ordered in advance as it takes a long time to cook."

The waitress clearly does not care that she is selling meat and wine from endangered species. She is not worried that selling them is against Chinese and international law, and helps to fuel the poaching that is driving tigers to extinction.

Tigers and other endangered species are being reared on an industrial scale through-out China, despite international treaties forbidding this. The Mail discovered three factory farms breeding tigers in China. The Guilin farm alone has 1,300 tigers, including the incredibly rare and elusive Siberian sub-species.

It rears and slaughters Bengal, South China and White tigers. More than 300 African lions and 400 Asiatic black bears are also reared here for food and 'Traditional Chinese Medicines'.

The Chinese authorities claim that farms like the one at Guilin are a vital part of the country's conservation efforts, and that they will one day release these endangered creatures back into the wild.

But my visit to the Xiongsen Bear and Tiger Mountain Village revealed that their real intention could not be more different. For the fact is that these poor, deprived animals could never survive in the wild.

Having spent their lives in tiny, battery-style units, they cannot hunt and would be dead within days of being released. Each shed at the tiger farm - and I saw at least 100 - houses between three and five tigers in a space no larger than a typical family living room. In relative terms, they have about as much space as a battery hen. [Hens - in their billions - suffer just as much, of course, but are not nearing extinction.]

The animals have all been bred on the farm. The cubs are taken from their mothers at three months and put in a kindergarten. I saw around 30 tiger cubs in this 'crèche', where they stay until they are old enough to be transferred to the battery units.

Many of the youngsters kept leaping at the fencing. The younger ones simply wanted to play like kittens. The older cubs were already showing signs of stress.

Tigers are naturally solitary creatures that roam over dozens of square miles, so it's hardly surprising that life in the cages drives them insane. I saw numerous examples of stress-related repetitive behaviour.

The mature animals paced back and forth across their cages for hours on end - three steps forward, three steps back. Some hurled themselves at the bars of their prison cells, while others simply stared into space.

Over-crowding drives the creatures to attack each other, often resulting in death. Officially it is only the tigers killed in such fights that can be eaten or turned into wine. But it is clear that many of them are released from their unimaginable misery by a bullet in the brain.

They are not the only animals killed. For entertainment, visitors to the animal park can watch the Live Kill, a sick spectacle in which animals are 'hunted' and torn to pieces by tigers while onlookers cheer.

I watched in horror as a heifer was stalked and caught by a tiger. Its screams filled the air as it struggled.

A wild tiger would dispatch its prey within moments, but these tigers' natural killing skills have been stunted by years of captivity. The tiger tried to kill - tearing, biting at the cow's body in a pathetic-looking frenzy - but it simply didn't know how. Eventually, the keepers stepped in and put the cow out of its misery.

Virtually all the tigers from the Guilin farm end up at a winery 100 miles to the north, their carcasses dumped in huge vats of rice wine and left to rot for up to nine years.

The Chinese believe that the tiger's strength passes into the wine as its body decomposes. They also believe that it is a powerful medicine that wards off arthritis, strengthens bones and acts as a general tonic.

Smelling like a mixture of methylated spirits, antiseptic and old meat, it is difficult to believe that anyone would willingly drink it, and yet people pay up to £100 a pint for it.

The Guilin farm also has its own small winery and acts as a distribution centre across China. The distribution manager showed me around with a Chinese tourist.

A small dingy office acts as the nerve centre of the warehouse. On the wall were charts showing that day's deliveries of tiger wine across China. Six crates were sent to Wuhan and another to Tianjing. Six crates of 'powdered bear' were sent to Shanghai. Numerous other cities and countless deliveries were also listed.

We were led into the warehouse, where I was hit with the disgusting and potent aroma of tiger wine. I was led past countless crates containing the foul-smelling brew. In the corner of the warehouse was a huge brown earthenware vat. It must have held at least 50 gallons, and its contents were probably worth around £12,000.

"We have three ages of wine," said the manager. "Three, six or nine-years old. It helps with arthritis and strengthens old people's bones."

She slid aside the lid of the earthenware vat to reveal a reddish-brown liquid with an overpowering smell of meths. A piece of string was pulled out of the vat. Attached to the end was a tiger's rib cage. Small slivers of dark red flesh could still be seen clinging to the bone, even though it had probably been in the vat for at least three years.

The manager then filled up an old plastic water bottle with a pint of wine and handed it to my fellow tourist. He paid £30 for it.

Whatever westerners think of tiger wine, the Chinese regard it as a potent drink with almost magical qualities. In the past, a Chinese doctor may have prescribed small quantities of wine for a short period of time.

But in recent years, big companies have moved into the market and industrialised all parts of the industry. Now the wine is becoming an essential drink for China's corrupt bureaucrats and the nation's nouveaux-riches.

Conservationists say tiger farming is not only barbaric, it could lead to the animal's extinction in the wild.

"It is stimulating demand for meat and wine, and this will inevitably lead to more poaching," says Grace Gabriel, of the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

"It costs £5,000 to raise a tiger from a cub to maturity in one of these farms, while it costs no more than £20 in India to poach one. On the market, a dead tiger can fetch £20,000.

"With such a huge margin, it is inevitable that more people will poach wild tigers if demand increases," she adds. "There are only a few thousand tigers left in the wild, and the last thing they need is increased demand for their body parts."

What dread hand? & what dread feet?

If present trends continue, tigers could be extinct in the wild within a decade. Three subspecies have already vanished. Chinese tigers are down to a pitiful 20 animals in the wild and are "functionally extinct".

There are only about 450 Siberian tigers left in Russia's Far East. The remaining 3-4,000 are sparsely scattered across India, Nepal and South-East Asia.

The trouble is that, as tigers become rarer in the wild, their 'street value' increases, which in turn encourages even more poaching.

Tigers have already become extinct in India's most famous reserve at Sariska. Numbers have plunged in several other reserves, too.

Most of these tigers will have been sold to traders in China. The Chinese authorities do virtually nothing to clamp down on this illegal trade, and many corrupt bureaucrats and police earn substantial sums from it.

And demand is continuing to increase as ever more bizarre uses for tigers are promoted. Tiger whiskers are used to 'cure' laziness and protect against bullets. Their brains, when mixed with oil and rubbed on the skin, are promoted as a cure for acne. Penises are used as aphrodisiacs, while hearts apparently impart courage, cunning and strength.

Although it is illegal to trade internationally in such tiger products as wine, the Chinese are lobbying hard to get the law relaxed. This June 2007, the Chinese Government is expected to press the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to allow the trade in 'medicines' such as wine produced from farmed tigers.

If agreed, it will lead to a massive increase in tiger farming and tens of thousands of these noble beasts will spend their lives in battery cages.

If the Chinese get their way, then it will almost certainly drive the tigers over the cliff into extinction.

It is almost too late to save this magnificent creature - but not quite.

For more information about the trade in endangered species see www.ifaw.org

What the hammer? what the chain?

photos © Belinda Wright WPSI-ITC

Meanwhile, elsewhere in southern China:
crated cats awaiting transport for slaughter,
and a suffering dog.


read RILKE'S poem about the Leopard in the Paris zoo =>


If you are not ashamed to be human, you are a monster.

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