Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Friday, July 10, 2009

So I'm from the New Appalachia?

This is not totally animal-related, but I'll share anyway.

I grew up in the Central Valley of California and my mother owns a home there in Gustine. Today I came across this strange article from NPR about the area.

I've always known that the Central Valley is one of the poorer areas of California. It's not as well-educated, sophisticated, healthy or well-off. There is definitely a problem with gang violence, especially in Fresno. We grow a great deal of vegetables and fruit for the world, but don't consume that much for ourselves. But this article seemed a little over the top to me. And my husband thinks so too, and he's from Seattle.

Apparently, the Central Valley has been called the new Appalachia. And there are towns where packs of dogs are roaming about and keeping people indoors.

Really?

I didn't grow up with money, but I've visited a lot of places in my life and I just find this article to paint a pretty extreme picture of a place I know well. Maybe I'm just used to it so I don't have the surprise of an outsider. But I just can't see it as the new Appalachia. That's an extreme description of poverty that I find hard to accept.

On an animal note, I will say that the treatment of animals is very bad in the Central Valley. It mirrors the lack of education and enlightenment of a generally poor area. It's farm country and you have a lot of farmers and ag types who treat companion animals as little better than livestock. Lots of "guard dogs" outdoors for their entire lives, etc. And of course, let's not discuss factory farms down there. Truly it's a peasant culture in many ways. But I really do believe, if true, that wild dogs roaming around frightening people is an extreme and unusual case, rather than the norm. But, of course, highlighting that story grabs attention.

A weird take on my home region.

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