Animal Labor

Like Elephants? Help Elephants!

sad circus elephant remembering her familyI recently learned about Elephant Watch Nepal and hope other animal advocates will help to spread the word about their wonderful work for elephants and other animals around the world.

More info: Responsible Travel vs Elephant Safaris

Like them on Facebook and share their page with your contacts – thanks! They can really use the international exposure.

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Another ethical grey area: Duck cuddling

duck and veteran

Image description: On a suburban street, a burly man in sunglasses and a trucker cap tenderly cuddles a white duck in his arms, talking to him or her and scratching his/her tummy. The duck is relaxed and cozy-looking. Three more ducks walk around behind them, among chain link fencing and an orange construction fence.

This is one of those things that I see as a vegan and wonder if it could be done ethically. The story behind the image is that this guy is a veteran living in Ohio who keeps ducks for therapy. According to this short Gawker post and the AP article it links to, this “keeping” apparently consists of caring for them, watching them, and spending time with them. It doesn’t say anything about taking their eggs or feathers, or eating their bodies, or breeding or selling them. Maybe some of that is involved; maybe the particulars of this situation are in some way exploitative. My guess is that these animals weren’t rescued from a factory farm, for example.

But what I’m seeing here is the potential for a very sweet and symbiotic way for veterans and other humans to take a lot of solace in the company of animals who need homes. If sanctuary animals in need of adoption were paired with humans who need their company, that seems like a smart, benign, and even beneficial relationship. Could the concept of “therapy animal” be expanded to become an explicitly mutual, respectful relationship intended to benefit both parties?

Read the article and tell me what you think about this subject.

Linktown

Here are some links. Catching up.

“the fate of most livestock is that they are murdered by their benefactors”

Charlottes-Web-Terrific-Garth-Williams1Read E.B. White’s poignant explanation for writing Charlotte’s Web (io9):

A farm is a peculiar problem for a man who likes animals, because the fate of most livestock is that they are murdered by their benefactors. The creatures may live serenely but they end violently, and the odor of doom hangs about them always. I have kept several pigs, starting them in spring as weanlings and carrying trays to them all through summer and fall. The relationship bothered me. Day by day I became better acquainted with my pig, and he with me, and the fact that the whole adventure pointed toward an eventual piece of double-dealing on my part lent an eerie quality to the thing. I do not like to betray a person or a creature, and I tend to agree with Mr. E.M. Forster that in these times the duty of a man, above all else, is to be reliable. It used to be clear to me, slopping a pig, that as far as the pig was concerned I could not be counted on, and this, as I say, troubled me. Anyway, the theme of “Charlotte’s Web” is that a pig shall be saved, and I have an idea that somewhere deep inside me there was a wish to that effect.

Solution: Go vegan.

India announces dolphinarium ban

dolphinarium

Good news for dolphins from WDC, Whale and Dolphin Conservation:

In a highly progressive move for dolphin protection, India’s Central Zoo Authority has issued a circular announcing the decision of India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests not to allow the establishment of dolphinaria in the country and advising state governments across India to reject any such proposals. To demonstrate just how progressive this decision is, the circular notes “cetaceans in general are highly intelligent and sensitive, and various scientists who have researched dolphin behavior have suggested that the unusually high intelligence… means that dolphin should be seen as “non-human persons” and as such should have their own specific rights and is morally unacceptable to keep them captive for entertainment purpose”.

Read more…

Do you support the rights of whales and dolphins?

If you support animal rights, sign the Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans: Whales and Dolphins:

Based on the principle of the equal treatment of all persons;
Recognizing that scientific research gives us deeper insights into the complexities of cetacean minds, societies and cultures;
Noting that the progressive development of international law manifests an entitlement to life by cetaceans;
We affirm that all cetaceans as persons have the right to life, liberty and wellbeing.
We conclude that:

  1. Every individual cetacean has the right to life.
  2. No cetacean should be held in captivity or servitude; be subject to cruel treatment; or be removed from their natural environment.
  3. All cetaceans have the right to freedom of movement and residence within their natural environment.
  4. No cetacean is the property of any State, corporation, human group or individual.
  5. Cetaceans have the right to the protection of their natural environment.
  6. Cetaceans have the right not to be subject to the disruption of their cultures.
  7. The rights, freedoms and norms set forth in this Declaration should be protected under international and domestic law.
  8. Cetaceans are entitled to an international order in which these rights, freedoms and norms can be fully realized.
  9. No State, corporation, human group or individual should engage in any activity that undermines these rights, freedoms and norms.
  10. Nothing in this Declaration shall prevent a State from enacting stricter provisions for the protection of cetacean rights.

Agreed, 22nd May 2010, Helsinki, Finland

Do you support this declaration? Click here to add your name.

Why eat eggs?

I just watched the short film Story Of An Egg after reading about it on Huffington Post. I found myself sympathizing with the farmers who are trying to find more ethical ways of farming eggs, and I used to love eating eggs myself – but I can’t help but be unsettled by the assumption that we have to go on exploiting animals to live happy, fulfilled, healthy lives.

story-of-an-egg

Watch 2013 Festival | The Story of an Egg on PBS. See more from PBS Online Film Festival.

Eggs can be a great source of nutrition for humans, it’s true. But do we need them – are plant-based proteins just not enough for us? Can we justify our need? More

What do you have to say about the intersection of identity politics and speciesism?

dog-with-disabilityJust in from the Eco-ability Collective about a conference coming up on April 27th & 28th, 2013:

There’s a week and a half left to submit abstracts for the 1st annual Eco-Ability conference held at Binghamton University, which is set to explore the intersection of identity politics and speciesism. For more information check out our website at ecoability.wordpress.com

This sounds like an awesome event! The theme will be “A Politics of Disability, Animal Liberation, and Queering.” Proposals are due March 23, 2013.

The conference will help to lay the groundwork for a book that will be part of Lexington Books’ Critical Animal Studies series. Follow Earth, Animal, and Disability Liberation: The Rise of Eco-Ability on Facebook.