Posted by rogerhollander in Animal Protection, Canada.
Tags: animal protectiion, brigitte bardot, Canada, conservation, norway, roger hollander, RUSSI, russia, wildlife, wolf extermination, wolf hunt, wolf killing, wolves
Published on Friday, January 18, 2013 by The Guardian
Governments in Russia, Canada and Scandinavia claim they need to protect lesser species and habitats – while continuing their smash and grab raid on natural resources
A wolf hunter in Hasselforsreviret, Sweden. (Photo: Anders Wiklund/AFP/Getty Images)
If, as she has threatened, Brigitte Bardot moves to Russia in protest at the treatment of animals in France, she’s in for a major shock.
A couple of weeks ago, the former actress warned that if two circus elephants thought to be carrying tuberculosis are killed as a result of a ruling by a French court, she will follow Gérard Depardieu by applying for a Russian passport:
“If those in power are cowardly and impudent enough to kill the elephants … then I have decided I will ask for Russian nationality to get out of this country which has become nothing more than an animal cemetery”.
As a general principle, I think anyone who threatens to move to another country if they don’t get their way should be obliged to do so. This, for example, would rid the United Kingdom of some of its greediest and most demanding bankers who, despite their promises, are still here. And Tracey Emin.
But if Bardot does move to Russia, which I reckon is about as likely as Vladimir Putin being elected to the board of Amnesty International, she’ll find that France’s record on the treatment and protection of animals, while often brutal, is almost exemplary by comparison to her adopted country’s. Take for example the decree on Tuesday by the president of the Sakha Republic (also known as Yakutia) in Siberia.
There are 3,500 wolves in Sakha, which sounds like a lot until you discover that the republic is the size of India. President Yegor Borisov wants to reduce the population to 500 through an intensive three-month hunt, supported by a state of emergency, bounties for every wolf shot and a prize of 1m roubles for the hunters who kill the most.
This “emergency” massacre is necessary, he claims, because wolves are killing too many domestic animals. Last year, apparently, they incurred 5m roubles’ (£103,500) worth of losses – considerably less than the likely cost of the wolf hunt. Would it not make more sense to use the money to compensate the farmers? Would it not make more sense to protect the wolves’ natural prey: animals such as hares which are currently being overhunted by people, driving the wolves to look elsewhere for food?
In November, when I wrote about plans to exterminate wolves in Norway, some of those who supported the killings wrote to me to explain that there are plenty of wolves in Russia, so why bother protecting them in Scandinavia? Doubtless the Russian supporters of Borisov’s bloodbath will respond that there are plenty of wolves left in Canada, so why bother protecting them in Russia?
Well they too are likely to be disappointed, as similar massacres are being planned there, on the most cynical of premises.
In Alberta, the province systematically corrupted and brutalised by the oil curse, and whose polluted politics are now corrupting public life throughout Canada, the government plans to carry out a mass killing of wolves by shooting them from helicopters and poisoning them with strychnine.
The reason, ostensibly, is to protect the woodland caribou, a subspecies of reindeer (Rangifer tarandus caribou), whose numbers have been diminishing rapidly. This, according to the Alberta Caribou Committee, is because wolves have been killing them.
So what is this Alberta Caribou Committee? As you might expect, it represents all the usual environmental organisations, such as, er, PetroCanada, Shell, BP, ConocoPhillips, Koch Petroleum, TransCanada Pipelines, Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries and the pulp company Daishowa Marubeni.
Between them they have decided – and apparently convinced both the provincial and federal governments – that the problem afflicting the province’s caribou is not the fragmentation of their habitat by seismic lines, pipelines, roads, oil platforms, timber cutting and the transformation of pristine forest into wasteland by tar sands operations, but the natural predator with which the species has lived for thousands of years.
Never mind that analysis of wolves’ feces show that they eat very few caribou, as they prefer to hunt deer. Never mind that the woodland caribou is highly susceptible to disturbance, and that all the evidence points to the destruction of their habitat as the major factor causing their decline. Something other than the smash and grab exploitation now raging across Saudi Alberta must be to blame. And what better scapegoat could there be than the animal demonised for centuries on both sides of the Atlantic?
Wolf killing is the excuse the federal government needs to remove protection from all but 5% of pristine woodland caribou habitat. As Cliff Wallis of the Alberta Wilderness Association points out “The plan gives the appearance of doing something, but the details read ‘business as usual’ for Alberta oil sands, oil and gas and forestry.” Killing wolves suggests that the caribou are being protected, even while they are being driven to extinction by scarcely regulated industry. Already, hundreds of wolves have been shot and poisoned: now the government intends to intensify this effort.
Something similar is happening in British Columbia. In November a wolf-killing competition, sponsored among others by the Peace River Rod and Gun Club, was announced. It will take place across the winter, and offers cash prizes for the hunters who kill the biggest and smallest wolves. The wolves are driven to exhaustion by snowmobiles, then shot.
Like Alberta’s, the provincial government of British Columbia plans to relax the regulations governing the killing of wolves and to wipe them out in some parts of the province. Again, the excuse is to protect caribou; which again are threatened primarily by human activities.
So I wonder what the advocates of the wolf massacres in Canada will say: don’t worry about our populations, because they’re thriving in Russia, I mean Norway, I mean Edinburgh zoo?
You cannot rely on other countries to do what you refuse to do at home. There’s only one place in which a government can be sure of protecting wildlife, and that’s the place over which it has jurisdiction.
© 2013 George Monbiot
Posted by rogerhollander in Animal Protection, Humor, LGBT.
Tags: african penguins, animal husbandry, animal rights, endangered species, gay penguins, Humor, humour, penguin mating, roger hollander, toronto zoo
Roger’s note: I don’t know if we need to alert the gay rights or the animal rights folks; but something has to be done for poor Buddy and Pedro!
Nov 8, 2011 12:25pm
Toronto Zoo to separate two “gay” penguins so that they can breed. (Rene Johnston/Toronto Star)
The amorous connection between two inseparable male penguins will soon come to an end when the Toronto Zoo pairs them with females.
“The males will be put in with a specific female so they have the chance to get to know one another, and if they bond, that’s what we’re looking for,” Bill Rapley, the zoo’s executive director of conservation and wildlife, told ABCNews.com.
Buddy, 21, and Pedro, 10, lived in a zoo in Toledo, Ohio, before traveling to Canada to become part of the Toronto Zoo’s first African penguin exhibit in 18 years.
Zookeepers quickly observed courtship and mating behaviors that are typically exhibited only between males and females.
“When you put things in captivity, odd things happen,” Kevin McGowan of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology in Ithaca, N.Y., told ABCNews.com. “The way penguins work is they do get paired for a long time. Basically, the only other penguin they care about is their mate, so it’s important for them to find somebody who’s compatible, and if you don’t have a normal upbringing then it’s difficult to say how ‘normal’ they can be.”
Buddy and Pedro, who were both raised in captivity, pair together every night, “bray” at one another, groom each other, and never seem to tire of standing alongside each other, the Toronto Star reported.
But because the penguins have “top-notch genes,” zookeepers want them to breed with females to help populate the species, which is endangered.
According to the Toronto Zoo’s website, the African penguin population initially declined because their eggs had been overharvested, and many of their habitats had been disturbed. Today, oil pollution and a shrinking food supply exacerbated by commercial fishing are the major threats to their existence.
The zoo is now engaged in a species survival plan to help the species populate.
But just because Buddy and Pedro are placed with females doesn’t mean they will want to pair with them, which might pose a challenge to the zoo’s attempts at animal husbandry.
“They don’t necessarily do what you want them to do, and what can be kind of tricky is getting them to accept the mate you want them to have,” said McGowan.
Part of the reason penguins tend to be so picky about their mates, he said, is because rearing chicks is “one of the hardest working times of their lives,” McGowan said. “There’s an awful lot of feeding.
“You can imagine if you’re going to invest so much time and energy in a chick … you would be choosy [about your mate] in that situation,” he said. “And the penguins are relatively choosy.”
Buddy might have an easier time adapting than Pedro. Before Buddy arrived at the Toronto Zoo, he paired with a female for “quite a few years,” and they had eggs together, Tom Mason, Toronto Zoo curator of birds, told ABCNews.com. ”After she passed away, Buddy was put with Pedro at the other zoo [in Ohio] and now they’ve been put in here to specifically breed with females. We’re setting up colony of 12 – to maximize genetics and avoid inbreeding.”
But when the breeding season is over, all the birds will eventually return to the same enclosure, and “if Buddy and Pedro want to be together … they will be back together, ” said Mason.
A Few Facts About African Penguins
- Pairs mate for life
- They live about 15 to 20 years
- Both males and females incubate eggs
- The population has dropped from millions to less than 60,000 since the 1800s
Posted by rogerhollander in Animal Protection.
Tags: animal liberation, animal rights, burger king animal rights, california animal rights, factory farms, humane society, jeremy bentham, kant, nicholas kristof, peter singer, roger hollander, spain animal rights
One of the historical election landmarks last year had nothing to do with race or the presidency. Rather, it had to do with pigs and chickens — and with overarching ideas about the limits of human dominion over other species.
Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
Nicholas D. Kristof
Spain is moving to grant basic legal rights to apes. In the United States, law schools are offering courses on animal rights, fast-food restaurants including Burger King are working with animal rights groups to ease the plight of hogs and chickens in factory farms and the Humane Society of the United States is preparing to push new legislation to extend the California protections to other states.
At one level, this movement on behalf of oppressed farm animals is emotional, driven by sympathy at photos of forlorn pigs or veal calves kept in tiny pens. Yet the movement is also the product of a deep intellectual ferment pioneered by the Princeton scholar Peter Singer.
Professor Singer wrote a landmark article in 1973 for The New York Review of Books and later expanded it into a 1975 book, “Animal Liberation.” That book helped yank academic philosophy back from a dreary foray into linguistics and pushed it to confront such fascinating questions of applied ethics as: What are our moral obligations to pigs?
John Maynard Keynes wrote that ideas, “both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else.” This idea popularized by Professor Singer — that we have ethical obligations that transcend our species — is one whose time appears to have come.
“There’s some growth in numbers of vegetarians, but the bigger thing is a broad acceptance of the idea that animals count,” Mr. Singer reflected the other day.
What we’re seeing now is an interesting moral moment: a grass-roots effort by members of one species to promote the welfare of others. Legislation is playing a role, with Europe scheduled to phase out bare wire cages for egg production by 2012, but consumer consciences are paramount. It’s because of consumers that companies like Burger King and Hardee’s are beginning to buy pork and eggs from producers that give space to their animals.
For most of history, all of this would have been unimaginable even to people of the most refined ethical sensibility (granted, for many centuries those refined ethicists were also untroubled by slavery). A distinguished philosopher, Thomas Taylor, reacted to Mary Wollstonecraft’s 1792 call for “the rights of woman” by writing a mocking call for “the rights of brutes.” To him, it seemed as absurd that women should have rights as that animals should have rights.
One of the few exceptions was Jeremy Bentham, the philosopher who 200 years ago also advocated for women’s rights, gay rights and prison reform. He responded to Kant’s lack of interest in animals by saying: “The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?”
In recent years, the issue has entered the mainstream, but even for those who accept that we should try to reduce the suffering of animals, the question remains where to draw lines. I eagerly pushed Mr. Singer to find his boundaries. “Do you have any compunctions about swatting a cockroach?” I asked him.
“Not much,” he replied, citing reasons to doubt that insects are capable of much suffering. Mr. Singer is somewhat unsure about shellfish, although he mostly gives them the benefit of the doubt and tends to avoid eating them.
Free-range eggs don’t seem offensive to him, but there is the awkwardness that even wholesome egg-laying operations depend on the slaughtering of males, since a male chick is executed for every female allowed to survive and lay eggs.
I asked Mr. Singer how he would weigh human lives against animal lives, and he said that he wouldn’t favor executing a human to save any number of animals. But he added that he would be troubled by the idea of keeping one human alive by torturing 10,000 hogs to death.
These are vexing questions, and different people will answer them differently. For my part, I eat meat, but I would prefer that this practice not inflict gratuitous suffering.
Yet however we may answer these questions, there is one profound difference from past centuries: animal rights are now firmly on the mainstream ethical agenda.
More Articles in Opinion » A version of this article appeared in print on April 9, 2009, on page A27 of the New York edition
Posted by rogerhollander in Animal Protection, Canada.
Tags: alisa mullins, Animal Protection, animal rights, Canada, canada government, harp seals, peta, roger hollander, seal fur, seal hunt, seal slaughter
www.opednews.com, April 13, 2009
If anyone wonders why animal rights groups speak out against Canada’s violent commercial seal slaughter year after year, I invite you to visit PETA’s blog, The PETA Files. There you’ll see a disturbing photo of a baby seal who was beaten and skinned for her fur. The seal’s skull has been smashed in, and the ice is red with her blood.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the seal slaughter—and in the next few weeks, tens of thousands of seals just like the one in the photograph will meet the same gruesome fate.
If you’ve been following the animal rights movement since the 1970s, you no doubt remember the early days of the massive worldwide campaign to end Canada’s despicable slaughter of harp seals. Who can forget those heartbreaking ads showing fluffy white baby seals staring at the camera with their enormous eyes?
Public outcry forced Canada to ban the killing of “whitecoats” in 1987, and the seal slaughter essentially collapsed. But in 1996, all that changed when the Canadian government began subsidizing the massacre in an effort to rebuild it. It has since grown almost every year and is now the largest slaughter of marine mammals in the world. This year alone, hunters will be allowed to kill more than 338,000 seals.
Canadian officials should have let the seal slaughter die a natural death.
While hunters are no longer allowed to kill “whitecoats,” they can club and shoot baby seals as soon as the animals begin to molt their white natal fur—about 12 days after they’re born. Yes, seals can legally be killed before they are even 2 weeks old—before they have eaten their first solid meal or taken their first swim.
The difference between bashing in the head of a 12-day-old seal and bashing in the head of a 13-day-old seal is lost on most people.
Not surprisingly, opposition to the seal slaughter is once again growing. In the U.S., the sale of seal fur has been banned since 1972. Belgium and the Netherlands have passed laws banning the importation of seal fur, and the European Union is considering similar legislation. In early March, a European Parliament committee voted in favor of a bill that would ban the importation of all seal products (with an exception made for Canada’s Inuit hunters). The full parliament is expected to vote on the bill as early as April.
Canada isn’t taking this lying down, of course. In an effort to make the slaughter seem more palatable, they’ve implemented new “humane standards,” including a requirement that sealers wait 60 seconds before skinning seals in order to “ensure” that they are dead. I’m sorry, but bludgeoning defenseless animals, impaling them on boat hooks, dragging them across the ice and ripping off their skins after a 60-second pulse check—assuming anyone is actually watching—does not fit any reasonable definition of “humane.” And the new regulations don’t require a speck of oversight.
With the approach of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games, the eyes of the world will soon be turning toward Canada. PETA will be working to make sure that some of that focus shifts from Canada’s “games” to Canada’s shame. Killing sentient animals for something as selfish as fur can never be justified.
But the very least that we can do is end the sickening spectacle of the seal slaughter once and for all. It should have been banned long ago.