Robert Byrd, 1917-2010

Robert Byrd was a United States Senator for 51 years.  No one can be in the Senate for that long and leave an uncomplicated legacy.  However, at least 2 things are very clear.  One, Byrd was one of the most gifted orators this country has ever known.  Two, he cared deeply about animals and loathed animal cruelty. 

His 2001 speech on the Senate floor, which I reproduce here with a hat tip to the Animal Welfare Institute, says much, leaves much unsaid, and speaks to all who are capable of listening.  Those of us who work in animal advocacy may have very different methods and views but we all abhor cruelty.  Senator Byrd’s eloquent voice offers a lesson to us all and his common decency will be sorely missed.

CONGRESSIONAL RECORD-SENATE
July 9, 2001

CRUELTY TO ANIMALS

Mr. BYRD. Mr. President, a few months ago, a lady by the name of Sara McBurnett accidentally tapped a sports utility vehicle from behind on a busy highway in California. The angry owner of the bumped vehicle, Mr. Andrew Burnett, stormed back to Ms. McBurnett’s car and began yelling at her; and then reached through her open car window with both hands, grabbed her little white dog and hurled it onto the busy roadway. The lady sat helplessly watching in horror as her frightened little pet ran for its life, dodging speeding traffic to no avail. The traffic was too heavy and the traffic was too swift.        Continue reading

The Carp Marches Ever Northward

David Cassuto

The Asian Carp continues its long march to the Great Lakes.  An invasive species that can reach 4 feet long and 100 lbs and consume up to 40% of its bodyweight daily, the carp will wreak havoc on the lakes’ ecosystem if and when it reaches there.  Currently, it’s in both the Mississippi and Illinois rivers and travelling northward.

This situation is generating both panic and inertia.  On the one hand are those who advocate severing all access points between the Mississippi basin and the lakes — arguing that the disastrous consequences of the carp’s reaching the lakes merit the drastic measures.  On the other are those who say that doing so would destroy jobs without guaranteeing that the carp will be prevented from reaching the lake.  It bears noting that the most recent carp find was only 6 miles from Lake Michigan.  This means that the fish may well have already reached the lake and that the parties could be arguing about whether to lock the door behind the intruder.   Continue reading

The Whale Killing Compromise Founders

David Cassuto

The perseverating continues about whether to `compromise´and allow some whaling in exchange for countries like Iceland, Norway and Japan agreeing to slaughter fewer whales in fewer places.  Even some major environmental organizations, including Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund, have signed on.  As Stephanie Ernst  points out, there is a dangerous ethical compromise in acquiescing to the killing of some in exchange for the survival of others.     Continue reading

King of the…Burgers?

Seth Victor

It appears that not only do we have unicorn meat on the menu, but lion meat as well. Yahoo! Sports reported on this “adventurous” new treat offered by an Arizona restaurant as a way to celebrate the World Cup. Though I’m not surprised, I didn’t know that lions were farmed for meat. I thought they were raised as ill-advised exotic pets. Apparently they are free-range from Illinois.

Call me crazy, but I can think of better ways to celebrate the culture of host nation South Africa than by eating a critically threatened animal. Then again, maybe eating through the British Coat of Arms is a proper post-colonial salute to the former mother country.

The Unicorn Meat Dust-up

David Cassuto

Is it an animal law matter that the National Pork Board sent a `cease and desist letter´ to the folks at  ThinkGeek, ordering them to stop referring to unicorn meat as `the other white meat?´  Well, I guess technically yes

Help Wanted: Herpetofauna Attorney

David Cassuto

Are you a herpetofauna attorney?  Do you want to be?  Do you know anyone who is?  Or, like me, do you just like saying “herpetofauna attorney?”  In any case, you may be interested in the job listing below with the Center for Biological Diversity

Continue reading

How About You?

 Seth Victor

I am in San Diego, CA, a legendary city named after majestic sea creatures. I’ve enjoyed some of the great sights, but I would have been remiss not to visit the “World Famous” San Diego Zoo. I did so with some hesitation (and with a certain singer in my head). I was previously under the impression that the San Diego Zoo was more like a wildlife safari, where the people are in the cage moving in the environment. I was disappointed to find out that it is not. The Wild Animal Park of which I was thinking is a totally different place. The zoo is a rather nice zoo. It emphasises its conservation of endangered and threatened species. Zoos, however, are a contentious issue for many in the animal rights world. The question is whether animal exploitation is acceptable when the purpose is to bring the animals closer to humans. That’s a simplistic way of phrasing it, since circuses also bring animals closer to people, but are not something to celebrate. Yet many view the boredom and enclosed lives of animals in zoos just as poorly, arguing that media sources such as documentaries bring animals to life in a way that does not cause them suffering. 

Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,348 other followers