Posted on May 29, 2012 by Seth
Here’s the situation. You have several domestic cats in a neighborhood from different houses. For one reason or another, a couple of these cats leave their homes and wander the neighborhood and breed, becoming more or less feral. This goes on for several generations. Does there come a point when these cats are no longer domestic animals, but should be considered wild?
I pose the question concerning cats because feral felines occupy a middle ground in our society’s ever complicated definitions when it comes to animals. Cats are cute and cuddly and are one of the primary “pet” animals; though probably just a juicy and tender, it’s faux pas to eat them, and even the dumbest cat is more lauded than the smartest pig. Cats are also noted for their more independent behavior. Ask a “dog person” why he likes his dog better, and you will inevitably hear some mention of loyalty and companionship that he doesn’t see in cats (though the “cat people” will vociferously disagree). But can that make cats more wild, and if so, what does that mean? When are animals wild, and can they cross or re-cross that line?
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal law, hunting | Tagged: animal ethics, animal law, cats, dogs, domestic animals, Endangered Species Act, feral cats, hunting, rhesus monkeys, wild animals, wildlife | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 29, 2012 by Seth
The plight of the assailed pit bull has been mentioned a few times on this blawg. Even internationally, these dogs are targeted as problem animals who will sooner rip out your throat than look at you, which is of course blatantly untrue. There are circumstances in which pit bulls can be dangerous, but this is generally the work of the people raising these dogs than their inherent nature.
Last week in Ohio, someone finally got that memo, and a new measure will “[change] current law that defines a vicious dog as one that has seriously hurt or killed a person, killed another dog or is among those commonly known as pit bulls. The new measure removes the reference to pit bulls from the definition and requires evidence to prove pit bulls are actually vicious.”
Come again? Defining vicious dogs as ones that are actually vicious and not just including ones that are unfairly demonized? That’s as crazy as judging someone not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal law, animal rights, animal welfare | Tagged: animal abuse, animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal law, animal rights, animal welfare, animals, dog fighting, pit bulls | 5 Comments »
Posted on May 21, 2012 by othernations
Click image for theme song
Kathleen Stachowski Other Nations
Dillard’s department store has raised my ire. Again. And again, swimsuits figure in.
The first time–several years ago now–a swimwear sale ad blew me out of the water with its sexualized portrayal of a six-year-old girl. The swimsuit itself was OK…well, except for the two big flowers printed strategically on the chest of the swimsuit top. That, combined with the exotic dancer pose the child was photographed in, and I was e-mailing Corporate Office in a hurry and a fury to suggest that their advertising department sorely needed some awareness-raising and sensitivity training.
This time, a quarter-page ad trumpets “Swim Day,” a swimsuit promotion running in conjunction with Discovery Cove in Orlando. Come in and try on a swimsuit! Register to win the Grand Prize and you could find yourself swimming with dolphins, snorkeling with rays, and hand feeding exotic birds. In the background behind the swimsuit model, four captive dolphins leap from the water in a synchronized stunt. Continue reading
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal ethics, animal rights, environmental ethics, fishing, marine animals, Uncategorized | 7 Comments »
Posted on May 11, 2012 by Seth
I encourage everyone to read Angelique Rivard’s excellent summary of Steven Wise’s resent presentation at the Dyson Lecture Series, which explored the future of animal legal standing and animal personhood. Mr. Wise’s theories were on my mind when I heard last week’s Wait Wait. . .Don’t Tell Me. Some of you might have heard that Rita Crundwell, comptroller in Dixon, IL, has been accused of embezzling $53 million from her town. As Peter Segal states, “Now the government wants to seize her assets that she got with her ill begotten gains and that means, according to the law, they have to file a suit against the horses themselves. So the case is on the court docket, as United States of America versus Have Faith In Money, et al.”
Getting a horse’s name on a docket is notable, but I’m sure not for the reasons Mr. Wise hopes. We’ve still a long way to go to move horses from “assets” to “persons.”
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal law, animal rights | Tagged: activism, animal advocacy, animal law, Dixon, horses, Illinois, NPR, Rita Crundwell, Steven Wise | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 11, 2012 by Seth
Ever since England and Wales banned fox hunting in 2005, certain hunters in those countries have been ballyhooing for their
lost pastime. Fear not red coats! While the foxes may rest safely in their dens, you can stalk and snipe “human foxes” through the woods to your hearts’ content. Though it is unclear whether these hunts will also feature mounted horn blowers and packs of hounds to ravish the
fool in fool’s clothing brave volunteer, the enterprise does open the door to a slew of possibilities. Coming soon, men in Wilfred-like suits bashing each other with padded sticks, and fencers donned in tar and feather. My question is, does this satiate anyone, or does it only straddle an odd middle ground on the hunting controversy?
You can take the hunter out of the fox hunt, but . . .
Filed under: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »
Posted on May 8, 2012 by othernations
Gene Bernofsky photo, World Wild Film Expedition.org
Kathleen Stachowski Other Nations
Much has been written about circus animal exploitation, and those who care to know, do know. We know about the trauma of capture and separation. The abusive training. The extreme confinement in trailers, cages, and chains–lives so impoverished that animals lose their minds. And the fruit of that suffering: brief minutes in the ring where defeated animals perform unnatural, coerced acts for cheering throngs. We know about the suffering when things go as planned, and the suffering when things go awry.
But this piece is about the other animal–the one who wields the whip and bullhook. The animal who clutches kids with one hand and circus tickets with the other. The animal who profits off the misery of “lesser” beings in the name of charity. In short, the animal who determines the fate of all others. Continue reading
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal ethics, animal rights, circuses | 22 Comments »
Posted on May 3, 2012 by Seth
I happened to watch CNN this afternoon at the deli where I had lunch. The featured story focused on what age is too young for a child to be vegan.
Recently there has been a stir surrounding “Vegan is Love” by author Ruby Roth. To quote the Amazon summary,”Roth illustrates how our daily choices ripple out locally and globally, conveying what we can do to protect animals, the environment, and people across the world. Roth explores the many opportunities we have to make ethical decisions: refusing products tested on or made from animals; avoiding sea parks, circuses, animal races, and zoos; choosing to buy organic food; and more.”
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal ethics, animal experimentation, animal welfare, circuses, climate change, diet, factory farms, veganism, vegetarianism | Tagged: animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal welfare, animals, CAFOS, childhood obesity, CNN, diet, factory farms, farmed animals, meat, nutrition, Ruby Roth, vegan, Vegan is Love, veganism, vegetarianism | 6 Comments »
Posted on May 2, 2012 by David
Have you ever wondered what informs human rights? Steven Wise, founder of the Nonhuman Rights Project, has explored that question and many others through historical, philosophical, scientific, and legal lenses.
On last Thursday, April, 26th, Steven Wise, acclaimed animal lawyer and professor, brought insight, engagement and humor to the Pace Law School’s Dyson Lecture Series, delivering a riveting presentation on The Nonhuman Rights Project’s Struggle for Nonhuman Personhood. Founded in 1982 by alumni, Charles H. Dyson, the series aims to encourage and make possible the engagement of scholarly legal studies to both the students, faculty and staff of Pace Law School and the public at large. Wise’s presentation on nonhuman personhood and rights did just that.
Wise’s research on what affords humans as opposed to nonhuman animals “noncomparative” rights, such as liberty and dignity, is significant. He began his presentation by discounting the seemingly largest problem with affording nonhuman animals rights, namely their lack of standing. Instead, Wise demonstrated through a pyramid diagram how standing is actually the last and least of all obstructions. Rather, the core problem is the question of capacity, which opens (or closes) the gate in affording nonhuman animals rights. Capacity for rights would ultimately establish that any nonhuman animal is a legal person and thus is entitled to legal rights. Once capacity is achieved the next hurdle involves defining which rights in particular are attributable to nonhuman animals. The third tier questions private rights and last is the pyramid point, encompassing the notion of standing. Continue reading
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal law, animal rights | Tagged: animal law, animal rights, Dyson Lecture, legal personhood, Nonhuman Rights Project, Steven Wise | 6 Comments »