Posted on November 26, 2013 by David
A recent edition of the ScienceTimes, a section of the NY Times includes several noteworthy animal articles. Elephants Get the Point of Pointing, by Carl Zimmer writes about a new research lead by Dr. Byrne’s suggesting elephants understand human pointing, a rare gift in the animal kingdom. Dr. Byrne’s states, “Even our closest relatives, like chimpanzees, don’t seem to get the point of pointing.” Researchers have done tests, such as putting food in one of two identical containers and then silently point at the one with food. Primates and most other animals studied fail the test, some have done well, such as domesticated mammals, especially dogs. These results have prompted researchers to speculate that during domestication animals evolve to become keenly aware of humans. Dr. Byrne’s began to wonder if elephants would pass the pointing test, so last year one of his students went to Zimbabwe, and for 2 months tested 11 elephants. The study found that 67.5% of the time elephants could follow the pointing. Dr. Byrne’s would also like to study the pointing test on whales and dolphins but thinks “they make elephants look easy to work with.”
Think Elephant International, a not-for-profit organization that str
ives to promote elephant conservation through scientific research and educational programming announced a study on April 17, 2013 co-authored by 12-14 year old students from East Side Middle School in NYC, revealing elephants were not able to recognize visual cues provided by humans, although they were more responsive to voice commends. The study is a three-year endeavor to create a comprehensive middle school curriculum that brings elephant into classrooms as a way to educate young people about conservation by getting them directly involved in work with endangered species. This research tested elephant pointing to find food hidden in one of two buckets, and the elephants failed this (more…)
Filed under: endangered species, IUCN | Tagged: animal advocacy, conservation, elephants, endangered species, environmentalism, meerkat, moose | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 19, 2013 by othernations
Kathleen Stachowski Other Nations
It wasn’t hard to see this tragedy coming. Really, it was just a matter of time–not if it would happen, but when.
A Missoula, Montana man went skiing on Sunday, Nov. 17th with his three canine companions– malamutes all–and returned home with only two living dogs. The third, a 2-year-old named Little Dave, was shot multiple times by a camo-clad hunter who thought he was killing a wolf.
The story–as reported by the media and expounded upon by county and state officials–can be read in
two three four recent, local articles: “Missoula man says wolf hunter shot, killed pet malamute,” ”Sheriff’s office: Shooting of dog near Lolo Pass wasn’t criminal,” and (two updates since posting) “Dog shooting reveals legal gray area for hunting, recreation,” and “Authorities spoke with hunter who killed dog, say he won’t be charged.”
Little Dave’s guardian, a man named Layne, witnessed his companion’s death. (more…)
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal rights, hunting, wolves | Tagged: companion dogs, Montana, trapping | 9 Comments »
Posted on November 12, 2013 by David
On October 11, California became the first state to ban lead in hunting ammunition. “Lead poses a danger to wildlife,” said California Governor Jerry Brown in a signing message. “This danger has been known for a long time.” The ban will help to protect a number of mammal and bird species, including the endangered California Condor.
The California Condor nearly went extinct in the 1980s – by 1982, their population had dwindled to twenty-two. Thanks to a successful captive breeding program, that number has increased to 424, but lead from ammunition remains a major threat to their recovery. (more…)
Filed under: animal law, environmental law | Tagged: animal law, California Condor, endangered species, environmental ethics, environmental law, lead ammunition | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 5, 2013 by Seth
I’m going to keep this short and let others’ words speak for me. Gus, the polar bear at the Central Park Zoo in NYC, was euthanized on August 27th. While reading about him, I found this article from 2011 when his companion Ida was euthanized because of liver disease. Diane Ackerman tries to glimpse into the emotions of Gus at that time, and raises many issues we’ve covered on the Blawg. Whether you accept that animals have emotions similar to ours, or believe that such thinking is the product of anthropomorphism, it’s an engaging meditation on the love we feel for animals, and the discouragement of trying to know what they feel. “We witness Gus’s grief and taste our own memories of love, loss and loneliness. Our wild heart goes out to him. Something deep inside us remembers being accompanied by other animals.”
Filed under: endangered species, exotic animals | Tagged: Central Park Zoo, Gus, polar bear | 5 Comments »
Posted on June 25, 2013 by cdillard2013
by Carter Dillard
Sincere thanks to Jeff and Joe for their biting critique of the idea of a primary human right that guarantees humans access to wilderness and complete biodiversity. This response, which is geared for the audience of the blog generally, will divide their critique into eight points and respond to each (taking their points a bit out of order), before drawing back to the theme of this blog in order to explain why the right not only survives their appraisal, but can simultaneously satisfy environmental, human, and animal interests.
1. Primary in what sense, and based on what evidence?
Jeff raises a challenge to the idea of a primary right by arguing that the term implies universal acceptance. Because, Jeff argues, many people will reject the value of being alone in the wilderness the right cannot be universal and therefore fails. First, it’s not clear to me that the Tembé would not recognize something like a right to wilderness or the nonhuman, given their historic struggle to preserve the rainforest around them. Second, as Joe notes, whether the Tembé actually recognize the right and underlying value or not does not defeat the right, any more than Hutu leaders’ failure to recognize the universal right of all peoples to be free from genocide, and the GOP’s recent refusal to recognize universal rights for the disabled that trump parental authority, prove that those rights are wrong. As discussed below, this is in part because claiming a right is like saying “you ought to do this,” which cannot be proven wrong with the response “we don’t/won’t do that” (this is simply the difference between an “ought” and an “is”). The responding party might not do the thing or want to do the thing, but perhaps they still ought to. The universality of particular rights derives not from universal acceptance, but from logical arguments that deduce the particular rights from things all humans – because of certain social and biological shared characteristics – will value, whether they admit it or not, see e.g. the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
Filed under: animal ethics, animal law, animal rights, animal scholarship, climate change, endangered species, environmental ethics, environmental law, Uncategorized | Tagged: animal rights, environmental ethics, environmental law, exit, human rights, privacy, wilderness | Leave a Comment »
Posted on June 1, 2013 by othernations
June is upon us, and with it comes special day designations that prompt both cheering and jeering from the animal advocacy crowd. Ready? Let’s get start with the big, month-long picture.
June is Turkey Lovers Month! But sadly–and predictably–that “love” is gastronomic in nature, so we suggest lovin’ ‘em in a kinder, gentler manner. You’ve heard the myth that they’re so dumb they’ll drown looking up at the sky in a rainstorm? Huh-uh. “Smart animals with personality and character” is how one scientist describes turkeys. Downer alert: Watch Mercy for Animals’ undercover video filmed at a Butterball facility…no turkey lovers here.
If captive animals make you blue, you won’t be celebrating National Zoo and Aquarium Month. (more…)
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal rights, diet, environmental ethics, factory farms, fishing, marine animals, spay/neuter, veganism | 5 Comments »
Posted on May 13, 2013 by othernations
Kathleen Stachowski Other Nations
We need to talk. You can trust me–I’m practically a native daughter. Heck, from my hometown in Indiana, we can look across Lake Michigan and see your skyline (well, on a clear day). I’m a Cubs fan… ’nuff said! But I’ve lived in Montana for going on 14 years now, and if all this doesn’t qualify me to have a frank discussion with you about those tourism ads papering the city…I’m just sayin’.
Well I remember Chicago Tribune columnist Barbara Brotman’s mock hissy fit back in 2010 when Montana’s Office of Tourism started targeting the Windy City. She wrote:
The pictures plastered all over the CTA are bad enough. Majestic mountains, green valleys frosted with white snow, a turquoise glacial lake ringed by pine trees — it’s cruel, dangling that sort of thing in front of Chicago commuters packed glumly into “L” cars.
She went so far as to challenge Chicagoans to fight back with a “Take THAT, Montana” photo campaign (view photos here) wherein Tribune readers were to match Montana’s scenic glory, photo for photo, with their own Land of Lincoln natural splendor. (more…)
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal ethics, climate change, endangered species, hunting, wolves | Tagged: bison, Montana, trapping | 3 Comments »
Posted on May 2, 2013 by othernations
Click image for Gulo gulo natural history
Kathleen Stachowski Other Nations
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the stinkiest, snarliest, gnarliest, wildest of them all? Why, Gulo gulo–the amazing wolverine–of course!
And the gnarly little being needs our help within the next few days (5/6/13 deadline). Unless you’re one of the lucky ones, you’ll probably never see a wolverine in your lifetime, at least not outside of a zoo–and that’s a hideous thought for any wild animal, but especially for this wide-ranging, endlessly-moving dynamo. But even so–a mere few minutes to help save the wildest of the wild? A bargain at any price! Read on… (more…)
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal rights, climate change, endangered species, environmental ethics, wolves | Tagged: Montana, trapping, wolverines | 4 Comments »
Posted on March 5, 2013 by othernations
AP photo – R. Millage
Kathleen Stachowski Other Nations
In these troubled times, we’ve come to expect the steely-eyed gaze of TSA screeners and security personnel following us in every airport, everywhere. But what you might find shocking is the glassy-eyed gaze you’ll get from wild animals when you visit Missoula, Montana’s international airport. Rest assured, they won’t charge, butt, or trample if you forget to put your 3-ounce bottle of hand sanitizer in your quart Ziploc. Firmly affixed to the wall as trophies, they are present simply to say (albeit wordlessly), “Welcome to Montana, pardner.” Continue reading for further details on this eternally-mute welcoming committee–after a few words about the all-too-prevalent attitude (let’s call it speciesist) that recruited them for the job. (more…)
Filed under: animal ethics, animal rights, fishing, hunting, veganism, wolves | 7 Comments »
Posted on March 3, 2013 by Seth
As reported by Mother Jones, there is a lovely outcome to the government’s sequestering: “The Food Safety and Inspection Service’s budget would be slashed by $51 million. This would result in a furlough of as much as 15 days for all employees, including 8,400 meat inspectors, as well as a loss of 2 billion pounds of meat, between 2.8 and 3.3 billion pounds of poultry, and over 200 million pounds of egg products. Meat shortages may also lead to price increases, leading to a domino effect on restaurants, grocers, and small businesses. There are also concerns that food safety ‘could be compromised by the illegal selling and distribution of uninspected meat, poultry, and egg products.’”
Or, as author Lemony Snicket might phrase it, “The news reported that there was going to be a loss, a word that here means ’13 million cows and over a billion chickens were killed for no use at all, because a bunch of people were busy fighting over other things, like how much money they could spend on themselves.’”
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal ethics, animal law, animal rights, animal welfare, diet, environmental law, factory farms, veganism, vegetarianism | Tagged: animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal ethics, animal law, animal rights, animal suffering, animal welfare, animals, battery cages, CAFOS, factory farms, farmed animals, meat, sequestration, vegan, veganism, vegetarianism | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 20, 2013 by othernations
Kathleen Stachowski Other Nations
Can you think of one animal species with whom you’d willingly trade places? Me neither. It’s a bum rap to be a nonhuman animal in a speciesist world, and here in Montana, brutality toward animals is a way of life. Just ask the bobcat thrashing in a trap, the calf viciously clotheslined by the neck in a rodeo roping event, or any coyote who’s the object of a killing contest. “We’re at your mercy,” they might tell us, “and mercy went missing a long time ago.”
On Valentine’s Day, the 200th wolf was killed in the state-sanctioned slaughter (track here), designed to reduce–by projectile and by trap–a population of 600-some animals–even along national park boundaries. (more…)
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal ethics, animal law, animal rights, factory farms, hunting, spay/neuter, wolves | 12 Comments »
Posted on January 30, 2013 by othernations
Kathleen Stachowski Other Nations
Yesterday we awoke to the news that three golden eagles had been caught in trappers’ snares set in Montana east of the Divide. Two are dead; one requires surgery to remove the cable now embedded in her wing and shoulder. Whoever came upon the bird was carrying cable-cutters (likely the trapper, but this is unknown); that individual cut the cable but provided no assistance to the severely-injured bird. Thankfully, she’s now in the care of the Montana Raptor Conservation Center in Bozeman (visit their Facebook page, which is the source of the accompanying photo).
There is no defense for the use of snares. They are designed for one thing only: to provide animals with a cruel, terrifying, and gruesome death, the wire cable cutting deeper into their bodies as the noose tightens the more they struggle. (more…)
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal rights, climate change, endangered species, hunting, wolves | 8 Comments »
Posted on January 26, 2013 by othernations
Kathleen Stachowski Other Nations
This post contains a call to action with an approaching deadline.
It’s a safe bet that when President Richard Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act in 1973, African lions weren’t anywhere on his radar. “Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed,” he wrote in his signing statement on December 28th. “It is a many-faceted treasure…”
Thirty-seven years later in 2011, a coalition led by the International Fund for Animal Welfare petitioned the U.S. Secretary of the Interior to list Panthera leo leo under our nation’s ESA (find the petition here). It lists the usual culprits–loss of habitat and loss of prey due to human activity–as serious threats to lion survival. Throw in human population growth, the bushmeat trade, civil unrest, and desertification, and the King of the Jungle is hurting. Lions have disappeared from 78% of their historic range–which was most of Africa with a few exceptions–very dry deserts and very wet forests.
But why should a foreign species be listed under America’s Endangered Species Act? (more…)
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal rights, endangered species, exotic animals, hunting | 2 Comments »
Posted on December 20, 2012 by othernations
Kathleen Stachowski Other Nations
When you live in what feels like a war zone–the Northern Rockies states are waging war on their own native wildlife–it’s easy to forget that the act of killing doesn’t rule the roost everywhere. Occasionally something comes along that makes you believe there might be hope (even if it’s not your hope); that at least some place (though not your place), sanity–and maybe even respect for animals–prevails. Today it is this: Costa Rica, one of the planet’s most bio-diverse countries, banned sport hunting on December 10th. Granted, one quarter of Costa Rica’s land is already protected in parks and reserves, so hunting wasn’t a big economic driver to start with. But still. (more…)
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal rights, endangered species, environmental ethics, exotic animals, hunting, wolves | 21 Comments »
Posted on December 11, 2012 by Seth
From the tone of the NY Times article, John Bartmann doesn’t sound like a bad man. Though some readers might demonize him because he is involved in animal farming, this isn’t the CEO of a major industrial producer, and it would be inaccurate to lump him in under the same heading. I expect Mr. Bartmann knows a thing or two about sheep husbandry, and likely has his own grievances with the CAFO industry. Still, his plight is indicative of the complicated issues surrounding modern farming, and is not free from critique. The decline of the modern rancher, especially in the drought of 2012, highlights many of the problems with food in the United States, through both animal and environmental perspectives. (more…)
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal law, animal welfare, climate change, environmental ethics, environmental law, factory farms | Tagged: 2012 drought, animal ethics, animal rights, animal welfare, animals, cafo, climate change, Colorado, concentrated animal feeding operations, environmental ethics, environmental law, environmentalism, factory farms, farmed animals, food, global warming, industrial farming, lamb, New Zealand sheep, sheep, US food market, western agriculture | 6 Comments »
Posted on December 6, 2012 by Seth
You may have your own opinions about the World Trade Organization (WTO), whether positive or negative. Regardless, the WTO wields influence over imports and exports worldwide. As we have discussed at length on this blawg, animals are commodities, and thus the policies of the WTO are important when considering animal rights.
Over the last several months the WTO has taken issue with dolphin-safe tuna. To summarize what is a long and involved debate, since 1990 the United States has provided labels specifying whether dolphins were killed (though ”harmed” isn’t covered) through the harvesting of tuna to be sold in the U.S. market under the Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act (originally the labels really meant that purse seine nets, the type that often harm dolphins, weren’t used). Mexico, via a complaint to the WTO, claimed that these dolphin safety measures unfairly impeded Mexico’s tuna trade. The WTO agreed, and ruled that the dolphin-safe labels are “unnecessarily restrictive on trade.” This ruling comes out of one of the core principles of the WTO’s policy of non-discrimination. Under the doctrine of “the most favoured nation” all WTO countries must extend to each other the same trade advantages as the most prefered trading nation would receive. National equality also states that foreign traders must be treated the same way as domestic traders. When you consider the long history of violence and discrimination associated with international trade, including the United States’s own origins, this is sound policy. Yet as always, the devil is in the application.
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal law, animal rights, animal welfare, environmental law, fishing, marine animals | Tagged: animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal law, animal rights, animal welfare, dolphin free, dolphin protection consumer information act, dolphins, environmental advocacy, environmental ethics, environmental law, environmentalism, fishermen, fishing, international dolphin conservation program, international law, international trade, marine animals, marine law, Mexico, tuna, United States of America, World Trade Organization | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 4, 2012 by Seth
Just in case you were worried that a python outbreak wasn’t enough, there’s another top predator in southern Florida. This past fall there have been sightings of Nile crocodiles south of Miami. This presents a bit of a conundrum for wildlife supervisors. You see the Nile crocodile is on international threatened lists, and is disappearing in its native habitat. Because Florida, however, is not its native habitat, and because the state already has to manage with non-native snakes eliminating the mammal population, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has authorized a state shoot-to-kill order. Though there are native crocodiles in Florida, the Nile crocodile is known to be fiercer and more deadly, and is one of the few animals left on the planet that still hunts humans.
While Nile crocodiles haven’t reached the infestation levels of the python, they are potentially more problematic in smaller numbers. FWC officers suspect that the crocodiles may have originated from an illegal captive breeding facility, but it is still unknown exactly from where they are coming, or how many there are.
Again we are faced with the same unresolved questions on how to handle non-native species that can drastically alter a habitat. Do we preserve a threatened species, one of the greatest and most resilient in history, or do we hunt down the crocodiles before they make other animals endangered or extinct? Or do we simply pit the pythons and crocs against each other in a winner-take-all showdown on prime time? Either way, it’s hardly an enviable decision for the FWC.
Filed under: climate change, endangered species, environmental ethics, environmental law, exotic animals | Tagged: animal ethics, animals, climate change, endangered species, environmental advocacy, Everglades, exotic species, florida, global warming, invasive species, Miami, Nile crocodile, non-native species, pythons | 2 Comments »
Posted on October 21, 2012 by othernations
Kathleen Stachowski Other Nations
Circling Bear, left (emerging from shadow); Pacing Bear, right
“The animals in this zoo walk in circles.”
The boy, about eight years old, made this observation as he stood inches from a compulsively-circling grizzly, a thick wall of plexiglass between bear and child. He repeated it–now more question than statement–but neither parent responded. “The bear’s gone crazy from captivity,” I ventured in his direction. His mom agreed. “Yes, it’s so sad,” she said. “I feel sorry for them.” Meanwhile, the bear circled and circled while her sister paced a linear route back and forth, back and forth. Meanwhile, a lump was forming in my throat. (more…)
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal rights, endangered species, exotic animals | 5 Comments »
Posted on October 14, 2012 by othernations
Kathleen Stachowski Other Nations
Ocean Conservancy – click image
Michigan City, Indiana is a great hometown–a Great Lakes hometown. Located on the southern tip of Lake Michigan, we Michigan Cityzens were lucky to grow up basking on warm, “singing sand,” diving into big breakers (with dire warnings of the undertow looming large in childhood), and exploring the wild dunes that would eventually become the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. On a recent trip home, I crammed in as many visits as possible to “my” great lake. Even Montana’s Big Sky country can’t quell the frequent longing for that spectacular lakefront, its reeling shorebirds, towering dunes, and waving marram grass. (more…)
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal welfare, environmental ethics, marine animals | 3 Comments »
Posted on August 31, 2012 by Seth
Seagulls around Argentina have become too crafty for their own good. Exhibiting behavior straight out of a Hitchcock movie, the gulls have figured out that if they peck at the skin of breaching right whales, they can open wounds on the whales, and then feast every time the cetaceans surface. Apparently this started with a few gulls, but they have spread the word, and now the birds pose a serious threat to the whales’ livelihood, especially the calves. Citing the danger to the whales, the Argentine government is now permitting people to shoot the gulls, and recover their bodies before they are ingested, before the whales migrate to safer seas. Environmentalist are upset with the decision, claiming that is it not the fault of the birds, so much as it is the fault of the open landfills in the area that have attracted them in the first place. Clean up the trash, and the birds will naturally disperse. The issue is also an economic one, as whale watching makes up a significant part of tourism revenue. (more…)
Filed under: animal rights, animal welfare, endangered species, marine animals | Tagged: animal ethics, animal law, animal rights, animal welfare, animals, Argentina, right whales, seagulls, seagulls attacking whales, whales | 2 Comments »
Posted on July 23, 2012 by othernations
Kathleen Stachowski Other Nations
I don’t read the morning paper anymore so much as I confront it. What will it be today–a romantic, river-runs-through-it feature on catch-and-release fly fishing? Gloating trophy shots of dudes in hunter orange and the ungulates they conquered with high-powered rifles? Another guest opinion column defending trapping as a management tool for a renewable resource? (Or, in the case of wolves, as suppression of unwanted competition for the aforementioned ungulates?)
Maybe a photo of a child clinging to a sheep in a mutton bustin’ contest? An article on taxidermy, horse racing at the fairgrounds, or a feature on the derring-do of bullfighters? (You used to know them as rodeo clowns, but they’ve come up in the world.) A full-page ad for a local ammo manufacturer featuring teenage girls and their African safari kills? Ice fishing tourney stats? No matter the season, there’s always a reason for animal exploitation–and someone willing to talk about it, someone ready to report it, and someone eager to read about it.
Within four days recently, a trio of items appeared in the paper to perfectly illustrate the speciesism that so naturally saturates the human experience. Whether for entertainment, convenience, or greed and entitlement, we human animals are a speciesist species. (more…)
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal ethics, animal rights, environmental ethics, fishing, hunting, wolves | 29 Comments »
Posted on June 21, 2012 by othernations
Kathleen Stachowski Other Nations
Western Montana’s Bitterroot Valley in Ravalli County is known for its stunning mountain scenery and its oft-stunning conservatism. Deep-canyoned east-west drainages rising toward the Idaho divide serve as a gateway to the 1,340,587-acre Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. The valley’s politics often serve as a gateway to extremism. Guns? Lordy. Militia? In the works. A hunters’ group, hoping to encourage more dead wolves (the only good kind), offered prize money for photos of wolves killed in districts where hunting quotas hadn’t been met. The county planning board (subdivisions and all that -yawn- stuff) hosted an expert on Agenda 21, a U.N. plan to steal our freedom and our property, destroy the Constitution, use environmentalism to create a one-world government, and relocate most Montanans to urban areas like Seattle. In a recent Bitterroot Memorial Day parade–Memorial Day, mind you–a pickup towed an outhouse labeled “Obama Presidential Library.” You get the picture.
And so it was, driven by curiosity, that a public seminar titled “The Human Cost of the Animal Rights Movement” caused me to give up half of a recent Saturday and head up the valley. (more…)
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal ethics, animal rights, animal welfare, circuses, diet, spay/neuter, veganism, vegetarianism, wolves | 12 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. (more…)
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal ethics, animal rights, environmental ethics, fishing, marine animals, Uncategorized | 7 Comments »
Posted on February 23, 2012 by othernations
Kathleen Stachowski Other Nations
Ah, the Northern Rockies. Soaring mountains. Rushing streams. Beargrass and aspens. Mountain bluebirds. Deep forests, wide open prairies, abundant native wildlife. What’s not to love?
Well, it depends on whom you ask.
“I want them to open their (expletive) eyes,” said Toby Bridges, founder of Lobo Watch (Sportsmen against wolves–united we stand!). Bridges wants Missoula County to follow Ravalli County’s lead in drafting a wolf “management” policy.
“If enough counties cry (expletive) on this, at least you’re going to get their (expletive) attention. I’m going to keep throwing gallons of gasoline on this fire and it’s going to get hot.” Read more: Missoulian (more…)
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal law, hunting, wolves | 6 Comments »
Posted on December 7, 2011 by David
Should we let certain endangered species die out? Scientists have long stated that biodiversity is significant in maintaining a healthy ecosystem, but some are taking a seemingly unintuitive view that has been termed conservation triage. Conservation triage focuses resources on animals that can realistically be saved, and giving up on the rest. Those that fall into the too-expensive-to-save category might include the panda and the tiger.
Unfortunately, economic factors must be taken into consideration and some species require more money to save than others. For example, the California condor population saw an increase to 381, with 192 living in the wild, since 1987. An ongoing monitoring and maintenance program that costs more than $4 million a year helps keep them going. But is this program a success or merely a waste of finite resources? (more…)
Filed under: animal law, endangered species, environmental law | Tagged: animal law, biodiversity, conservation triage, endangered species, Endangered Species Act, environmental law, environmentalism | 4 Comments »
Posted on December 6, 2011 by David
Bushmeat hunting is a growing and immediate threat to the future of endangered species in Africa. While bushmeat may be crucial to the diet of indigenous people in rural areas where other food may not be easily available or affordable, the continuation of bushmeat hunting will ultimately lead to the species extinction. Bushmeat hunting has already caused the ecological extinction of multiple large animals and it continues to reduce the biological diversity of forest ecosystems. Decreasing the population of these species at increasing rates is neither beneficial for the ecosystem or for the people whose livelihood depends on the species sustainability. A recent study from the University of California found that consumption of bushmeat is beneficial to children’s nutrition. The researchers predicted that “loss of access to wildlife as a source of food – either through stricter enforcement of conservation laws or depletion of resources – would lead to a 29 percent jump in the number of children suffering from anemia.” The study also revealed that 20 percent of meat consumed by locals was made up of bushmeat, even though the hunting is illegal. (more…)
Filed under: animal ethics, endangered species | Tagged: animal ethics, animal law, bushmeat, endangered species, environmental ethics, environmentalism, international animal law, international wildlife law | 12 Comments »
Posted on October 7, 2011 by gillianlyons
We all know that sharks hold a certain fascination in the American mind. I myself cannot drag myself away from the television during the Discovery Channel’s shark week. What you may not know is that according to the IUCN, up to 30 percent of pelagic shark species (those that live in the “open ocean”) are considered threatened, due at least in part to a large commercial “sharking” industry, an industry which conservation organizations estimate kills 73 million sharks per year.
In an effort to battle the large, lucrative, “sharking” industry, the Republic of the Marshall Islands has recently announced that it was to be home to the largest shark sanctuary in the world. In the 768,547 square mile sanctuary, commercial hunting for sharks is banned, as is the sale of shark products. A violation of these bans can result in fines ranging from 25,000-200,000 dollars. (more…)
Filed under: animal advocacy, endangered species, hunting, IUCN, marine animals, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »
Posted on September 20, 2011 by othernations
www life with cats.tv
Kathleen Stachowski Other Nations
October 16th is National Feral Cat Day. That’s just under a month out, but forewarned is forearmed, and if feral cats aren’t on your radar now, perhaps they will be.
Feral cats (also called community cats) weren’t on my radar until my cousin Beth, a feral cat activist in Indiana, e-mailed to ask that I contact federal officials (via an action alert from Best Friends) about the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s role in undermining community trap-neuter-return–or release–(TNR) programs. (more…)
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal rights, endangered species, environmental ethics, exotic animals, spay/neuter | 8 Comments »
Posted on September 19, 2011 by David
The Samburu National Reserve located in Kenya has experienced a high rate of elephant poaching this year in comparison to the past 11 years. Although, elephants do not have any natural predators other than lions, elephants are threatened by human beings. African and Asian elephants are hunted for their ivory tusks and illegally traded for money. The conservationists of the Samburu National Reserve have been actively fighting poachers in order to protect the elephants in their reserve. However, even with their efforts, the elephants in this reserve are continually being killed for their tusks.
One elephant in particular has been attacked twice for her tusks. Khadija, an elderly elephant from the Samburu National Reserve has been one of many elephants this year that have been killed by poachers. She suffered bullet wounds which were treated by an elephant organization, but again Khadija was targeted by poachers again. Unfortunately, she did not survive the second attack, leaving behind 8 orphan children. (more…)
Filed under: animal cruelty, animal ethics, animal law, environmental law | Tagged: animal abuse, animal law, animal welfare, elephants, environmental advocacy, environmental law, hunting, Kenya, poaching | 3 Comments »
Posted on September 13, 2011 by David
Jillian N. Bittner
You drive to the supermarket in your “green” car, checking your back seat before you leave for your re-usable bags– yet you stand on line about to purchase the packaged beef sitting at the bottom of your cart and do not stop to think twice about the environment? – Perhaps you should.
While the environmental legal community emphasizes the desperate need to harness and reduce CO2 emissions as a way to mitigate the current and impending consequences of greenhouse gases on climate change, the community at large has ignored the impact of a greater culprit – CH4, or rather methane gas. Animal agriculture accounts not only as a source of CO2, or nitrous oxide (N2O; another potent greenhouse gas), but is the number one source of methane gas worldwide – beating out the effects of vehicles and airplanes combined. But why should the environmental and legal communities be more concerned with CH4? According to the EPA, “methane is about 21 times more powerful at warming the atmosphere than CO2 by weight.”
Cows, and the corresponding beef industry, are the largest contributors of methane gas. Cows produce this effect partly through belching and flatulence as a consequence of their digestive systems, which are characteristic of ruminant animals. Yet CAFOs remain unregulated. (more…)
Filed under: animal law, climate change, diet, environmental law, factory farms | Tagged: animal law, CAFOS, climate change, diet, environmental advocacy, environmental ethics, environmental law, factory farms, farmed animals, global warming, industrial farming, meat, methane | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 6, 2011 by gillianlyons
A recent New York Times article, published in late August, discussed a new study, which estimated the number of species living on the Earth to be approximately 8.7 million, give or take 1.3 million. To me, this number seemed astronomical (though I sometimes feel that there are 8.7 million different species of bugs that manage to get into my house every week).
After reading a few articles on the study, something got me thinking. In one particular article, it is noted that one of the study’s authors feels that population estimate studies are particularly important due currently accelerated rates of extinction, brought about by a host of human activities. This piqued my curiosity. With 8.7 million estimated species on the earth, just how do the extinction rates measure up? I decided to check this out. (more…)
Filed under: climate change, endangered species, IUCN, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »
Posted on August 25, 2011 by gillianlyons
It’s been an active two weeks for African Elephants in the world news. Here’s the round-up, both good and bad:
Early last week, NGOs including Elephant Family released a report discussing the soaring illegal ivory trade in China. According to the report, Chinese demand for ivory has increased dramatically over the past few years due to the country’s recent economic boom. The report states that the number of ivory items on sale in China has doubled since 2004, and that approximately 90% of all ivory sold in the country has been obtained illegally. The report, which has received significant attention in the news, has prompted ivory researchers to beseech the Chinese government to tighten enforcement of ivory regulations. (more…)
Filed under: animal advocacy, endangered species | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 6, 2011 by othernations
Kathleen Stachowski Other Nations
Until the next legal dust-up, the northern Rocky Mountain states have new wolf hunting rules. Bidding farewell to Endangered Species Act protection means the fur will fly and wolves will die. And get this–Montana, the state that attempted to legalize big game spear hunting this past legislative session–is by far showing the most restraint. Wyoming and Idaho? Yikes. (more…)
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal law, endangered species, environmental law, hunting, wolves | 10 Comments »
Posted on April 20, 2011 by David
Between Kathleen and me, we’ve taken up a lot of blawgwidth on the wolf issue and yet there’s so much more to be said. Here’s my bid to bring it into the mainstream media.
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal law, environmental ethics, environmental law, wolves | Tagged: animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal law, animal welfare, endangered species, Endangered Species Act, environmental advocacy, environmental ethics, environmental law, environmentalism, ESA, grey wolf, wolf-delisting | 12 Comments »
Posted on April 11, 2011 by David
Rosana Escobar Brown
The Red-winged Blackbird deaths on New Year’s Eve 2011 sparked an international debate over trends in mass animal deaths around the globe. That night, 5,000 birds plummeted to their demise over the Beebe, Arkansas, with low-flying and fireworks cited as the cause. One report assumed the birds just began “colliding with things” due to poor eyesight. But this event alone did not coax the controversy; just two days earlier over 100,000 fish were found floating in the Arkansas River a mere miles from Beebe, and three days after the barrage of blackbirds, 500 more birds of mixed breeds fell from the sky in Louisiana. Reasons provided ranged from disease to power line exposure.
Photo by Liz Condo/The Advocate, via Associated Press
As if these occurrences weren’t enough to incite conspiracy, extraterrestrial, and apocalypse theorists, skeptics began compiling evidence of recent occurrences around the globe. The more jarring stories include 40,000 Velvet Crabs washing ashore in England, 2 million floating Spot Fish in Maryland’s Chesapeke Bay, a “carpet” of Snapper sans eyes in New Zealand, and 100 tons of mixed fish in Brazil. These incidents come with varying explanations from researchers, none of which include government conspiracy or “end of days” prophecies. However, the paranoid public seems alarmed at the phenomenon and is claiming the animals are omens of biblical proportion. Aptly termed the “Aflockalypse” by online cynics, articles range from claiming Nostradamus predicted this as a sign of the end of days and others point to bible verses and claim this occurred once before in the fall of the Egyptian Empire. One Google Maps user created a global mapped record of recent mass animal deaths in an attempt to find a pattern, and I must admit that the incidents appear in astonishing numbers. (more…)
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal welfare, climate change, environmental ethics, environmental law | Tagged: animal advocacy, animal welfare, climate change, environmental advocacy, environmental ethics, environmental law, environmentalism, mass animal deaths | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 14, 2011 by David
Here’s an interesting development
: EPA has released data from a national
study of emissions from CAFOS that raise pigs, broiler chickens, cattle, and turkeys. Of course, we don’t know how interesting it is because the agency has not yet interpreted the data. If you’re of a number-crunching bent, you can see it all here
Filed under: animal law, environmental law, factory farms | Tagged: and the Environment, animal law, animal welfare, Association of Irritated Residents, CAFOS, Center on Race, Clean Air Act, Clean Air Task Force, climate change, Dairy Education Alliance, El Comite para el Bienestar de Earlimart, environmental advocacy, Environmental Integrity Project, environmental law, EPA, factory farms, farmed animals, Friends of the Earth, global warming, greenhouse gases, Humane Society, industrial farming, Poverty, Purdue University, Waterkeeper Alliance | 3 Comments »
Posted on January 3, 2011 by David
I’ll be a visiting professor at Williams College this coming semester, teaching climate change law & policy as well as environmental law at the Center for Environmental Studies. So, climate change has very much been on my mind of late. This is not a new thing, of course. I’ve blogged frequently about the relationship between animal law & policy and climate change and written more extensively about it elsewhere as well. In addition, I’ll be talking about CAFOS and climate change as part of the animal law panel at the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) meeting this weekend.
However, I recently stumbled on a new (to me) aspect of the pernicious relationship between industrial agriculture and climate change: the denitrification of rivers. Microbes in rivers convert nitrogen to nitrous oxide (as well as an inert gas called dinitrogen). That nitrous oxide then makes its way into the atmosphere where it becomes a potent greenhouse gas as well as a destroyer of atmospheric ozone. (more…)
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal law, climate change, environmental ethics, environmental law, factory farms | Tagged: AALS, animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal law, animal welfare, CAFOS, climate change, denitrification, environmental advocacy, environmental ethics, environmental law, environmentalism, factory farms, farmed animals, fossil fuels, global warming, greenhouse gas emissions, industrial farming, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, nitrous oxide, Williams College, Williams College Center for Environmental Studies | 2 Comments »
Posted on December 20, 2010 by David
And speaking of the Endangered Species Act…
This just in:
After a thorough review of all the available science, the Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that the contiguous United States population of wolverine should be protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). However, the rulemaking to propose ESA protections for the wolverine will be delayed while we work on listing proposals for other species in greater need. The wolverine will be added to the list of candidates for ESA protection. As a candidate species, the wolverine will not receive protection under the ESA; however, we will review its status annually and will continue to work with landowners and partners to implement voluntary conservation measures.
The results of status review indicate that climate warming is the primary threat to wolverine. Our evaluation found that the effects of climate warming are serious but so far have not resulted in any detectable population effects to the species. Because the threat of climate warming is not imminent, we will use our resources to work on listing determinations for species at greater risk of extinction.
So, what does this all mean? It means that the Fish & Wildlife Service, whose finding is quoted above, has determined that wolverines meet the criteria for listing under the Act but that no action will be taken right now because other species are a higher priority. (more…)
Filed under: animal law, climate change, endangered species, environmental law | Tagged: animal advocacy, animal law, endangered species, Endangered Species Act, environmental advocacy, environmental law, environmentalism, Fish and Wildlife Service, wolverines | 4 Comments »
Posted on December 15, 2010 by David
I would like to say a few more words about the so-called “State Sovereignty Wildlife Management Act and its stated intent to strip wolves of all Endangered Species Act protections. While I have no reason to assume this bill will pass (are you listening, Congress?), the fact that officials elected to national office could propose such a thing underscores much of what’s wrong with, well, with everything.
As an initial matter, wolves pose little threat to people. In the 230+ year history of the United States, the number of wolf attacks can probably be counted on one person’s fingers and toes. The number of fatal attacks is far fewer. Wolves do, however, sometimes eat livestock. Since their reintroduction (emphasis on re- introduction because they used to live there until we exterminated them) into the Northern Rockies, ranchers have raised a royal ruckus because they occasionally lose animals to wolves. Rather than treat this as a cost of doing business, ranchers argue that the wolves’ existence constitutes an unwelcome intrusion into the natural order of things. This despite the fact that the wolves used to inhabit the region in far greater numbers than the 1700 or so that currently exist there and that ranching (and the factory farming that it supports) has caused widespread damage to the region’s ecosystem. (more…)
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal law, endangered species, environmental ethics, environmental law, wolves | Tagged: animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal law, endangered species, Endangered Species Act, environmental advocacy, environmental ethics, environmental law, environmentalism, grey wolves, Northern Rockies, State Sovereignty Wildlife Management Act, wolf hunting, wolves | 4 Comments »
Posted on December 14, 2010 by Seth
To paraphrase the oft quoted excerpt from Animal Farm, all cute and fuzzy animals are equal, but domesticated cute and fuzzy animals are more equal than others. This sentiment was yet again demonstrated over the last week. In one corner, we have human pets, who are mercilessly being tortured for the pleasure of a rather repugnant fetish in crush videos. After U.S. v. Stevens struck down a law aimed a regulating depictions of cruelty, Congress quickly passed a narrower bill that was signed into law by President Obama on Friday. As reported by ALDF, “the more narrowly written law that emerged makes it a crime to sell or distribute videos showing animals being intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury. It exempts depictions of veterinary and husbandry practices, the slaughter of animals for food, as well as depictions of hunting, trapping or fishing.” Hopefully the narrower scope will survive the inevitable legal challenges.
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal law, animal rights, animal welfare, endangered species, Uncategorized, wolves | Tagged: ALDF, animal advocacy, animal law, animal rights, animal welfare, black bears, Congress, Endangered Species Act, environmental law, hunting, New Jersey, U.S. v. Stevens | 2 Comments »