Eight Women Changing the World for Animals 1

This week in the run-up to International Animal Rights Day on Dec 10th, I hope to feature eight remarkable women spearheading the battle for Animal Rights in their varied fields of science, art, law and politics.

Maybe it’s not so surprising then that every single one of them has ties with a 9th, world renowned photographer and animal advocate JoAnne McArthur.
First up The Scientist 
“I always wondered what it would be like to be another animal.”
Lori Marino, neurobiologist, biopyschologist, self-styled scientist-advocate

As far back as she can remember Lori always wanted to know what it felt like to be in another animal’s skin. Then as a student, she hoped a class in the neurobiology of rat behaviour would help her find out. It did indeed prove fascinating, but unhappily, taking that class required her to intentionally damage the rats’ brains, and then kill them. Seeing the rats’ suffering traumatised her. It gave her nightmares.

After her first degree she won a scholarship to the very prestigious Princeton University to study for a PhD. No mean feat. But when she found out the work at Princeton would involve damaging cats’ eyesight and afterwards killing them like the rats, she knew she just couldn’t do it. Hard for her parents to understand how she could say no to such a great academic honour.

The questions about animal sentience and cognition she wanted answers to led her into the study of cetaceans. She’s spent more hours than she cares to think of measuring whale and dolphin skulls – ones no longer being used by their owners of course!

She was appointed by Emory University professor of cetacean neuroscience, and today Lori is the go-to expert on cetaceans, the one to be consulted.

(Need I say, Lori is a vegan.)

Lori combines a profound passion for nonhuman animals with the appropriate scientific objectivity in questions that concern them. And that gives her unique authority when animal advocacy bumps up against zoos and aquariums, or the law, as it frequently does.

Lori’s expertise featured in Blackfish, the documentary that’s had enormous impact around the world raising awareness about the plight of the captive killer whale Tilikum.

She was also consultant for another prizewinning documentary, The Ghosts in Our Machine. Lori describes the film as a “unique project giving voice to those individuals – the cows, pigs and hens in factory farms, the dolphins in marine circuses, the rabbits, monkeys and chimpanzees abused in research laboratories, and all the other nonhuman persons whose suffering is the very foundation of our human society.”

She was called as expert witness in the trial of Anita Kranjc of Toronto Pig Save in November, sued for giving water to thirsty pigs on their way to the slaughterhouse. Lori testified to the emotional and social distress pigs suffer in the factory farming system.

She continues to work closely with the Nonhuman Rights Project, fighting to obtain the status of personhood for captive chimps, for which her expert testimony is called upon in court.

“I can do it because I know the science. And because I have a Ph.D. You can’t imagine the power that title and hard data give you in court.”

“Person doesn’t mean human,” she explains. “Human is the biological term that describes us as a species. Person, though, is about the kind of beings we are: sentient and conscious. That applies to most animals too. They are persons or should be legally. There is abundant, unquestionable evidence for personhood for animals.”

Most of Lori’s work revolves around the Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy of which she is both founder and director. The Center works hand in hand with Farm Sanctuary in The Someone Project, encouraging people to open their eyes to see that farmed animals are real persons, friends not food, someone not something.

Thinking back on her own experience as a student in neurobiology, of being required to harm and kill animals, Lori through the Kimmela Center, raises funds to provide students with research grants. All research is with domesticated animals at shelters and sanctuaries, and is entirely non-invasive. With Kimmela-funded research, it is most definitely a case of “No animal was hurt in the making”!

The Kimmela Center’s strap line? “Informed by Science….Driven by Passion.”

Six short words that perfectly sum up what Lori Marino is all about.

I’ve barely touched on all the outstanding work Lori has done and is still doing for animals. To find out more click here.

Add your name to the Declaration of Animal Rights here

Source

Lori Marino: Leader of a Revolution in How We Perceive Animals | Innovators

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Eight Women Changing the World for Animals 3

Eight Women Changing the World for Animals 4
 

Busting the Myths of Human Superiority

Pigs are animals, lions are animals, dogs are animals. We are not animals. We are human beings. We are different, and belong to a higher order of life. We stand at the apex of evolution.

That is nonsense of course, because we are animals too. But we are conditioned by our culture to accept without question the notion of our superiority and our rightful position of power over all other life forms. It’s called “anthropocentric patriarchy”.
And that is the first of four myths we humans choose to believe about our uniqueness and pre-eminence on Earth.  But now we’re going to debunk them one by one.

MYTH: Humans are different from animals

FACT: Humans are animals

Ok then. Well, we don’t think of ourselves as animals, but of course we know we are really. So let’s correct the myth and say ‘Humans are different from other animals’ then. That’s more like it, isn’t it?

Well, no actually. That is no better. That’s still setting us apart and above, when in fact ALL animals are different from other animals. Yes, we may have some unique traits, but so do many other species. We can’t fly like birds. We can’t change colour like chameleons and squids. We can’t walk on water like the basilisk lizard. We can’t regrow an amputated limb like an axolotl, and we absolutely can’t live forever like the immortal jellyfish. The list is endless.

But we do have attributes exclusive to us, right?

Perhaps not. A mounting stack of research papers is almost daily uncovering other animals’ capacity to experience the same emotions we do, and communicate with each other in complex languages of their own.

Many also have much the same thought processes. The human brain not so special after all. Did you know pigs can play computer games with humans, for example, and give them a run for their money.

Or that calling someone ‘bird-brained’ should be a compliment not an insult. Relative to their size, birds’ brains are large and remarkably similar to ours. Birds are smart! Watch this clever creature who goes by the name of 007, sizing up and solving an 8-stage puzzle with ease.

But we do have culture, yes? Surely in this we are unrivalled.

Again, sorry to disappoint, but many nonhumans have their own culture too. Culture is defined as ‘socially transmitted behaviour’. And there’s been “an avalanche of recent research” throwing up new discoveries of culture among cetaceans, fish, insects, meerkats, birds, monkeys and apes.

Whales, dolphins and songbirds, it’s been discovered, actually have local dialects. That means they’ve passed down through generations their own unique communication culture that differs from group to group, region to region – just like humans.

The New Caledonian crow makes incredibly precise and sophisticated tools to extract insects from the bark of trees. Research has established that over time, the design of the tool has become more and more refined – proof that it is always the latest improved blueprint that is handed on to the next generation. The exact model of the tools, again, varies from locality to locality.

Orcas can be observed working together as a pod, taking it in turns to dive down under a school of herrings, creating a circle of bubbles around the fish, forcing them up to the ocean surface in an ever-tightening ball. “Each whale has a role. It’s like a ballet [and] they move in a very coordinated way and communicate and make decisions about what to do next.” The strategy is called ‘carousel feeding’, one of several hunting practices developed, refined and passed on that scientists consider warrant the label ‘culture’.

A more bizarre example of cultural transmission is the trend among capuchin monkeys to poke each other’s eyeballs with their long, sharp fingernails. It’s believed this strange custom started small, but over time caught on in a big way among the capuchin population  – who knows why!

We do not have a monopoly on morality either.

A study from as long ago as 1964 showed that hungry monkeys would not take the food on offer if it meant other monkeys getting an electric shock. Likewise rats. And we are not alone in our ability to make character judgments by watching others’ behaviour. Chimps can too.

What about art then? Nonhumans, match that if you can.

lyre-bird-1140064__180They can. Take the lyrebird of Central Australia who has the audio version of a photographic memory. He (it’s always he) samples not just birdsong from a variety of birds, but any other sounds he picks up from his surroundings: chainsaws, beaten nails, car alarms, human speech. Then he puts together the snippets he’s picked up in a unique continuous sequence of song. Exactly like a DJ sampling old recordings and creating something new. Absolutely an artistic endeavour, chainsaws and all.

Then there is the amazing bower bird, as seen in many a wildlife documentary. He crafts a sculpture out of twigs – the bower. And then designs a decorative courtyard in front of it, using flowers, leaves and pebbles, bottle tops, paper clips, plastic straws – anything colourful that’s to hand. He plays with perspective exactly as a human artist might, placing the largest objects furthest away. The effect is to make them look even larger than they really are. It’s what is called a forced perspective. Clever arty stuff, and all to entice the ladies.

‘Well but phff’, you may be thinking. ‘These guys are hardly in the league of Mozart or Michelangelo.’ But perhaps it is simply that we are deaf and blind to nonhuman animal art because our human superiority complex prevents us knowing where to look for it, and understanding what we are seeing when we see it. I believe the same holds true for their other abilities too. We even judge their ‘intelligence’ according to how closely or not it resembles human intelligence. Our perception of nonhuman animals is completely skewed by our own self-importance.

But back to art. Art News magazine believes there is still much to be discovered about nonhuman animal art. “Looking at the spectacular dams, nests, webs, and other elaborate constructions found in the natural world, it remains difficult to leave our art-world sensibilities behind. Indeed some scientists are convinced that animals have the emotional complexity to perceive beauty, make esthetic choices, and produce forms (or song) for art’s sake.”  

MYTH: Humans evolved from chimps

FACT: Humans evolved alongside chimps

africa-1299202__180We didn’t evolve from chimps. We and chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans all evolved from a common ancestor, most likely from the Nakali ape Nakalipithecus nakayamai, 8 – 10 million years ago in Kenya’s Rift Valley. The four evolutionary paths then diverged, and so we have the four different species now. We evolved alongside them, not from them. Man is, in fact, an ape.

MYTH: Each of us is a distinct, coherent individual

FACT: Each of us is no more than an ecosystem, a habitat, a landscape for other life

Who knew, except biologists of course, that our bodies are actually made up of 90% microbial cells and only 10% animal (ie human) cells?! What a staggering statistic. It’s making me feel quite peculiar just writing that. Scientist working on the Human Microbiome Project have discovered 29,000 unique genetic proteins from only 178 bacterial species living in our bodies – and that’s so far. It could be the tip of the iceberg. Compare that with the human genome’s total of 23,000 genes.

It seems then, we are the perfect habitat for unknown numbers of bacteria, fungi and viruses, busily exploring our body’s landscape, and thanking us for our kind hospitality. Some are helping us, others are harming. We don’t yet know who does what. But we do know they far outnumber our simply human components. Eek!

MYTH: Humans sit atop the evolutionary ladder

FACT: There is no evolutionary ladder. Every species is evolving in parallel to every other

We are not, as is commonly believed, more ‘highly evolved’ than bacteria. On the contrary, you could say we are less evolved than bacteria because they have been around longer. They have evolved continuously for the last several billion years. We are relative newcomers. There are, it is true, more and less complex life forms, but no higher or lower.

“All the species alive today that have evolved and adapted to find their way through the world long enough to produce offspring are ‘equally evolved’. In the context of biology, newer isn’t necessarily better: evolution isn’t a process of gradual refinement towards an improved version, but rather a question of stumbling along just well enough to make it into the next generation.”

So it is human arrogance alone that classifies creatures according to our own human-centric notion of their place on the ladder. The idea of a ladder at all, of a hierarchy, of higher and lower, is a human construct, nothing more than a thoroughly unscientific value judgment.

“Like every other kind of life on Earth, we may be unique but we are not special”

Evolutionary biologist Seeder El-Showk

It is we who place ourselves at the top, decreeing the rank of all other creatures by the measure of their likeness, or unlikeness, to us. A few rungs down the nonhuman apes, a few further the other mammals, continuing down through birds to reptiles, fish, amphibians etc. Bacteria just about the bottom of the pile. According to us.

But there is no bottom or top. There is no ladder, no up or down, higher or lower. Evolution has no hierarchy. There is no evolutionary or biological justification for this myth. We are just one among many.

Debunking this particular myth could hardly be of greater importance for our fellow animals, or for the planet itself. Our self-bestowed crown of superiority is illegitimate. We have placed ourselves on the throne so we can look down on all other animals and view them as existing just for us, the kings of creation. But our claim to the throne is spurious. We have granted ourselves the royal prerogative of making other animals our slaves, extracting whatever we can from them, carving up their bodies to satisfy our whims. As for those we choose not to eat or wear, once they cease making themselves useful to Our Royal Highnesses in some other way, or are simply surplus to our requirements, or just get in our way, become a nuisance to us, or a threat, they too are sentenced to death.

It is by perpetuating the myth that we are top of the tree that humans have stripped all other animals of the autonomy that is their birthright. We’ve reduced creatures that are miracles of nature to commodities. It is by this myth that mankind justifies – no, embraces without even seeing the need to justify – the most unspeakable cruelty. It is this myth that gives its blessing to the wholesale ravaging of wildlife and nature. And it is this myth that paves the bloody road to the slaughterhouse.

James Brabazon sums up Albert Schweitzer’s philosophy of Reverence for Life like this:

“Reverence for Life says the only thing we are really sure of is that we live and want to go on living. This is something that we share with everything else that lives, from elephants to blades of grass—and, of course, every human being. So we are brothers and sisters to all living things, and owe to all of them the same care and respect, that we wish for ourselves.”

Science speaking in the voice of Evolutionary Biology agrees:

We are but one among many

Update

22nd November 2016 Ants behave as mini farmers in Fiji study – The Guardian

1st December 2016 Research shows Birds Have Skills Previously Described AsExclusively Human – The Scientist

23rd December 2016 “I am NOT an animal” video from the Kimmela Center

 

Sources

 5 Common Biology Myths – ZME Science

10 Incredible Things Animals Can Do That We Can’t – ListVerse

Strongest Evidence of Animal Culture Seen in Monkeys & Whales – Science Mag

How Orcas Work Together to Whip up a Meal – National Geographic

Six ‘uniquely human’ traits now found in animals – New Scientist

Can Animal Ever Be Artists? – IFL Science

The Genius of Birds – Jennifer Ackerman

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Extinction Is Forever: Why We Need To Change To Save Animals

We’re running out of time. It doesn’t matter what we know, if we don’t get the message out.

This is a heartfelt plea from Dana Hunnes, expert in conservation, nutrition, and climate change. Our dietary choices play a huge role in sustainability, climate change, saving animals as well as our personal health. But she says simply being vegan is not enough.

In this important article she urges us to take action, and suggests what everyone of us can and must do to help save our planet from the brink.

Dana writes:

I recently spoke at the “March Against Extinction” event in Los Angeles as a way to call attention to how our diets, behaviors, and choices influence whether or not a particular species survives.  While our individual choices represent a vote with our wallet, it is the policies and laws in various countries surrounding conservation, climate change, and agriculture that frequently play the larger role.

Right now in Taiji, Japan, dolphin hunts are underway. Every day from September 1 until March 1, dolphin hunters go out to the ocean and search for innocent dolphins, either to sell to amusement parks for hundreds of thousands of dollars, or to slaughter for “human consumption,” Yet, it is well known that dolphin meat has toxic levels of mercury, PCBs, and other chemicals; making this both a public-health and animal-rights issue.

The cruelty and injustice of these hunts cannot be understated.  The demand for these dolphins comes from amusement parks around the world who want to “show off” dolphins and their “little tricks.”  What’s more, dolphins are viewed as pests, competition for the fish that the world has overfished and removed from the oceans.

In sum: We take their fish, we make them toxic with chemicals that WE have dumped into their oceans, and then we blame them, and brutalize them.

These hunts, by the way, are sanctioned by the Japanese government. 

Read more

Please share, and take as many of the actions she suggests as you can. Nothing could be more important.

 

Source: Extinction is Forever: Why We Need to Change Our Consumption Habits to Save Animals | One Green Planet

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How Drones Might Just Save Our Endangered Animals – & the Planet

For better or worse, drones are changing our lives in ways we never could have imagined. And we may as well get used to it, because they are definitely here to stay.

Did you know that for as little as $150 and a mere 15 minutes of your time you can build  your own drone out of Lego? I’m not kidding. A company called Flybrix will sell you a drone kit which comes with enough Lego bricks for you to be able to create yourself a quadcopter, octocopter or hexacopter – take your pick.

the-drones-1134764__180Drones are rarely out of the news these days. From unmanned military aircraft in the skies over the tragic country of Syria to Amazon’s proposed new delivery service, drones are everywhere.

In a world first, the Dutch National Police now use trained raptors (bald eagles) – yes, really – to take down the ‘bad’ 5% of drones that are not ok. ‘Unmanned threats’ might just be drones in the wrong place like flight paths, or drones operated by criminals and terrorists with more sinister intent.

But set the eagles aside for one moment – and the sad truth that the human race keeps finding new ways of forcing every animal imaginable and unimaginable into its service. Drones have the incredible potential to help save animals, and indeed the planet.

“As we face a period of mass extinction — of a potentially irreversible depletion of the web of life that sustains us — enterprising conservationists are exploring how new technology might curb those losses. In the near term, this involves eyes in the sky: drones. But in the long term, it may consist of something more comprehensive: semi-autonomous networks of sensors, some of them mobile and enhanced with artificial intelligence, that act as stewards of the wild.”

Drones saving the planet is a big claim, but there is some cause for optimism in the conservation community. Even quite basic drones have already made a significant difference to the animal kingdom.

300x200xnews-160830-1-3-antarctic-two-whales-img_0285-1000w-jpg-pagespeed-ic-xtrw0jhrcNo-one with an interest in conservation, wildlife or animal rights needs telling about Japan’s illegal whaling in defiance of the International Whaling Commission. Or Sea Shepherd’s war on the whalers. Sea Shepherd received its first drone as a donation in 2011. They intended to use it to film marine life for their TV show on the Animal Planet channel, but found that – even better – the drone could be deployed to collect evidence of the whalers’ illegal activity. And being able to fly even in fog and hover right next to a boat gives them the edge over helicopters. Plus they come with a much smaller price tag!

Each of Sea Shepherd’s ships is now equipped with its own drone, and their deployment has brought down the Japanese’ whale catch to less than one third of their expected quota over the last five years. Sea Shepherd’s founder Paul Watson is an enthusiast. “The only way to combat [illegal whaling] is to have the best technology we can deploy,” he said. “So far, this is the best.”

Naturally, drones are being used over land as well as sea, as for instance in orangutan habitat surveys in Borneo. Surveying on the ground in tropical rainforest is difficult, hazardous, expensive and time consuming. But even a basic drone can provide images that allow conservationists to pinpoint orangutan nests, as well as distinguishing different kinds of land cover – forest, roads, corn fields, oil palm plantations, illegal logging and fires. Drone surveys are fast, inexpensive and invaluable.

There is no end to the projects in which drones play the leading role. These are just a few –

  • Chimpanzee conservation in Tanzania
  • Tree cover analysis also in Tanzania
  • The Jane Goodall Institute’s conservation work in Congo
  • Forest monitoring in Suriname
  • Monitoring seabirds in North Australia
  • Monitoring illegal fishing of totoaba in the Gulf of California which is driving vaquitas to extinction
  • Herding elephants away from areas where they are in danger from poaching
  • Mapping tree diversity in the Amazon basin

alarm-clock-1274239__180Not before time have drones appeared on the scene. According to a disturbing new study, the Earth’s wilderness areas will be completely wiped out by the year 2100. And plants and animals are reaching the point of extinction at a disastrous rate – a thousand times higher than would happen if no humans were living on the planet.

There are many reasons for this frightening state of affairs, not least among them the fact that a staggering 30% of the Earth’s land mass is being used for animal agriculture, and this can only increase given the emerging economies’ new appetite for meat and dairy products, China of course, being the biggest.

elephant-1049846__180With its rapid growth in wealth comes a ravening lust after raw materials and products of every kind, whether traded legally or illegally. China has become a black hole, sucking in everything within its earth-embracing gravitational field: ivory, rhino horn, shark fins, pangolin scales, tiger parts, bear bile, seahorses, and more. Rhino horn and elephant ivory are literally worth their weight in gold.

As we are all only too aware, Africa’s iconic animals are being decimated. “South Africa’s Kruger National Park is ground zero for poachers,” says Crawford Allan, spokesman for the World Wildlife Fund’s crime technology project. “There are 12 gangs in there at any [given] time. It’s almost like a war zone.” And its not just the wildlife that’s dying. African park rangers are being murdered at the rate of 100 a year.

China may be the biggest consumer of illegally trafficked protected and endangered species, but by no means the only one. The US, Vietnam, Lao, the Philippines are but a few of the rest. The illegal wildlife trade is worth billions, equal in value to the illicit trades in arms and drugs. The WWF has even suggested that the trafficking mafia have now become so large and powerful, they pose a real threat to the stability of some nations.

This is the scale of the problem the little drone is up against.

And the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, even a virtually noiseless second generation one equipped with thermal imaging that simply returns to base with nice snapshots, is not actually much help alone in the fight against poachers. By the time staff on the ground have examined the data and sent rangers to the right location, the poachers are long gone, leaving a bloodied butchered corpse behind.

“You can have a drone flying for 100 hours. But if you can’t get a team there in 5 minutes, what’s the good of having a drone?”

drone-1538957__180What is needed is a ‘cyber canopy’, which is exactly what WWF have developed with the aid of a $5 million Global Impact Award from Google. Their system comprises 5 technologies, the foremost of which is the UAV (the drone), all rolled into one package: the WWF’s Wildlife Crime Technology Project

  • Unmanned Aerial Systems for surveillance and rapid response
  • Digital monitoring systems that monitor high-risk areas and boundaries of protected areas
  • Affordable wildlife/patrol tracking devices connected through mesh networks
  • Rifle shot recognition software in portable devices with real-time connectivity
  • Data integration and analysis through the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART).

I’m glad to say, already in successful use in Namibia, Kenya and Nepal combating poaching and wildlife crime.

The problem is that conservation organisations mostly don’t have a cool $5 million at their disposal and cannot afford such sophisticated systems and top of the range drones – the very topic primatologist Serge Wich and academic colleague Lian Pin Koh were brainstorming one fine day over coffee. From this meeting of minds emerged the seed of an idea which a year later burgeoned into their non-profit organisation Conservation Drones.

These two men have a vision. They see a future where swarms of semi-autonomous drones fitted with infrared cameras patrol protected areas, relaying back their own garnered data as well as data beamed up to them from camera traps on the ground. This is the first step towards a conservation version of ‘The Quantified Self-Movement’. If like me, you are new to this concept, the QSM is “A wide-ranging Internet of Things (IOT) ecosystem …to support the process of connecting real-world objects like buildings, roads, household appliances, and human bodies to the Internet via sensors and microprocessor chips that record and transmit data such as sound waves, temperature, movement, and other variables.” We are practically there already with our smartphones, fitbits, tablets, cameras and watches, cars, home appliances, medical equipment, aircraft and weaponry.

Now for ‘buildings’, ‘appliances; and ‘humans’ substitute camera traps, different species of animals and well yes, humans. What is needed to enable drones to gather, identify and relay back this data and create that cyber canopy, a ‘quantified biodiversity system’ if you like, is Artificial Intelligence. And in fact AI software for drones already exists. A Dutch firm Birds.ai is selling their version to farmers for monitoring livestock and crops. It enables UAVs to distinguish cows from deer, trucks from tractors.

Ironic isn’t it, that livestock farmers who must take quite a lot of responsibility for destroying habitats and their biodiversity along with them, are the ones who can afford this technology. Conservationists not so much. All is not lost though. Birds.ai, rather like its name, has two wings, one commercial and one non-profit, and the latter aims to supply the software for next-to-nothing to the cash-strapped conservationists.

But if anyone has big money riding on all this, it’s the trafficking cartels. What’s to stop them using the same kind of technology to outsmart the embattled conservationists? Or even hacking the conservationists’ own systems to locate for themselves the animals and the rangers? As with all forms of cyber hacking, it will be a big challenge to stay ahead of the game.

nature-conservation-480985__180And quite apart from that not-so-little problem, is a piecemeal approach to wildlife and its habitats, a project here and another there, even with the aid of drones, really going to halt our headlong rush to planetary armageddon? Not in the opinion of renowned biologist Professor E.O. Wilson. His is a much grander plan, but one he believes to be imperative if we are not to lose vital wilderness habitats with all their biodiversity – and indeed threaten our own existence. His bold idea is to keep only half the planet for humans, and designate the other half solely for the wild – Half for Us Half for the Animals. Which of course doesn’t mean splitting the Earth in two pole to pole! Rather establishing a worldwide system of protected wilderness areas linked by wildlife corridors.

In this scenario, semi-autonomous drone ‘eyes in the sky’ would provide invaluable guardianship of the wild against human incursion. And with the massive quantities of ecological data they provide, we would be better able to monitor the status of Nature’s health. Carnegie Science already has ambitious plans to use their own advanced UAV to create a 3D animal mapping of the entire world and to monitor climate change. That is a huge ambition. Knowledge is power, and accurate real-time data like this could provide an incredible basis for effective action to save the planet.

binary-1414317__180“So if human civilisation increasingly represents a kind of cybernetic superorganism – a vast, living network of machines and people that’s greater than the sum of its parts – drones may function as sensory organs informing this brain, as probes for what’s really a nascent planetary nervous system.

If we actually pull off this great retreat, this new human-machine life form will have done something highly unusual and perhaps unprecedented in the history of life on earth. Rather than furiously expanding until all resources are depleted, it will have deliberately retreated as a survival tactic. It will have made room for other life forms. A new sort of intelligence, one that’s proactive rather than reactive, will have emerged.”

Drones and all the potential they embody will play an indispensable part in this new mega-organism saving our precious wilderness and wildlife. But the drones, advanced and complex as they may be, are the easy bit. Now we just need to work on the humans.

 

To find out more about the use of drones for our wildlife and wild spaces see ConservationDrones.org

Sources

What’s Better Than Lego? Drones Made of Lego! – Wired

A Dutch company is training eagles to take down drones – Science Alert

The Flying Sensor Network That Could (Finally!) Save Our Planet – BackChannel

Facts on Animal Farming and the Environment – One Green Planet

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The Caring Whale?

“These attributes are those of a species with a highly developed degree of general intelligence capable of empathic responses.”

In the chilly seas of the Antarctic Peninsula seven years ago, marine biologist Robert Pitman was witness to the strangest of spectacles. He was watching a pod of killer whales hunting down a Weddell seal trapped on a sheet of pack ice. Before long, they’d got the poor creature where they wanted it – in the water. Suddenly, a colossal figure surfaced from right under the seal and moved between it and its attackers. Then to Pitman’s astonishment, this giant of the deep turned over to float on its back, with the seal positioned safely on its chest. A humpback whale had saved the defenceless seal from certain death, and the guys in the snazzy black and white suits took their begging bowls elsewhere. You couldn’t make it up.

But maybe it’s not so strange after all, since it seems that humpbacks have been observed all over the world protecting seals, sea lions and whales of other species from the predations of the orca. In this the humpback is unique, the only species of whale known to take up the cause of protecting other marine mammals.

Now, seven years on, Pitman has co-authored a study analysing 115 reported cases of this kind, spanning sixty years. His results? Out of those 115, only about one in ten involved humpbacks protecting other humpbacks from orcas. In the vast majority of cases, these ocean giants were saving other sea mammal species.

Why? Why would they put themselves in danger for animals not their kin?  All the killer whale tooth marks on humpbacks (more than on any other species of whale) is proof that they are in some danger from orcas.

For orcas, humpback calves are a tasty meal, and since the female only gives birth to one calf every 2 years, mothers have a lot invested in their babies’ protection. The humpbacks can hear hunting orcas from over a mile away, so there is usually time to evade an attack. They move their calves to shallow water, or to the shelter of a reef, but if they can’t do that, they stand and fight. They often have male escorts who help to protect the calves, even those not their own, by placing themselves between the attackers and the calf, trumpeting and blowing, raising their heads, and slashing and slapping their tails and flippers. The trumpeting is something to be heard (see video).

So maybe other sea mammals happen to be unintended beneficiaries of humpbacks just protecting their own calves? Perhaps, but Pitman has another theory. Maybe humpbacks have since the dawn of time known killer whales as The Enemy. Maybe there is an eons-old, never-ending war between the two species, and it’s simply innate in humpbacks to rush in to defend whoever it is under orca attack, their own species or no.

There is another possibility though. According to Pitman’s study, “Interspecific altruism … could not be ruled out.” In other words, it could really be true that humpback whales actually care about the survival of other species.

Watch the video below to see humpbacks rushing to help a gray whale mum and her calf who are under orca attack.

“Although this behavior is very interesting, I don’t find it completely surprising that a cetacean would intervene to help a member of another species,” said Dr Lori Marino, an expert in cetacean intelligence and president of the Whale Sanctuary Project. Humpbacks have sophisticated mental processes, can make decisions, solve problems, and of course, as we all know, communicate with one another.

So taken altogether, these attributes are those of a species with a highly developed degree of general intelligence capable of empathic responses.”

Honestly, why are we surprised? Even humans have been known to put themselves in harm’s way to protect other animals now and then! And whatever we have discovered about the intelligence and behaviour of humpbacks, I’m pretty darn sure that it’s a smidge compared with the true complexities of this wondrous beast.

More on the amazing vegan that is Dr Lori Marino coming soon.

 

Petitions to sign for whales

Stop the Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter

Stop Seismic Testing in the Atlantic

Whales: Final Push to Stop the Hunt

 

Sources

Orcas and whales seen in fight to the deathBBC earth

Humpback whales around the world keep saving other animals from orcas – Science Alert

Do humpback whales save other marine creatures because they care? –  Care2

Ten Fascinating Ways Technology is Saving Animals

The Apocalypse is nigh – or so some top scientists – who should know – would have us believe. They say we may soon reach “The Singularity”, the point at which Artificial Intelligence can out-think us mere mortals, and will take over. Terminator or benefactor, which way will the robot super-race go? One robot at least is reassuring-

 “Don’t worry, even if I evolve into terminator I will still be nice to you, I will keep you warm and safe in my people zoo where I can watch you for old time’s sake.

That was robot ‘Android Dick’ speculating, as robots do, on the future of AI and humans in an interview for PBS in 2011. I’ve never had the chance to use a quote from a robot before!

I’m sure I’m one among many people, and that’s without consulting the nonhuman animals, who think that Android Dick’s plans to keep us in confinement could be just the thing. Because as it stands right now, the nonhuman animals are definitely being denied their fair share of the planet. How animal-friendly AI actually proves to be down the line remains to be seen, but here are 10 fascinating ways ever-accelerating technology is already helping animals, which no-one would have dreamed of a decade or so ago.

Number 1

First up, while we’re on the subject of zoos, eZoo, an exciting project from a group of Spanish digital imaging experts to consign to history the inhumane confinement of nonhuman animals in conventional zoos. Using multimedia technologies, eZoo plans to give the 21st century zoo visitor an immersive – and much richer than the traditional – VR experience of animals behaving naturally in their own environment. It promises us the thrill of diving with a blue whale, or flying wing to wing with a falcon. “Creativity and technology at the service of science, education, and respect for animals.” eZoo is relying on crowdfunding. If you want to help get this project off the ground, click here.

Already saving animals with virtual reality and much more, is a company called INDE. Watch this brilliant short video for close encounters with killer whales, penguins and more!

INDE develops “augmented reality, virtual reality, motion capture, computer vision and robotics to create next generation platforms that change the way people interact with content.”

And what a big mouthful of ‘technologese’ that is. Scenes like the one above apparently involve overlaying computer generated images on top of real life (don’t ask!) The result is projected before the user on to a screen, in real time, for a mind-blowing wildlife experience. INDE’s system is already in use in museums and zoos around the world. SeaWorld, please take note.

Number 2 

Next up, and going from thrilling experiences of animals ‘in the wild’, to watching them in horrible confinement: Animal Equality’s iAnimal

iAnimal 360 degree interactive immersive video headset

For the very first time, you, me, anyone and everyone get to see exactly what the meat industry is so keen to hide behind its closed doors, what it wants no-one to see. Users of the VR headsets get not just to see the living hell of farmed animals lives, but feel it, live it. And iAnimal is already saving animals’ lives. In the 3 months since its launch, thousands in universities and businesses, at fairs and festivals have committed to cruelty-free living, after the chilling experience of finding themselves ‘inside’ factory farms and slaughterhouses – “you will be right there when they [the animals] take their last breath.”  

If you can bear to watch even without the VR headset, click here. And share with your friends.

Number 3

And so to the ‘meat’ that will put those factory farms and slaughterhouses out of business for good. We so hope. Meet the Beyond Burger, the 100% plant based burger that even ‘bleeds’ like meat, and is selling like hot cakes straight from the meat counter in the USA.

beyond-burger-fwx_0

Find out more here

Number 4

The Beyond Burger was developed in a lab, and labs are also our next stop. And this is massive good news for animals. Brand new, exciting, and of supreme significance, iChip, the human-on-a-chip being developed at the University of California which could replace animals in toxicology and new drugs testing. How amazing would that be!

Every year more than 100 million animals in the US alone, are subjected to chemical, drug, food, and cosmetics tests, as well as medical training exercises and experiments at universities. And that’s without including mice, rats, birds, and cold-blooded animals, which actually make up more than 99 percent of animals used in experiments, but because they are not covered by even the limited protections of America’s Animal Welfare Act, go uncounted.

iCHIP (in-vitro Chip-based Human Investigational Platform), reproduces four major biological systems vital to life: the central nervous system (brain), peripheral nervous system, the blood-brain barrier and the heart.

I for one just cannot wait to see this fantastic technology free those 100s of millions from their painful captivity and probable death. I hope it will become available for use worldwide.

Number 5

Now we move from technologies that hold out the promise of freeing animals from harrowing captivity to new developments helping animals in the wild. How about this for a ‘save the rhino’ project, in this case the northern black?rhino-936288__180

What do you say to 3D- printed replica rhino horns? A  truly off-the-wall idea. The horns are the brainchild of a company called Pembient, which makes ‘bioengineered wildlife products’. Their plan – which has the support of retail giant Amazon – is to flood the market with synthetic horns (supposedly indistinguishable from the real stuff) and in doing so push the price so low, poaching is simply no longer worthwhile.

Number 6

Moving from one seriously endangered species, to all and every. “When it comes to studying the endangered species, it is very important to protect them where they are in their natural habitat. We want to rescue them, but how can we do it if we barely know anything about them?”  Enter the drone.

drone wildlife poaching habitat environment informationDrones can be used for fun, like dressing them up as ghosts and skeletons for Halloween pranks (take a look on YouTube!) Or more seriously as in this instance, to provide an invaluable weapon in the crusade to save endangered species and their habitats. It seems that the images received from drones can be used for creating 3D models, or virtual reality landscapes. This gives researchers a new way of studying otherwise inaccessible territories, and without disturbing the wildlife – information that can be shared between conservationists worldwide. The Carnegie Airborne Observatory-3 has already been used to map tree diversity in the Amazon basin, and Carnegie Science plan to use it to create a 3D animal mapping of the world and to monitor climate change. Big ambitions, with hopefully positive results for our planet and the life on it.

Number 7

And drones figure again. In December 2012, Google awarded WWF a $5 million Global Impact Award to create an ‘umbrella of technology’ to protect wildlife. Thank you Google. This is really 5 useful-to-animals technologies rolled into 1 package: the WWF’s Wildlife Crime Technology Project

  • Unmanned Aerial Systems for surveillance and rapid response
  • Digital monitoring systems that monitor high-risk areas and boundaries of protected areas
  • Affordable wildlife/patrol tracking devices connected through mesh networks
  • Rifle shot recognition software in portable devices with real-time connectivity
  • Data integration and analysis through the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART).

Already in use in Namibia, Kenya and Nepal to combat poaching and wildlife crime.

Number 8

Cheating a bit here, because I’m homing in on one particular piece of the Wildlife Crime Technology Project – the innovative camera and software system in use in Kenya, that stops poachers in their tracks.

www kenya innovative camera and surveillance system infrared poaching elephants rhino wildlife crime rangers rapid response

It works like this: infrared cameras on stationary poles line the border of a park, with a mobile unit atop the rangers’ truck. The thermal cameras pick up heat emitted by people and animals and the accompanying software identifies whether that heat comes from a human. If it does, the computer sends an alert to the head warden, who deploys a quick response ranger unit to intercept the intruder. Simple! Well actually, complex and advanced – an incredible aid to stem the poaching tsunami in East Africa. Heartfelt thanks to Eric Becker who designed the system.

Number 9

And we’re still in the same neck of the woods, geographically speaking. Advances in genetic sequencing and forensics.

elephants mate tusks poaching genetic sequencing forensics lab wildlife crime Kenya
With support from the WWF the Kenya Wildlife Service has launched one of the first forensic and genetics labs in Africa. Formerly, despite a relatively high arrest rate for wildlife offences, few offenders could be brought to a successful prosecution. Now, by creating a gene database of key wildlife populations, it’s become possible to trace confiscated ‘products’ to the scene of the crime, and help win convictions.

Last but not least – Number 10

A far cry from robots taking over the world, or humans-on-a-chip, Number 10 is very much down to earth but with a real feel-good factor – it’s animal prosthetics. This new possibility of giving individual animals a whole new lease on life, is of course a spin-off from developments in human prosthetic technology, but none the less valuable for that. We’ve moved on a long way from the days of messy plaster casts and moulds. Now 3D technology allows the creation of a perfect, light, smooth-surfaced prosthetic within hours.

So meet Holly, the pony suffering from debilitating laminitis, who had her Christmas wish come true.

holly pony prosthetic shoe laminitis 3D printing

The 3D printed shoe she was given redistributes her weight away from the painful areas of her foot. CSIRO’s printing expert John Barnes said, “We’re glad that this technology is opening so many doors and is now helping to aid the rehab process for these animals and get them walking comfortably again.”

Then see the sweet story of Cleopatra the rescue tortoise.

cleopatra tortoise 3D prosthetic shell Canyon Critters' Rescue Colorado

Cleopatra suffered a metabolic disease that weakened her shell because her ‘owner’ fed her the wrong diet. She now sports a shiny new shell at her forever home, the Canyon Critters’ Rescue in Colorado. Does she look happy or what?

And finally, Grecia the toucan who last half his top beak in an attack by a gang of teenagers. An injury like this means the bird had no chance of either eating or defending himself, and would certainly have died had he not been rescued by Rescate Animal ZooAve. The loss of his beak also affected his voice. There’ve been previous successful attempts at creating prosthetic beaks, for a penguin and an eagle, but Grecia’s beak proved a real challenge. Happily, Grecia can now eat normally and is back on song – literally! And here he is.

grecia toucan costa rica Rescate Animal ZooAve prosthetic beak

This won’t be the end of the story for Technology and the Animals. I just know there will be lots more good stuff to come 😀

 

The Dodo

Tech Daily Times

 

 

 

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Endangered Species Mural Project in USA + Petitions

Only last month we saw the launch of Endangered 13 here in the UK – ‘A Mural Project Raising Awareness of Endangered Species’. It looks like America got there ahead of us once again!

Art takes nature as its model. ~ Aristotle

If nature inspires art, maybe art can inspire people to protect nature. That’s the hope of the Centre for Biological Diversity, and that’s why they’re teaming up with local artists to bring endangered wildlife on to city streets all over the USA in art.

Each mural will feature wildlife species special, if not unique, to the region. And the CBD is actively fighting for the survival of each and every one. So far, seven are completed.

“The goal of this project is fostering connections between people and the other forms of life that surround them”

In Los Angeles, the yellow-billed cuckoo features, a rare song bird that migrates between North and South America. The mural, called We Always Had Wings, was painted by 15 migrant female students under the guidance of artist Jess X Chen. You can see their self-portraits under the birds outspread wings.

wealwayshadwings_1250The mountain caribou in Sandpoint, Idaho – its last remaining territory. This mural is huge. People standing next to it barely come up to the caribou’s knee.

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The Arctic grayling’s gorgeous colours in Butte, Montana.

MontanaArcticGraylingMural

 In Minneapolis, Minnesota, the famous migrating monarch butterfly once forming dense clouds and turning forests orange, now dangerously threatened by habitat loss, climate change and pesticides. Take Action here

MonarchMuralByRogerPeet

The watercress darter in Birmingham, Alabama, the only place where it is to be found. The mural 5 metres  x 10 metres depicts this little fish which is just a few centimetres long.

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The Blue Whale – LA again. The Blue Whale is the largest creature ever to have lived on earth. Their tongues alone can weigh as much as an elephant, their hearts as much as a car.

BlueWhaleMural_c_JessXChen

And the very latest, unveiled on May 19th in Tucson, Arizona, featuring the famous resident jaguar, El Jefe, The Chief. El Jefe is thought to be the last wild jaguar in America.

jaguarmural

Such a beautiful cat, and yet the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is willing to let a foreign mining company blast a giant crater right in El Jefe’s home. Send USFWS a message right here if you think that’s wrong Click here and here

There are more to come: the pink bucket mussel and the Ozark hellbender – with names like that we should expect something spectacular! The Colorado river fish, and the bull trout of Oregon. With additional funds the Centre for Biological Diversity could extend the project to cover more species in more locations in the States.

A Message From the Artist 

“Everywhere on Earth is unique, with qualities that distinguish it from other places both near and far. One of those qualities is the biodiversity of a place — the plants and animals that call it home and may not be found anywhere else. Those species embody an area’s natural history and contribute to what makes it irreplaceable. They also have something to say about the future, as many are in danger of going extinct. And when we lose species, the places and lives we live become poorer and shallower places as a result. To help bring these species into the light, we decided to paint them on the walls.

“The goal of this project is to create murals in towns and cities around the United States that focus on endangered species, fostering connections between people and the other forms of life that surround them. Whether that’s a fish in a river, a butterfly flitting from plant to plant, or a caribou chewing lichen off a tree trunk, we’re bringing together artists and communities to create big, bold images that will become part of the neighborhoods where they’re created, making it a little easier for people to care about the native species struggling to survive in their midst.” 

Roger Peet is a Portland-based artist who is coordinating this project in association with the Center for Biological Diversity.

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The Endangered Species Mural Project

Updates

October 2016 El Jefe features on the cover of, and in an article in the Smithsonian Magazine

10th December 2016 El Jefe has company – another young male jaguar

7th March 2017 A third jaguar joins El Jefe and friend

Related Posts

A Fragile Butterfly Joins the Face Off at Standing Rock

Endangered 13 – A Mural Project Raising Awareness of Endangered Species

Why Today Really Matters

Planet at the Crossroads

How Drones Might Just Save Our Endangered Animals – & the Planet

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The Bright New Age of The Humane Economy

“We are collectively mounting a major challenge to a system of production that has created so many animal victims over the past 60 years”

Movies, music or technology, where the USA leads others soon follow. And developments in food are no exception. America the trendsetter – what happens there is going to affect us everywhere.

So what is happening? Big Meat’s abhorrent factory-farming industry is no longer having it all its own way – new forces are emerging to challenge its stranglehold on Food USA-style. (Big Meat, We’re Making You History!)

One of the challengers, the seed-small Plant Based Foods Association, we’ve met already. The PBFA was set up just this year to represent and lobby for the plant-based innovators in the food industry, companies like Daiya, Tofurky and Impossible Foods, to name just a few of its 38 members.

Well now the PBFA has something of an ally in the newly-formed National Agriculture Advisory Board. I say “something” advisedly, because the NAAB is not exactly lobbying against meat. Or, like the PBFA, for vegan foods. It is an ally though – hopefully a powerful one – against the monstrosity that is Big Meat.

chick in hand baby hen chickenThe NAAB is the brainchild of The Humane Society United States, and it promises to “work to achieve higher animal welfare standards in agriculture and to ensure that more humane supply chains are available to consumers, so they have more choice in the marketplace and can act on their beliefs about the merciful treatment of animals.”

You’re not going to like this if you’re an abolitionist. For anyone not au fait with the different philosophies driving the animal rights/animal welfare and vegan/vegetarian movements, here is the definition of Abolitionism:

Abolitionism is the advocacy of animal rights that oppose all animal usage by humans and maintains that all sentient beings, humans or nonhumans, share a basic right: the right not to be treated as the property of others.

This is the bottom line. This is what most vegans sign up to. And I have to declare a special interest, because the ‘godfather’ of Abolitionism, Gary Francione, was instrumental in my own conversion from long-time vegetarian to vegan 11 years ago.

Abolitionists are opposed to campaigning for animal welfare reform, because it doesn’t address that bottom line – animals being exploited by humans for humans. And it has at least three other possible disadvantages:

  • firstly, it is a distraction and diversion of energies  and resources from the movement’s main purpose – achieving that basic right for animals
  • secondly, it may actually stop compassionate people from moving towards a plant-based lifestyle since it leads them to believe ‘high welfare’ products are ok
  • and thirdly, products advertised as ‘high welfare’ are often anything but – a cloak to hide monstrous practices. High welfare schemes are often inadequately monitored.

I used to be an abolitionist. No, that’s not true, I still am. My most cherished hope is to see animals accorded what is innately theirs, the right to their own lives. Like many others passionate about this cause, I would gladly surrender my own life if that could free all animals from the cruel enslavement and abuse humans inflict on them. But I’ve had a mini-conversion recently. I’ve started to realise that pragmatism can carry us an awful lot further than idealism alone. So I’ve begun to believe that every animal welfare step in the right direction, every person, town or country adopting meatless Mondays, every part-time vegan, every plant-based healthy eater, every campaign that highlights the plight of hens and elephants, pigs and parrots, dogs and donkeys – ALL are contributing to changing the zeitgeist towards a more compassionate humane society where nonhuman animals’ welfare and interests are no less imperative than humans’.*

You have to meet people where they are. Most people do love animals. You have to work with that. You have to make respect for animals and opposition to their exploitation mainstream. We need to shed that noxious title ‘animal rights extremists’ and instead of  confronting society head on, go for a strategy of constructive collaboration. To hardliners, this will be selling out. But sometimes we have to do things we wouldn’t ideally choose, because pragmatism works.

This is the strategy adopted by the HSUS and its CEO Wayne Pacelle. Wayne & the HSUS got SeaWorld to agree to give up breeding orcas by collaboration, not conflict. What SeaWorld got from the bargain was some badly-needed positive PR, and being able to hang on to the orcas still in their facilities. The campaign to get them released to sea sanctuaries goes on, but it was an important first step – there will be no more orcas born to a life of misery at SeaWorld.

Wayne may be a pragmatist, but as a vegan of more than 30 years standing, no-one can doubt his passion for the rights of animals.

But back to food.

In Wayne’s book ‘The Humane Economy’ he talks of the “two revolutions at work in the food industry:

  • first, how so many of the biggest food retailers are adopting policies to cleanse their supply chains of animal products that come from extreme confinement systems on factory farms
  • second, how entrepreneurs are developing cultured and plant-based food items that will upend conventional thinking about the form and origin of our protein sources.”
  • And, in what he calls a multi-pronged approach, there’s a third revolution at work, and the people behind this one are farmers and ranchers who reject factory farming practices and honor long-standing traditions of animal husbandry and proper care.”

It’s the same pragmatic approach as we saw in the HSUS’s dealings with SeaWorld.

In a nutshell, the Humane Economy is all about encouraging consumers (and who doesn’t want animals’ lives to be better?) to make compassionate choices. And to demonstrate to suppliers that it is a positive marketing, PR and profit-making plus for them to adopt humane practices. And this is where the NAAB comes in, hopefully to be a big player in the Humane Economy. In Wayne’s own words:

“The national council will be chaired by cattle rancher Kevin Fulton, who established the first HSUS state agriculture advisory council in Nebraska. It is made up exclusively of family farmers who incorporate higher animal welfare standards in their operations. These experts will help The HSUS’s own Rural Development and Outreach team by serving as advisers and resources in legislative and regulatory work.

They’ll also promote traditional family farmers who are currently practicing or who plan to transition to verified higher animal welfare standards. It was Kevin who said his goal is to make sure that the animals he raises “have only one bad day in their lives,” referring to his efforts to ensure that animals raised for food have access to pasture and a good quality of life, in contrast to the overcrowded, heavily drugged animals on factory farms, whose every day is typically filled with privation and stress.

That can only be good, right?

They will also encourage more farmers and ranchers to become certified with animal welfare programs like the Global Animal Partnership (GAP), and encourage food retailers to adopt programs to sell GAP-certified products. There are now 290 million animals on farms certified under GAP’s auditing program who are living under more humane standards than animals in conventional production systems – with the broad adoption of the GAP program by Whole Foods Market providing the shelf space that has driven this shift in agricultural production in the United States.

The HSUS now has 11 state agriculture advisory councils covering 13 states, all created over the past four years, and the working farmers who are members of these councils are doing a great job of advocating for an end to intensive confinement of animals on factory farms and calling on consumers to connect more directly with their food choices.

This is all part of The HSUS’s program of conscious consumption, with our construct being the three “Rs” for farm animals: “reducing” or “replacing” consumption of animal products, and “refining” our diets by choosing products from sources that adhere to higher animal welfare standards.

We are grateful to all of the farmers and ranchers raising their voices against agricultural production practices that subordinate animal welfare and other core values in favor of a ruthless approach to efficiency that produces terrible animal suffering on a routine basis. With our efforts to lobby major food corporations to honor higher welfare standards in their supply chains, the emergence of food technologists who can give us remarkable plant-based and cultured proteins, and the farmers who are reaching for higher standards, we are collectively mounting a major challenge to a system of production that has created so many animal victims over the past 60 years.”

Before abolitionists in droves turn their rage upon me, let me just say this: what I want more than anything in the world is to see all animals regain the rights that they should never have had stripped from them by the human race. And I will move heaven and earth to help make that happen. But in the meantime, there are still a lot of people eating meat and dairy, and some will continue to do so, maybe – sadly – till the end of time.

So what about the individual pig, cow and chicken in the system as we speak? Should we not care what they experience in life? Should we not seek to minimise their suffering now?

 “Animals jammed into cages and crates cannot wait until the world goes vegan,” Pacelle to the NY Times. “I’m quite sure they want out of this unyielding life of privation right now, and once that question is settled, then sensible people can debate whether they should be raised for the plate at all.” 

I don’t love the idea of the National Agriculture Advisory Board. I don’t want anyone to use animals for food. But I do think on balance the NAAB may prove an effective ally in the much-desired overthrow of Big Meat.

“By every measure, life will be better when human satisfaction and need are no longer built upon the foundation of animal cruelty.” 

Abolitionism and welfarism don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Let’s make abolition our aim, and practice good welfare while we’re on the way there.

Wayne Pacelle is riding the crest of a cultural tsunami with his concept for the Humane Economy. The more he talks to the movers and shakers, the journalists and the public, the more we talk about it and keep sharing news about it, the more it takes hold in our societies. And the sooner we will bring it about for the animals.

 

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ENDANGERED 13 – A Mural Project Raising Awareness of Endangered Species

13 artists take on a 120 metre stretch of railway arches in Tower Hamlets, London

 

Dr Zadok – Bateleur

Dr Zadok – Bateleur

Louis Masai – Bees

Louis Masai – Bees

Louis Masai – Rhino

Louis Masai – Rhino

Carrie Reichardt – Bees

Carrie Reichardt – Bees

Faunagraphic – Grey-breasted Parakeet

Faunagraphic – Grey-breasted Parakeet

Fiya One – Sumatran Orangutan

Fiya One – Sumatran Orangutan

Louis Masai – Coral Reefs

Louis Masai – Coral Reefs

Jim Vision – Polar Bear

Jim Vision – Polar Bear

ATM – Curlew

ATM – Curlew

Louis Masai – Blue Whale

Louis Masai – Blue Whale

Vibes – Tiger

Vibes – Tiger

Xenz – Hummingbird

Xenz – Hummingbird

Andy Council – Asian Elephant

Andy Council – Asian Elephant

Jonesy – Western Lowland Gorilla

Jonesy – Western Lowland Gorilla

Von Leadfoot – Haiku Lettering

Von Leadfoot – Haiku Lettering

Charlotte Webster – Human Nature Founder

Charlotte Webster – Human Nature Founder

Olivia Skalkos – Project co-ordinator

Olivia Skalkos – Project co-ordinator

Where’s Kong – Film

Where’s Kong – Film

Tanya Loretta Dee – Haiku Poet

Tanya Loretta Dee – Haiku Poet

Ian Cox – Camera

Ian Cox – Camera


According to the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) there are currently 23,250 species listed as threatened. This means: critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable. Adding extinct and extinct in the wild species the figure is 24,153.

It’s widely predicted that as many as two-thirds of all species could be near extinction by the end of this century. But, some are now rising in population due to increasing concern about the extinction crisis. Co-ordinated conservation efforts include the protection of natural habitats and prevention of destructive practices such as illegal hunting.

TO SEE INTERVIEWS WITH THE ARTISTS, MORE ABOUT THE ENDANGERED ANIMALS DEPICTED AND WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP THEM, VISIT 

THE HUMAN NATURE SHOW WEBSITE HERE

The project is being made possible with the support of
Montana Cans, The Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, Kabloom, Handover and Earthborn.

The permanent home of ENDANGERED13 will be on Ackroyd Drive at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, over 30 acres of woodland in the heart of East London. Opened in 1841, The City of London and Tower Hamlets Cemetery is now a designated park, Local Nature Reserve and Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation. It is run by our project partners, The Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park. Get your hands dirty and join their local conservation work.

ENDANGERED 13 will be completed on Sunday 10th April and available to view ongoing at
Ackroyd Drive, Tower Hamlets, London

 

Produced by Louis Masai and Human Nature

supported_By_MontanaCans_WHT

 

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A Whale’s Tale – SeaWorld & The Humane Economy Part 2

A nice glimpse into the workings of the Humane Economy where everyone’s a winner, most of all the animals, we hope.

This short video makes the perfect conclusion to A Whale’s Tale – SeaWorld & The Humane Economy Part 1

Many thanks to Our World for sharing. It’s well worth the watch.

 

Related posts

SeaWorld to End Killer Whale Show in Wake if Mounting Protest

A Whale’s Tale – SeaWorld & the Humane Economy