Badgers and Cognitive Dissonance

badger

Another badger cull debate

The UK government’s policy of culling badgers as part of tackling bovine tuberculosis (bTB) was debated in parliament for a second time on 27 March 2017 (Transcript/Video). What was striking about this debate, as well as its predecessor on 7 September 2016, was its ineffectiveness in informing or influencing. Much heartfelt opinion and many purported facts were aired, and there is some value in bringing the issue to the public attention again, but I doubt anyone changed their mind, certainly not the government. Continue reading

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Animal Emancipation

chimpanzee hand grasping wire fence

Ask not what wildlife can do for you: could the next wave of emancipation be the recognition of non-human people?

We like to see good triumph over evil. We like to feel a little righteous. We’re less keen on the reversal – on being ‘wrong’. At empathy grade one, ‘am I being unreasonable?’ becomes ‘how would I feel if someone behaved this way toward me?’ Similarly, ‘how could those {insert people and historic period of choice} allow that {genocide/enslavement/oppression} to take place?’ becomes ‘when have I gone along with a crowd of idiots doing something immoral?’ Or, more radically: what attitudes or practices am I complicit in now that will be judged poorly by history? That’s unsettling.

Unfortunately it’s likely: arrogance survives despite successive, massive intellectual blows to “the dominionist, anthropocentric, speciesist, theocratic, and geocentric worldview of Western society.”[1] In a progressive world, what might follow the race, feminist, and sexual-orientation revolutions? Could our treatment of wild animals in the pursuit of food, entertainment, research and material resources “seem to our descendants as unspeakable as that of the slaves in the middle passage seem[s] to us”?[2] Continue reading

Bullfighting: cruel, outdated, and paid for by us

Bullfighting

On Wednesday MEPs have an opportunity to end the use of European funds to support farmers who breed bulls for bullfights. Please ask them to use it.

Bullfighting takes place in a relatively small number of countries across the world including Spain, Portugal, France, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela and Peru. There are also many bull running or fiesta events, which often lead to the death of the bull. Many countries have banned bullfighting by law, including Argentina, Canada, Cuba, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Forty thousands bulls are killed for this bloodlust every year in Europe alone. The bulls are abused beforehand and tortured throughout the unfair fight. This barbaric activity is certainly not entertainment and has no place in the 21st century. Traditions should expire as our moral sense evolves. Yet, not only is it going ahead against the wishes of most Europeans, we are paying for it. Continue reading

Cull the Killing

Shooting Conservation versus Ecological Conservation

“Who hasn’t dreamed of standing in a grouse butt, waiting for coveys of birds skimming like miniature brown missiles over the horizon?” Missiles?

The persecution of hen harriers, other birds of prey, and other wild animals, by land managers whose aim is to breed birds for shooting, is increasingly attracting attention Continue reading