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

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

Green Momentum

People along the broad frontier of radical pluralism
Positive socio-environmental change is happening in Britain—a skim through recent progress.

Rewilding is not only being seriously discussed, it’s happening. Beavers are back in Scotland and wild in England. Lynx may soon follow as a range of stakeholders recognise benefits and negligible risks — lynx are wary of humans and unlikely to target livestock; instead they are a natural predator for deer, numbers of which are wholly out of control. 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

How To Be A Sentient Creature

Wild Orcas

Orcas: sentience is not a human preserve

While searching for the ridiculous to draw attention to the serious, I found this.

“Three orcas, or killer whales, were taken [in August] by a Russian catching team, believed to be the team that caught a female orca in the same general area at the same time last year. For the past year, that young female — someone named her Narnia and the name stuck — has been swimming alone in a tiny makeshift pen near Nakhodka (Vladivostok area). … When Narnia met her new cellmates, the three captives were reportedly in poor condition after the transport, refusing to eat. The trainers could do nothing. Finally, we heard that Narnia herself tried something. She brought fish to the three captives and gave it to them.” Continue reading