Archive

Archive for February, 2010

Tories Now Want to Kill Badgers, too

February 25th, 2010 No comments

Shadow environment secretary Nick Herbert was applauded as he told the [annual National Farmers’ Union] conference that a Conservative government would introduce “carefully-managed control of badgers in high TB areas”, because the country could not wait to see if the vaccine worked.

UK needs a badger cull, NFU tells Government at Birmingham conference

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Windhorse

February 25th, 2010 No comments

I saw the excellent movie, Windhorse, last night at our local indie cinema, Electric Palace, in Old Town Hastings. It’s a story of the struggle between Tibetans and China’s occupancy of their country. Not that there was much chance of it ever happening, nonetheless, I add China to the list of countries I boycott.

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Amber Rudd’s Standard Line on Hunting

February 24th, 2010 No comments

The League Against Cruel Sports takes Hastings and Rye Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Conservatives, Amber Rudd, to task for being among a group of some 20 of her ilk who use the same wording to defend their wish to repeal the Hunting Act (2004).

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Happiness is a Dead Animal

February 23rd, 2010 No comments

Dr. Wes Jamison, Associate Profession of Communication at Palm Beach Atlantic University, is considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the current debate over animal care. During a recent presentation to a group of farmers at a program sponsored by Farm Credit Services of Mid-America, Dr. Jamison said the ag industry has made a great deal of progress in coming to grips with the challenges being presented to the livestock industry. He said, for the most part, farm groups have stopped ignoring the problem and hoping it would go away. He was encouraged by the efforts of bring diverse segments of the industry together to battle a common enemy. He told me, however, that just vilifying the other side was not enough. He said agriculture must claim the moral high ground and make consumers feel good about the choices they make.

Consumers have a split personality when it comes to animals and meat. They love “happy cows” making California cheese, and they get outraged when they see downer animals in PETA videos and want chickens to run free. Yet, they also demand that their meat products be low-cost, government-inspected, tasty, and easy to prepare. Jamison says agriculture must help consumers be both anthropomorphic and carnivores.

He suggests this can be done by telling people it is OK to eat dead animals. This is in stark contrast to messages from PETA and HSUS that say eating dead animals is bad. They use guilt and shame to make people feel bad about those choices. Agriculture has the opportunity to take a positive approach and tell them go ahead, eat that dead cow, it’s OK. He suggested printing T-shirts with a photo of a juicy steak or pork chop with the phrase, “Happiness is a dead animal” written on it. He would start by passing these out on college campuses where young people love to wear provocative shirts. We could then move up to bumper stickers and onto billboards. It is a simple yet effective message that would help consumers feel good about their meat choices. It would also be fun to watch the leadership of HSUS and PETA come completely unglued when people started responding to this approach.

Happiness is a Dead Animal

I’m sure the Grumpy Vegan would think that this is a good idea.

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Guardian on “Dangerous” Dogs

February 22nd, 2010 No comments

Really good article in The Guardian, which leads with the “number of dogs being seized by the police has soared as young people increasingly use them as ‘weapons’, rather than carrying knives.” Brute Force by Rowenna Davis.

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UN’s FAO Calls for Tax on Livestock Emissions

February 21st, 2010 No comments

Livestock should be taxed to reduce the contribution made by their flatulence to greenhouse gas emissions, the United Nations said yesterday in a report that will give anti-livestock campaigners fresh ammunition. The novel suggestion by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation to use taxation comes as campaigners focus on the impact on climate change of emissions of methane from cattle, sheep and pigs. “Market-based policies, such as taxes and fees for natural resource use, should cause [livestock] producers to internalise the costs of environmental damages,” the FAO said in its annual report, The State of Food and Agriculture. “The sector is consuming a large share of the world’s resources and is contributing a significant portion of global greenhouse gases emissions,” the report adds.

Reports The Financial Times.

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Time for Animal Rights to Wake Up and Smell the Politics

February 21st, 2010 No comments

“New Labour appears to offer no animal welfare policy for voters to consider at the election,” complains a campaigning group called Protecting Animals in Democracy. It reminds supporters of what Labour has all but forgotten: “Votes are won and lost on animal issues.” And yet, exasperatingly, there is still no animal equivalent to Mumsnet, where ministers can go and pretend they care about, say, dog biscuits, more than anything else in the world.

Writes Catherine Bennett in today’s Observer in an otherwise typical mediocre article on animal rights we’ve come to expect from The Guardian. (See the Grumpy Vegan for many other examples.)

One thing, however, I do agree with her on up to a point is when she writes, “And yet, exasperatingly, there is still no animal equivalent to Mumsnet…..” The animal rights movements in the UK and US have yet to develop a strategy which positions animal issues and animal ethics as mainstream political issues. Yes, The Humane Society of the United States does exemplary work at the state and federal level. Yes, there is the Vote Cruelty Free campaign in time for the imminent British general election. But there is no macro-strategy which transcends elections whether they be local or national, every two years or whenever (in the case of the UK) or ballot initiatives in those states in the US that allow them. What’s needed is a political wing to the animal rights movement. I do not mean by this Animals Count which, while well intended, doesn’t, er, count. I mean a multi-part strategy which includes working within the political parties with the objective of lobbying within them in support of animal issues. Neither HSUS or Vote Cruelty Free nor Animals Count or any other animal group will be in power to pass laws to protect animals and give them the rights they need. But the Democratic and Republican parties will in the US as will the Labour and Conservatives parties will in the UK. It’s time for the animal rights movement to wake up and smell the politics.

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Survey Documents Move Away from Meat in the UK

February 19th, 2010 No comments

Some 12 per cent of the respondents admitted changing their diet to include more non-meat protein sources in the last five years. Volac dubs this group ‘flexitarians’, and their number is in addition to the approximately 5 per cent of the population that is ‘vegetarian’. The biggest reason for the switch was seen to be weight management, with the cost of meat following hot on its heels. But around a third of those changing their diet said they were driven by environmental or climate change concerns, or ‘vegetarian principles’. Younger people were seen to be more likely to talk about the principles of eating less meat, and body composition and nutritional issues. People aged 35-44 were more likely to mention weight matters.

Survey indicates scale of UK meat switch-out

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West Hollywood bans most cat, dog sales at pet stores

February 19th, 2010 No comments

Reports the Los Angeles Times. But I thought this bit was particularly significant and encouraging.

At the West Hollywood meeting Tuesday, Councilman Jeffrey Prang said his office had been inundated with calls from city officials across the country seeking advice on how to craft similar ordinances. 

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Benn Challenges Cameron on Hunting Ban

February 19th, 2010 No comments

David Cameron’s plan to repeal the hunting ban shows that beneath the gloss the Tories haven’t changed. Five years ago, Labour banned fox hunting, stag hunting and hare coursing because there is no place for animal cruelty in a modern, civilised society. Making animals tear each other apart is cruelty, not sport.

The ban has worked and has allowed people to continue riding with hunts without the cruelty previously involved. In the countryside and the cities a huge majority of people back the ban and none of the pro-hunt lobby’s dire predictions have come true.

David Cameron’s personal opposition to the hunting ban, and his appointment of a former pro-hunting lobbyist as his ‘animal welfare’ spokesperson, reveal how out of touch the Tories are in attempting to repeal such a popular, humane and effective law. If you support the ban then please go to www.backtheban.com and sign my letter to David Cameron.

Says Hilary Benn MP, Labour’s Environment Secretary. You can co-sign his letter here.

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