Cork Green Party joins calls for ban on fur farming

Irish Council Against Blood Sports ICABS

Ireland, Ireland

JUL 17, 2018 — “It’s shameful that the practice of fur farming takes place in Ireland”: Cork Green Party calls on Minister for Agriculture to ban fur farming. Read more in the report –


Please contact your TDs now and urge them to support Solidarity’s forthcoming “Ban Fur Farming” bill. Contact details for TDs can be found at

Watch ICABS video footage showing the cruelty of fur farming

Email “Ban fur farming NOW” to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Agriculture Minister Michael Creed –

Tel: +353 (0)1 6194000 (Leo Varadkar)
Tel: 01-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510 (Michael Creed)
Tweet: @campaignforleo @creedcnw Ban fur farming NOW
Comment on Facebook:


Dear Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister Michael Creed,

I support a total ban on fur farming and an immediate closure of Ireland’s fur farms.

In these hellholes, animals suffer a horrendous life of misery before being cruelly gassed to death. There is absolutely no justification for allowing this cruelty to continue.

Please ban fur farming now.

Yours sincerely,



Licence to kill: Animal lovers fuming over hunting permits for Cape baboons

09 July 2018 – 15:39BY CLAIRE KEETON
The killing of baboons has sparked growing outrage among residents in Cape Town.

The killing of baboons has sparked growing outrage among residents in Cape Town. 
Image: Gallo Images/Foto24/Taryn Carr

Animal lovers and rights activists are up in arms over hunting permits granting permission to shoot two baboons a day.

The permits were issued to two wine farms in Constantia in Cape Town in October 2017.

The killing of baboons – seven of them to date – has sparked growing outrage among residents in Cape Town after it was revealed by the local Constantiaberg Bulletin newspaper.

The Bulletin reported that baboons were being shot at their sleeping sites and that some had been forced to flee into residential areas‚ where they were injured‚ shot or attacked by dogs.

Distressed Capetonians have started an online petition‚ circulated on Facebook‚ to “demand the end of the horrific baboon cull in Cape Town”.

Asked about the licences to kill baboons‚ which are valid until October‚ Cape Nature Conservation communications manager Marietjie Engelbrecht said on Monday: “A condition of the permit is that each hunt is reported and registered within 24 hours in order to monitor numbers. Daily hunts are not a practical occurrence.”

Engelbrecht said they approved the hunting permits “as a last resort to mitigate human-wildlife conflict”.

“The applicants were able to prove that they have implemented multiple non-lethal mitigation measures over a number of years to try to prevent the continued damage to vineyards and infrastructure without success‚ and have experienced extensive losses‚” she said.

However‚ the secrecy around the permits was on Monday called into question by Jenni Trethowan‚ founder of the Baboon Matters Trust.

Trethowan said the Baboon Technical Team‚ which oversees baboon management on the Cape Peninsula‚ should have gone public about the shooting of baboons if all the justifications were there.

“I’m appalled at the lack of transparency‚” she said. “We heard a lot of chatter on social groups about baboons being killed but this was the first time it has been confirmed.

“Cape Nature Conservation‚ which issued the permits‚ is on the team – as well as the city of Cape Town‚ conservation authorities and researchers. They must have known about it‚” said Trethowan.

According to Engelbrecht‚ “All members of the team were present [when they discussed permits]. I can’t tell you why the information didn’t filter down.”

Buitenverwachting owner Lars Maack told the Bulletin he had applied for a hunting licence as a last resort when electric fences and paintball guns failed to keep the baboons away from their crops and dogs‚ and staff felt threatened.

Klein Constantia vineyard manager Craig Harris told the paper that they had tried monitors with paintball guns and a “virtual fence” experiment‚ which had failed to keep the baboons away.

Hout Bay resident Patrick Semple said: “I don’t understand how wealthy farmers next to a national park can justify killing animals from the national park because they are coming over to eat grapes. Surely they can make another plan?”

Birth control for Tokai baboons could be a non-lethal way to manage the growing numbers in Tokai troops‚ suggested scientist Esme Beamish from UCT’s Institute for Communities and Wildlife in Africa.

Beamish‚ who studies population dynamics on the peninsula‚ said the Tokai troops had shown the strongest growth of all managed troops‚ with their numbers increasing from 115 in one troop in 2006 to over 250 in four troops in 2017.

“The growth in the Tokai troops is a concern to baboon management. For this reason they would be the first candidates for a reproductive control programme‚” said Beamish.

“The fire and removal of pines from the area was good for baboon welfare and conservation in that it reduced some of the artificial sleeping sites and human-derived food resources [pine nuts].”

Beamish said removing specific raiding baboons‚ as practised by the City of Cape Town‚ could be more beneficial than culling baboons in general.

The broader issue of human-wildlife conflict had been triggered by baboons being “isolated to diminishing areas of natural vegetation as a result of urban-agricultural development‚” she said.

“The City of Cape Town’s baboon management programme has successfully reduced baboon-human conflict in residential areas by keeping baboons out of ‘town’ and in the natural vegetation 98% of the time.

“This is measured by reduced injury or death to baboons as a result of attacks by humans‚” said Beamish‚ adding that the programme did not extend to agricultural land‚ which fell under Cape Nature.

Animal Rights and Public Health Advocates Disrupt NYC Health Commissioner Mary Bassett Over Ritual Sacrifice

JULY 1, 2018 BY 

As NYC Health Commissioner Mary Bassett began delivering remarks at a forum about charitable giving, activists angered by her refusal to enforce health codes violated during an animal sacrifice shut down her talk.  This was the fifth time that activists have disrupted Commissioner Bassett over her support of Kaporos, a religious ritual during which ultra-Orthodox Jews in New York City swing an estimated 60,000 six-week old chickens around their heads and slaughter them, contaminating the streets and sewers with their blood, body parts, feathers and feces.

“How can Commissioner Bassett make a presentation in good conscience about taking care of the less fortunate when she’s endangering the health of some of NYC’s most vulnerable residents?” asked Nathan Semmel, one of the organizers of the disruption. “We know we can’t ask Dr. Bassett to align her behavior with the values she publicly espouses, but we can demand that she enforce the law.”

A dozen animal rights and public health advocates disrupt NYC Health Commissioner over her refusal to enforce health codes violated during a mass animal sacrifice on public streets.

The most recent protest comes on the heels of news about the spread of bird flu. On June 15th, Newsweek reported that The Centers for Disease Control said the current strain of avian influenza has “the greatest potential to cause a pandemic of all human viruses.”  If the flu spreads to the United States, New Yorkers will be particularly vulnerable because tens of thousands of city residents come into contact with the sick and dying chickens who are stacked in crates on the streets for several days leading up to the Kaporos ritual.

NYC Health Commissioner Mary Bassett refuses to acknowledge a toxicology report which includes avian flu as one of many health risks associated with the ritual sacrifice Kaporos (center photo: Unparalleled Suffering Photography)

Sources inside the administration say that Commissioner Bassett is refusing to enforce the health laws because the ultra-Orthodox Jews who violate them represent a powerful voting bloc that helped to elect her boss, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.

NYC Health Commissioner Mary Bassett refuses to acknowledge the multiple health codes are violated during a mass sacrifice of 60,000 six week old chickens on public streets.

“Not only does Dr. Bassett refuse to enforce the health codes, but she also refuses to acknowledge a toxicology report which unequivocally states that the violations jeopardize the public health by exposing New Yorkers to e-coli, salmonella, avian flu and many other pathogens and toxins,” said Jessica Hollander, who participated in the protest.  “Her decision to put politics ahead of public health will come back to haunt her if a disease outbreak occurs because she has been warned by experts that the illegal animal sacrifice poses serious health risks.”

Multiple health codes are violated during Kaporos, a ritual animal sacrifice, but NYC Health Commissioner Mary Bassett turns a blind eye because the practitioners represent a powerful voting bloc.

Koko The Gorilla Dies; Redrew The Lines Of Animal-Human Communication

Koko, the gorilla who became an ambassador to the human world through her ability to communicate, has died. She’s seen here at age 4, telling psychologist Francine “Penny” Patterson (left) that she is hungry. In the center is June Monroe, an interpreter for the deaf at St. Luke’s Church, who helped teach Koko.

Bettmann Archive

“The Gorilla Foundation is sad to announce the passing of our beloved Koko,” the research center says, informing the world about the death of a gorilla who fascinated and elated millions of people with her facility for language.

Koko, who was 46, died in her sleep Tuesday morning, the Gorilla Foundation said. At birth, she was named Hanabi-ko — Japanese for “fireworks child,” because she was born at the San Francisco Zoo on the Fourth of July in 1971. She was a western lowland gorilla.

“Her impact has been profound and what she has taught us about the emotional capacity of gorillas and their cognitive abilities will continue to shape the world,” the Gorilla Foundation said.

Throughout her life, Koko’s abilities made headlines. After she began communicating with humans through American Sign Language, she was featured by National Geographic — and she took her own picture (in a mirror) for the magazine’s cover.

That cover came out in 1978, seven years after Koko was chosen as an infant to work on a language research project with the psychologist Francine “Penny” Patterson. In 1985, the magazine profiled the affectionate relationship between the gorilla and her kitten: Koko and All Ball.

In 2001, Koko made a fast friend in comedian Robin Williams, trying on his glasses, showing him around and getting him to tickle her. Then they made faces at each other — and the gorilla seemed to recall seeing Williams in a movie. Years later, in 2014, Koko was one of many who mourned Williams’ passing.


Koko amazed scientists in 2012, when she showed she could learn to play the recorder. The feat revealed mental acuity but also, crucially, that primates can learn to intricately control their breathing — something that had been assumed to be beyond their abilities.

Her ability to interact with people made Koko an international celebrity. But she also revealed the depth and strength of a gorilla’s emotional life, sharing moments of glee and sadness with researchers Patterson and Ron Cohn.

As Barbara J. King wrote for NPR about the BBC documentary Koko: The Gorilla Who Talks, when it aired on PBS in 2016:

Famously, Koko felt quite sad in 1984 when her adopted kitten Ball was hit by a car and died. How do we know? Here is nonhuman primate grief mediated through language: In historical footage in the film, Patterson is seen asking Koko, “What happened to Ball?” In reply, Koko utters these signs in sequence: cat, cry, have-sorry, Koko-love. And then, after a pause, two more signs: unattention, visit me.”


Now, it’s humanity’s turn to mourn Koko.

Thousands of people are commiserating on the Gorilla Foundation’s Facebook pageposting about Koko’s death. The top comment comes from Jess Cameron:

“Legit bawling like a baby right now. This news just breaks my heart. From an early age I was fascinated with Koko and she taught me so much about love, kindness, respect for animals, and our planet.”

With Koko’s passing, the Gorilla Foundation says it will honor her legacy, working on wildlife conservation in Africa, a great ape sanctuary in Maui, Hawaii, and a sign language app.

The foundation says those who want to share condolences can do so by emailing

The Hen is a Symbol of Motherhood for Reasons We May Have Forgotten,  So Let Us Recall

*By Karen Davis, PhD, President of United Poultry Concerns*

*”Her love of her children definitely resembles my love of mine.” *
– Alice Walker

*”The emphasis has been on smaller, more efficient but lighter-weight *
*egg machines.” *
– American Poultry History

In our day, the hen has been degraded to an “egg machine.” In previous
eras, she
embodied the essence of motherhood. In the first century AD, the Roman
Plutarch praised the many ways in which mother hens cherish and protect
chicks, “drooping their wings for some to creep under, and receiving with
and affectionate clucks others that mount upon their backs or run up to them
from every direction; and though they flee from dogs and snakes if they are
frightened only for themselves, if their fright is for their children, they
stand their ground and fight it out beyond their strength.”

The Renaissance writer Ulisse Aldrovandi described how, at the first sign
of a
predator, mother hens will immediately gather their chicks “under the
shadow of
their wings, and with this covering they put up such a very fierce defense –
striking fear into their opponent in the midst of a frightful clamor, using
wings and beak – they would rather die for their chicks than seek safety in
flight.” Similarly, in collecting food, the mother hen allows her chicks to
their fill before satisfying her own hunger. Thus, he said, mother hens
in every way, “a noble example of love for their offspring.”

I saw this love in action, when a hen named Eva jumped our sanctuary fence
on a
spring day and disappeared, only to return three weeks later in June with
fluffy chicks. Watching Eva with her tiny brood close behind her was like
watching a family of wild birds whose dark and golden feathers blended
with the woods and foliage they melted in and out of during the day.
Periodically, Eva would squat down with her feathers puffed out, and her
chicks would all run under her wings for comfort and warmth. A few minutes
the family was on the move again.

One day, a large dog wandered in front of the magnolia tree where Eva and
chicks were foraging. With her wings outspread and curved menacingly toward
dog, she rushed at him over and over, cackling loudly, all the while
to push her chicks behind herself with her wings. The dog stood stock still
before the excited mother hen and soon ambled away, but Eva maintained her
aggressive posture, her sharp, repetitive cackles and attentive lookout for
several minutes after he was gone.

Sitting on her nest, a mother hen carefully turns each of her eggs as often
thirty times a day, using her body, her feet, and her beak to move each egg
precisely in order to maintain the proper temperature, moisture,
humidity, and position of the egg during the 3-week incubation period.
chicks respond to soothing sounds from the mother hen and to warning cries
the rooster. Two or three days before the chicks are ready to hatch, they
peeping to notify their mother and siblings that they are ready to emerge
their shells, and to draw her attention to any distress they’re experiencing
such as cold or abnormal positioning.

A communication network is established among the baby birds and between
them and
their mother, who must stay calm while all the peeping, sawing, and
breaking of
eggs goes on underneath her as she meanwhile picks off tiny pieces of shell
may be sticking to her chicks and slays any ants that may dart in to
During all this time, as Page Smith and Charles Daniel describe in The
Chicken <>
Book <>, “The
chorus of peeps goes on virtually uninterrupted, the unborn chicks
peeping away, the newborn ones singing their less muffled song.”

During the first four to eight weeks or so, the chicks stay close to their
mother, gathering beneath her wings every night at dusk. Eventually, she
up to her perch or a tree branch, indicating her sense that they, and she,
ready for independence.

Whenever I tell people stories about chickens enjoying themselves, many
very sad. The pictures I’m showing them are so different from the ones
used to seeing of chickens in a state of absolute misery. *The New York
restaurant critic William Grimes wrote of a beautiful black hen who entered
life unexpectedly one day, an apparent escapee from a poultry market in
“I looked at the Chicken endlessly, and I wondered. What lay behind the
veil of
animal secrecy? Did she have a personality, for one thing?” His curiosity is
satisfied by close acquaintance with and observation of the endearing bird.
the end of his bittersweet book My Fine Feathered Friend
<>, he and his wife Nancy
“had grown to love the Chicken.”

We have to start looking at chickens differently, so that we may see them as
Alice Walker described her encounter with a hen she watched crossing the
one day with three little chicks in Bali. In her essay, “Why Did the
Chicken Cross the Road?” in Living By the Word
<>, Walker writes:

It is one of those moments that will be engraved on my brain forever. For
really *saw* her. She was small and gray, flecked with black; so were her
chicks. She had a healthy red comb and quick, light-brown eyes. She was
proud, chunky chicken shape that makes one feel always that chickens, and
especially, have personality and *will*. Her steps were neat and quick and
authoritative; and though she never touched her chicks, it was obvious
she was
shepherding them along. She clucked impatiently when, our feet falling
nearer, one of them, especially self-absorbed and perhaps hard-headed,
to respond.

Let us with equal justice perceive chickens with envisioned eyes that
pierce the
veil of these birds’ “mechanization” and apprehend the truth of who they
are. In
*The Chicken Book*, Page Smith and Charles Daniel remind us, most
poignantly: “As
each chick emerges from its shell in the dark cave of feathers underneath
mother, it lies for a time like any newborn creature, exhausted, naked, and
extremely vulnerable. And as the mother may be taken as the epitome of
motherhood, so the newborn chick may be taken as an archetypal
representative of
babies of all species, human and animal alike, just brought into the world.”

This is What Wings Are For.


KAREN DAVIS, PhD <> is the President
and Founder of United Poultry Concerns, a
nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful
of domestic fowl including a sanctuary for chickens in Virginia. She is the
author of Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs: An Inside Look at the Modern
Industry, More Than a Meal: The Turkey in History, Myth, Ritual, and
The Holocaust and the Henmaid’s Tale: A Case for Comparing Atrocities and
groundbreaking publications.

United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes
the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl.
Don’t just switch from beef to chicken. Go Vegan.

Prayer Circle for Animals #371: International Respect for Chickens

April 23, 2018

*Please Join Us For Our Daily Noon Prayer*


And Our Prayer for the Week from Judy Carman

*MONTH*. Let’s get ready. This event was introduced by United Poultry
Concerns in
2005 “to celebrate chickens throughout the world and protest the bleakness
their lives in farming operations.” UPC suggests many possible actions we
take, as well as posters and handouts to order, on the website. This Sikh
brings home the truth that chickens are precious individuals who love life
as we do. “A man was once given a chicken by his guru and told to go and
kill it
[him or her] where nobody could see. The man tried and tried to find a place
where he could kill the chicken without anybody’s seeing and finally gave
up and
went back to the guru. ‘Why couldn’t you find a place where nobody would
see you
kill the chicken?’ asked the guru. ‘Because everywhere I went, the chicken
said the man.” (From *How to Think if You Want to Change the World*, p. 138)

Poultry Concerns and all the activists who have worked tirelessly for years
show the world that chickens are amazing, courageous, beautiful and loving
beings. We give thanks for all the information we have now to help us
pre-vegans. We ask for blessings of peace for every single individual among
billions who are being killed. For while the killing machines grind on, we
that each precious chicken has lost friends, children, mothers, and suffered
terrible pain and heartache. We honor and memorialize them all—the fallen.
we pray for strength, clarity and inner peace, that we may stand in
with them as long as it takes to win their freedom from human violence at
And as our tears fall for them, may we also feel that spiritual joy that
from being awakened to our very real kinship with chickens. What a blessing
is to know that they are our friends, not our food. Help us to be love and
bring love to all people and all beings. As always, I send my thanks to
each of
you, dear Prayer Circle members, for joining this circle of compassion and
shining the Light of Truth for all to see, so that one day soon, all beings
be free.

*May compassion and love reign over all the earth for all beings
*Thank you all for your devotion to truth, love, liberation and peace for

With Love, peace, and gratitude from Judy Carman, and greetings from Will,
Madeleine, and the Circle of Compassion team.

*PLEASE SHARE* this prayer by going to the Prayer Circle for Animals
Facebook <>.
This prayer is posted there. You can also share ideas and prayer requests on
that facebook.

*PLEASE VISIT* the Circle of Compassion website
<> for “A prayer a day for animals;”
and the Daily Noon Prayer. To help expand this ministry, donations are
gratefully accepted.

United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes
the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl.
Don’t just switch from beef to chicken. Go Vegan.

View this article online

Egg Industry Ballot Measures Seek to Legalize Battery Cages in California

Vote NO on Proposition (TBA)

“This initiative should be fiercely opposed by everyone who cares about farm animal suffering. HSUS’s collusion with the egg industry is disturbing. From legalizing battery cages to allowing as little as one square foot of space per hen — this initiative would be a disaster for millions of egg-laying hens who would still be left suffering in battery cages throughout California.”

— Friends of Animals (FoA)
Email Address*

Egg Industry Ballot Measures Seek to Legalize Battery Cages in California

The United Egg Producers and the Association of California Egg Farmers are each pushing measures for 2018 that would explicitly legalize battery cages throughout California.

In nearly identical measures, these industry trade associations are attempting to repeal California’s present hen-housing law which was overwhelmingly approved by voters 10 years ago. That law, though not without issues, states that egg-laying hens must be given enough space to be able to “fully spread both wings without touching the side of an enclosure or other egg-laying hens.”

The industry’s measures would repeal that — and replace it with language that explicitly legalizes battery cages throughout the state. And regardless of whether the hens are in cages or in horrific multi-level “cage-free” factory systems, the industry needs only to provide hens with one square foot of space per hen. For political cover, the United Egg Producers (UEP) is relying upon the co-opted Humane Society of the United States and tag-alongs who are gathering signatures to put the egg industry’s toxic measure on the ballot.

Read more >

The “Easter” Chick – A Lost Soul

By Karen Davis, PhD, President, United Poultry Concerns

*Easter Egg Hunt and Egg Gathering*

The association of a hen’s egg with Easter and Spring survives ironically
in the
annual children’s Easter Egg Hunt, for the origin of this ritual has been
largely forgotten.

Traditionally, the finding of eggs was identified with the finding of
The search for eggs was part of farm life, because a free hen sensibly lays
eggs in a sheltered and secluded spot. Today’s children hunt for eggs that
laid by a hen imprisoned in a mechanized building, most likely in a wire
The widespread disappearance of the home chicken flock in the 1950s ended
gathering of eggs laid by a hen in the place she chose for her nest.
Page Smith writes in *The Chicken Book*, “My contemporaries who have such
memories of chickens from the unpleasant chores of their youth had
already the consequences of putting living creatures in circumstances that
inherently uncongenial to them.”

Wilbor Wilson provides the background to this change in *American Poultry*
*History*. He writes: “As the size of poultry ranches increased, the chore
of egg
gathering became drudgery instead of pleasure. Rollaway nests with sloping
floors made of hardware cloth offered a partial solution, but the number of
floor eggs increased when the hens did not readily adopt the wire-floored
This changed with development of the cage system which left the hen no

*The Hen as a Symbol of Motherhood*

In our day, the hen has been degraded to an “egg machine.” In previous eras
embodied the essence of motherhood. The First Century CE Roman historian and
biographer Plutarch wrote of the mother hen in *De amore parentis* [
*love*]: “What of the hens whom we observe each day at home, with what care
assiduity they govern and guard their chicks? Some let down their wings for
chicks to come under; others arch their backs for them to climb upon; there
no part of their bodies with which they do not wish to cherish their chicks
they can, nor do they do this without a joy and alacrity which they seem to
exhibit by the sound of their voices.”

In Matthew 23:37, the mother hen is evoked to express the spirit of
yearning and
protective love: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often have I wished to gather
children together, even as a hen gathers together her chicks.”

The Renaissance writer Ulisse Aldrovandi wrote of mother hens in the 16th

They follow their chicks with such great love that, if they see or spy at
distance any harmful animal, such as a kite or a weasel or someone even
stalking their little ones, the hens first gather them under the shadow of
their wings, and with this covering they put up such a very fierce
– striking fear into their opponent in the midst of a frightful clamor,
both wings and beak – they would rather die for their chicks than seek
in flight. . . . Thus they present a noble example in love of their
as also when they feed them, offering the food they have collected and
neglecting their own hunger.

*The Role of the Rooster*

The family role of the rooster is nowadays less well known to most people
the motherhood of the hen. The charm of seeing a rooster with his hens
in Chaucer’s portrait of Chanticleer in *The Canterbury Tales*:

This cock had in his princely sway and measure
Seven hens to satisfy his every pleasure,
Who were his sisters and his sweethearts true,
Each wonderfully like him in her hue,
Of whom the fairest-feathered throat to see
Was fair Dame Partlet. Courteous was she,
Discreet, and always acted debonairly.

In ancient times, the rooster was esteemed for his sexual vigor; it is said
a healthy young rooster may mate as often as thirty or more times a day. The
rooster thus figures in religious history as a symbol of divine fertility
the life force. In his own world of chickendom, the rooster – the cock – is
father, a lover, a brother, a food-finder, a guardian, and a sentinel.

Aldrovandi extolled the rooster’s domestic virtues:

He is for us the example of the best and truest father of a family. For
he not
only presents himself as a vigilant guardian of his little ones, and in
morning, at the proper time, invites us to our daily labor; but he sallies
forth as the first, not only with his crowing, by which he shows what
must be
done, but he sweeps everything, explores and spies out everything.

Finding food, “he calls both hens and chicks together to eat it while he
like a father and host at a banquet . . . inviting them to the feast,
by a single care, that they should have something to eat. Meanwhile he
about to find something nearby, and when he has found it, he calls his
again in a loud voice. They run to the spot. He stretches himself up, looks
around for any danger that may be near, runs about the entire poultry yard,
and there plucking up a grain or two for himself without ceasing to invite
others to follow him.”

A nineteenth-century poultry keeper wrote to his friend that his Shanghai
was “very attentive to his Hens, and exercises a most fatherly care over the
Chicks in his yard. . . . He frequently would allow them to perch on his
and in this manner carry them into the house, and then up the chicken


*KAREN DAVIS, PhD is the President and Founder of United Poultry Concerns

It’s Hard to Be Ethically Consistent While Tap-Dancing on Eggshells

My objection to hunting, trapping and seal clubbing is colorblind as well as culture-blind. I oppose cruelty to animals, no matter who is doing the shooting, trapping or clubbing. A victim doesn’t suffer any less because of the ethnicity or cultural beliefs of their executioner. An animal’s right to a life, free from harm, trumps anyone’s right to exploit or kill them.

Over the weekend I received the following question, which I’ll attempt to answer below…


Dear Mr. Robertson,

I was wondering your opinion on the subject of animal rights vs. the rights of indigenous people. What do you think about hunting by Native American tribes, or the hunting of seals by the Inuit? Also, of course, the various other tribes around the world that have their culture based off of hunting. What do you think about their participation in hunting, trapping, etc?


Hmmm, one of those questions…one of those I-wouldn’t-touch-that-with-a-ten-foot-pole kind of questions. Do I risk being called a hypocrite, or “culturally elite?” I could spend all day tip-toeing around this—tap-dancing on egg shells—but here’s an answer just off the top of my head:

My objection to hunting, trapping and seal clubbing is colorblind as well as culture-blind. I oppose cruelty to animals, no matter who is doing the shooting, trapping or clubbing. A victim doesn’t suffer any less because of the ethnicity or cultural beliefs of their executioner. An animal’s right to a life, free from harm, trumps anyone’s right to exploit or kill them (unless someone is literally starving to death and has no other options, which is not the case for most who hunt, trap, club seals, harpoon whales or trade in bushmeat).

Why oppose the Japanese or the Faeroese for slaughtering dolphins or pilot whales and not the Makah for killing grey whales, or even the Inuit for hunting bowhead whales? We’re all part of the species, Homo sapiens, and our ancestors all used to live by hunting and trapping. For better or worse, we’re all moving forward technologically, so there’s no reason we shouldn’t all move forward in our treatment of non-human animals.

That’s my humble opinion, anyway. It might not be popular, but it’s ethically consistent.

Text and Wildlife Photography© Jim Robertson

Text and Wildlife Photography© Jim Robertson