Animal rights – do they exist?

https://www.newsday.co.zw/2017/06/03/animal-rights-exist/

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be measured by the way its animals are treated — Mahatma Gandhi.

Rights: MIRIAM TOSE MAJOME

MIRIAM TOSE MAJOME

MIRIAM TOSE MAJOME

We turn to this age old philosophical question that has dogged human kind for generations and no pun is intended.
Do animals have rights? Human beings have clearly defined rights, but there is no commonality of thought regarding the rights of animals. Non-human animals do not have the capacity to formulate moral judgment in the way humans do.
Apart from some primates that humans share a common ancestor with other animals do not have the same natural capacity for moral judgment meaning they do not know right from wrong. In that one distinct way animals are different from human beings, therefore, the issue of whether they can have rights or not becomes an issue. For further reading the BBC webpage www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/animals/rights.rights_1.shtml gives a detailed and simplified analysis of this complex issue.

This discussion will appeal to animal lovers and even those who do not necessarily love animals, but keep them anyway for different purposes. Animal keepers of pets and livestock should be cognisant of the basic guiding principles and philosophies that pertain to animals. The recognition of animal rights remains one of the most debated topics in international legal circles. Zimbabwean jurisprudence regarding the rights of animals has not been sufficiently developed, but there is advanced legislation that compels the humane treatment of animals and good animal welfare.

The Law

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (Chapter 19:09) is an act to consolidate and amend the law relating to the prevention of cruelty to animals. An animal means any kind of domestic vertebrate animal. Without getting too complicated it means the commonly known animals such as mammals, fish, birds and reptiles. The Act applies to both domesticated animals such as pets and livestock and wild animals that have been taken into captivity. Whenever people take custody of an animal they are automatically subject to this law.

Cruelty to animals

Cruelty against animals is very common in this country as much as anywhere. Abandoned, ill-treated and neglected animals are a cause for concern globally. What is not commonly known is that ill-treating animals is a criminal offence. Section 3 stipulates that any person who beats, kicks, ill-treats, overdrives, overloads, or tortures any animal or causes any animal to be so treated shall be guilty of a criminal offence. People routinely beat and kick their pets to punish or train them or just for fun. Dogs are the most abused animals of all animals. Killing animals indiscriminately and violently is also a rife practice. The drowning of unwanted cats in rivers is a widely accepted practice. Other criminal acts include driving or using animals that are unwell or have a disease or if they have been injured or are simply not fit enough for the purpose they are tasked with. It is illegal and constitutes immense cruelty against animals to for example yoke a sick ox or donkey for ploughing or for other draught power. When it is evident that a horse, ox, mule or donkey is not physically well or physically strong enough for the task it is illegal to use it anyway for its physical strength. Neglecting and abandoning animals or causing them to be so neglected and abandoned are criminal offences. Other offences will be discussed in detail.
For now it is instructive to re-iterate that ill-treating animals in any manner is illegal. It does not matter whether one regards an animal as their exclusive private property or even whether or not animals have rights. The law sufficiently dictates that there be no cruelty of whatever form against animals. Conviction for an act of cruelty against animals attracts a fine and/or imprisonment of up to six months. Witnesses to any form of cruelty against animals may report any such acts to the police.

Animal Rights: The Argument in a nutshell

As mentioned there is serious divergence of opinion regarding the rights of animals. The question is not any easy one to answer because the different philosophies compete vigorously. Animal rights activists present an intriguing radical view while the more conservative traditional view remains dominant. Animal rights activists champion a world where animal rights are fully recognised and properly defined. This radical perspective regards animals as having the same rights as all living creatures because they are capable of feeling pleasure and pain. Animals, therefore, have the right to be treated with respect and dignity in regard to their physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing. The more radical activists believe animal rights should be on the same level as human rights which is opposed by the traditional view. If basic human rights are transferable to animals it would mean animals could not be killed because they would have a right to life. This would automatically outlaw breeding animals for any purpose. Inevitably this would upset the natural and social balance and bring a revolutionary change to human diets and human and commercial activities centred on animals and animal rearing. Animals would no longer be used in experiments or for entertainment. Animal rights activists often employ very violent tactics such as bombing test laboratories to disrupt the use of animals for research. Breeding animals would be outlawed because the ultimate and inevitable purposes of breeding animals is to kill them for food and other beneficial functions. Hunting animals would be illegal as would be placing them in captivity in zoos and animal parks because this would be a breach of their right to liberty. Breeding animals would only be allowed if it was to the benefit of the animals themselves. Needless to say using animals for hard labour would be outlawed.

The list is endless, but it shows that placing animal rights on the same footing as human rights is an impractical and ridiculous concept. It only upsets the natural and social balance. It should be enough to treat animals humanely and refrain from any form of cruelty against them. The Zimbabwean Constitution does not recognise the rights of animals but only for natural and juristic persons. We will look at specific forms of cruelty against animals and continue the debate.

Bears, chickens a lethal mix, conservation officer says

by Lori Garrison Friday May 26, 2017

This bear was killed by conservation officers in Hidden Valley May 19 after entering a pen and killing a goat. Another bear was shot by a property owner after it raided chicken coops.

Six bears have been killed in the Whitehorse area in recent weeks after coming into conflict with humans.

Two of the most recent kills — one on May 19 in Hidden Valley and one in Mount Lorne on May 22 — involved bears attracted to livestock, said conservation officer Ken Knutson.

The Hidden Valley bear entered a pen containing two goats, one of which was killed, before the bear was “destroyed for safety reasons” by conservation officers, said Knutson.

The Mount Lorne bear was lawfully shot by a property owner after it raided three other chicken coops in the area, said Knutson. The property owner lost 15 chickens.

Chickens are particularly tempting to bears, Knutson said, because they are high in fat and calories. Once a bear gets a taste for chicken it is very hard to deter them in the future which can be a death sentence for the animal, he said.

“I often say, ‘chickens kill bears,’” Knutson said. “We’ve destroyed many bears over the last five years over chickens. We have yet to see an instance of a bear that has gotten into chickens and doesn’t come back.”

The best way to protect chickens and other livestock from bears — and bears from being shot for eating chickens and livestock — is to use electric fencing, said Knutson.

“A shock from a fence is a deterrent, it’s not a very comfortable feeling … you don’t want to do it again,” he said.

It’s the responsibility of people to try to deter animals from entering their property in search of food, said Knutson. Livestock should be secure and people should take steps to manage bear attractants such as garbage or unlocked outdoor freezers.

“Just because you haven’t had a problem doesn’t mean you won’t,” he said. “No one is immune to bears.”

The number of bear interactions and bear kills from previous years in the Whitehorse area were not readily available for comparison.

Bear-human conflicts can occur at anytime outside of the animal’s hibernation period, Knutson said.

Bear sightings were reported earlier in the month along the Riverdale trail, a popular hiking area within city limits, although those bears — a sow and cubs — haven’t been seen recently Knutson said.

“We haven’t had any calls about that sow in a while — she’s being a good mama and keeping her cubs away from people,” he said.

People can report bear sightings or problem animals to Environment Yukon at 1-800-661-0525.

The department is also currently running a survey on grizzly bear management and conservation. The online survey closes May 27.

“We’re hoping a lot of Yukoners will contribute to it,” Knutson said.

Contact Lori Garrison at lori.garrison@yukon-news.com

Alligator forced to drink beer; 2 men charged

http://komonews.com/news/nation-world/alligator-forced-to-drink-beer-2-men-charged

by Gary Detman, CBS12Saturday, May 27th 2017

Two men were charged with harassment of wildlife after posting photos of beer being forced down the throat of an alligator. (South Carolina Department of Natural Resources via CNN Newsource)

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JASPER COUNTY, S.C. (WPEC) – Two men in South Carolina are facing criminal charges for forcing beer down the throat of a young alligator, according to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
Investigators said the men posted a photo of the alligator chugging the beer to social media. A short time later, the SCDNR started getting calls, messages and screenshots related to the incident.

Authorities said the two men, after forcing the juvenile gator to drink the beer, released the reptile back into a pond and watched it swim away.
Wildlife investigators went out to a dirt road near Hardeeville in Jasper County and caught up with the two men. Both admitted to harassing the alligator after seeing it cross the road.
Joseph Andrew Floyd Jr., 20, and Zachary Lloyd Brown, 21, are facing a misdemeanor charge of harassing wildlife.
“Wildlife conservation is a big part of what SCDNR officers do each day,” SCDNR 1st Sgt. Earl Pope said. “This case is a good example of why we strive to educate people about wildlife in hopes that they will respect it.”
The men face a maximum fine of $300.

The demise of Ringling Bros. is a victory for animal rights


 http://portsmouth-dailytimes.com/opinion/16082/the-demise-of-ringling-bros-is-a-victory-for-animal-rights
On Sunday, May 21, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will hold its final “greatest show on earth,” at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island.

For the last time, Ringling’s lions, tigers, camels and other captive animals will enter the ring and be forced to perform demeaning and unnatural tricks. It’s a momentous occasion that took the animal rights movement more than three decades to achieve.

I personally led some of the earliest rallies outside Ringling Bros. shows, back in the late 1980s. As the outcry from activists and advocacy groups grew, Ringling willfully ignored it. Instead of switching exclusively to human performers — who perform by choice rather than force — the 146-year-old institution continued to bully animals. This was its downfall.

The reason is simple: When it comes to animal rights, the tide of public opinion has turned. A 2015 Gallup poll found that a majority of Americans — 62 percent — believe that animals deserve protection, and 32 percent believe animals should have the same rights as people. In recent years, many businesses have been forced to change their practices.

SeaWorld announced it would end its orca breeding program last March, and the state of California outlawed such programs a few months later. Several years ago, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to ban the use of bullhooks on elephants, and the city of West Hollywood banned the sale of fur products. Many pet stores have stopped selling dogs from puppy mills.

But while the end of Ringling is a victory for every activist who wrote a letter, signed a petition or protested outside the circus doors, the fight to free animals from cruelty, including in the entertainment industry, is far from over. Other circuses continue to exploit animals for profit, as do zoos, aquariums and rodeos.

For instance, in 2002, an investigator for my organization, Last Chance for Animals, captured footage of elephant training at the Carson & Barnes Circus in Oklahoma. The video showed violent training methods in which elephants were abused with bullhooks, electric prods and blowtorches. At one point, a trainer yelled, “Make ‘em scream!” The footage shook the circus industry to its core. Yet the Carson & Barnes Circus still features animal performers.

The simple truth is that animals should not be used for human amusement. The process often is unnatural and cruel from start to finish. Many are taken from the wild as babies and watch as their parents are slaughtered. Others are born in breeding facilities and never know freedom.

Life for these animals is one of isolation, boredom and trauma — this is why they so often exhibit abnormal behaviors, such as pulling out their own fur, incessant swaying and bar biting.

As we have seen with the demise of Ringling, the power of sustained activism is strong, but legislation could help hasten and strengthen this hard-won progress.

In March, federal legislation was introduced into the House to ban the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling circuses and exhibitions, the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act. We urge Congress to pass it. In April, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to draft a ban on the use of animals for circuses and other live shows, including private parties. We urge the council to write a final version of the bill and enact it.

It took more than three decades for the animal rights movement to put an end to the cruelty Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus inflicted on animals. It shouldn’t take another three decades to eliminate similar animal mistreatment elsewhere.

Chris DeRose is president and founder of Last Chance for Animals (@LC4A), an international nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating animal exploitation.

Richard Dawkins: ‘When I see cattle lorries, I think of the railway wagons to Auschwitz’

The evolutionary biologist talks about becoming a vegetarian, Brexit, Donald Trump and, inevitably, God

Richard Dawkins’ application of logic applies right down to his socks, which he refuses to waste time matchingCHRIS MCANDREW FOR THE TIMES

Is this what it was like, Richard Dawkins wonders, for ordinary people in Nazi Germany? “There’s a kind of laziness if you live in a society where things are just accepted. People might have been vaguely uneasy about what was going on in Germany but also thought, ‘Oh well, everyone else is doing it’.”

What crime is it that he thinks that we, like Germans in the 1930s, are blind to? It is, perhaps, a surprising one from him: the crime of eating meat. Dawkins, 76, is not known for being a woolly, liberal, tofu-eater. He is better known for his espousal of red-in-tooth-and-claw evolutionary logic and, even more so, for his three million-selling atheist book The God Delusion. Speaking from his Victorian Gothic house…

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 https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/when-i-see-cattle-lorries-i-think-of-the-railway-wagons-to-auschwitz-m3t0hntmk

Why did the Crown waste resources prosecuting woman who gave water to pigs?

Animal rights activist Anita Krajnc gives water to a pig in a truck

Christie Blatchford: Why did the Crown waste resources prosecuting woman who gave water to pigs?

by Christie Blatchford

These days, you can hardly pick up a paper or click on a news site without reading another story about the woes of the Canadian criminal courts.

They’re chronically short of judges! There aren’t enough Crown prosecutors! Legal aid is a mess and no one qualifies to get a lawyer any more! The buildings are old and crumbling!

And delay: Such a hue and cry about delay in the courts.

Since about six months ago, when in a case called R v Jordan the Supreme Court of Canada pronounced upon the unacceptable length of time it takes to get a case to trial in this country, and blamed what it called “a culture of complacency,” knickers have been in a knot across the land.

Defence lawyers are pressing to have charges against their clients dismissed because of egregious delay, years sometimes. Prosecutors say no, wait a minute – we’re doing our best here with limited resources. Judges are all over the map, here throwing out cases, there throwing up their hands. There is wild talk of such drastic measures as doing away with preliminary hearings.

Halton Region, west of Toronto, is no different, and maybe worse.

A simple Google search reveals that for the past five years, there’s been a steady drumbeat of whingeing emanating from the bar and the judiciary in the area, particularly about the “unmitigated disaster” that is the Milton courthouse, as one local lawyer has called it.

Area judges have taken judicial notice of the situation, meaning they’ve worked criticism of government into their decisions.

“Let the ministries that fund and operate the various arms of our court system be forewarned,” Ontario Court Judge Stephen Brown said in a March 8, 2012 decision in which he tossed a case of impaired driving. “Failure to increase judicial and physical resources to match the growing population will quite possibly result in a floor of delay applications being granted.”

Seven months later, Brown was at it again: “Because of the chronic persistent and growing demands on the limited resources in Halton Region, we are slipping further into a crisis situation where the lack of allocation of government resources by way of an increase in judicial resources and a proper physical plant and infrastructure to deal with the explosive growth in this region is leading to a breaking point.”

So the point is made, and undoubtedly legitimate: There’s no time or resources to waste in the justice system.

It’s in this light that the trial of animal rights activist Anita Krajnc might be considered.

On June 22 two years ago, Krajnc and other activists on a traffic island took advantage of a stopped tractor trailer (it was stopped at a red light) to talk to and pet the 190 pigs inside being taken to a nearby slaughterhouse in Burlington.

As a short video that was played at trial shows, the pigs were clearly thirsty and some of them were panting, and breathing open-mouthed.

Krajnc began giving some of them water.

The truck driver got out of the vehicle, approached her and asked what she was doing, told her to stop, and then phoned 911. He later went to the local police station to file a complaint, and Krajnc was charged.

(In the interests of full disclosure, let it be known that I have a white-and-pink English bull terrier, aka “a pig dog”, so named for its magnificent resemblance to a pig – big pig ears, piggy sort of snout and body, sort of dogs in pig skin. Balancing off that bias, I eat bacon, or at least I did until I read the expert report of Dr. Lori Marino, a neuroscientist who testified at trial. Her evidence was that in fact pigs are dog-like, every bit as sentient and capable of feelings as dogs are. They are also ridiculously cute, but that’s just my view.)

In any case, however one sees Krajnc’s cause, the fact is that the overburdened and impoverished justice system nonetheless allowed this prosecution not only to proceed, but also to eat up seven full days of court time, and all the public resources that entails – seven days of salary for the judge and prosecutor Harutyun Apel, court officials and security officers, court reporter and clerk, etc.

Blessedly, both for Krajnc and the taxpayer, she was represented pro bono by lawyers Gary Grill and James Silver.

Prosecutors had offered to settle the case with a peace bond, Grill said in a phone interview, but that was hardly reasonable given “she believes she’s done absolutely nothing wrong” and also recognized a PR and public education opportunity when she sees one.

A request for comment to prosecutor Apel Thursday resulted in a referral to the spokesperson for the attorney general’s ministry, who at first referred the query to the agriculture ministry, but when pressed – this is an issue which is clearly within the AG’s bailiwick — then declined to comment until the appeal period is over.

The government is considering an appeal? What, insufficient public funds haven’t yet been squandered?

As Gary Grill said, “There’s definitely real money being spent on this. Nobody in Milton can ever say they don’t have the resources.” Amen.

200 Year Old Whale Killed–Enough is Enough!

Comment by Captain Paul Watson:

For 200 years this incredible whale has swum through the waters of the Arctic Ocean.

200 HUNDREDS YEARS!!

Two centuries ago it was 1817. This whale was alive before the American Civil War. This whale was alive before Thomas Jefferson died. This whale was alive before the ship ESSEX was sunk by a Sperm whale. This whale is older than the Mormon church!

When this whale was born, African Americans were just commodities to be bought and sold. When this whale was born, women had very few rights and Native Americans were being slaughtered. well, because of manifest destiny, killed because of White American culture.

And now some 16-year old kid is a frigging “hero” for snuffing out the life of this unique self aware, intelligent, social, sentient being, but hey, it’s okay because murdering whales is a part of his culture, part of his tradition.

He went out in his “traditional” metal boat, powered by a “traditional” outboard motor, armed with a “traditional” exploding harpoon and “traditional” high powered rifle and they all hauled the great grandmother of a whale into the shore with a “traditional power” winch.

I don’t give a damn for the bullshit politically correct attitude that certain groups of people have a “right” to murder a whale.

Their so called “right” is not as important as the right of the whales to live, survive and to thrive.

TWO HUNDRED GODDAMN YEARS and this little prick snuffs out her life just because because he legally can. I hope he chokes on the blubber.

People like the Yupik, the Faroese, the thugs in Taiji, the Orca killing scum in St. Vincent and the whaling gangsters of Iceland, Norway and Japan are despicable murderous bastards all justifying their cruel infliction of death in the name of this mother of all justifications – culture.

Am I angry? Damn right I am. Enough is enough. I don’t care what self righteous ethnic label anyone may want to pin on themselves, killing a whale can never be justified in the name of tradition or culture.

TWO HUNDRED GODDAMN YEARS!! WTF!!

And for those who demand that I respect anyone’s “right” to kill a whale or a dolphin, my answer is I have never, I do not and I will never respect the infliction of suffering and death to any cetacean.

And for those who say, well you eat meat? No I don’t, and I would no more respect this horrific murder of this incredible sentient being than I would of the culture of cannibalism.

And by the way I have been to Gambell in 1981 where I saw the Yupik shooting walrus with M-16 rifles just for the ivory. The number of stinking rotting Walrus bodies I saw that summer was obscene.

https://www.adn.com/…/a-teenager-on-a-gambell-whaling-crew-…

Sixteen-year-old Chris Apassingok struck the 57-foot-long bowhead.
ADN.COM

Trump Junior’s plans for Saturday morning in Montana causing controversy

Apr 19, 2017 6:38 PM PDTUpdated: Apr 19, 2017 6:38 PM PDT

Trump Junior’s plans for Saturday morning in Montana causing controversy
BOZEMAN –We are learning more about Trump Junior’s plans for Saturday morning and it’s sparking some controversy with local environmentalists. The Ravalli Republic reported that Gianforte told a crowd in Hamilton Monday that he plans to take Donald Trump Jr. Out to shoot prairie dogs.

It’s important to note that shooting prairie dogs in Montana is completely legal, but at least one wildlife advocate says it is far from ethical.

Dave Pauli Senior Advisor for Wildlife Policy with the Humane Society of The United States said, “I was disappointed I guess that any national or international politician or celebrity would have the opportunity to come to Montana in the spring and their first choice of things they want to do is shoot prairie dogs.”

In a Facebook post posted on Wednesday, Pauli voiced his frustrations about the idea of Gianforte and Trump Jr. Spending their time in Montana shooting prairie dogs.

The Facebook post has garnered a lot of attention with more than 300 likes and 400 shares in just a few hours. And there are plenty of comments on both sides of the issue.

Ruth Gessler Farnsworth simply said, “Awful.”

While Jeremy Parish said, “totally legal and encouraged. Just like the coyote slaughter in most states.”

Shane Scanlon Communication Director for Greg Gianoforte says Ginaforte is proud to hunt in Montana. Scanlon released a statement saying…

“Hunting is a big part of gain forte’s life; he’s a sportsman and an outdoorsman and tries to get out when he can. He’s just looking to have a good time with Donald Trump Jr. and shooting some prairie dogs this weekend.”

Pauli says he’d rather see the duo hit a shooting range.

Trump Junior’s first appearance in Montana will be on Friday in Kalispell, from there he will visit Hamilton and close out his trip in Bozeman.

He’s attending several fundraisers for Gianforte who is running against Democrat Rob Quist for Montana’s lone congressional seat.

Rescue Gajraj the Elephant From Torture at Indian Temple

https://animalpetitions.org/243668/rescue-gajraj-the-elephant-from-alleged-torture-at-temple/

Target: Modi Narendra, Prime Minister of India 

Goal: Rescue Gajraj the elephant, who has been tortured and held in captivity for over 50 years, from the Satara Temple.

A 63-year-old elephant named Gajraj has been living in devastating conditions for most of his life. Currently, he is being kept in chains as a tourist attraction at the Satara Temple in India. Before he was there, he was used by handlers to beg visitors for money. Since becoming ill and too sick to continue doing that, he was left at the Satara Temple.

Gajraj’s living conditions were revealed anonymously to The Sun newspaper in the U.K. in the form of video footage. Due to being chained to a hard floor, he has developed abscesses on his hind quarters and elbows. He reportedly spends time every day trying to free himself from those chains. Pictures also show that the ends of his tusks have been cut off and that he has overgrown and broken toenails on all of his feet.

He is also exhibiting classic signs of severe psychological distress, presumably as a result of both his social isolation and the terrible conditions he is living in. He is apparently not receiving the appropriate care because he can no longer make the handlers any money, but he does not deserve to die in agony because of that.

Something needs to be done to save Gajraj and to prevent this from happening to more animals in the future. Sign this petition to demand that the appropriate measures are taken as soon as possible.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Prime Minister Modi Narendra,

Gajraj the elephant is dying in agony at the Satara Temple and it seems that no one at that facility cares. You have the power to do something about this and to send someone in to rescue Gajraj before it’s too late.

He has spent the majority of his life being tortured and held in captivity. At the Satara Temple, he is chained to the ground and completely alone. This is driving him into severe psychological distress that no living creature deserves to experience.

We ask that you help save Gajraj and take the measures necessary to implement legislation that prevents this from happening to more animals in the future.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

https://animalpetitions.org/243668/rescue-gajraj-the-elephant-from-alleged-torture-at-temple/