Critical Animal Studies: Towards Trans-Species Social Justice

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

This new book of challenging essays by scholars and activists includes my
analysis of “The Disengagement of Journalistic Discourse about Nonhuman
Animals,” published online as Disengaged Journalism & The Disparagement &
<http://www.upc-online.org/alerts/171201_disengaged_journalism_and_the_disparagement_and_disappearance_of_animals.html>
Disappearance of Animals
<http://www.upc-online.org/alerts/171201_disengaged_journalism_and_the_disparagement_and_disappearance_of_animals.html>.
The book’s Introduction provides the following
synopsis of my chapter to which I’ve taken the liberty of incorporating some
modifications of my own for emphasis:

Prominent activist Karen Davis draws on her long experience of defending
animal rights to consider how animals and animal rights issues have been
represented in mainstream media. In spite of the fact that mainstream
journalism has given more attention in recent years to these spaces of
violent
abuse, Davis notes, “In my 30-plus years in the animal advocacy movement
there
has been virtually no analysis or critique of the coverage given to farmed
animals by the mainstream media.”

Karen’s analysis demonstrates that a particular type of ethical blindness
persists in which exploitation and violence are, paradoxically, “visible,
yet
unperceived.” In a model of engaged scholarship, Davis exposes the
tactical
and rhetorical strategies that are used in media coverage of animal
issues,
such as the use of euphemisms like “humane” and “euthanasia” to describe
brutal and sordid violence in the service of profit. *She notes the
shallow*
* criticisms of specific abuses that exist together with a ready
endorsement of*
* the broad system in which all these cruelties are conducted*. She argues
that
what some animal advocates consider strong critiques of animal abuse
actually
operate to leave readers powerless and ineffective.

For example, even in cases where cruelties are noted, a jokey style that
comments on how “tasty” animals are serves to undermine any real critique
and
to condone the system that allows those cruelties to occur. [*New York
Times*
columnists Nicholas Kristof and Mark Bittman epitomize this method of
jokey
disengagement toward farmed animals, always reassuring readers that no
matter
how much the animals suffer, “we” love our hamburgers and chicken nuggets
far
more than we care about them.]

Citing a number of cases, Davis analyzes how these rhetorical practices
operate not only in media reports but also in other types of texts and
act to
depoliticize animal abuse, disempower activists, and reinforce mainstream
complacency. Within this model of analysis, liberal opinion – in this
case, a
flaccid concern for “humane treatment” linked with fawning plugs for
“conscientious” omnivorism – plays an important gatekeeper role in
maintaining
the system, as it acts to constitute the outer limits of acceptable ideas
and
attitudes.

___________________

Please join our campaign against the outer limits of “acceptable” ideas and
attitudes! Open the floodgates!

*International Respect for Chickens Day May 4 *

*Please do an ACTION for Chickens in May!*
<http://upc-online.org/respect/180404_please_do_an_action_for_chickens_in_may.html>

*Stick Up For Chickens!*


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.
http://www.UPC-online.org/ http://www.twitter.com/upcnews
http://www.facebook.com/UnitedPoultryConcerns

View this article online
<http://upc-online.org/bookreviews/180417_critical_animal_studies-towards_trans-species_social_justice.html

Advertisements

Animals rights groups scent blood as fashion labels go fur-free

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/features/article/animals-rights-groups-scent-blood-as-fashion-labels-go-fur-free1

NEW YORK, April 3 — Is this the beginning of the end for fur?

With more and more fashion houses going fur-free, San Francisco banning fur
sales in the city and British MPs considering outlawing all imports of
pelts after Brexit, the signs do not seem good for the industry.

After decades of hard-hitting campaigning against fur, animal rights
activists believe they scent victory.

Last week Donna Karan and DKNY became the latest in a flood of luxury
brands to say they were planning to go fur free, following similar
announcements by Gucci, Versace, Furla, Michael Kors, Armani and Hugo Boss
in recent months.

US-based animal rights group Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of
Animals), which is famous for its spectacular anti-fur protests, declared
that “2018 is the year that everyone is saying goodbye to fur”.

“Times are changing and the end of fur farming is within reach!” it told
its 687,000 Instagram followers.

The British-based Humane Society International said the tide turned when
Gucci declared it was going fur-free in October. Another hammer blow came
this month when Donatella Versace said that “I don’t want to kill animals
to make fashion. It doesn’t feel right.”

“Such influential brands turning their backs on cruel fur makes the few
designers like Fendi and Burberry who are still peddling fur look
increasingly out of touch and isolated,” said the society’s president Kitty
Block.

Fendi’s Karl Lagerfeld shows little sign of second thoughts, however, and
has said he will use real fur as long as “people eat meat and wear leather”.

*‘Leather is next’*

But Peta, which also campaigns for veganism, has warned the leather
industry that is also in its sights, saying “You are next…”

And Professor Nathalie Ruelle, of the French Fashion Institute, told AFP
that it was telling that the new fur-free brands “did not say anything
about exotic leathers (such as crocodile, lizard and snakeskin).”

Of the big designers, Stella McCartney, a vegetarian and animal rights
activist herself, has pushed the ethical envelope the furthest, refusing to
use fur, leather or feathers.

But vegans want to go further still, with a ban on all animal products,
which for some also means wool.

But the fur industry is not taking this lying down and has become much more
vocal in its bid to counter animal rights groups’ social media campaigns.

The International Fur Federation (IFF) took Gucci to task when it went
fur-free, asking if it “really wanted to choke the world with fake plastic
fur…”

Philippe Beaulieu, of the French fur federation claimed fur-free was a
marketing gimmick “trying to surf on emotion” to please millennials.

Fake fur, he said, was the real danger to the environment. “Brands who stop
fur push synthetic fur which comes from plastic, a byproduct of the petrol
industry, with all the pollution and harm to the planet that that entails.”

*China’s passion for fur*

In contrast, fur is natural and more and more durable and traceable, he
said.

Arnaud Brunois, of the Faux Fur Institute, which he set up to counter the
IFF, disputes this.

He insisted that “from an ecological point of view it was better to use a
waste product from oil… than farm 150 million of animals then skin them
and finally treat the pelts with chemicals.”

“It is part of the real fur industry’s marketing campaign to denigrate faux
fur,” he added.

These days imitation can sometimes pass for the real thing as the British
designer Clare Waight Keller proved in her fake fur-heavy Givenchy show at
Paris fashion week earlier this month.

Luxury brand expert Serge Carreira at Sciences Po university in Paris said
“fur was marginal for most of the fashion houses who have stopped using it.”

For instance, it only accounted for ‎€10 million (RM47.6) of Gucci’s
six-billion turnover in 2017, or 0.16 per cent.

While fur coats are now rarer on the streets of cities in the West, coats
with fur collars — either fake or real, and sometimes a mixture of both,
activists claim — are everywhere.

In China, however, the picture is very different.

Fur sales grew “phenomenally” there over the last decade, said IFF CEO Mark
Oaten, and despite levelling off still dwarfs all those elsewhere combined.

The world’s biggest fur consumer is now also far by its it largest producer
in a industry worth US$30 billion (RM116 billion) globally in 2017. — AFP

*If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they
went. (Will Rogers)*

*the wild, cruel beast is not behind the bars of the cage. he is in front
of it – axel munthe*

Killing the myth of hunting as conservation

http://www.all-creatures.org/articles/ar-myth-hunting-conservation.html

by Fran Silverman, FOA Friends of Animals
March 2018

The Trump administration is making it easier for Americans to go to Africa, shoot elephants and lions and bring their body parts home as trophies to mount on walls – all in the name of conservation….

Hunter supporters use unscientific bear sightings to inflate numbers and livestock conflicts to scare the public to justify bear hunting.

elephant and calf
Image from Memories of Elephants

If it sounds ridiculous, it likely is. So say this out loud and tell me how it sounds.

Shooting endangered and threatened species will help save them.

Here’s another one.

Hunters are helping keep you safe by killing black bears.

In honor of National Wildlife Week, let’s parse these statements.

Supporters of black bear hunts assert that the bears are a nuisance at best and a safety hazard at their worst. They point to unscientific bear sightings to inflate numbers and livestock conflicts to scare the public. Killing them will solve this, they say. And the hunters then get to take home the bears to mount or use as rugs. Nice reward for saving all of us.

On a national level, the Trump administration is making it easier for Americans to go to Africa, shoot elephants and lions and bring their body parts home as trophies to mount on walls – all in the name of conservation.

The thing is, the science doesn’t back any of this up. This month a new study published in Science Advances found issues with the science cited in the “North American Model of Wildlife Conservation,” which guides hunting policies. The study found that what counts for science is rarely defined. In fact, a majority of the science in management plans surveyed — 60 percent — contained fewer than half of criteria for the fundamental hallmarks of science, which include measurable objectives, evidence, transparency and independent review. The report reviewed 62 U.S. state and Canadian provincial and territorial agencies across 667 species management systems.

“These results raise doubt about the purported scientific basis of hunt management across the U.S. and Canada,’’ it concluded.

The claims of hunting as conservation of endangered and threatened species also don’t stand up to scientific scrutiny. There aren’t any documented, peer-reviewed studies that show that lawful hunting does not overall disadvantage the species being hunted. Emerging studies, in fact, indicate that legal hunting can increase demand, promote black-market trade of sport-hunted animals and reduce the stigma associated with killing wildlife.

The African elephant population has plummeted by 30 percent in seven years, with just 350,000 left in the world where once there were millions. The population of lions has declined by 42 percent, with just about 20,000 left. Additionally, a new study by Duke University found that poaching and habitat loss have reduced forest elephant populations in Central Africa by 63 percent since 2001.

Yet, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it was lifting a ban on trophies from several African nations and will allow them on a case-by-case basis. This action, coupled with the Department of Interior’s creation of an International Wildlife Conservation Council comprised of hunting industry representatives whose stated goal is to advise the agency on the benefits of international hunting, removing barriers to the importation of trophy-hunted animals, and reverse suspensions and bans on trade of wildlife, sends the message that the only way to save these majestic creatures is to make sure it’s easier to shoot them to death.

On a local level, here in my home state of Connecticut where FoA is headquartered, I listened intently as supporters of a bill to kill 5 percent of the black bear population in the lovely Litchfield County region insisted it was necessary to prevent bear-human conflict. Bears are killing livestock! Bears are getting into garbage cans! Knocking over bird feeders! Scaring hikers on trails! Lions and tigers and bears. Oh my!

I’m not making light of a bear encounter. They are formidable. But the science and the math for a shoot-first approach doesn’t add up. First, bears are shy and attacks are more associated with human behavior than the population of bears, studies show. To ward them off if you are a hiker, wear bear bells, carry bear spray. Worried about your backyard farm animals? Install an electric fence. Certainly, don’t feed bears, keep your doors shut and remove bird feeders in the spring.

The truth is black bear attacks are super rare. In the past 20 years, there’s been 12 fatal black bear attacks in the U.S, yet thousands of black bears have been slaughtered in legal hunts. More than 4,000 bears were killed in New Jersey alone since bear hunts were legalized there under Governor’s Christie’s reign before the new governor halted them. In New York, more than 1,000 black bears were killed in hunts last year.

Yet, along with that news in New York about the success of its 2017 bear hunt, there was this item buried in a press release from the N.Y. Department of Environmental Conservation: 19 humans were injured by hunters last year and one was fatality shot, a woman who was just walking her dogs in the woods by her house. In fact, between 2011-2017, there’s been 14 humans killed by hunters and 131 injured in New York. In Connecticut, hunters have killed one human and injured 13 between 2011-2016. The number of bear fatalities in both these states? Zero.

The more I dug into fatal black bear attacks verses fatal hunting incidents, the more alarmed I became. In just six states I reviewed where bear hunting is allowed or being considered, there have been 500 humans injured by hunters and 63 killed. The stories are sad. People who were fishing when they got shot by an errant hunter’s bullet. Hunters shooting each other and themselves. And there was Rosemary Billquist, a 43-year-old hospice volunteer who was the woman from upstate New York shot dead last fall by her neighbor.

When FoA testified against a black bear hunt in Connecticut, pointing out the hundreds of injuries and startling number of humans killed by hunters, dispelling the myth that bear sightings at all indicate bear populations and showing there is a weak correlation between the number of bears in a region and bear-human conflict, the majority of lawmakers on the state’s environment committee saw the light and voted down the hunt.

But black bear hunts are still legal in a majority of states. It’s estimated that 40,000-50,000 black bears have been killed in hunts. But the fact is the number of fatal black bear attacks are rare.

Human hunting related deaths and injuries – not so rare.

The number of U.S. residents who hunt is dwindling every year. Yet, the damage they are doing to wildlife and other humans is astounding.

Elephants are becoming rare. So are lions. Shooting them to hang on walls doesn’t conserve them.

The math is the math and the science is the science.


Friends of Animals’ Communications Director Fran Silverman oversees FoA’s public affairs and publications. Her previous experience includes editor of a national nonprofit consumer advocacy site, staff writer and editor positions and contributing writer for The New York Times.


Return to Animal Rights Articles

“Clean Meat”? – Two Animal Rights Advocates Say “NO”

[This mirrors my views on the subject.]

*Why “growing meat without animals” is NOT a solution: two views*

On Jan. 10, we published “Slaughter-Free Flesh for Humanity
<http://www.upc-online.org/broiler/180110_slaughter-free_flesh_for_humanity.html>”
which drew fire
from some animal rights advocates including Joan Harrison, whose letter,
“When
Even ‘Clean Meat’ Isn’t Clean Enough,” appeared in *The Wall Street Journal*
,
January 13, 2018, as follows:

Regarding Matthew Scully’s review of Paul Shapiro’s “Clean Meat” (Books,
Jan.
6): I’m afraid I cannot agree with my fellow activists’ enthusiasm about
so-called clean meat. The new technology may relieve animal suffering to
some
extent in the short term by using donor herds, which would suffer and be
enslaved to provide cells out of which meat is then laboratory grown.
Though
this may end factory farming, which would be a blessing, it will do
nothing to
end the public’s identification of animals with food. Indeed, it will
likely
confirm this.

The object is not to end factory farming; the object is to end animal
farming
as such. The promoting of meat of this sort is thus a pernicious
undermining
of animal liberation. According to psychology professor and animal
activist
Bill Crain, experiments show that people eating the flesh of animals
generally
perceive animals in a negative light in contrast to people who don’t. Is
this
something we really wish to encourage? What about flesh emerging from a
bioreactor? Why not promote Monsanto’s GMOs? And what about developing
meat
from human cells? If the latter is repulsive to you, and clean meat from
cows,
pigs, chickens and lambs nevertheless seems okay, you are still under the
sway
of speciesism, the evils of which are well known. A simpler solution is
available, though it’ll take some time, one that is consistent with and
would
facilitate the liberating of animals both nonhuman and human: adopting a
plant-based diet. It’s already happening.

Joan Harrison
New York

_______________________

*On Jan. 25, UPC President Karen Davis asked Philosophy Professor, John Sanbonmatsu – who will be speaking at our March 10, 2018 Conscious Eating*
*Conference in Berkeley, CA – what he thinks of “clean meat.” He wrote
back:*

John Sanbonmatsu, PhD:
http://www.upc-online.org/forums/2018/index.html#john_sanbonmatsu

RE: “Clean Meat,” I think it is folly, for several reasons:

* I think too many vegans are thinking of this as the Holy Grail, which may
subtly be taking pressure and urgency off of other modes of action and
analysis.

* The framing of the discourse as “clean” vs. “unclean” meat aestheticizes
meat,
which is already an aestheticized commodity. The reality is, one form of
“meat” is based on genocidal violence, exploitation, and injustice, and
the
other isn’t. So it should be framed as a choice between violence and
nonviolence, not “cleanliness” in either an aesthetic or “morally
virtuous”
sense (as in, I have a “clean conscience”). One of the cafes here in
Cambridge
[MA] is called “Clear Conscience Cafe,” and naturally they serve grassfed
Angus beef, etc.

* I think it’s a terrible mistake to confuse the issue in consumers’ already
confused minds between “good” and “bad” forms of animal products. I was
in NYC
over the weekend, and one of the grocery stores had organic turkey and pig
sausages literally mixed in with the vegan “meat” products. So the
messaging
is, “This is where you get the ‘alternative’ and ‘healthy’ stuff, take
your
pick.” The last thing we need is to have ontological meat (i.e. flesh)
being
sold to consumers as more “ethical” meat.

* Most higher-end consumers will continue to choose “organic” and “local”
animal
flesh over synthetic, lab-grown meats. Why? Because they are figured as
“authentic.” Michael Pollan sneers when the topic of syn-meat comes up:
like,
who would want THAT? Just think about how educated Americans have been
steering away from “processed” and “artificial” foods for a generation.
And
now we want them to eat burgers made with lab-grown cow cells? No way. The
meat industry will turn right around and promote authentic meat even more
heavily than they do now.

* The whole synthetic meat movement is perpetuating the lie that the only
reason, or main reason, we can’t have universal veganism and an end to
animal
agriculture is because there are no “good” alternatives. That, and the lie
that the reason people “can’t” (or won’t) give up eating animals is
because
animals just taste TOO GOOD. Well, I don’t believe that. Yes, there are
undoubtedly some people so hooked on the exact specific taste of bacon or
whatever that they will cling to it until Doomsday. But I don’t think that
accounts for most or even a big part of resistance to Animal Rights or to
veganism specifically.

* What’s going to happen with this stuff is precisely what happened to Whole
Foods and the whole “humane meat” industry: synthetic meats will not be
competing with cheaper meat commodities; this industry will be competing
with
the chi-chi market for specialized foods. So the price point is going to
be
set high, because that’s where the market is going to be most lucrative
(because this is capitalism). Meanwhile, as I said, if the typical
consumer is
faced with a menu of “real” chicken and “synthetic real” chicken, he/she
is
going to choose the real chicken most of the time, or so I believe.

* If humans think so little of the dignity or suffering of animals that they
can’t or won’t countenance giving up farmed animal flesh until and unless
there is an exact, one-to-one replacement, in taste, texture,
availability,
etc., then what are the odds that they will make any concerted effort to
switch to synthetic meats at all?

* Against the odds, somehow, we need to smash speciesism as an idea and a
set of
institutions and beliefs and interpellated identities. If we don’t
challenge
that, if we can’t undermine it, I think it’s going to continue to be Game
Over
for animals, and all of the synthetic meats in the world won’t amount to
anything.

John Sanbonmatsu, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Department of Humanities and Arts
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Worcester, MA 01609

_______________________

Register NOW for UPC’s Seventh Annual Conscious Eating Conference:

*What are the Most Compassionate Choices? *

Berkeley, CA, March 10, 2018.
Information & Registration
<http://www.upc-online.org/forums/2018/index.html>


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.
http://www.UPC-online.org/ http://www.twitter.com/upcnews
http://www.facebook.com/UnitedPoultryConcerns

View this article online
<http://upc-online.org/diet/180126_clean_meat-two_animal_rights_advocates_say_no.html>


 

Animal rights group hopes to appeal decision against judicial review of Wildlife Act

The fight is not over.

A year after the shooting of a baby bear, that’s what a group of animal advocates says after losing an attempt in court for a judicial review of the Wildlife Act.

The Fur-Bearers spokesperson, Lesley Fox, says the group is raising questions about Section 79, which states, “An officer may kill an animal, other than a domestic animal, that is at large and is likely to harm persons, property, wildlife or wildlife habitat.”

 Fox says while the group understands that a conservation officer has the authority to euthanize an animal if it poses a threat to public safety, they’re raising the question – what about when the animal is not posing a threat?

She explains, for example, an orphaned cub that was killed in Dawson Creek by a conservation officer last year because it was found to be malnourished, even while a rehabilitation centre was waiting to take it in.

“If lethal action isn’t necessary, and we argue specifically in this case with the little cub, there shouldn’t be lethal action and in fact, it should be the opposite. That every effort should be made to get these animals into care, to be evaluated by experts.”

READ MORE: Neighbourhood series: Being bear aware in the Tri Cities

“Certainly having an animal examined by an expert, or a veterinarian, who specializes in wildlife is a huge asset and let them determine whether or not it’s appropriate to rehab this animal. I think that decision needs to be taken out of the conservation officer service, and I think there needs to be sort of an independent third party expert or specialist.”

She says those wild animals should have every opportunity to be rehabbed and released back into the wild.

Fox says they’re investigating how to appeal the decision.

In a statement, the Ministry of Environment says that a conservation officer does not relish the thought of putting an animal down –  and that euthanization is a last resort.

It says conservation officers are guided by provincial wildlife policy, as well as their experience and expertise, to make decisions in the field every day; it adds the court decision affirms its understanding of the authorities granted to them under the Wildlife Act.

https://globalnews.ca/news/3920630/animal-rights-group-hopes-to-appeal-attempt-in-court-for-judicial-review-of-wildlife-act/

What Trophy Hunting Does to the Elephants It Leaves Behind

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/11/elephant-trophy-hunting-psychology-emotions/546293/

The legal African hunting programs that the Trump administration is reviewing affect more than population numbers.

Elephants play against a hazy sky.
Elephants play in Kenya’s Amboseli National Park.Goran Tomasevic / Reuters
If you were an elephant, you might be puzzling over human behavior this week. On Monday, the animal-rights attorney Steven Wise filed a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of three privately owned Asian elephants, arguing that the animals are “legal persons” who have a right to bodily liberty and should be free to live in a sanctuary. Then, on Thursday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the remains of elephants legally hunted in Zimbabwe and Zambia could now be legally imported to the United States as trophies.

This new policy overturned a ban put in place by the Obama administration in 2014. African elephants are considered “threatened” under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, a step below being endangered. The animals’ numbers have plunged from around 10 million 100 years ago to around 400,000 today, largely because of poaching and habitat loss. The Fish and Wildlife Service has not changed the elephants’ status; instead, it now argues that supporting “legal, well-managed hunting programs” will help provide “much-needed conservation dollars to preserve habitats and protect wild herds” in Zimbabwe and Zambia, the agency’s principal deputy director, Greg Sheehan, said in a news release.

But then, to further complicate matters, President Donald Trump tweeted Friday evening that nothing would actually change until he “reviews all conservation facts.”

The idea that killing more elephants will help save the species is counterintuitive, and its line of reasoning is difficult for many conservation organizations to support: Let rich hunters pay hefty sums to shoot elephants, and use the money to help conservation efforts and local communities. Supposedly, the villagers won’t then need to poach elephants to feed their families and pay their kids’ school fees. Still, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, or IUCN, a respected organization that sets the conservation status for all species, supportsthe notion.

But the evidence that “hunting elephants saves them” is thin. The hunting-safari business employs few people, and the money from fees that trickles down to the villagers is insignificant. A 2009 report from the IUCN revealed that sport hunting in West Africa does not provide significant benefits to the surrounding communities. A more recent report by an Australian economic-analysis firm for Humane Society International found that trophy hunting amounts to less than 2 percent of tourism revenue in eight African countries that permit it.*

And then, there is a larger moral question: How does hunting affect male elephants, especially the “big tuskers” that hunters want, and the overall population?

If elephants are recognized as legal persons, a term the U.S. courts have granted corporations and a New Zealand court gave to a river (elsewhere the term has been extended to chimpanzeesa bear, and the environment), it would be more difficult to hunt them at all—let alone import their body parts. Wise’s lawsuit cites extensive scientific studies that have established elephants’ cognitive abilities, emotional and empathetic natures, complex social lives, lifelong learning, and memory skills. “Taken together, the research makes it clear elephants are autonomous beings who have the capacity to choose how to live their lives as elephants,” he tells me.

One thing elephants would not choose, Wise and elephant researchers agree, is to be hunted. “It doesn’t matter to elephants if they are killed by poachers or trophy hunters,” says Joyce Poole, who has studied African elephants in the wild in Kenya and Mozambique for more than 40 years and is the codirector of ElephantVoices, a conservation organization. “Either way, you’re a killer. And if elephants understand that about you, they change their behavior.”

Elephants aren’t considered game animals in most African countries with substantial populations of these animals. But trophy hunters after large male elephants can seek their prey in South Africa, Namibia, Cameroon, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Gabon, and Mozambique. Kenya banned the sport in 1973, while Tanzania continued to permit legal hunting. That caused problems for the elephants of Kenya’s Amboseli National Park, says Poole, who was studying the large males in the park at the time. The park borders Tanzania, and after the Tanzanian government opened a hunting block on the opposite side, the Amboseli male elephants who wandered across became prized targets. 

“It was an awful time,” Poole recalled, “because on one side, the elephants learned to trust tourists—generally white people—in cars. From our studies, we know they can smell the difference between whites and local people. They also distinguish us by our languages. They know people who speak Maa, the language of the local Maasai people, may throw spears at them; those who speak English don’t.” However, the tables were turned on the Tanzanian side of the border. There, white people in cars who drove up close to see an elephant might lean out with a camera—or a rifle.

“The elephants didn’t run because they didn’t expect to be shot,” Poole said. Two of the large males she was studying were lost this way to trophy hunters. She and others protested to the Tanzanian government, and these particular hunting blocks were eventually closed.

Poole does not know how the loss of these big males, who’d fathered many calves, affected the other elephants. Female elephants, though, do mourn family members who die, and are especially troubled when the matriarch, their leader, passes. In 2003, for instance, researchers in Kenya’s Samburu National Reserve watched as Eleanor, an elephant family’s matriarch, died from natural causes. When Eleanor fell heavily to the ground, Grace, a matriarch from another family, used her tusks to lift her friend and helped her to her feet. Despite Grace’s efforts, Eleanor died that night. She had a tiny, six-month-old calf who never left her side. In a photograph, the calf stands like a small sentinel beside her mother’s body, while the rest of the family bunches together, grieving. 

Researchers have rarely seen similar moments among male elephants, who as adults, live away from the female herds they grew up in, and return only to mate. That behavior led to a “myth that males are far less social than females,” said George Wittemyer, a conservation biologist at Colorado State University in Fort Collins who has studied elephants in Kenya for more than 20 years. His new research contradicts this notion. “Actually, the males are always in groups and have preferences for certain companions. They’re not the loners they’ve been made out to be,” he said.

“The death of a bull will cause less disruption than the death of a family member,” said Iain Douglas-Hamilton, a zoologist who founded the organization Save the Elephants. “If a bull is shot while associating with a family the others will normally run away.” But he noted: “Bulls will defend or help each other sometimes, when one is down.”

From a population standpoint, “older male elephants are very important to the health and genetic vitality of a population,” said Cynthia Moss, who has led the Amboseli Elephant Research Project in Kenya since 1972. While hunters in the past have used the belief that older males are reproductively senile as an argument for killing them for their ivory, research has revealed that they are in fact an elephant population’s primary breeders. “By living to an older age, [older males show that] they have the traits for longevity and good health to pass on to their offspring,” Moss said. “Killing these males compromises the next generation of the population.”

It’s not clear if the Fish and Wildlife Service will consider how trophy hunting affects individual elephants or their families. The agency didn’t comment on Trump’s tweet when contacted, but later issued a public statement confirming that permits would be put on hold. “President Trump and I have talked and both believe that conservation and healthy herds are critical,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in the statement.

Wise believes that the emotional and psychological suffering the elephants endure from this sport is obvious. “One day it will be seen for the moral outrage that it is,” he said.

Before Trump’s tweet, the Fish and Wildlife Service had intended to begin issuing permits for importing elephant trophies on Friday. The new policy would apply to elephants hunted in Zimbabwe between January 21, 2016, and December 31, 2018, as well as elephants hunted in Zambia from 2016 to 2018. Regardless of how hunting affects elephants, if the policy goes through, some hunters will have trophies waiting for them in those countries.

Brigitte Bardot says Trump ‘unfit’ after permitting elephant trophies

 https://www.modernghana.com/news/817234/brigitte-bardot-says-trump-unfit-after-permitting-elephan.html
AFP
French actress and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot had previously criticized US President Donald Trump over his administration's move to loosen restrictions on hunting bears and wolves on federally protected land in Alaska.  By ERIC FEFERBERG (AFP/File)

French actress and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot had previously criticized US President Donald Trump over his administration’s move to loosen restrictions on hunting bears and wolves on federally protected land in Alaska. By ERIC FEFERBERG (AFP/File)

French screen legend and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot on Friday slammed US President Donald Trump as “unfit for office” after his administration’s “shameful actions” in authorizing the import of Zimbabwean elephant hunting trophies.

The move Thursday reverses a prohibition imposed under former president Barack Obama, permitting the import of “sport-hunted trophies from elephants hunted in Zimbabwe” between January 21, 2016 and December 31, 2018. Zambia will also be covered under the revised rule.

“No despot in the world can take responsibility for killing off an age-old species that is part of the world heritage of humanity,” Bardot said in a letter to Trump, released through Fondation Brigitte Bardot.

The move is “a cruel decision backed by Zimbabwe’s crazy dictator and it confirms the sick and deadly power you assert over the entire plant and animal kingdom.”

“Your shameful actions confirm the rumors that you are unfit for office,” the 83-year-old added.

According to the Great Elephant Census project, African savannah elephant populations fell by 30 percent between 2007 and 2014, while Zimbabwe saw a drop of six percent.

Animal rights activists camp out to stop culling of wolf in Germany

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/11/02/animal-rights-activists-camp-stop-culling-wolf-germany/

Animal rights activists have flocked to eastern Germany in a bid to prevent the culling of a wolf that has been preying on local farmers’ sheep.

Activists from across Germany are camping out in the forests of Upper Lausitz, a sparsely populated area near the border with Poland, in an attempt to stop hunters tracking down the wolf.

“I’ve been here since Monday. We’re protecting the wolves and facing down the hunters,” Bettina Jung, the head of Germany’s Animal Protection Party, told Bild newspaper.

But local farmers are furious at what they see as the activists’ interference. “These radical eco-warriors hang around in the dark with their cars and night vision equipment, scaring my livestock,” one said.

The head of the local hunting association has called on landowners to press criminal charges against the activists.

French breeders hold a banner with a quote by French poet Victor Hugo reading "He who saves the wolf kills the sheep" as they demonstrate in Lyon to draw attention to rising wolf attacks on sheep
French breeders hold a banner with a quote by French poet Victor Hugo reading “He who saves the wolf kills the sheep” as they demonstrate in Lyon to draw attention to rising wolf attacks on sheepCREDIT: AFP

Wolves are generally protected by strict laws in Germany as an endangered species, and killing them is prohibited.

But local authorities have lifted the ban for a specific pack that has repeatedly attacked farms and mauled sheep in the area.

The stand-off between activists and farmers is a sign of the growing tensions as the rapidly rising wolf population begins to encroach on human habitations.

Just twenty years ago, there were no wolves left in Germany after the species was hunted to extinction in the early 20th century.

But wolves have made a remarkable comeback since the end of the Cold War. When the Iron Curtain fell and border defences were removed, they began to wander back into Germany from neighbouring Poland.

Today, there are believed to be more than 30 packs roaming Germany, and wolves have been photographed just 30 miles from Hamburg, the country’s second largest city.

The lifting on the hunting ban on what authorities have named the “Rosenthal Pack” only applies to a specific wolf which has been identified attacking sheep, and not to the pack in general.

A single licensed hunter has been appointed by the authorities to track and kill the culprit.

But the activists are determined to stop that happening. “We try to disturb the hunters, and keep watch over the sheep pastures,” said Stefan Voss, who patrols the forest every night.

Oppose Continued Torture of Turkeys in Nightmare Arkansas Festival!

https://www.peta.org/action/action-alerts/urgent-turkeys-hurled-from-airplane/

[What kind of twisted species would hurl live turkeys from airplanes? It underscores their disrespect for the animals whose death they celebrate every fall.]

Every October, the city of Yellville, Arkansas, holds its annual Turkey Trot, an event that includes the notorious “turkey drop.” This year was no exception, as live domestically bred wild turkeys—who normally would fly only short distances and low to the ground—were hurled from an airplane, the courthouse roof, buildings, and the festival stage into the clutches of a frenzied crowd. Thankfully, four birds were rescued by local PETA supporters and provided with veterinary treatment, and they’re currently safe in foster care. More information about this year’s sadistic event can be viewed here.

Once again, please urge Yellville officials to end this cruelty, which is a blight on the entire state—then forward this alert to everyone you know.

The Honorable Clinton L. Evans
Marion County Sheriff
491 Hwy. 62 W.
Yellville, AR 72687
Please click here to send an e-mail.
870-449-4236

The Honorable Kenford O. Carter
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney
105 S. Berry St.
Yellville, AR 72687
870-449-4018

Vegan Demographics 2017 – USA, and the world

http://veganbits.com/vegan-demographics-2017/

vegan demographics

 It’s been a long time since I’ve written about vegan demographics. Do we care? Should we care? Probably not, but since Jane and I are coming up on ten years as vegans in a few months, I figured now was a good time to look at the vegan demographic statistics. As you might suspect, it’s not easy to determine how many vegans there are. It’s not like you enter that information on your census report. There are all sorts of polls on vegetarians and vegans. I like getting my data from faunalytics.org. Most, but not all of the following information is from their site.

We are the one (half) percent

So how many vegans are there in the USA? Based on a sampling of 11,000 adults, aged 17 and over, only two percent of Americans are vegetarian. Only one-in-four vegetarians — or 0.5% of the USA adult population — is vegan. Only half of one percent of the USA population — or 1.62 million of us — is vegan.

(Is 11,000 a reasonable sampling? Perhaps you are think that this sampling is too small and is therefore skewing the results. I suspect otherwise. This sampling is, by far, the largest such sampling that I’ve found. Most other such polls are usually only looking at about 2,000 people.)

There are many former vegans than there are current vegans; there are more than five times as many former vegetarians/vegans than there are current vegetarians/vegans. Said differently, 84% of vegetarians/vegans abandon their diet. Extrapolated out, that means that there are 8 million lapsed vegans as opposed to the 1.6 million current vegans.

Only about one-in-eight Americans has ever considered themselves vegetarian/vegan. Roughly 88 percent of Americans have always considered themselves omnivorous/carnivorous.

Vegan Demographics

So who are the 1.6 million vegans? You might be surprised to find that the average age of a vegan today is 42. I suspect that many people think that most vegans are in their 20’s and 30’s. According to this research, those young adults only account for about half of all vegans.

What is less surprising is that 74% — almost three-in-four vegans — are female. Most vegans are left leaning politically and are not religious.

So perhaps it comes as no surprise that the typical vegan is female, left learning, non-religious. Let’s look at longevity. As we have seen, there are many more former vegetarians/vegans than people who currently eat this way. The survey suggests that for many, it’s fleeting. Only about one-third (34%) maintained the diet for three months or less, and more than half (53%) of former vegetarians/vegans adhered to the diet for less than one year. So it appears that people try this lifestyle on for size and for one reason or another, half of them go back to their normal, traditional diet after a year or less.

If you are thinking that the current vegetarians/vegans might return to their former omni eating ways, only 12% of the current vegetarians/vegans in the survey have been eating this way for less than a year. Therefore, 88% of those who claim to be vegetarian/vegan have been so for over a year, presumably many have been eating this way for several years.

Income

While this might come as a surprise to some, there are more vegans in the lower end of the income range. The average American earns $54,000. The largest concentration of vegans is in the sub $50,000 income range.

This, according to data gathered by VRG as reported by the Huffington Post.

Why the discrepancy? It’s probably age related; there are more vegans in their 20’s and 30’s than there are in their 50’s and older. Older adults are more likely to have higher incomes than younger adults.

The Huffington Post article suggest that younger people are more likely to be vegan and tend to have lower incomes than older people:

Six percent of survey respondents between 18 and 34 were vegetarians compared to only two percent who were over 55. Young people are also more likely to make less money than older adults as more of them are students or are starting their careers.

(The information reported above from Faunalytics indicated that the average age was 42. This survey from VRG suggests that there are far fewer vegans in their 50’s than in their 20’s. The VRG survey which sampled 2,000 adults also found a closer ratio of vegans based on gender than the Faunalytics survey of 11,000 found. The VRG survey suggests that women make up only 55% of vegans. Anecdotal evidence would suggest that Faunalytics determination that women account for 74% of vegans seems more accurate to me.)

Why are you vegan?

Participants in the study were asked about their motivations for eating a vegetarian/vegan diet. A great many people indicated that they are vegan for health, taste, and humanitarian reasons.

The same questions were asked of former vegetarians/vegans. There is a statistically significant association between nearly all of the motivations tested and whether an individual is a current or former vegetarian/ vegan, with the exception of cost, social influence, and wanting to follow a food trend.

Most Vegan Friendly Cities in America

According to PETA, the most vegan friendly cities in America are:

  1. Portland, Oregon
  2. Los Angeles, California
  3. New York City, New York
  4. Detroit, Michigan
  5. Nashville, Tennessee
  6. San Diego, California
  7. Honolulu, Hawaii
  8. Austin, Texas
  9. Seattle, Washington
  10. Richmond, Virginia

There are many websites which have their own way of determining which cities are most vegan-friendly. Having never been to Detroit or Richmond, I have to say that those locations come as a surprise to me. Several of the other large cities appear on everyone’s list.

Vegan Demographics: Largest Concentration of Vegans (by country)

The following two tables are derived from data gathered by Wikipedia

  1. United States
  2. Japan
  3. Germany
  4. Poland
  5. United Kingdom
  6. Israel
  7. Italy
  8. Sweden
  9. Spain
  10. Finland

These are the only ten countries that they have listed for vegans. It comes as a surprise to me that there are so many vegans in Japan. Maybe it’s just the volume of people that skews this data somewhat. According to this table, there more than 3 million of the 127 million residents of Japan are vegans.

Vegan Demographics: Largest Percentage of Vegans (by country)

As you can see, Israel has the largest concentration of vegans, with five percent of the population indicated to be vegan. The USA only ranks fifth on this list.

Please not that the data from Wikipedia suggests that 1.5% of the USA population is vegan, whereas the data from Faunalytics indicates that only 0.5% of the USA population is vegan; just one-third as many.