I was thinking about the issue of animal activism recently. It seems that the average person either isn’t aware of or doesn’t think about the many animal activism issues. I’m the type of person who has a deep connection with animals. Since I was a little kid I was always fascinated with animals and deemed them as worthy of respect as humans. The list of issues with regards to the way we treat animals is various and long. I can’t mention them all here so I’ll just mention three that are foremost in my mind lately. For the sake of brevity I’ve only mentioned one organization against each issue though there are many for each cause.
What it is: Considered a delicacy by some, foie gras is the liver of a duck or goose that has been specially fattened.
The issue: To fatten the duck/goose the farmer inserts a tube into the animal’s throat and forces it to eat by shoving food in. The animal is force fed like this two or three times a day until the liver swells up to 10 times its size. Source: Peta article.
My opinion: Personally I cannot see how this can be considered a delicacy when the animal is being tortured. If we’re going to eat meat we must let the animal live as natural life as possible. To me that means eating food it was meant to eat, allowing it to roam freely in pasture, and basically letting it express it’s natural behaviours.
Organization against: Stop Gavage
Further reading: The Scientific Case Against Foie Gras – BC SPCA
Poaching / Canned Hunting:
What it is: Poaching is the illegal hunting of wild animals. Canned hunting is the hunting of wild animals on game ranches.
The issue: Animals like elephants, rhinos, giraffes, lions, tigers and bears are being killed all over the world for their tusks, furs, and various body parts. They are often killed brutally or by poisoning the local water sources. The problem with this is that many other animals are affected when water sources are poisoned. Also, this messes with the natural ecology of the local area. Animals raised on canned hunting game ranches are born, bred and raised so they can be killed by trophy hunters.
My opinion: A lot of these animals are being hunted/poached so extensively that they may soon be extinct. That really saddens me since I find all these animals so amazingly beautiful. Elephants in particular, have a brain that is similar in structure and complexity to that of humans. In an experiment with mirrors elephants showed that they could recognize themselves in the reflection. As for canned hunting, how anyone can think of themselves as brave for hunting an animal trapped by fences and killed by a high speed rifle boggles my mind. I would like to see how the same “hunter” fares against a tiger bare handed. There’s also a heartlessness to those who run canned hunting game ranches. How can you raise an animal from infancy and allow it to be destroyed for sport?
Organization against: International Poaching Foundation
Further reading: The fight against poaching in South Africa – Wild Life Extra
Endangered rhinos shot dead – The Dodo
What it is: When a fish or other marine animal is unintentionally caught in nets intended for other catch.
The issue: Turtles, manta rays, sharks, seals, and orcas are all often victims of bycatch. When caught in the net these animals often end up dying due to being tangled in the nets.
My opinion: Just because we want to eat some tuna or salmon, other animals shouldn’t have to suffer. There are ways to farm tuna and salmon that are eco-friendly, sustainable and humane. Bycatch is needless slaughter and messes with the natural food chain in the ocean.
Organization against: WWF
Further reading: Unsustainable fishing – WWF
Billions of pounds of sea life die every year to feed our seafood appetite – The Grist
What is your take on animal activism? Do you think about how the products you consume affect animals?