30 April 2014

Why Do Pet Cats Play With Prey?

Cats, Mice, Birds
Why do pet cats play with prey? They don’t. They are simply prolonging the chase because they enjoy the chase so much. Pet cats don’t usually eat their prey because they are raised to eat canned food and are too well fed to be hungry. Are cats or people to blame? People compound the offence by buying factory farmed at food. Cats are not cruel - just thoughtless. They have no comprehension of cruelty. Cruelty is a human concept.

29 April 2014

How Can We Compare Animal Rights and Animal Ethics?

Comparing Animal Rights with Animal Ethics
How can we compare animal rights with animal ethics? A few comparisons:
AR Asserts using animals for human gain is morally wrong.
AE Does not assert any particular moral outlook.
AR A doctrine applying morality to situations concerning animals.
AE An impartial academic discipline
exploring how we should treat animals.
AR States that we have a duty to give animals rights and must respect those rights.
AE Suggests various schemes to resolve animal-human moral issues.
AR Concentrates only on rights.
AE Includes animal rights but has broader scope eg overlaps with environmental ethics. 

28 April 2014

What is the 6C Way?

The 6C Way
Thinking Ethically About Animals
When acting ethically for animals we are likely to do a better job when thinking the 6C Way:
  • Clearly - can be understood
  • Concisely - not verbose or diffuse
  • Compatibly - agreeing with basic sensitivity of what is right and good
  • Consistently - without contradictions
  • Constructively - extending our judgement to new or ambiguous areas by building on what we already understand and accept
  • Comprehensively - not ad hoc but relevant to all kinds of problems
…based on the truth of the matter as far as we know it

What is the Greatest Threat to Animals?

The Greatest Threat
The Greatest Threat to Animals
What is the greatest threat? The greatest threat to people is ignorance. The greatest threat to animals is ignorant people.

26 April 2014

How Do Animal Workers Feel?

All in a Day for an Animal Worker
What's in a day for an animal worker? Optimism, passion, satisfaction, disappointment, outrage, anger, frustration, forbearance. Just a few of the things an animal worker feels in a day at work - then over again the next day!

Who are the Philosophers Past Their Think-by Dates?

Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes
Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes
Who are the philosophers past their think-by dates?
Aristotle  -  ancient Greece. Said animals are below humans because only humans can reason; therefore, we can use animals without consideration we’d give to people. 
Aquinas  -  medieval. Said animals cannot reason; therefore, people can use them as they wish. His thinking became Catholic doctrine. 
Descartes  -  renaissance. Said animals are automata and only humans have minds and souls; therefore only humans deserve compassion. 
Animals cannot argue back, so had to put up with this.

Is There an Ultimate Answer?

Ultimate Answer
The Ultimate Answer?
Is there an Ultimate Answer? “For many questions about how animals should be treated by humans, there are no right or wrong answers. However, there are better and worse answers.” Marc Bekoff. Animal Passions and Beastly Virtues. 2006:227.

What Is the Golden Rule?

Golden Rule
The Golden Rule
What Is the Golden Rule and  how does it affect our treatment of animals? Treat others how you wish to be treated; this is the Golden Rule. See a caged animal, isolated, apathetic, no freedom for natural behaviour. Would you willingly suffer similar treatment? Act accordingly.

How Many People Believe in Animal Rights?

Belief in Animal Rights
Belief in Animal Rights

How many people believe in animal rights? “Virtually everyone believes in animal rights in some way. The real issue is about what animal rights actually means.” Cass R Sunstein. Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions. 2004:3.

Can Animals Do Mental Arithmetic?

Counting Horse
Clever Hans the Counting Horse
Can Animals Do Mental Arithmetic? Clever Hans was a famous horse who astonished people by his ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide numbers. 56 divided by 7 was easy. Fractions were no problem. He could also read and spell. Asked to solve a problem, he would stamp a hoof in reply and was always correct. But scientists proved he was responding to subliminal cues from his trainer who, like everyone else, was unaware of them. Clever Hans teaches us an important lesson about human-animal relations: don’t attribute to animals characteristics they don’t possess!

How You Can Be a Good Wolf Leader?

Wolves and Dogs
Dogs evolved from wolves. Your dogs believe they are living in a wolf pack. So you are your dogs' leader, ie you are dominant; they are subordinate to you. Therefore be a good leader. Rule One: Praise your dogs when they do what you want. Ignore them when they do something you don’t want. Rule Two: Always be consistent or they will be confused. These are the two most powerful rules for your dogs.

How Can You Save Your Cat from Motorists?

cats and motorists
Cats and Motorists
Good human animal relations starts at home. So take a large spoon and saucepan. With your cat go to the road. Wait for a vehicle; get between it and your cat. Make a din. Instantly drive him to safety indoors. Act as a model for him; look and feel scared. Repeat for a few days. Be consistent: always run from vehicles. The younger the cat the better.

25 April 2014

How do Slaves and Animals Compare?

Slaves and Animals
Slave Trade - Animal Trade
The Trade. Rhyme made up by English eighteenth century slaves trade supporters*:
If our slave trade be gone
there's an end to our lives.
Beggars all we must be
our children and wives.
The slave trade was as deep rooted in world society as the animal trade today. The parallel mood is:
If our animal trade be gone
there's an end to our lives.
Beggars all we must be
our children and wives.
But now for all free people the animal slavery imperative is:
When the animal trade be gone
there'll be a spring in our lives.
Saviours all we shall be
to the world and our vibes.
 *Reference: Caryl Phillips. The Atlantic Sound. 3:2000.

24 April 2014

What is the Typical Attitude of People to Animals?

Typical Attitude of People to Animals
Attitude of People to Animals
What is the Typical Attitude of People to Animals? "...the life of animals and plants is preserved not for themselves but for man. Hence by a most just ordinance of the creator both their life and their death are subject for our use." (Thomas Aquinas, 13th century theologian. From his Summa Theologica.) When the Church adopted this reasoning, ordinary people absorbed it. Thus for hundreds of years people were released from scruples about how to treat animals. Hard luck for animals!

How Can We Justify Animal Rghts?

Justify Animal Rights
Justifying Animal Rights
How can we justify animal rights, at least succinctly? Animals are like humans in certain ways. Sentient animals feel pleasure pain and emotions. What happens to them matters to them, unlike what happens to sticks and stones. So if human rights, then animal rights.

22 April 2014

What Is the Forgotten Fur?

Fur Brushes
The Forgotten Fur
The forgotten fur is the fur in artist and beautician brushes. Painters prize brushes made of weasel (Mustela sibirica) aka kolinsky, cousins of the mink, sable and stoat - taken for fur coats. Hunters in Siberia kill the weasels with leghold traps or snares. Any trapped animal is frozen solid by morning. Let’s also remember shaving brushes from Chinese badger fur and violin bows from Mongolian and Canadian horse hair. Merry painting, beautifying, shaving and music making!

11 April 2014

What Do Over Seven Billion People Do?

What Does Over Seven Billion People Do?
Over Seven Billion People

What Do Over Seven Billion People Do? There were three hundred million people two thousand years ago. Then it took 1800 years to reach the first billion. Now a billion people are added to humanity every few years. Year and Number of People: 1804 1 billion; 1927 2 billion; 1960 3 billion; 1974 4 billion; 1987 5 billion; 1999 6 billion… More people fewer resources. Merciless if you are not Homo sapiens. Source for population statistics: The World at Six Billion. UN Population Division.

What is the Bond We Have With Animals?

Our Bond With Animals
Our Animal Relationship
What is the bond we have with animals? “Our genes look much like those of fruit flies, worms, and even plants.…the genome shows that we all descended from the same humble beginnings.” David Baltimore, Laureate Nobel Prize in medicine. From Steven M Wise in Animal Rights. eds C Sunstein and M Nussbaum. 2004