"Make no mistake," writes greyhound racer Kevin Pitstock. "Greyhound racing in Australia is teetering on the brink of destruction."
In the wake of an investigative report from the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC), Pitstock is warning his colleagues that "calls for an end to greyhound racing are coming from far and wide."
It's reached a crossroad, he says. "It can continue with new leadership and a new set of values; or it can go the way so many have before it."
Except you can't dress up dog racing with a "new set of values." The whole thing is just evil from top to bottom.
Hard on the heels of Valentine's Day comes the Westminster Dog Show and, this year, the opening weekend of the movie Fifty Shades of Grey.
Columnist and former war correspondent Chris Hedges calls Fifty Shades:
A headline last week in a trade publication called The Poultry Site proudly proclaimed:
"Animal Welfare at Slaughter Improves in UK."
Welcome to the Orwellian world of animal "welfare", where it's a triumph, we're told, that more slaughterhouses are simply complying with existing regulations and when some of them are even switching over from electrocuting birds in tubs of water to gassing them prior to decapitating them. A triumph indeed.
(Fifth in a series about how and why our relationship to our fellow animals has deteriorated to the point of an unfolding mass extinction.)
By Dr. Lori Marino
However much we like to think of ourselves as different from and superior to the other animals, we can’t escape the fact that we are, just like them, mortal, physical creatures, equally subject to the laws of nature.
The existential terror that’s caused by this ever-present knowledge has been studied at length by psychologists in the field of Terror Management Theory (TMT).
In this second part of our interview with Andrew Harvey, he talks about how you can discover your own true mission and about what can happen when you bring deep spiritual awareness together with a passionate love of justice.
"You actually create a whole new force that over time can change the most intractable situations."
* * *
Michael Mountain: You said last time that we're in a "worldwide global genocide of animals" and you asked:
It's unusual to find someone who combines a deep, mystical love of the Divine with a stark realism about how we humans are bringing on a mass extinction of life on this planet. Andrew Harvey is one of that rare breed.
Born in India, he won a scholarship to Oxford University, where he was awarded the high honor of a fellowship to All Soul’s College. Later, he studied Hinduism, Buddhism and Sufism, which led him to translate some of the works of one of the great Sufi mystics, Rumi.
Today, he teaches what he calls Sacred Activism, a combination of spiritual discipline and practical grassroots action – particularly in relation to our fellow animals. This is the first part of our interview with him.
If you haven't read the shocking, eye-opening report by the New York Times on the secret, government-operated US Meat Animal Research Center and its "one overarching mission: helping producers of beef, pork and lamb turn a higher profit," you owe it to yourself and to the animals to check it out.
The article is much more than just a litany of horrors; it's a meticulous description of living creatures being used in experiments to turn them into bigger, better, tastier, faster-growing units in the vast industrial machine of factory farming. For example:
In the first part of our interview with Stephen Cave, he talked about how, once we decide that we are fundamentally different in kind from the other animals, we can then view them as having a lower moral status, and how that, in turn, opens up "a whole world of possibilities for how we treat them."
In this second part, he talks about how we need to develop a new world view and a new kind of "story" that we tell ourselves to describe who and what we are. It would be a story that can replace the increasingly destructive one we tell ourselves about how we're a separate and superior creation whose mission is to take "dominion" over the other animals and to "subdue the Earth."
In previous posts we’ve talked about how our relationship to our fellow animals and the way we treat them is driven by our anxiety over the fact that we’re animals, too, and our denial of our own animal nature.
In his book Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever and How it Drives Civilization, Stephen Cave discusses the chief ways in which we persuade ourselves that we’re not really animals, that we can avoid death altogether, or at least that some part of us will live on in some way after we’re dead. Here’s the trailer to the book:
In the first of two posts, Cave explains how, once we decide that we are fundamentally different in kind from other animals, we can then view them as having a lower moral status. And that, in turn, opens up "a whole world of possibilities for how we treat them."
Starting around 9,000 years ago, the agricultural era brought about the large-scale domestication of animals and a fundamental shift in our relationship to them. Less and less beings of great mystery and power, they were becoming, instead, commodities.
(Fourth in a series about how and why our relationship to our fellow animals has deteriorated to the point of an unfolding mass extinction.)
How and when did we humans decide we didn’t want to think of ourselves as animals any longer? How did we go from thinking of the other animals as essentially our equals to treating them as commodities that exist to be mined from the oceans by huge factory ships and manufactured from birth to death on factory farms?
It’s obviously a long and complex story, but we can get an idea of how it took place over thousands of years in various parts of the world.
(Third in a series about how and why our relationship to our fellow animals has deteriorated to the point of an unfolding mass extinction.)
Sandra tries to hide in her pen at the Buenos Aires Zoo
In the first-ever case of its kind, an orangutan at a zoo in Argentina has been recognized by a high court as being a "legal person" with the capacity for certain legal rights, including habeas corpus, so she may be taken from the zoo and sent to a sanctuary.
Sounds great. Except that none of it is true.
If you've ever wondered whether there's an afterlife, you've probably found yourself making a mental list of the people you'd look forward to seeing there.
This may have led to thinking about the people you'd seriously want to avoid there ... which may, in turn, have sparked the question of what happens if you don't want to spend your afterlife with people who very much want to spend theirs with you.
It all gets quite complicated. And even more so when you bring nonhuman animals into the discussion, too. Many of us like to think of our deceased pets as waiting patiently for us at the proverbial Rainbow Bridge. But what does a mosquito's paradise look like?
Even more to the point: What happens to the chicken you roasted and ate last week? Imagine having a heart attack right after dinner and being greeted, just a few moments later, by Mrs. Chicken herself, slightly the worse for having been eaten and definitely not taking too kindly to what you just did to her.
Even more embarrassing: Imagine the problem at the Pearly Gates for the high-ups at animal welfare groups who promote "happy meat" and heap praise upon the people who kill animals for profit but do it "humanely".
In the story of the Garden of Eden, our early ancestors find themselves confronted by a choice.
They’re already developing an increasingly complex self-awareness that gives them the ability to think in terms of good and bad. And they’re acquiring an existential understanding of their personal mortality.
As this awareness grows, they find themselves hearing two voices: one calling them back to a state of innocence in paradise; the other beckoning them forward to a future where they might become “as gods” in their own right, taking dominion over the world, freeing themselves from their animality, and even becoming immortal.
(Second in a series about how and why our relationship to our fellow animals has deteriorated to the point of an unfolding mass extinction.)
The New York State Appellate Court, Third Division, has issued its decision in the case of Tommy the chimpanzee, and has essentially opened the door for Tommy’s case to be taken to New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals.
A new paper by Michael Mountain and Dr. Lori Marino, published by the journal Anthrozoos, explores the psychology behind why we humans continue to reduce the other animals to the status of resources, commodities and property.
Why do we continue to behave in a way that’s driving much of life on Earth to extinction?
The answer is to be found at the core of the human condition in our need to tell ourselves and each other that “I am not an animal!”
(First in a series about how and why our relationship to our fellow animals has deteriorated to the point of an unfolding mass extinction.)
"Six years on from the financial crash that brought the world to its knees, red warning lights are once again flashing on the dashboard of the global economy."
That was UK Prime Minister David Cameron's take on the situation as 26 world leaders wrapped up their G-20 economic summit in Australia.
The solution, according to the leaders of all these countries and to most economists, is, as always, more "growth". But what exactly are we going to grow, and how and where are we going to grow it?
Most of all, how is yet more of this "growth" going to affect the millions of animals whose homes and lives we've already appropriated and who are now threatened with extinction? Read more
An eerily beautiful video, created by a NASA super-computer, showing how human-generated carbon dioxide builds up in the atmosphere in winter and retreats in summer as trees and other plants photosynthesize much of it.
Note also how plumes of carbon monoxide, shown in gray, stream from fires in Africa, Australia and South America.
If you care about the animals and nature, Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma is the climate science denier you love to hate. The senator, in turn, loves to go out of his way to make off-the-wall comments about the Environmental Protection Agency being a "Gestapo bureaucracy." And he gets a kick out of putting up signs like "Honk if you love global warming!"
Inhofe is poised to take over the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works again, and while he may seem like a cartoonish yahoo, he's no fool. So you have to wonder: Does he truly believe that climate change is a "hoax" and a "conspiracy"? Does he just make this stuff up for fun? Or is something else going on?
A fascinating new study suggests that something else is indeed going on. And it helps explain why so many Republican legislators are determined to deny the plain fact that we humans are creating catastrophic climate change and mass extinction.
(Oh, and before we go on: Liberal Democrats are not off the hook; it turns out they do the same thing, just in relation to different issues. Basically, we all do it.)
Asked whether he thought the new Senate will be able to pass any bi-partisan legislation at all, Senator-elect Cory Gardner of Colorado paused for a moment and said, "Yes, the Keystone Pipeline."
In other words, the one thing we can expect Congress to agree on is poisoning the land and burning more fossil fuels than ever.
"This was the most content-free election I’ve ever seen," veteran reporter Al Hunt told Charlie Rose. "There was no talk about the war, there was no talk about immigration, there was no talk about infrastructure, any of the big issues."
But wait! When it comes to "big issues", even these top journalists are apparently oblivious to the biggest issue of all and the only issue that’s going to matter to anyone a few brief decades from now: global earth changes and mass extinction.