links for 2009-07-01

  • Take two minutes and complete this survey, which aims to get an accurate view of the current animal rights movement as a whole. It's open until July 13.
    (tags: survey)
  • I don't agree with a lot of HSUS's focus, but I had always kind of felt some sort of respect for Pacelle. I lost a lot of it after this interview. [via Eric P] Some choice quotes:

    "I don’t think in any kind of practical way one can say [the HSUS is] trying to eliminate animal agriculture."

    "You can have an echo chamber within the world of industrial agriculture or confinement agriculture and people will say they are just a bunch of vegans and vegetarians that want to end our way of life. That is not the debate. The debate is about confinement systems, humane transport and humane slaughter."

    "[Q: Are you trying to shut down zoos and circuses from having animals?] Zoos, absolutely not."

5 Responses to “links for 2009-07-01”

  1. Mike

    The excerpts you’ve chosen don’t cause me to look unfavourably upon the speaker. I have personally struggled with the issue of zoos myself. I don’t think it’s *necessarily* cruel to have at least some animals in zoos. Moreover, having animals in zoos can, one would hope, help people understand those animals, bond with them, and want to protect them. Would average people in the western world care about tigers and their shrinking habitats if they’d never seen any up close? I’m not honestly sure. I doubt the question has been researched very thoroughly. It seems unjustifiably radical to advocate the closure of zoos at this point, if the argument is solely one of animal rights. I’d hate to close them and then find out that they were actually serving a valuable role in increasing peoples’ sensitivity toward animals.

  2. Mike

    Also, on the topic of the survey you posted, the last question on that survey is so infuriatingly stupid that I couldn’t finish the survey. It’s exactly the kind of stupid question that non-vegans always ask me to try and demonstrate that advocating animal rights is monstrous and anti-human. The answer I would have given wasn’t one of the options, yet the survey-takers had marked the question as “required”, thereby indicating that none of my other answers were valuable to them unless I was willing to answer their sophomoric philosophy question.

  3. Lazurii

    I agree with mike about that survey question. The answer to that hypothetical question has no real meaning at all, because it could never be done in the way they described. It’s just so frustrating…

  4. ryan

    Late reply, sorry.

    I agree — I just answered “not sure” on that last question.

    Re: zoos. I’m sure many zoos employ people that genuinely care about animals, but there are a number of issues that just don’t sit well with me. The obvious is taking wild animals like tigers and elephants and keeping them in captivity for people to gawk at. I’m skeptical of the idea that letting people see the animals in this environment really changes many minds. And, even if it does, is that a justification? I’d much rather see zoos go away and true sanctuaries pop up in their place.

    Beyond that issue is the way many zoos operate. For instance, I know of a very well-known zoo that sold (sells?) its older animals to canned hunt operations. Is this standard practice? I’m not sure, but knowing that such a large and well-respected zoo did such a thing makes me very wary of zoos, no matter the size.

  5. Mike

    Zoos are such a difficult issue. In my ideal world, they would not exist as they do today. However, I’m not convinced that the most effective route from the present world to my ideal world would follow an unswervingly abolitionist path.

    My in-laws were visiting recently. During their visit, they took my niece to a nearby animal “safari” park, where people can drive their vehicles through an enclosure full of free-roaming African animals. I am very uncomfortable with this park. It seems to me that it is the sort of place that could be immediately shut down without thinking too much more about. On the other hand, there is also a large and apparently well-managed zoo nearby. I went to that zoo several times as a child. It gave me an appreciation for animals that I think I might not have developed otherwise. I would hesitate to call for its immediate closure.

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