About 6 million vertebrate animals are dissected every year in high schools across the United States. This figure does not include elementary schools, middle schools, or colleges and universities. A similar number of invertebrate animals are also dissected in schools. Some of these animals are experimented upon while still alive. About 170 types of animals are used, the most common being frogs, fetal pigs, and cats.
The National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland is undertaking groundbreaking changes in the way they care for the dolphin colony raised in captivity at the facility. With a mission to “advance understanding and protection of cetaceans by offering a natural environment in which the colony of dolphins in (their) care will thrive,” the aquarium is establishing the first dolphin sanctuary in North America. The colony of 8 dolphins will be moved by the year 2020 from the 35-year old Inner Harbor attraction at the Marine Mammal Pavilion.
Activists in the humane movement often refer to themselves as providing a voice to animals whose needs are not heard. Similarly, for photographer and filmmaker Randy Bacon people who are homeless need to be heard and they also need to be seen. In The Road I Call Home, an exhibition of portraits, stories, and film of the homeless community in his hometown of Springfield, Missouri, Bacon provides an outlet for the people featured to be seen and to be heard in their own voices.
The European Parliament voted on January 16, 2018 for a ban on the controversial fishing practice of electric pulse fishing, in which electrically charged lines are dragged just above the sea floor, stunning marine life up into trawling nets. The Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), the only directly elected body to represent the European Union (EU), voted 402 to 232 in favor of the ban.
The newly formed coalition government of Norway, led by Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg, announced on January 14, 2018 a pledge to end all fur farming in Norway, with the phase-out complete by 2024/2025. Norway is the 14th European nation to phase out fur farming. Belgium, Germany, and Luxembourg are also considering legislation to ban fur farming. The United Kingdom was the first to institute a ban in 2000, followed by Austria in 2004.
According to the socially conscious Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return (FAIRR) investor initiative, global meat consumption increased five-fold between 1992 and 2016. This rise has worldwide implications for human health as well as the environment. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that the average American consumer will eat a record-breaking 222.2 pounds of red meat and poultry in 2018.
In a split decision on Idaho’s 2012 “ag-gag” law, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled on January 4, 2018 that audio and visual recordings in animal agricultural facilities could not be prohibited by the state, upholding an earlier ruling that invalidated the Idaho law for violating free speech. The January 4th ruling is a partial victory for animal activists.
In Sister Species: Women, Animals, and Social Justice editor Lisa Kemmerer brings together essays by 14 women who work as animal advocates. Carol J. Adams contributed the foreword to the book, addressing the importance of bringing together these women’s stories as a way for the reader to discover their own stories of awareness and engagement. In the field of biology, “sister species” refers to pairs of species in which each is the other’s closest relative.
Fashion industry icon Michael Kors has joined the list of designers who will no longer use fur in their fashion lines. Kors follows on the recent announcement by the Italian industry giant Gucci that they will begin phasing out fur starting in the spring of 2018. Unfortunately, fur products are sometimes mislabeled as fur-free.
The over 30 million people living in Venezuela face shortages of many basics, and what many call a hunger crisis faces the country. President Nicholas Maduro announced a plan on September 12, 2017 to alleviate the hunger crisis through Plan Conejo, a plan to convince Venezuelans to eat rabbit. A better plan in promoting food security is being implemented with the government’s much more efficient proposal to have residents plant rooftop gardens.
There are 21 countries in which it is illegal to have your cat declawed: England, Scotland, Wales, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Israel, Slovenia, Portugal, Belgium, Spain, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand. Conspicuously missing from this list is the United States.
Playa Lucia on Puerto Rico has long been where unwanted and abused dogs, called satos, have been abandoned. Hundreds of dogs live, or try to survive, there at any given time. Residents of the area have taken to calling it Dead Dog Beach. When Hurricane Maria hit the island on September 20, a volunteer with the Sato Project was able to take in 53 of the dogs, who rode out the storm in crates atop concrete blocks. Then Wings of Rescue came into the picture.
Classified as Young Adult Fiction, Christopher Locke’s book Persimmon Takes on Humanity centers on raccoon Persimmon, a spunky and scrappy heroine, and her forest friends as they try to rescue other animals suffering at the hands of humans.
On April 4, 2017, Judge Maria Alejandra Maurício of the Third Court of Guarantees of the Judiciary in the Argentinean State of Mendoza ruled that Cecília, a chimpanzee living alone in a concrete enclosure at the Mendocino Zoo in Argentina, had the right to health and happiness.
On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans demonstrated coast-to-coast to raise awareness for the ravages taking toll on the environment. Dubbing this day “Earth Day,” its founder, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson envisioned it as a “national teach-in on the environment.” April 22 is also the anniversary of the Humane Party’s public launch in 2009,
The Canadian seal slaughter began off the coast of Newfoundland this year on March 28th. This is two weeks earlier than usually allowed, as climate change is affecting the seal population. With disappearing ice, Canadian seal hunters are worried that there will be fewer seal pups to hunt, so the Canadian government has allowed the killing of pups as young as 4 weeks this year instead of the usual 6.