Veterinarians are thought of by many as protectors of animals, and indeed, when it comes to our cats, dogs, and other companion animals, few others have our animals’ interests in mind more than the family veterinarian. Veterinarians are able to help us correct behavioral problems, choose successful treatments, and advise us during difficult end of life decisions. They are a trusted resource on how to give our companion animals the best lives we can.
For many people who care about animals, World Animal Day, 4 October, is already a very important day each year. For those people who haven’t yet participated, I’d like to tell you more about what this global movement can achieve for animals and encourage you to get involved.
This week we are excited to highlight the European Alliance of Rescue centres and Sanctuaries (EARS). EARS is a collaboration between sanctuary and rescue centres for wildlife across Europe. As the illegal wildlife trade affects more and more animals each year, EARS provides an opportunity for the organizations caring for the individual animals rescued from the trade to connect and learn from each other's experiences. Dave Eastham, EARS' executive director, took the time to answer our questions.
As many readers are more than well aware, a few weeks ago the death of Cecil the lion sparked outrage across the world. Cecil’s death also put conservation and hunting groups which support trophy hunting as a means to raise funds for conservation on the defensive, with numerous editorials bemoaning the outrage appearing in the days following Cecil’s death.
Lots of great things have happened for animals this summer. In Nepal, half a million animals will now be spared from slaughter in what has been deemed the "world's bloodiest animal-sacrifice," and replaced with new and peaceful alternatives. In the U.S., groundbreaking new restrictions have been proposed to eliminate the market for illegal ivory. In the wake of the death of Cecil the lion, a growing list of airlines including Delta, Air Canada, American and U.S. Airlines are refusing to ship big game trophies. And Costa Rica became the first nation to ban sport hunting.
A few years ago, I finished my undergraduate education in biology, where I had become increasingly fascinated and excited about conservation. Having spent the first few years of classes pipetting mysterious concoctions and analyzing the resulting DNA sequences under the florescent lights of a laboratory, the prospect of spending my time outside, counting populations of real, living, breathing animals, sounded fascinating.
The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) recently granted World Animal Net Special Consultative Status. Since 2001, when World Animal Net was first granted consultative status, we have worked to build partnerships and collaborative relations at the United Nations. Our elevated status will increase our capacity to represent animal protection interests through intergovernmental advocacy. We are also pleased that FOUR PAWS International, another animal protection organization, has also recently received Special Consultative Status.
During the past months I've received many books about the cognitive and emotional lives of nonhuman animals (animals). I've reviewed many of them, and the latest, Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel (the Kindle edition can be found here) by award-winning scientist and writer Carl Safina, is one of the best and I'd like simply to inform readers about this excellent book that contains numerous facts and compelling stories about a wide array of the fascinating animals with whom we share our magnificent planet.
The last few years have seen the scope and variety of documentaries about humans’ relationship with animals grow and mature, moving beyond cliché diatribes filled to the brim with shocking images and nauseating footage which many people, myself included, avoid at all costs. More recent documentaries have focused on compelling narratives which engage, enlighten, and empower their viewers to learn about the issues and take action. These documentaries have reached millions of viewers through theatrical releases and repeated screenings on major television networks.
Animal protection organizations with an interest in brushing up on their general knowledge of animal law or offering their expertise in a certain area of animal law may just be in luck. An increasing number of animal law committees are forming to help educate attorneys, professionals, and often the general public on legal issues surrounding animals. And occasionally, these events are even free to attend.