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.
Chimpanzees. Elephants. Dolphins. Perhaps dogs. These are the animals that many people, including animal advocates, envision when thinking of the “smartest” animals. However, this list, accurate as it may be, is by no means inclusive. There are in fact other animals who can hold their own in scientists’ tests for intelligence and emotion, but who are all too often overlooked simply because of the role they play in human society.
In the past several days, much attention has been riveted on a newly published document spanning nearly 200 pages. No, it isn’t the latest best seller, or the script for an award-winning film. It is Laudato Si', the latest papal encyclical on the protection of “our common home,” issued by Pope Francis. While encyclicals have historically been written with a Roman Catholic audience in mind, what makes this one unique is that it is addressed to every person on the planet. Given the pattern of Pope Francis’s embrace of and appeal to people from all walks of life to date, this inclusive call to action is hardly surprising.
“This book is so desperately needed in our movement. We need to blend passion with professionalism, and this book is going to help get us there.”
“It’s the practical handbook every activist should read.”
“This book is the definitive ‘how to’ for all animal advocates.”
These are just some of the things that have been said about Animal Impact: Secrets Proven to Achieve Results and Move the World by Caryn Ginsberg, and after reading the book, I have to agree with them!