Animal Stories

This blog hasn’t focused much lately on the ‘diary’ part of web diary. I’ve found myself writing what I think about issues without mentioning so much about what I’ve been doing. I’ll try to redress this imbalance a bit.

What I’ll be doing tonight is engaging in the highly political activity of watching television – something I do very little of these days apart from looking at a bit of football and bits and pieces of news.

Tonight’s Australian Story on ABC TV profiles Brian Sherman and his family. He is a migrant to Australia who has set up Voiceless, a fund for animals that assists with increasing public awareness of the conditions many animals live in and getting better laws and policies to protect them. This fund is relatively new but has enormous potential to significantly improve things for animals in the future and to make the public more aware of ways they can easily help reduce animal suffering. A lot of people make a lot of money out of animals and it is very important to have some funds available to help put the animals’ side of the story.

Just to stay on the animals theme, tonight’s 4 Corners details the battle around Japan’s intention to increase the number of whales they kill each year. As I wrote last month, while I totally oppose whaling, I do wonder why people are (rightly) horrified by the slaughter of whales but don’t seem to have a problem with the slaughter of many other mammals on a much wider scale.

It might seem like a stretch to keep up the animal theme with tonight’s Enough Rope, which has interviews with East Timor President Xanana Gusmao and his wife Kirsty and with racing driver Peter Brock. However, it’s a chance for me to point out that Peter Brock has an interview from a few years ago on the Animal Liberation website talking about the reasons behind his being vegetarian/vegan for over ten years – not that I expect Andrew Denton to focus on this aspect of Peter Brock very much.

There are a few high profile Australian sportspeople who are vegetarian. Greg Chappell, former Australian cricket captain and recently appointed coach of India, is another who has been vegan for many years. While their diet is also driven by health factors, as Greg Chappell says even if you start for health reasons, “it is impossible to ignore the ethical and environmental aspects of our meat-eating culture.” All of this plays a role in slowly changing public attitudes and moving towards the goal which Brian Sherman and his Voiceless organisation are working towards. It happens to be a goal I share, so I thought I’d take the chance to give it a mention.

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4 Comments

  1. I am one of those hypocritical types who think that vegans probably are in the right place to be ethically, but am so attached to the idea of eating meat that it would be a monumental step for me to take to go vegan.
    Maybe one day.

  2. Even though I’m patron of the Qld Vegetarian/vegan society I still haven’t managed to become vegan. I’ve tried a few times, but have just found it too hard, especially when I’m travelling. Plus I still wear leather shoes, etc sometimes.
    It’s a bit like other philosophies – it’s an ideal to work towards rather than a competition as to who is the most ‘holy’. As George Monbiot has said – http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2005/06/30/save-us-from-ourselves/ – “Show me an environmentalist, and I will show you a hypocrite.” We all fall short in many ways, but if we insist on perfection before adopting an ideal, none of us would try to improve anything.

  3. “As I wrote last month, while I totally oppose whaling, I do wonder why people are (rightly) horrified by the slaughter of whales but don’t seem to have a problem with the slaughter of many other mammals on a much wider scale.”
    I must admit I’m not really horrified at the slaughter of whales. They are just animals like any other. If they are not endangered species (and Minke Whales aren’t) I don’t see why eating a whale is any different to eating a cow.
    The major problem with whaling, like fishing, is that there are no private property rights when it comes to whales.
    There’ll never be a shortage of cows because they are all owned by someone – you cant just go catch one and take it home unless you want to face dodging bullets from the owner. Whales and fish (in international waters) are a public good, and therefore its a case of first-come first-served.
    It’s like giving away free beer and wondering why people get so pissed.
    I’m currently in Japan, and I plan on trying some whale this weekend. If you like, you can take a look at the results, which I’ll post on my blog on Monday.

  4. I admire the reasoned discussion of these so emotive issues. I don’t know how many people realize that Bjorn Lomborg (author of the Skeptical Environmentalist) is a vegetarian and passionate about it.

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