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Last Sunday, we were saddened to learn that Hana the dolphin from the Vancouver Aquarium passed away after surgery was performed on her to treat a gastrointestinal illness. Because dolphins consciously decide to breathe, and it was reported that “she looked up at everyone to have her last breath and her heart just stopped”, there is speculation that Hana’s demise was actually the result of a suicide. To start the show this week, we discuss this possibility and why a dolphin in captivity would want to kill herself, as has occurred in the past with dolphins living under the rule of humans.
Twyla François, Animal Activism Through Art
For our first interview, we have Manitoba-based animal activist and artist Twyla François on the show. You may be familiar with Twyla’s past work for the animals that has included being the Canadian Head of Investigations for the international animal organization Animals’ Angels, the organizations Canadians for Ethical Treatment of Food Animals and the Canadian Horse Defense Coalition. Plus, she most recently served as the Director of Investigations for Mercy For Animals Canada where she oversaw the completion and release of seven ground-breaking undercover investigations.
But Twyla has an artistic side as well, and she expresses the memories of the animals she has encountered by creating beautiful artwork to not only honour them, but to raise awareness of the plight of farmed animals in a more gentler but hopefully equally compelling way.
She speaks to us about using artwork as a form of animal activism, and how this can be an effective form of outreach to the public that can potentially surpass other methods. She also shares with us some experiences with animals she has encountered and rescued, and then painted portraits of in order to share their stories.
Karen Davis, United Poultry Concerns, International Respect for Chickens Month
May is International Respect for Chickens Month, and to honour this special month, we have Karen Davis, Phd, on the show. Karen is the founder and President of United Poultry Concerns, which is the world’s foremost non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the respectful treatment of domestic fowl.
UPC runs a haven for chickens in Virginia, and also teaches people about the egg and chicken meat industries, the natural lives of free chickens, pleasures and benefits of human-chicken companionship, and alternatives to chicken farming and the use of chickens in education and scientific experimentation. In the time that we have for this interview today, Karen will be touching upon many of these issues that face the world’s chickens today.
In this interview, Karen shares some special stories that effectively illustrate the dichotomy between the innate nature and behaviours that chickens so dearly crave to act out in a natural environment, and the stifled and joyless “lives” that they usually are forced to lead as a result of our human domination over them, largely in factory farm situations.
Here is the extended 36 minute version of our interview with Karen, so that you don’t miss out on all the great stuff she said!
Here’s a fantastic video of Karen at the United Poultry Concerns chicken sanctuary, speaking about chickens: