The Fictions of Our Animal-Consuming Culture, and New Discoveries in Animal Intelligence

Listen to this show here!

On last week’s show, we spoke about the recent deaths of Aurora and Qila, mother and daughter beluga whales who were living in captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium for many years.

To start this show, Jen tells us about developments between animal activists and VanAqua since then (and as portrayed in the mainstream media). She also urges us to sign the No Whales in Captivity petition here, to prompt the Vancouver Park Board to put a ban on bringing in new whales and dolphins to live at the aquarium. Also, there will be another demonstration at the Vancouver Aquarium on Sunday, December 4th at 12:30-4:30pm. Please attend if you can. Further details can be found here.

Leora Eisen, film director, Think Like An Animal


For our first interview, we are joined by Leora Eisen, who is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker specializing in documentaries. Her work has appeared on CBC, Radio-Canada, TVO, Discovery, History network, to name a few and she has also acted as a senior producer in CBC’s independent documentary unit.

Leora is a recipient of a Gemini award, two Gemini nominations and the Dave Rogers Award for Best Feature Documentary. Last week, her documentary Think Like an Animal  aired on CBC’s “The Nature of Things” and in this interview, she discusses some of the main findings in the film, from sperm whales engaging in complex conversations, to hummingbirds with great memories, to Esther the Wonder Pig, to iguanas who react at watching horror films.

For a limited time, in Canada, you can watch this Nature of Things documentary here for free! And here is a short clip from the film, featuring one of our favorite porcine friends, Esther the Wonder Pig:

YouTube player

Robert Grillo, Farm to Fable: The Fictions of Our Animal-Consuming Culture

robert-grillo_childrenOur feature interview is with Robert Grillo, an activist, author and speaker. He is the director of the organization Free From Harm, which he founded in 2009 to expose animal agriculture’s impact on non-human animals, vulnerable communities, and the environment. In his first and just published book “Farm to Fable: The Fictions of Our Animal-Consuming Culture”, Robert dissects the cultural forces that drive our food choices, and the reasons for the notion that we have a right to consume non-human animals.

In this interview, he speaks about some of these reasons, to draw a better understanding of where these beliefs derive from and why. We learn about how children’s empathy is taken away into adulthood, culture hegemony, humane-washing, the myth of consent by animals, invisibility of animals, hunting, the power of language, why to engage as a social activist, and more!

The ideas discussed in his book are powerful, and we encourage you to read the book to gain a deeper understanding of the impact that our culture has on society that enables people to think and act in such an uncompassionate way – even though people, as a whole, are compassionate. How can we reignite this compassion to align ethics with actions?



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