Freedom, Compassion and Co-Existence in the Human Age: The Animals’ Agenda, with Marc Bekoff, and Roaring Silence Vancouver

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It’s rodeo season again – that time of the year where thousands of people will convene together to engage in the “entertainment” of cruelty to animals (such as in the chuckwagon racing and calf roping events), which both harms and kills animals every year. The Vancouver Humane Society has a campaign to to call on this weekend’s Williams Lake Stampede to end cruel rodeo events. Canada’s largest rodeo, the Calgary Stampede, takes place July 7-16. To start this show, we discuss the rodeo: a big business of condoning violence and animal abuse, and passing on the message of exploitation as the norm to our children.

Daphna Kedem, Roaring Silence Vancouver

roaringsilenceFor our first interview, we have local Vancouver animal advocate Daphna Kedem on the show. She is the organizer of the Vancouver edition of the Roaring Silence demonstration event, which will take place next Saturday, July the 8th in downtown Vancouver.

This is a global silent demo that strives bring awareness and heighten compassion for the animals who are killed, exploited, confined and tortured in the food and fur industries, for research, for entertainment, fashion, and as decoration. In Canada alone, in just one year the industries kill 34 million cows, 21.4 million pigs, 708 million chickens, turkeys and ducks, 4 million animals for fur and over 90 million tons of fish.

In this interview, Daphna tells us more about the event, and how you can take part! And be sure to check out the event’s Kickstarter campaign here and the Facebook event page here. (Over 160 attending so far!)

Dr. Marc Bekoff, The Animals’ Agenda: Freedom, Compassion, and Coexistence in the Human Age

animalsagendaFor our feature interview, we have Dr. Marc Bekoff on the show, who is a world renowned animal behaviour expert. Marc is a former Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and is a Fellow of the Animal Behavior Society and a past Guggenheim Fellow. In 2000 he was awarded the Exemplar Award from the Animal Behavior Society for major long-term contributions to the field of animal behavior. Marc is also involved with many other organizations in advising roles, such as the Jane Goodall Institute, Minding Animals International, and Predator Defense.

Dr. Bekoff’s main areas of research include animal behavior, cognitive ethology (which is the study of animal minds), and behavioral ecology, and he has also published more than 1000 papers and 30 books on animal issues. His most recent book is called “The Animals Agenda: Freedom, Compassion, and Co-Existence in the Human Age”, co-authored with Jessica Pierce, which explores the real-world experience of five categories of animals, beginning with those who suffer the greatest deprivations of freedom of choice – chickens, pigs, and cows in the industrial food systems – as well as animals used in testing and research, including mice, rats, cats, dogs and chimpanzees.

In this interview, we speak with Marc about some of the topics covered in the book, enveloped in the presiding theme of the ethics of animal welfare science. How can we consider the welfare of animals in such settings as industrial farms, zoos and aquariums, and lab research when the animals’ baseline situation starts with being held captive and no freedom?

Animal welfare science deflects attention away from the moral concern of animals in captivity, and presents a paradox that dictates that animals are here for us to use, while trying to show them “respect and dignity”. Marc tells us about the evolution of animal welfarism since the 1960s, dissects some key components in the areas that humans use animals, and explains how welfarism appeals to our “democratic spirit”, but has failed to acknowledge the voices of the largest stakeholders, which are the animals themselves.

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