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Environment and Animal Rights Presentation


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A presentation from a forum organised by Animal Rights Advocates Inc. on the intersections of environmentalism and animal rights - where they converge and where they conflict and how we can move both forward ethically and responsibly.

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Environment and Animal Rights Presentation

  1. 1. Environmental and Animal Issues <ul><li>23 May 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>Sarah Clement, Animal Rights Advocates, Inc. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Introduction and about ARA </li></ul><ul><li>Setting the Scene: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Brief overview of animal rights and environmental philosophy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Environmental impact of animal agriculture and feral animals </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><li>Break </li></ul><ul><li>Questions and Open Discussion </li></ul>
  3. 3. About Us <ul><li>Volunteer not-for-profit organisation that campaigns for the abolition of animal exploitation </li></ul><ul><li>Education and Behavioural Change </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Resource production and distribution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Skill-building </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Media </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lobbying </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Political Lobbying </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lobbying other organisations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Other events this year: Animal Activist Law, Animal Rights + Human Rights, Cruelty Free Festival, Release of Vegan in Perth Guide, Launching Vegan Mentoring program, Art exhibition </li></ul><ul><li>Our Values: </li></ul><ul><li>Integrity </li></ul><ul><li>Non-Violence </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainability </li></ul><ul><li>Collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Equity and </li></ul><ul><li>Social Justice </li></ul>
  4. 4. Why are we doing this? <ul><li>ARA is an abolitionist organisation, and as such we recognise the similarities between speciesism and other 'isms'. </li></ul><ul><li>We also recognise that the same root causes causing animal suffering are causing environmental degradation. </li></ul><ul><li>Linking with other causes offers benefits for all involved, and helps us all better understand the connections. </li></ul><ul><li>Overlap between issues – important to highlight those links and discuss the challenges, as well as the natural connections. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Environmental Philosophy <ul><li>Relevance and importance </li></ul><ul><li>Some key questions it seeks to answer: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Does nature have intrinsic value, or is it valuable on because humans deem it to be so </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What uses of the environment to fulfil human needs are appropriate? Which aren't? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What responsibility do we have to conserve the environment for future generations? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Should a particular place or species be protected? Why or why not? </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Environmental Philosophy <ul><li>Many names and ways of describing environmental philosophy, but are sometimes broadly divided into three categories (overlap): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>'Radical' ecophilosophy (e.g. deep ecology, ecofeminism, social ecology) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>N eed for a paradigm shift, not reform. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Roots: anthropocentrism, patriarchy,social hierarchy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Environmental ethics (e.g. weak anthropocentrics, ecohumanists, conservationists, libertarian and ecological extension, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Extend moral consideration into the non-human world </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Roots: anthropocentrism, dualism </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Peter Singer, Aldo Leopold, James Lovelock </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Environmental Philosophy <ul><li>Anthropocentric reformism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Law and policy reform,land ownership, education and awareness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Roots: shortsightedness, ignorance, greed, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The mainstream environmental movement largely falls under this umbrella. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Often depicted as a spectrum, from anthropocentrism to non-anthropocentrism (or biocentric or ecocentric, etc). </li></ul>
  8. 8. Animal Rights Philosophy <ul><li>Some key questions: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Are humans superior to non-human animals? Do we have special moral status? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Should animals be considered in our moral considerations? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Do animals have rights? What rights? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Do we have the right to use and own animals? If so, for what purposes and under what circumstances? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Are there justifications for inflicting suffering on non-human animals? If so, what are they? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Animal Welfare and Animal Rights <ul><li>As before, there are many ways of describing categorising the various philosophies </li></ul><ul><li>Animal liberation movement – includes non-human animals in our moral considerations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tom Reagan: ascribes inherent value, and thus moral rights, to non-humans, but not equal consideration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Peter Singer: utilitarian – greatest happiness to greatest number </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gary Francione: abolitionist animal theory of animal rights </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Currently, debate focuses largely on animal welfare versus animal abolitionism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Welfarists advocate for stronger laws preventing cruelty and requiring humane treatment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Abolitionists oppose and and all human use of animals </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Abolitionist Animal Rights Philosophy <ul><li>Root cause of problem: Animals as property </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The most basic right of a sentient being, whether they are human or any other animal, is the right to not be someone else's property. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Human and non-human animals are sentient and have an interest in avoiding pain, suffering, and death. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Using animals as resources causes pain, suffering and death. We have a moral obligation to not inflict unnecessary suffering on non-humans. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All sentient beings have an interest, and the right, not to be treated as property. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>These interests are morally significant, even if they are different than those of humans. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Overlap <ul><li>Similar attitudes lead to similar problems (e.g. anthropocentrism, social structures, patriarchy) lead to domination over nature, including nonhuman animals. </li></ul><ul><li>Have similar ideals, even if the goals aren't always identical, e.g. including animals in our moral considerations, challenging human dominance and the use values of nature. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Environmental Impacts of Animal Agriculture <ul><li>Livestock: 18 percent of anthropogenic GHG emissions, more than transport. 37% of methane (23 times more potent than CO2) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Deforestation is a major contributor </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Water pollution: pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, pathogens, fertilisers, pesticides and sediments. One cow's phosphorus output is equivalent to 18-20 humans (grazing at pasture or in a feedlot). Eutrophication, habitat depletion, reduced biodiversity, etc. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Environmental Impacts <ul><li>Slaughter: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blood (which has a high biological oxygen demand), fat, rumen contents and solid waste (e.g. intestines, hair and horns). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>100 kg of paunch manure and 6 kg of fat per tonne animal flesh, on average </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Resource Intensive: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Requires 6 kg plant protein to produce 1 kg animal protein </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>60% of maize and barley is fed to animals, not humans </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Some Australian Examples <ul><li>Agriculture accounts for about two-thirds of water consumption. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Of this, livestock, pasture, dairy, and grains account for about 55% </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Major driver of deforestation and biodiversity loss </li></ul><ul><li>About 58 percent of Australia’s land is devoted to agriculture, most of which is for grazing animals and producing animal feed. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>35 percent of WA modified by pasture, (doesn’t include land devoted to feedlots, dairy operations, poultry production or growing livestock feed) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Intensive farming is increasingly common, sig. environmental/AR implications </li></ul>
  15. 15. Some Australian Examples <ul><li>Feedlots not just abroad: 700 accredited beef feedlots in Australia </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Approximately 40% of Australia’s total beef supply, 80% of beef sold in major domestic supermarkets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accounts for most of the growth over the past decade in the beef industry </li></ul></ul><ul><li>98% of pigs in Australia are reared in intensive conditions. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Animal Rights Perspective <ul><li>Impacts </li></ul><ul><li>Overlap with environmentalists </li></ul><ul><li>Conflicts (real and perceived) </li></ul>
  17. 17. Non-native/invasive/pest/feral animals <ul><li>Both plants and animals </li></ul><ul><li>Invasives: focus is on non-native species that affect the environment or economy </li></ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rabbits, foxes, camels, cats, dingoes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cane toads, house gecko </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Carp, trout, perch </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fire ants, honey bees, millipedes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pigeons, common starling </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Non-native species from other regions can also be problematic </li></ul><ul><li>Native species can also be considered pests </li></ul>
  18. 18. Feral/invasive/pests in Australia <ul><li>Method of introduction: from deliberate (e.g. to hunt or to eradicate other pests) to accidental (e.g. imported) </li></ul><ul><li>Our view of 'pests' depends on our perspective and changes over time in society </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Native animals have been considered 'pests' and have faced extinction as a result (e.g. Tasmanian devils, spotted quolls) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  19. 19. What makes Australia unique? <ul><li>Change has been slow: continental drift and geologic stability </li></ul><ul><li>Climate – El Nino more influential than seasons </li></ul><ul><li>Animals often 'living on the edge' </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Poor soil quality, nutrient poor food sources </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Coevolution and interdependencies </li></ul>
  20. 20. Why are feral animals so damaging? <ul><li>They have few natural predators, and may prey on native animals </li></ul><ul><li>Often can reproduce more quickly than native animals </li></ul><ul><li>Compete for resources (e.g. food and habitat) with native animals </li></ul><ul><li>Often reproduce more quickly than native animals </li></ul><ul><li>May carry disease, to which native animals have no immunity, and destroy habitat (e.g. grazing and erosion) </li></ul><ul><li>Damage property (e.g. pigeons) </li></ul>
  21. 21. Control Methods <ul><li>“ Conventional”, e.g. baiting, trapping, shooting, fencing, bashing. </li></ul><ul><li>Biological, e.g. predators, parasites, disease-carrying viruses or bacteria </li></ul><ul><li>The use of bounties is common in Australia </li></ul>
  22. 22. Problems <ul><li>Questionable efficacy </li></ul><ul><li>Little protection for feral animals under the law </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Exemption in animal welfare law for killing pests, so long as it's in a way that is 'usual and reasonable' </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Simply have to take 'reasonable steps' to ensure you don't kill other animals in the process </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Code of practice for capture and marketing of feral animals does not include wild animals </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Enforcement issues (e.g. feral pigs) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Problems <ul><li>Common methods of killing would be considered inhumane (e.g. 1080/Sodium fluoroacetate) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Western Shield Program – wild dogs and foxes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tension between animal rights and environmental protection? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul>