Peter Wohlleben, author of the best-selling ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’, explores the emotions and intelligence of animals in his new book. New scientific discoveries in this field have big moral implications, he says. A review and an excerpt, plus the video of an eye-opening talk by animal ethologist Jonathan Balcombe on the inner life of animals.
From Mother Jones: Most scientists now agree that we are experiencing a sixth mass extinction, but unlike before, humans are responsible for this one. Here are some of the highlights from the Red List, the most comprehensive roster of threatened species available, including three that went extinct last year and others to watch out for in 2017.
Will Falk writes: Just like an owl on a chain is no longer an owl, and an elephant in a zoo is no longer an elephant, humans cut off from the nature are no longer human. We are animals and animals are an ongoing process of relationships. When those relationships become impossible, we lose ourselves.
From Hindustan Times: Man’s best friend has become a growing threat to India’s wildlife. As canine numbers rise in cities, towns and villages, entire ecosystems are being affected.They’ve attacked endangered stags in Kashmir and preyed on livestock in the Himalayas. Wild ass, gazelle, nilgai, blackbuck and deer have died of dog attacks in our sanctuaries.
John Sauven writes in The Guardian: Farm animals that are raised intensively require a staggering amount of animal feed and water. Livestock production occupies the vast majority of agricultural land and is the main reason why nearly 50% of the wildlife we share our planet with has disappeared since the start of the industrial revolution.
From Down To Earth: About 70 per cent of India’s livestock is owned by 67 per cent of the small and marginal farmers and the landless, who shifted to livestock in face of uncertain rain and dwindling income. New restrictions on cattle slaughter will severely cripple the livestock economy which is now bigger than crop economy.
When I wrote about vegetarianism, or more precisely, why I as an Indian environmentalist would not advocate it, I had expected an emotional response. My article was meant to provoke a discussion. Here’s what I learnt from the responses; let’s see if we can find a middle way—not to agree, but to debate and dissent.
Viva Kermani writes: Hinduism is the world’s largest nature based religion that recognises and seeks the Divine in nature and acknowledges everything as sacred. A loss of this understanding that earth is our mother, or rather a deliberate ignorance of this, has resulted in the abuse, and the exploitation of the earth and its resources.
Global Environmentalist writes: Your blog post has given every urban Indian a free pass to continue to devour animals as it pleases their taste buds, all in the name of ‘saving the farmers’. The question is, will these people be able to save themselves when we don’t have enough clean water, air and good health?
Farmers need options to take care of animals that are not producing milk. Or they will be forced to let them stray, to eat the plastic cities throw away and die. By banning meat we are literally taking away half the potential income the livestock owner possesses. It is stealing from the poor, nothing less.
The Centre has endorsed various states’ move to list wild animals – elephants in Bengal, monkeys in Uttarakhand, peacocks in Goa and nilgai in Bihar – as ‘vermin’, allowing them to be culled. With human-animal conflict once again in under the lens, we present a selection of articles that examine both sides of the story.
Martin Simpson writes: It is impossible to read Farmageddon without coming to the conclusion that the world’s food and agriculture system is screwed. This is a system that produces enormous quantities of food, yet wastes up to a third of it… What it also produces is environmental disaster, ill health in humans and stressful and unhealthy animals.
Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is a groundbreaking feature-length environmental documentary produced and directed by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn. It follows the intrepid filmmakers as they uncover the real impact of the livestock industry. The film investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations, including Greenpeace and Rainforest Action Network, are afraid to talk about it.
Wildlife conservationist Neha Sinha writes: In the past, environmentalists have often been blamed as obstructionist and anti-development. Legal environmental clearance processes have been described as green terrorism because questions of sustainable development and conservation do not always go hand in hand with polluting industrial expansion. But many environmentalists feel being called anti-cultural and anti-Hindu is something new.