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Guest Post: Christian Vegetarianism: Misconceptions and Common Grounds

by James Morrison

James is a relatively recent graduate of the University of Auckland, who admits to an imprudent admiration of St Francis alongside a prodigious capacity for cognitive dissonance. He is currently researching the history of education law in New Zealand while contemplating matching words with deeds.

I am an amateur rather than a scholar of moral theology and the Bible, but I hope that by commenting on the relation of Christianity to veganism or vegetarianism, I can contribute to a more reasoned discussion of this topic than comes from some quarters whose enthusiasm can obscure accuracy.

The first point that I want to make has to do with ‘animal rights’ and ‘animal welfare’.  Christianity does not support animal rights.  It does support animal welfare.  This may well disappoint the more hardcore vegans and vegetarians. Continue reading

Animal Migration

by Susy Pryde

Doth the hawk fly by Thy wisdom and stretch her wings toward the south?
Book of Job (39:26)

CaribouWith the Easter holidays approaching, chances are our family will join the ‘kiwi’ holiday migration for a bit of a lie around with a novel, aiming to accomplish nothing in particular for a few days. Technically it is not a necessary ritual though we do consider it a retreat to a more hospitable habitat.

But what if migrating at certain times of the year was necessary for our survival, as is the case in the animal kingdom?  Imagine coordinating an epic journey over weeks or even months, crossing multiple borders or oceans in order to breed, find food, or escape seasonal changes. Continue reading

Fur Is Dead! Well, not in New York

Fur is back in the news. The New York Times reports that ‘[f]or the first time in more than two decades, more designers are using fur than not.’ In New York alone, 2/3 of its fashion designers are using fur. The grisly facts of fur are well known and yet fur is staging a comeback. Why? In its report, the Times suggests that the increase in fur is due to an aggressive marketing campaign by fur producers:

Much like lobbying groups in Washington, various cooperatives representing breeders, farmers and auction houses around the world solicit designers to use their furs.

Continue reading

Charges Finally Laid in Wellsford Killings

Well, it took awhile, but charges have been laid in relation to the Wellsford dog killings.  Stay tuned for more details.

Guest Post: The Animal Casualties of War

by Susy Pryde

Susy is in the last semester of her LLB.  She studied in Animals and the Law in summer school 2010.  Throughout her degree, she has worked as a national cycling coach and ran a women’s cycling team based out of North America (since 2006).  She is a former full-time professional athlete.

English cavalry on the Western Front, 1916

‘Cry Havoc and let slip the dogs of war’
– William Shakespeare (Julius Caesar)

My brother in law rang my husband recently, to ask if the film, Avatar, would be too scary for their six year-old daughter. The cynic in me queried how a well-reasoned answer could come from dialing our number; we’re child-free and the source of such hoped for wisdom was from a man who abandoned a six year-old’s perspective decades ago. To his credit, he managed to point out that the story is set against large-scale war.  So, there are graphic scenes of flaming horses caught in the crossfire of battle. That might be somewhat disturbing. At least, he added, it would be for a six year-old girl with a growing ‘My Little Pony’ toy collection.

While the boys tailed off into discussions of war, I dwelled on the plight of animals in war: The collateral damage of human conflicts. Not long ago I began reading an historical account of animals used for military purposes.  As far back as 2100 BC, Hammurabi, the sixth King of Babylon and first known author of a written code of law (the Code of Hammurabi), championed the first known use of animals in warfare.  He employed large dogs to fight alongside his elite warriors. Continue reading

Another Fortnight, Another Links Digest

  • In shocking news, it’s not just animal welfare offences that the government plan to fix by raising maximum sentences: It’s assaults on police.  Experts disagree.  The same logic, of course, probably applies to animal welfare.
  • More coverage of the Swiss referendum on legal rights for animals:

The “No to the Useless Animal Lawyers’ Initiative” (yes, that’s actually the name of group) said, “Animal rights advocates are useless to animals. They can’t prevent animal abuse because they only get involved after it has been perpetrated.”

Is that how they feel about police officers? Child welfare and social services?