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EPA rejects review of WA shark cull

There has been much uninformed criticism of the WA cull. Similar culling practices already occur in NSW and Queensland. But the EPA also gets it wrong. The EPA boss says that public opinion is irrelevant to issues of environmental protection a statement that is entirely false. In fact the way most environmental protection measures are [...]

Thailand facing civil war

What is happening in Thailand comes close to open class warfare – it can spill over into full-blown civil war rather than just sporadic gun fights unless the opposition Democrats back down and reengage with the political process. They refused to engage in elections yesterday because, even though they oppose the current government, they know [...]

Thailand’s new fascism?

What is happening in Thailand suggests a possible move toward dictatorship. The Yellow Shirts (and their political representatives in the Democrat Party) are a fascist group who want to suspend democracy and replace it with an unelected council of their choosing. They oppose elections even being held because they know the Democrats will lose.

The [...]

Nepal shifts to the right

Living in this fascinating country had lead me to focus on their current election. The communist insurgency ended in 2008 but there really hasn’t been effective government in Nepal since that time. There are signs that the election held a few weeks ago may have ended this nightmare. A coalition between the pro-India Congress Party [...]

Don’t buy civet coffee

This YouTube shows why. It isn’t fashionable or smart to use coffee beans that have been passed through the arse end of a civet. It promotes cruelty to the animals.

So too is eating civet – in China they are considered a delicacy that strengthens sex organs. Ancient Chinese medicine or ancient baloney?

Mother nature [...]

Elephant ivory

I read in NewScientist that the US Fish and Wildlife Service are crushing and destroying 6 tonnes of illegally-poached elephant ivory. The obvious response as an economist to this action is that it might be better to sell the ivory on the open market thereby deflating its price and reducing incentives for further illegal poaching. [...]

Jade Scorpion

In the AFR Friday I read an amazing story that seems so fantastic that it strains credibility. A province in northern Myanmar (Burma) mines jade primarily for the Chinese market. Up to 500,000 workers in these mines are kept addicted to Golden Triangle heroin by mine bosses who subject them to slave-like working conditions. An [...]

Lankov on North Korea

I am fascinated by North Korea and the book by Andrei Lankov intensifies my fascination. Its a bit like the guilty pleasure of gawking at an extreme traffic accident. A Stalinist monarchy that has survived its own massive and obvious internal contradictions. Lankov’s premise – the North Korean leadership is ruthlessly logical and efficient. They [...]

Killing animals: The case of hunting

I recently joined a group of hunters pursuing Sambar deer in central Victoria – the mountainous area not far from Walhalla. As one who teaches classes on animal rights I do have strong views on the subject but wanted to see myself what goes on. To be clear I did not hunt myself – I [...]

Cattle in national parks

Should government allow 25,000 cattle to starve or does it allow them to graze (until the next wet season) in protected nature reserves where they will certainly damage the natural environment? If this is an accurate way of posing the issues – I am unsure that the choices are as stark as this* – there [...]

Bob the Hunter: I want to kill, kill, kill,…….

A group of barbarian hunters went on a rampage over the last few days and wiped out close to 1000 birds in a Victorian wetland. They didn’t hunt for a feed but to gain pleasure from killing. 600 ducks killed were left where they were shot. The killers also shot raptors, black swans and other [...]

End the live export trade

The images coming out of Egypt of Australian cattle being tortured by some* dehumanised cretins demand that the live export of animals for food to that country end. Why is it Animals Australia that always uncovers these hideous outcomes? Why not the official inspection agencies? How can anyone have confidence in Minister Ludwig’s claim that [...]

Octopi

What animals should be assigned moral status? Some (like Peter Singer) draw the lines at crustaceans and shrimp? What about octopuses (octopi?) These creatures have remarkable intelligences including the ability to change their colour to suit their environment. They also have remarkable straightforward reasoning power in anthropocentric terms.

I liked this piece in the NY [...]

Protecting animals from torture as a form of terrorism

I was interested to read in the NYT that in a dozen US states it is now (i) Illegal for unauthorised whistle-blowers to make videos of workers harming farm animals and (ii) that any such videos must be turned into the authorities and not screened. The grounds seem to be that this form of whistle-blowing [...]

Feral cat eradication as racism?

This is probably the silliest op-ed I have seen in many years. At least on conservation issues. It argues that seeking to control feral cats is unnecessary since there is no evidence linking species extinctions to feral cat predation. It doubles up on the stupidity by arguing that the dislike of feral cats [...]

Animal ethics

I am doing some work on environmental and specifically animal ethics. Comments appreciated on this first draft on the animal ethics topic. (1444)

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Killing animals cruelly

I am a somewhat uncomfortable carnivore who eats meat daily. Uncomfortable because I value the life of all sentient beings but continue to eat the flesh of animals killed for human consumption. There are standard arguments I can plausibly tell to justify this practice (it encourages additional animals to gain access to life etc) but, [...]

Animal welfare again

I am pleased that the issue of animal cruelty has been raised in relation to the ritual killing of sheep and other animals for Jewish and Muslim consumers. It is important that humans extend their scope of welfare concerns to both all forms of human life and to non-human life as well. This is not [...]

Animal rights

Throughout my life I have been a somewhat hypocritical carnivore. I eat meat (and invest in agricultural businesses) but fundamentally dislike the notion of killing animals for food. The best way I can live with this hypocrisy is to seek to promote humane treatment of the animals that as a human I do eat. I [...]

Yao Ming on ‘finning’

I was delighted to see an advertisement on CCTV Beijing where a legendary Chinese basket baller, the 7 foot 6 inch, Yao Min, rejects a plate of shark’s fin soup. In fact, as I later found out, he has been pursuing a campaign against the appalling practice of ‘finning’ (removal of a shark’s fin and [...]