Friday’s Animal Voices Radio Show
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Okay, so I’m a little biased–the hosts are Liberation BC‘s very own Joanne Chang, as well as VeganMania‘s Christa Trueman and Alison Cole of Earthsave. But it’s seriously an entertaining show and a great resource for animal advocates.
The first guest was Karen Levenson, of the Toronto-based Animal Alliance. The topic of discussion, the Canadian commercial seal hunt, always comes up around this time of year, of course. Levenson brought up the fact that the seal hunt is a dying industry. Very few people are making any money from it, least of all the hunters, and overall it’s costing Canada quite a bit to defend what is basically a national embarrassment. We chose to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to (unsuccessfully) stop the EU ban on seal products; instead, we could have used it to help train and transfer seal hunters into an industry that isn’t already on its way out. She also discussed the impressive effect of the Canadian seafood ban that so many restaurateurs–many of them top chefs–and individuals have agreed to.
In Canada, the ban is on seafood harvested in the eastern part of the country. One might think that we can get all the fish we want in BC’s coastal waters, but the truth is that with seafood shortages occurring all over the world, we can’t guarantee that we always will.
The show’s next guest was Jason Hribal, author of Fear of the Animal Planet: The Hidden History of Animal Resistance. A discussion of this book is particularly appropro after a trainer at Sea World was killed by a captive orca last week. In this book–which I’ll admit sounds fascinating–Hribal counters the idea that animals are willing, dumb, and docile captives; instead, as history shows us, plenty of them are actively fighting back.
Joanne pointed out that the recent attack of Tillicum received a great deal of attention because it occurred in front of an audience, and asked whether similar incidents happen more often than we hear about. Hribal said that they definitely do, and listed a number of attacks, many of which I didn’t know about. He also brought up the idea that in some situations, the animals have warned us–whales who have intentionally and repeatedly injuring trainers and spectators until finally (and again, with clear intent) killing one.
Would you believe that the head of the Vancouver Aquarium has suggested that orcas are incapable of conscious thought, and couldn’t possibly do this? I’m not terribly impressed with his professional opinion that these mammals, who have been proven time and time again to be surprisingly intelligent and complicated, are only slightly more capable of emotion and thought than a robot. But then, that’s why he’s in favour of keeping animals in cages, I guess. It doesn’t say much for his interest in ensuring that they’re happy or entertained, though, does it? (The Vancouver Aquarium does not have any orcas left, as far as I know, but they do have dolphins and some other large marine mammals.)
The assumption that whales couldn’t ever intend to hurt people–that they’re playing or that it was an accident–is also an altogether dangerous statement. Park managers and other officials have been insisting upon it for some time, even as trainers and employees, who presumably know their animals far better, abandon their jobs out of concern for personal safety. This refusal to upset the profit margin of the park has often had injurious and sometimes fatal results.
Anyway, next week’s guest is apparently going to be the producer of the new Peaceable Kingdom. If you managed to see the first Peaceable Kingdom while it was out, you can understand why everyone is so excited about this upcoming release!
Be sure to tune in if you can! Animal Voices airs every Friday from noon to 1 pm on Co-op Radio 102.7 FM.