Upsetting the balance



Here is a scene I recall from a wildlife documentary. It involved two groups of chimpanzees living side by side in Africa which are sometimes drawn into conflict. Every now and again a chimp is attacked by the other group and injured or even killed. On one occasion, a female chimpanzee unluckily became separated from her tribe and was targeted by the other clan. A number of chimps began to track her down through the jungle in an apparently coordinated hunting party as she ran for her life in panic and terror. But the assailants were too fast and too well organized, and the female was fatally wounded by their savage attack.

The viewer of this footage may ask the question: assuming the absence of serious personal risk, should the documentary makers have intervened to save her, perhaps by distracting the pursuers and giving her the chance to get back to her group? For many people the answer to this will be that obviously they should not. For, it may be said, these are wild and free-living animals, and the people making the film are merely observers of what happens naturally in the wild.

Is this right? And, moreover, is it true that we should never intervene to assist free-living animals? There is a larger question here of what right and what responsibility we humans have to alter the lives of naturally occurring animal populations. For example, should we intervene when a group of wild animals suffer from prolonged drought or lack of food brought about by natural changes in the environment? Continue reading Upsetting the balance

‘Sickening’ scandal dogs live export industry

The actions of a concerned Egyptian veterinarian have thrown the live export industry in to yet another scandal.
In April Mahmoud Abdelwahab corresponded with animal welfare group Animals Australia, and they subsequently obtained footage of slaughterhouses in Egypt.
The footage shows cruelty in facilities that the live export industry has previously deemed to meet Australian standards.
It was given to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) and Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig, has described it as “sickening.”
In one segment of footage, an abattoir worker attempts to kill an injured animal by cutting its leg tendons.

Continue reading ‘Sickening’ scandal dogs live export industry