Anthony Marr Interview
October 2 2010
Anthony Marr, environmentalist and animal rights activist, holds a physics degree and has worked as a field geophysicist and an environmental technologist. Anthony is the author of “OMNI-SCIENCE and the Human Destiny” (2003) and “Homo Sapiens! SAVE YOUR EARTH!” (2008).
A full-time wildlife preservationist since 1995 and founder of the Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC), and Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE); Anthony also leads HOPE’s Global Emergency Operation (GEO) on mass extinction due to global warming.
A key speaker at the AR Conference since 2004, Anthony is currently on his 7th Compassion for Animals Road Expedition (CARE-7) covering 40 states in 7 months.
Anthony was recently honoured with the title “Best All Round Activist of 2010” by two top U.S. animal rights organizations. Anthony was also honoured at the 2010 Animal Rights National Conference with the prestigious “Henry Spira Grass Roots Activist Award for his outstanding contribution in animal liberation.”
ARZone: Hi Anthony, you’re currently on your 7th Compassion for Animals Road Expedition (CARE-7) covering 40 states in 7 months. Could you please explain the goals of this tour and what you hope to achieve?
Anthony Marr: The goals of this and every tour are:
A. To understand in depth the state of AR, environment, politics and activism throughout the United States,
B. To network with the top AR, vegan and environmental organizations and activists in every state,
C. To assist these groups and individuals when called upon, in whichever way I can,
D. To speak on AR and the environment (the Methane Time Bomb and Runaway Global Heating and their impact on life on Earth) to as many groups as would host such events,
E. To speak at the Animal Rights Conference,f. to conduct media events whenever the situations allow,g. to forge coalitions (e.g. the Global Anti-Hunting Coalition)
That’s about it
A chat like this is a bonus!
What is your prediction for Planet Earth and global warming; which will affect all animals; human and nonhuman?
This is a huge subject, and one that needs to be asked.
The first thing I can say is that the climate situation is much more serious, and urgent, than we have thought. Google “than expected”, and you will see lots of articles where scientists say, “much more serious than expected” or much faster than expected”. To answer why, we have to start with Latent Heat. Take a pot and fill it with ice-water, with 1 kg (2.2 lbs) of ice cubes, and stir it with a thermometer. The temperature of the ice water is about 0 degrees C (32F). Put the pot on a stove and turn on the heat. The water temperature won’t begin to rise until all the ice has melted. It takes 80 calories of heat to melt 1 gram of ice without raising the water temperature by 1 degree. So, the initial 80,000 calories of Latent (hidden) Heat from the stove go into melting the ice without warming the water. Once the ice has all melted, however, the water temperature will rise steeply.
The Arctic Ocean is a gigantic pot of ice water with sea ice on top, and the ice is melting fast, which currently is keeping the Arctic Ocean cool. But at the current melt rate, the Arctic ocean will be ice free in the summer some time within this coming decade, as of that point the water will warm up sharply. This will cause havoc in the rest of the world.
The effects are many, but mainly a global drought, food shortage, famine in many places, species extinction. It will also cause the Arctic permafrost to melt big time, releasing large amounts of methane, leading to the detonation of the “Methane Time Bomb” which can drive the Earth into Runaway Global Heating.
Long story, but this would be good for starters.
Your CARE-7 Tour blog #22 mentions that if the recent disaster in the Gulf of Mexico didn’t “deal the almost omnipotent oil lobby a staggering blow, nothing else will.” I live in Florida & haven’t heard a word about it in at least a month. The oil lobby is alive & well. We live in a world where nothing matters unless news of it dominates the internet and TV. How can we work to ensure that a positive message of peace and respect for nonhuman animals gets the attention it deserves?
The “Oil Lobby” you mentioned is probably the most powerful one of all lobbies, including pharmaceutical, meat, insurance and hunting. Right now, there are 4 times more oil lobbyists than there are congressmen in Washington DC. America is caught up in the vicious cycle of the Oil Lobby indirectly controlling the public through mass media and directly controlling the government through political influence, and the controlled public won’t support a green government.
To shrug off the oil lobby is the key, but easier said than done. The oil companies are top profiting in the Fortune 500, but the gov still has to subsidize them, rather than putting $$ into developing green tech.
Whereas the EU is doing the right thing to develop a super-grid drawing solar from the Sahara and Arabian deserts, wind from the coast, geothermal from the Mediterranean and Iceland, etc. but due to the control of Oil on the US government, no such plan exists, that I’m aware of.
So in the next oil crisis, the EU will be okay, but the US may not be.
You are right, Tim, if the Gulf oil spill fails to ignite people into action, it just means that Big Oil has the people dumbed down and apathetic
What are the top three things we can do, as individuals, to fight global warming?
I suppose what will get people moving will be a much more serious thing, such as empty shelves in Safeway. To answer Catherine’s question:
a. Three top things to fight global warming: beware, care, and act. Being unaware is not an option. Caring for nothing is not an option. Doing nothing is not an option.
Okay, a, be aware, b. live green, and c. save the planet. In other words, just being and even living, is not enough. At this critical juncture, we have all to be activists.
There are 3 levels of action:
a. personal – be Veg, go green, act
b. national: no less than a complete paradigm shift
c. Global: promote international cooperation to recool the planet, including reduce carbon concentration in the atmosphere to below 350 ppm (currently, it is at 388 ppm, over 110 ppm higher than 130 years ago.
d. Is extremely expensive and no single country can do it alone. Must require global cooperation. to the tone of >$100 billion per annum. And where does this money come from?
I can see only one source the global military – costing $1.4 trillion ($1,400 billion)if all nations agree to shave their own military budget by 10%, we could liberate $140 billion per year to save the planet and all life on Earth.
What steps do you see as necessary for our country to make to effect change and progress toward stopping global heating and climate change?
For your country (speaking as a Canadian), it must shake off the Big Oil Influence. US government should invest in green technology, instead of, currently, pouring subsidizes into oil and coal, which are already top profiting corporations in the Fortune 500, while Europe is developing a super-grid drawing solar power from the Sahara and Arabian, wind power from the coast, geothermal energy from the Mediterranean and Iceland.
Scotland, for example, is declaring 100% green tech by 2025, which is the first I’ve heard of, and is not soon enough. America currently does not have such a plan. It is still the Oil Economy.
It is said that realizing just 10% of the solar potential of only one desert state, e.g. Nevada, it could provide all the electricity needed for the entire nation but Big Oil is snuffing out all such plans.
First ting to do is to stop subsidizing Big Oil and King Coal, then put the money into green tech R&D. AND consider shaving the US military budget by 10% and put the saving into the global Green Fund (not yet established).
Global Green Fund, probably administered by the UN by international treaty.
I believe that Obama understands a lot of the truth, but is currently powerless to shrug off the yoke of Big Oil.
Anthony, you campaigned against Makah whaling, as well as conducting anti-whaling missions in Japan. Do you believe a stop will be able to be put to the horrific capture and slaughter of pilot whales and dolphins in Taiji? And what are your thoughts on the mass slaughter of pilot whales in the Faroes?
Abiding by the “Know Thy Enemy” principle, the little known fact is that the enemy is not as formidable as we think. In the entirety of Taiji, there are only one fishermen’s Co-op, comprising only 27 fishermen who practice dolphin slaughter with their 13 2-men fishing boats. And that’s it. At Futo, the dolphin slaughter was so fragile it was interrupted for several years resulting from only one fisherman turning against the slaughter in favor of whale watching tourism. There are ways of defeating both the Japanese slaughter and the Faroe butchery, as well as the Canadian seal massacre, all in one go. What it needs is collective will and global leadership. The European boycott against Canadian seal products has had a big impact on the Canadian sealing industry.
I believe an orchestrated multi-national coalition against whaling can do it. Currently, there is no such coalition
But we can build it.
What made you focus your energy on anti-hunting?
I worked for years in the wilderness, and lived and walked amongst the deer and the bears. I revere the sense of peace and harmony, to which recreational hunting certainly does not belong, with its inherent cruelty, arrogance, disrespect, callousness everything undesirable in the framework of compassionate and respectful society. I have seen animals killed before my own eyes by recreational hunters.
I have also seen the corruptive power of the hunting lobby on all levels of government. The prohunting clauses in the constitutions, the written-in and guaranteed majority of the “at least six out of the 11 voting members of the Fish and Game Council which determines wildlife management policy, six must be hunters, and another 3 must be farmers”, pseudo-democracy at its finest
And I am indignant about the hunter harassment laws under which you can go to jail for years for asking a group of hunters hunting on your land to leave, even though you may have NO HUNTING and NO TRESPASSING signs posted on your property – a trampling of ones basic constitutional rights, on tops of blood and guts in your own backyard.
Most of all, I oppose bow-hunting for its inherent recreational character (if I hunt for meat, I’d use a rifle), and for its built-in cruelty – statistically, the non-lethal wounding rate of bow-hunting is over 50%, meaning that of every hundred arrow-shot deer, 50 walk around with an arrow embedded in non-vital parts of their body, for days, weeks, months, in rare cases, years.
Also, although domestic animals have some measure to law protection, there is none for wild animals.
Finally, I acknowledge that hunted animals are just a faction in number of farm animals, but likewise, the number of activists working for farm animals outnumbers those working for wild animals many fold. All animals deserve their champion.
Before you founded Heal Our Planet Earth in 1999, you worked closely with tigers in India, is this something you would consider doing again at some stage?
Yes I would, if someone writes me a big check tomorrow. But this time, there will be a difference. While previously I was trying to save one species at a time, this time, we have to think about thousands or even millions of species at a time.
We are deep in the 6th mass extinction of this planet. 30 years ago, we estimated losing about 20 known species every day, or times 10 for species known and unknown. Now, the estimation is of 100-120 known species every day or up to 1200 species a day known and unknown.
Mass extinction #3 251 million years ago was caused by global warming, and drove 75% of all land species and 95% of all marine species to extinction. If this happens again, we stand to lose 16 million species on account of the irresponsible actions of one species, our own.
You seem to be a conservationist at heart, mainly concentrating concern at the level of species rather than individual rights bearers.
You once said that the life of one free-living rhino was worth that of a thousand domesticated chickens. Do you still hold to that?
I somehow doubt that I would have used those exact words. But when it comes to driving other species to extinction, our species has no right. I believe that animal rights include the most basic right to exist.
If the rhino species is on the verge of extinction, and especially when the root cause is us, then we have the moral obligation to protect that species.
You would probably feel the same if the planet is down to the last two chickens.
Some years ago, a prominent AR/AW group launched their “Eat the Whales” campaign, right at an IWC meeting, saying that if we eat a whale, the amount of meat would equal that of so many hundreds of thousands of chickens, and therefore would save the lives of the same number of chickens, so we should eat whales and not chickens. The anti-vegan aspect not withstanding, could you tell me where you stand on this?
If you equate the life of a whale to that of a chicken, then would you equate the life of a whale to that of a mosquito? If one has to be killed, would you flip a coin to give the mosquito an even chance?
I understand your view.
You seem to do a lot of advocacy focusing on individual causes. Do you also advocate for veganism?
I absolutely do. In fact, the vast majority of the groups sponsoring and hosting my talks are vegan. And I often say that a vegan world can support 10X more people than a carnivorous world. This having been said, I’d add that being vegan is undoubtedly a background necessity for being an ARA, but to merely be vegan is not enough. Vegans must also be activists.
Grist reported this week: “Sen. John McCain, once a champion of strong action to fight global warming pollution, has joined the rest of the Republican Senate caucus in questioning the overwhelming science. He said, global warming is “such a threat to our planet and our future and our children.” Now, like every other GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate this year, he opposes the climate policy he once supported.
Your response please?
McCain was probably the first candidate in the 2008 election to champion action to deal with global warming “What if it is real and we do nothing?” But as soon as he brought in Sarah Palin, his credibility is gone completely.
I’d like to thank you for visiting Tony and Tiger Truck Stop on your CARE 7 tour and bringing more exposure to Tony’s situation, a tiger used as a roadside attraction at a truck stop.
Your great efforts to help Tony are very much appreciated. Do you have any suggestions as to what more we can do to hopefully see Tony relocated to an accredited big cat sanctuary?
Yes, I do, sort of. We’ve tried all conceivable ways, including my own, which was to try to get Sandlin to let Tony go and establish a tiger conservation museum in place of the current “exhibit”, but he refused.
I think our best bet is to put heavy and unrelenting pressure on the Louisiana authorities until they get sick and tired of the hassle and just cancel the permit
12 years ago, ARZone member, Connie,I helped to co-teach a class called “Race to Save the Planet” Are you familiar with these videos and accompanying book and would some of us doing talks like this in the communities we live in help?
No, I have not seen the material, but I am aware of that program. If you have links, please send them along.
You are among a number of animal advocates who have defended riding horses. On the face of it, climbing onto the back of a member of a species selectively bred to tolerate this behaviour is a rights violation…
How do you respond to this point, and do you still ride horses?
This is another tough one
First of all, we have to differentiate commercial exploitation of horses, e.g. racing, from the individual human-equine relationships, the latter is more like that of a human-canine relationship. The only difference is the “riding” part.
In terms of riding, I’m not sure how to explain it, except that according to my own experience, the horse himself actually likes being ridden, much like I myself liking to carry my little godson on my shoulders. It is the way we interact.
If it is about the factor of humans dominating over other animals, I’d say that we all dominate over other animals in our day to day lives. Our own homes for example, sit on the previous habitat of wild animals. We have to somehow evict them from that piece of land so that we could call it our own. We all do it. At least in the individual human-equine relationship, there is true love between the two participants. I can vouch for this since I have many horse friends who take care of their horses better than themselves.
Anthony, can you please explain previously mentioned that you support animal rights. Do you think we can give ANY credibility to that claim when you endorse forcing other animals to carry your weight as these images of you riding an elephant and a horse shows?
Is it also true-love with the elephant?
Not a horse show, just exercising. Yes, I did ride an elephant, but that was in the context of my tiger preservation work. The true love was with the tiger, but I love elephants too If you understand the workings of saving the wild tiger, you will appreciate the need to go off road, and the elephant was the only way to do it.
Also, India is different from Thailand, the latter being atrocious, in contrast
In contrast, the India mahout the his designated elephant have a one-on-one relationship lasting a life time, like a marriage, the mahout is very dedicated to “his” elephant
They give the elephants noon-time massages, for example, and bathing in the river
You analogize riding a horse to having your godson on your shoulders. Did you buck and fight furiously to throw your godson off your back the first few times someone put him there, only acquiescing after being “broken” of the will to fight this violation? Don’t you think this response shows something about how “natural” and loving it is for a horse to have a human on their back?
Right off the bat, I said to differentiate commercial enterprises from individual human-equine relationships.The rodeo is a commercial enterprise that exploit horses commercially. Not so the individual relationship between a girl and a horse. I never use the word “break” a horse. And actually hold it in disdain.
I wasn’t speaking of rodeos; I was speaking of riding horses in general. I find “breaking” to be more accurate as it involves the “breaking” of their spirit to not have a human on them.
You said bucking a rider off
This is not a part of the human-equine relationship. It is almost a love affair. My previous horse-friend runs to me when she heard my car coming and not for a carrot either.
Isn’t bucking a way in which a horse tries to throw someone off their back? Not a rodeo term, an action.
We have to ask the horse himself/herself what they want.
Those horses I have anything to do with do not try to buck me off.
So, were not these horses trained to have someone on their back prior to you, or did you meet a wild horse that came up to you and knelt down and “asked” you to ride them, showing no discomfort?
I’d say that there is not much difference between putting a halter on a horse and putting a collar on the neck of a dog.
A humanely treated horse never wants to buck someone off.
Anthony, does the use of the halter include the use of the bit?
As I said, it is almost impossible to explain to someone with no experience with horses what a human-equine relationship means and feels like, and, yes, the horse enjoys it. Ask the horse.
For example, I want to know if Mr. Marr uses a standard “bit” in the mouth of a horse. From the pictures, it looks like he does. Surely that is wrong?
Not at all, it is an egg-butt snafle. It is rounded and smooth, and serves only to transmit a signal to the horse. The signal is supposed to be so subtle that onlookers are not supposed to see it.
Another is a soft rubber snaffle that is sift.
As I said, essentially, there is no difference between a bridle on a horse and a leash on the neck of a dog.
One last comment on the horse issue, again, it is the ideology of one species dominating over another.
I’d repeat that there are no wild animals living in the houses of those who oppose the human equine relationship, even they have to evict the wild animals from their natural habitat so that the houses can be wild-animal-free
I also used the hackamore, which has no bit.
Anyway, thank you for discussing the horse issue. If you condemn it, go ahead. But you condemn a huge sector of the AR movement.
Thank you, fair exchange.
Thanks, Anthony, for being willing to address this topic
Okay, let’s agree to disagree on the horse issue.
Your CARE-7 Tour blog #19 recounts your 2 hr ordeal with law enforcement personnel on the Louisiana roadside. Can you elaborate on the dangers facing all AR activists as labels like “eco-terrorist” are being used to marginalize and silence us?
Thank you for a good question. There is no doubt that we ARAs are second class citizens in the eyes of the law.
The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act is a stark body of law that aims to disable the AR movement, turning what is considered effective activism into terrorism e.g. previously effective activism caused the opponent financial loss. Now, if we achieve this, even with peaceful and non-violent means, it is terrorism. A decline of $10,000 suffered by an animal enterprise can get you 6 months in jail. $1 million, and it could get you 6 years.
Re. the Gulf oil spill, cover-up is the key word. In this context, even taking a picture is a crime.
What are the top three things activists can do to make a difference and effect change in animal rights issues as a whole?
This is not an easy question either.
I can name a few basic ingredients according to my own experience.
First, we must identify the real enemy and engage it to our best advantage.
Second, we should NOT spend a significant amount of time and energy criticising each other for differences that cannot be avoided.
Third, we must be always creative in dealing with the enemy.
Fourth, the Power of One is not to be under-estimated. Under certain situations, a single individual can be more effective than a whole organization
Fifth, we must eliminate financial corruption from within our movement, e.g. lavish salaries from donations meant for the animals.
Sixth, we must exercise more endurance than the enemy.
Seventh, we must seek to Know Thy Enemy, and defeat him via his Achilles’ heel.
Eighth, be sensible, but fearless.
Ninth, press on with your own belief – you can’t please everyone, so you’ve gotta please yourself.
Tenth, good luck. 🙂
I would like to thank everyone for their input, positive and negative.
Again, we can’t agree on everything so, let’s work together on the areas in which we agree.
Thank you, Anthony. These are contentious questions about important issues. It is good to have open discussions on them.
I enjoy debating, and the tougher the questions, the better. 🙂
Any more questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Animal Rights Zone (ARZone) is a voluntary, grassroots, abolitionist animal rights social network created in December 2009 with the aim of encouraging rational dialogue in the animal protection movement.