26 February 2011
Bruce Friedrich is Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA).
Before joining PeTA more than a decade ago, Bruce spent six years running a shelter for homeless families and a soup kitchen in Washington, D.C., as well as leading demonstrations on behalf of unions and other causes.
In 2002, as Director of Vegan Campaigns, Bruce wrote, directed and produced “Meet Your Meat”, a video about animal agriculture, narrated by Alec Baldwin.
Bruce is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, was a contributor to the book “Terrorists or Freedom Fighters” (2004), wrote the forward of “Striking at the Roots” (2008-), and co-authored (with Matt Ball) “The Animal Activist’s Handbook” (2009)
Bruce is a frequent lecturer and debater on college campuses in the United States, including Harvard, Yale and Princeton Universities.
Bruce welcomes the chance to engage ARZone members today on a range of topics, from PeTA to his extensive advocacy to his philosophies in general.
ARZone: You regularly participate in vegan outreach; what is your objective in performing outreach, which form of outreach do you find most effective, and why?
Bruce Friedrich: It’s tough to know what’s most effective, but what I most enjoy is wearing my “Ask me why I’m vegetarian shirt” and putting a vegetarian bumper sticker on my laptop so people ask me “why are you a vegetarian?” or say “I love that sticker,” and that starts an impromptu conversation. Read more…
Prof. Colin Blakemore
19 February 2011
Professor Colin Blakemore is a British Neurobiologist at the University of Oxford, who has specialised in vision and the development of the brain, has published hundreds of scientific papers, a number of books and talks regularly in the media on these subjects and various related topics.
Colin Blakemore is a supporter of the use of nonhuman animals in medical research, recently arguing that animal experimentation is virtually the sole use of animals that can be morally defended on the grounds that such use is the ONLY one not done for pleasure or personal gratification. He has not participated in such experimentation in more than a decade and is known to have been horrified by fishing, to be opposed to hunting for sport and cosmetic testing on nonhuman animal subjects as well as viewing circuses and zoos unfavourably (see this video).
In 1992, along with Les Ward, then director of Advocates for Animals, Prof. Blakemore was a founding member of The Boyd Group, an independent think-tank concerned with the ethics of experimentation on other animals.
The group’s claimed objectives included reviewing the role of institutional ethics committees, refining laboratory animal use, the use of animals for testing cosmetics, genetic engineering, the use of non-human primates, and the use of animals in testing household products.
Speaking in The Observer in 2003, and in the spirit of The Boyd Group, Blakemore has said: ‘I believe in openness and dialogue’ and it is in this vein that he has agreed to participate in a wide-ranging discussion with ARZone.
Realising the controversy inherent between animal rights and the use of other animals of experimental test subjects, ARZone hopes to bring further understanding of both sides of this controversy to a wide and varied audience.
ARZone: Welcome Professor Blakemore. Despite the threats to your own safety, you have remained an advocate for open discussion about science and vivisection. Why is this so important to you?
Colin Blakmore: When I was first targeted with criticism of my research, and later threats and physical attacks, my fellow scientists just told me to keep my head down, on the assumption that the problem would go away. But I was offended and appalled by the things that were said about me and I thought that not responding to them would imply that I accepted them. So, I decided to try to engage, to answer the criticisms and to explain why research on animals, although unpleasant, is important for the future health of people and other animals. If scientists are to be believed and trusted by the public, they must be open and transparent in discussion about what they do and why, even when they are criticized. I think that’s true for all areas of science, but especially fields that raise sensitive ethical questions. Read more…
12 February 2011
Matt is co-founder (along with Jack Norris) and Executive Director of Vegan Outreach. Matt co-founded Vegan Outreach in 1993, to fill a void he and Jack saw in animal activism at the time.
Vegan Outreach activists have since distributed millions of detailed animal advocacy booklets around the world, with distribution growing every year.
Before working full-time as the Executive Director of Vegan Outreach, Matt was a Department of Energy Global Change Fellow, and attained degrees in the Department of Forest Ecology at the University of Illinois, and the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University.
Matt co-authored THE ANIMAL ACTIVIST’S HANDBOOK, with Bruce Friedrich in March 2009.
Matt was elected into the Animal Rights Hall of Fame in 2005.
ARZone: Welcome to ARZone, Matt. You and your wife have raised your child as a vegan from birth. Could you tell us some of the hurdles you found difficult to get over, and offer any advice to those of us trying to accomplish the same now?
Matt Ball: Hi, from Tucson!
I would like to hope that the situation is different and easier today than it was in 1994! Raising Ellen really didn’t have a lot of hurdles, regarding veganism. People asked us questions, and we answered. We had done our research and knew more about nutrition than our interrogators. And the people who were belligerent, we just ignored. Read more…
5 February 2011
Marine mammal specialist, Ric O’Barry has worked with dolphins for the vast majority of his life. He spent the first 10 years of his career in the dolphin captivity industry and the past 38 years fighting against it. Most recently, Ric’s biopic, THE COVE, won an Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary in 2010.
Working for Miami Seaquarium in the 1960s, Ric was responsible for capturing and training dolphins, including five dolphins who played the role of Flipper in the popular television series of the same name. When one of the famed dolphins, Cathy, died suddenly in his arms, Ric decided that taking dolphins out of their natural habitat and training them to perform tricks was wrong.
From that moment on, Ric knew he must rededicate himself to a new cause.
On the first Earth Day in1970, Ric founded the Dolphin Project, an organization that aims to free captive dolphins and to educate people throughout the world about the plight of dolphins in captivity. Ric believes that this campaign exposes the public to what really goes on at dolphin shows and urges people not to support such forms of entertainment.
With more than 45 years of experience, his firsthand knowledge about the methods used to capture and train dolphins has taken him all over the world to participate in lectures and conferences about the controversial dolphin captivity issue.
To recognize his contribution, in 1991 Ric received the Environmental Achievement Award presented by the United States Committee for the United Nations Environmental Program (US/UNEP). Ric received the ASPCA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. Ric authored Behind the Dolphin Smile, which was published in 1989.
Ric authored Behind the Dolphin Smile, which was published in 1989. As well as a second book, To Free A Dolphin, which was published in September 2000. A third book is in the works.
Ric is the Marine Mammal Specialist for Earth Island Institute and Director of the Save Japan Dolphins coalition.
ARZone: Hi Ric, and welcome to ARZone! The dolphin hunters in Taiji have described their actions as being necessary as a form of “pest control”. The Japanese Govt. seem to believe the world’s oceans are an infinite resource for their self gratification. How do we use education as a tool to turn this around?
Richard O’Barry: They are wrong. They need to look at themselves and realize the problem is over-fishing. Not the dolphins. Read more…
January 29, 2011
Gene Baur is president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, the first animal rescue organization dedicated to farmed animals. He is vegan and has been at the forefront of animal protection since he began the Sanctuary in 1986. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from California State University, Northridge and a master’s degree in agricultural economics from Cornell University.
In the 1980s, Gene began investigations into factory farms, stockyards, and slaughterhouses. Gene felt the conditions he observed were unacceptable, and these experiences helped motivate the creation of Farm Sanctuary. The sanctuary’s first rescued animal was a downed sheep found on a pile of dead animals behind Lancaster stockyards in 1986.
He also participated in the efforts of human rights, animal rights, consumer and environmental organizations. Gene’s investigative exposés and advocacy efforts on behalf of farm animals have earned international media coverage, including ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times.
In 1996, The Peace Abbey awarded Gene with its Courage of Conscience Award. In March 2008, Gene released a book entitled Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food. It has appeared on the Los Angeles Times and Boston Globe bestseller lists and was named to Booklist’s Top 10 Sci-Tech Books: 2008.
Gene appears in Peaceable Kingdom, a film made about Farm Sanctuary and the people who support Farm Sanctuary.
Farm Sanctuary claim that “legislative reform complements our aspiration to achieve a world free of the violence visited daily upon farm animals in animal agriculture” and, “Incremental improvements are steps in a larger process. Given this, Gene has been supportive of a number of controversial animal welfare reforms, including Proposition Two.
ARZone: Hi Gene, and welcome. What are the goals, both short term and long term, for Farm Sanctuary; what is its mission and what are you most proud of?
Gene Baur: Thank you. It’s nice to speak with you here. In the short term, Farm Sanctuary is working to raise awareness about the abuses of animal farming and the benefits of vegan living, as well as to outlaw some of the worst factory farming cruelties while rescuing and caring for individual victims of the animal farming business. In the long term we seek to reshape our relationship with other animals so they are regarded as friends, not food.
We believe that all animals deserve to be treated with respect and compassion and we oppose the commodification of sentient life. I am most proud of the impact Farm Sanctuary has had in causing citizens to rethink how they relate to other animals, and specifically to choose vegan foods instead of animal based foods. We are in the midst of a burgeoning food movement in the U.S. with a growing interest in farmers markets, community supported agriculture programs, and community gardens where fresh, local plant foods are readily available. And, we’re seeing more vegan foods available in restaurants and supermarkets as well. I’m proud of the role Farm Sanctuary has played in moving people toward more plant based eating. Read more…
Jordan is a New Zealand Animal Rights activist who specializes in Chicken Friend-ery. He has been a vastly outspoken activist for about the last couple of years.
Jordan attained his HsG (High School Graduation) from Verdon College (2000-2005) as well as his PIsP (Primary/Intermediate School pass) from St Josephs (lets see, when did I start primary school… *counts backwards on fingers and toes* “MUUUUUUM? WHEN DID I START SCHOOOOOOOOOOOOL?” 1992-1999), not to mention the time he came first in a Math test by copying his smart friend Wiriya on all but one question, the hardest, took a stab at it, came up with a completely wrong (but imaginative) answer, and was awarded the top place based on the “miraculous” improvement from near bottom of the class, kinda the top in the span of a week. His proudest achievement, he still has the certificate to this day.
Jordan has written a great body of work, mostly in TextEdit and Blogger, the majority made it past his editor, himself. Jordan created a revolutionary new suffix for the realm of Animal Rights activists, of adding “-friend” to the end of common animal names to present the affection felt from human to nonhuman animal. He is quite litigious about this, and has tried, and so far failed to sue the pants off any who DARE use it without handing over the proverbial 500 grams of Tofu.
Founding the Invercargill Vegan Society in 2010, making sure to establish operations before 2011 (to appear a whole year older), “Dictator for life” Wyatt aims to promote Veganism as easy, and a moral obligation, “one person at a time”, literally, having a single member. Bashing all who disagree with his theories of “how the world works”, from insight gained as an unskilled woodworker, Jordan concocted a brilliant scheme of a Vegan world, based on everyone moving to New Zealand, and watching as the other countries tear themselves apart. He fully expects the world to go Vegan in an explosion of purple smoke, or alternatively implode as the quartz crystal first pulses for 2012.
Jordan maintains a blog site at: http://coexistingwithnonhumananimals.blogspot.com/
ARZone: Welcome, Jordan, and thank you for being here.
Jordan Wyatt: I’m glad to be here talking with you, sitting here in my Team Vegan shirt http://www.teamvegan.net.nz/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=56&Itemid=64
How long does it take you to research and write a script for one of your podcasts? Do you record them in one take? Please tell us about the process and why you enjoy doing them. Read more…
David is a Canadian ethicist who specialises in animal ethics. He is a vegan, and has been an animal rights activist for more than 22 years. David has attained his Ph. D. in Philosophy from the University of Toronto (1994-2000) as well as his M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Toronto (1992-94) his B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Toronto (1986-91) and a B. Ed. in English and Social Studies from the University of Toronto (2005-2006)
David has published numerous articles pertaining to the liberation of all sentient beings and has lectured at the University of Toronto, Queen’s University, and Brock University.
David has developed a new theory of animal rights which he terms “best caring,” as outlined in “The Rights of Animal Persons.” Criticizing conventional theories of rights, based in intuition, traditionalism or common sense, compassion, Immanuel Kant’s theory, John Rawls’ theory, and Alan Gewirth’s theory, David devises a new theory of rights for human and nonhuman animals.
ARZone: Hi David, thanks very much for being here! In your opinion, who is an abolitionist, and why?
David Sztybel: Thank you very kindly for the warm welcome. This is an important question. So you’ve provoked something of a lecture! Indeed, the following brief essay (as essays go!) is also relevant for addressing questions 2, 6, 11, 13, 14, 15. So I hope you do not mind the considerable length, but I am very serious about these and related questions.
As many people know, Professor Gary L. Francione’s core website is entitled “The Abolitionist Approach.” He is implying that his approach alone qualifies as abolitionist. Now by abolition he explicitly refers to abolishing the property status of animals, just like 19th century (and earlier) advocates pushed against humans-as-property, ie, slavery. Read more…