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Nathan J. Winograd Interview

January 8, 2011

Nathan J. Winograd

8 January 2011

Nathan J. Winograd is a graduate of Stanford Law School, a former criminal prosecutor and corporate attorney, has spoken nationally and internationally on animal sheltering issues, has written animal protection legislation at the state and national level, has created successful No Kill programs in both urban and rural communities, and has consulted with a wide range of animal protection groups including some of the largest and best known in the nation. Although Nathan focuses on companion animal issues, specifically ending the systematic killing of animals in shelters, his background is in animal rights, and has been vegan for 20 years. Nathan considers “No Kill” to be an animal rights issue, and is concerned that many animal protection groups work against the “No Kill” approach.

Nathan has lectured on animal sheltering ethics to students at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, the nation’s number one ranked veterinary school, and has lectured at the U.C.L.A. School of Law on animal law issues. His book, Redemption, is the most critically acclaimed book on the topic of animal shelters in the United States and the winner of five national book awards. He is also the author of Irreconcilable Differences, a collection of essays that follows up where Redemption left off and asks – and answers – the question of whether we can do better as a society when it comes to our stewardship of companion animals His third book, All American Vegan, co-written with his wife Jennifer, will be published in 2011.

ARZone: The concept of “no kill” has been around for many years, why do you think many people credit you with its inception?

Nathan Winograd: Thank you for having me. I am very excited about this opportunity. I’ve long believed that the No Kill movement and the animal rights movement are natural allies. In fact, I believe that No Kill is an animal rights issue in that the right to life is the most fundamental of all rights. Once dead, all other rights are irrelevant. You can’t be animal rights and believe in the right of humans to kill animals, regardless of the justification or just because our “friends” (PETA, shelters… animal protection organizations) are doing the killing, rather than our enemies. That aside, you are right Brooke, No Kill has been around for a very long time. In fact, better than a century. Since we started sheltering animals, there have been No Kill shelters. I am not sure I am credited with its inception and have never sought to be. But I was the first to create a No Kill community. I was the first to create a No Kill open admission animal-control shelter. Read more…

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Jose Valle Interview

December 18, 2010

Jose Valle

18 December 2010

Jose is an animal rights activist and a vegan, who believes we must abolish slavery and promote equality. That’s what he tries to do with his life.

Jose is co-founder of Igualdad Animal (Animal Equality), an international non-profit organisation dedicated to achieving equal consideration and respect for animals.

Igualdad Animal was founded in Madrid, Spain in January 2006 and are currently active in Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy, Venezuela and Colombia. Igualdad Animal works to raise public awareness of the suffering and deaths of non-human animals in our society. IA believes and works to demonstrate that speciesism is the cause of nonhuman exploitation and they call for the abolition of animal use while encouraging the public to adopt a vegan lifestyle.

IA works for animal rights by, among other things:

  • Educating the public about speciesism and veganism.
  • Investigating places of animal exploitation.
  • Carrying out open rescues from places of animal exploitation, finding long-term safe homes and sanctuaries for the rescued animals.
  • Engaging in peaceful demonstrations and non-violent direct action.

ARZone: Spain, on the whole, from what we see in the media, treats other animals abominably. I imagine it would be a hard business for you to be championing animal rights there, than it would be anywhere else in the world.  Would you say this is true?

Jose Valle: First of all, despite some differences, Spain doesn’’t treat animals any more abominably than the UK or USA. You can go into a pig farm or a chicken farm in the USA and you’ll find the same level of suffering and disrespect for nonhumans as in a bullring. Read more…

Professor Robert Garner

December 11, 2010

Professor Robert Garner

11 December 2010

Professor Garner is professor of political theory at the University of Leicester in the UK. He obtained his BA from the University of Salford and his MA and PhD from the University of Manchester.

Prof. Garner specialises in animal rights; the focus of his principal research interest has been on the political representation of nonhuman interests, which are taken to include the interests of nonhuman animals and other non-sentient parts of nature. This is an area of study that fits into the broader subject area of environmental politics.

He is the author of 5 books in this area, including The Animal Rights Debate: Abolition or Regulation?(2010) with Professor Gary Francione, Animal Ethics (2005), The Political Theory of Animal Rights (2005), Animals, Politics and Morality (2004) and Environmental Politics: Britian, Europe and The Global Environment (2000).

ARZone: Professor Garner, when and how did you get involved in animal protection?

Robert Garner: I was concerned about the treatment of animals quite a while before I started focusing on it as part of my academic work.

That was, I guess, when I was in my teens, too far back than I care to remember (1970s to be precise!). Unlike a lot of people, I can’t remember a particular Road to Damascus moment, but, I guess it was hearing about the suffering inflicted on animals from the media and from people I knew to the point where I couldn’t ignore it any more. I was more of a left-leaning person then but now the right/left spectrum means a lot less to me politically. Read more…

Brandon Becker Interview

November 20, 2010

Brandon Becker

20 November 2010

Brandon Becker is a dedicated animal rights activist. He stopped eating flesh in July 2004 and has been vegan since May 2005. He promotes veganism to the masses by handing out “Why Vegan?” pamphlets on college campuses, at festivals, and at other events throughout North Carolina, US.

With his wife, he founded Triangle Vegan Action, a grassroots anti-speciesist and abolitionist organization: www.TriangleVeganAction.org

He and his wife care for two other animals, a rabbit and a cavy, and try to give them the best life possible in their home.

ARZone: Brandon, thanks for taking our questions. Triangle Vegan Action is the group you’ve founded. What is it’s purpose, how is it funded, and what has been the most rewarding part of your being involved with it?

Brandon Becker: Triangle Vegan Action was founded to promote veganism in the Triangle-region of North Carolina, U.S. As we advocate veganism, we also discuss opposing speciesism and supporting animal rights. Our group is almost entirely self-funded by my wife and I. Some of our members have donated in the past to help us pay our website hosting fees, but we don’t like asking for donations and never want to make anyone feel like they have to pay any money to be an activist.

The most rewardng part of running the group is that we are self-directed advocates, able to do what e want, how we want to do it, and continually reflect on the effectiveness of our work and change course whenever necessary. I encourage anyone who is unsatisfied with organized activism in your area to start your own grassroots group. Visit our website at www.TriangleVeganAction.org to learn more about what we do. Read more…

Robin Lane Interview

November 13, 2010

Robin Lane

13 November 2010

Robin Lane has campaigned tirelessly for veganism & animal rights since the early 80’s, when in 1980, whilst involved in the anti-nuclear movement, Robin became vegetarian. He became vegan two years later, in the same year as becoming active in the animal rights movement.

Robin initiated a campaign against a vivisection laboratory, took over the running of Fur Action Group and in 1986, began working in the Animal Liberation Front Supporters Group (ALFSG), and took over as the National Press Officer.

In 1987, Robin was charged with “conspiracy to incite others to commit criminal damage” and received an 18 months sentence with 9 months suspended. Upon release, Robin co-founded Campaign Against Leather and Fur (CALF) and took part in, or initiated many other notable events, including becoming editor of the animal liberation magazine Arkangel in 1991, co-founding London Animal Rights Coalition in 1993 and being a founding member of London Animal Action in 1994.

Robin was also one of the organizers of the first UK Vegan Festival in 1998, held in London, which would later become the London Vegan Festival.

In 2004 Robin became involved in the Vegan Campaigns (London) group, and renamed the UK Vegan Festival to the London Vegan Festival.  Some consider organizing the first ever vegan festival in London to be one of Robin’s finest achievements.  The London Vegan Festival has been held every year since, growing bigger each time and being an eagerly awaited event in the animal rights calendar.  It has been seen as a model of excellence in the vegan world.

Robin also founded the “Way in the Wilderness” group in 2008 and “Christian Alliance for Love and Fellowship” (C.A.L.F.) (2009). Both groups promoting veganism within the Christian community.

ARZone: How do you think the animal rights movement has changed since you began campaigning in the early 80s?

Robin Lane: When I started campaigning in 1983 there were a lot more people involved. Hundreds of people would storm into labs, their were home visits, the campaigns were on a larger scale. However, although there are fewer people involved now, the campaigns are more focused, and I think more effective.

You have quite a varied background. For example, you were once the Press Officer for the ALF and now you run the London Vegan Festival. Do you think the direct action of the ALF does good work like the Festival does? Is one more legitimate than the other?

I believe that all forms of campaigning are equally effective, be it direct action or festival. It`s like segments in an orange – the ALF have a place withing the movement, and their place is to cause economic sabotage. The Vegan Festivals` aim is to help raise funds for various organistions. Read more…

Priscilla Feral Interview

October 30, 2010

Priscilla Feral

30 October 2010


Priscilla is President of Darien based Friends of Animals (FoA), one of the world’s largest animal advocacy groups, which is a non-profit international animal advocacy organisation, incorporated in the state of New York since 1957. Friends of Animals has the ambitious goal of freeing animals everywhere from cruelty and institutionalised exploitation.

Priscilla is also an avid gardener and vegan chef, and her vegan recipes have been published in various publications, including the New York Times.

Priscilla has authored two books: DINING WITH FRIENDS: The Art of North American Vegan Cuisine (2005), co-authored with Lee Hall, and THE BEST OF VEGAN COOKING (2009). Priscilla cultivates respect for the planet and all who call it home. Her art inspires society to form an empathic connection to all earthlings. She enjoys walks through nature, practicing yoga, and guiding FoA supporters through the wilderness of public debate on issues relevant to animal protection.

ARZone: Hi Priscilla, thanks for being here. Could you please explain why you decided to establish Nectar Bat Press for FoA’s book releases?

Priscilla Feral: In 2004, my co-author Lee Hall and I had an agent for our first vegan cookbook, Dining With Friends:  The Art of North American Vegan Cuisine; and Chronicle Books expressed interest in publishing it. I went to San Francisco to meet with them and they were keen on the book cover, recipes and discussions about design and photographs. Yet after editors read the Introduction, we were asked to remove two or three sentences from a paragraph so that a “tone” – really, the politics – was removed. Read more…

Captain Paul Watson Interview

October 9, 2010

Captain Paul Watson

9 October 2010

 

Paul Watson is the founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Co-Founding Director Greenpeace Foundation

Paul majored in communications and linguistics atSimonFraserUniversity inBritish Columbia. He has lectured extensively at universities around the world, and was a professor of Ecology at Pasadena College of Design from 1990 through to 1994. Paul was also an instructor in UCLA’s Honors Program for 1998 and 1999.

Currently, Paul is a registered speaker with the Jodi Solomon Speakers Bureau of Boston, and regularly gives presentations at colleges and universities in theUnited States, and at special events throughout the world. Over the years, Paul has exhibited a remarkable diversity in his activism. Aside from being a co-founder of Greenpeace in 1972, Greenpeace International in 1979, and founder of Sea Shepherd in 1977; Paul was a Field Correspondent for Defenders of Wildlife between 1976 and 1980. He was a field representative for the Fund for Animals between 1978 and 1981, and a representative for the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals in 1979. He co-founded Earthforce Environmental Society in 1977 and Friends of the Wolf in 1984.

Paul’s primary interest is in defending and protecting marine life in our oceans. It is his deepest passion and it is a fight that he has been involved in all his life, a fight that he shall never retire from and will continue until the day he dies.

Paul is Captain and Educator, Author and Lecturer, Fund-raiser and Film-maker, Executive Director and Marine Conservationist.

 

 

ARZone:  How did you become interested in animal protection? Was there a defining moment for you?

 

Paul Watson:  I was raised in an Eastern Canadian fishing village and I used to swim with the beavers in the beaver ponds. Then the next year when I returned all the beavers were gone. I was told trappers had taken them and I became quite angry and that winter I began to walk the trap lines and free live animals from leghold traps and I would then destroy the traps.

When I was 18 I was the youngest founding member of Greenpeace. That was inVancouver.

 

You’ve said more than once that Sea Shepherd isn’t an animal rights group and that you personally are vegetarian for reasons other than ones based on ethical animal rights. Understanding that the mission of SSCS is one of conservation, have you considered the ethical arguments for veganism and animal rights and rejected them, or do you accept them and just not focus on them for reasons having to due with public support, coalition building, expediency or something else?


Wit violates the 3rd law of ecology that there is a limit to carrying capacity – the law of finite. To raise one salmon on a salmon farm requires catching 70 fish from the sea resources. Chickens eat more fish than puffins and albatross. The Danes catch the sand eels that the puffins eat in the North Sea to feed to factory farmed chickens inDenmark. To raise one salmon on a salmon farm requires catching 70 fish from the sea.

We are literally eating the oceans alive and if the oceans die, we all die.

There has been research which indicates the possibility of whales beaching themselves being caused by starvation. If this is correct, the whales are starving because humans are eating their food, obviously. I’d like to ask what, that you’re aware of, is being done to draw attention to this issue and more specifically if Sea Shepherd have any educational initiatives put in place to make people aware of this.


Everything in the oceans is being diminished.

Now they want to “harvest” krill and without any studies about the impact that will have on the foundation for food for all marine species. All marine mammals are endangered. I would say most fish are endangered. Oil spills are horrific of course but an even greater killer is plastic pollution, killing turtles, fish and birds. The oceans are dying and that is a reality.

We need to view the Earth as a Spaceship. That is in effect what it is. The biosphere is the life support system for this ship. There are two types of species onboard. Crew and passengers. The crew run the ship and maintain the life support system. The passengers just have a good time. The crew are the bacteria, the insects, the worms, the fish etc., and us passengers will be unable to support ourselves. We will die.

 

You have worked extensively to preserve marine life, yet the current situation for the world’s oceans and the lives contained therein is getting more precarious every day. There does not appear to be any end to deepwater drilling and the dangers inherent in that practice. There does not appear to be any end to fishing, capturing, or otherwise using marine animals for human purposes. How does that knowledge impact your activism and how do you keep going in the face of such disastrous evidence?


What we have is a thing I call the economics of extinction.

The economy coming before Mitsubishi is investing in the extinction of the Bluefin tuna. They have built giant refrigerated warehouses, and the bluefin are being packed into these warehouses. The more fish in the warehouse, the less in the sea. The less in the sea the greater the value of the fish in the warehouse. Mitsubishi already has a five year stockpile. They would like a 10 to 15 year stockpile. If the Bluefin goes extinct the only source of Bluefin will be frozen in warehouses, and they will be able to set their own price. The bluefin is the most expensive fish in the world. One fish sells on average for $75,000. How do we help stop this?

I am vegan but I think it is vital for others to stop eating the oceans as well. The oceans are being looted by corporations. The corporations have no interest in fishing in the future. It is short term investment for short term gain. When the “resource” is used up, they simply move on to something else to exploit. Many Chefs are taking action by not serving Bluefin or Swordfish for example. Sea Shepherd believes that no one should be eating fish. We need to give these creatures a rest from our remorseless exploitation.

Obama has been a very big disappointment, the first President since Reagan to sell out the whales. Democrats seem to get away with this stuff. People would have been screaming if the Republicans had done what Obama did.

 

As a follow-up to an earlier question, a lot of “animal people” continually insist on classing SSCS as an animal rights organisation, despite the word “conservation” being quite clear in the name. I believe that the direct action of Sea Shepherd is attractive to many people and they therefore like to claim SS as part of their own ideology.

Would you like to clear this issue up for us, as I believe in classing SS as an animal rights organisation, unrealistic expectations are placed on SS.


We are a marine wildlife and habitat conservation organization. We believe that veganism is an answer to many ecological problems. The meat industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than the auto industry. That’s why I said that a vegan driving a hummer contributes less to greenhouse gas emissions than a meat eater riding a bicycle, but Sea Shepherd promotes veganism as an answer to mitigating our damage to the environment.


Thank you for clearing that up, Paul.

There has been some controversy raised by footage filmed for the whale wars series that some critics would say has been staged to gain sympathy and dramatic headlines for the SSCS. For example the bullet that you claim to be shot by does not resemble a bullet to many ballistic experts and no gunmen are seen onboard the Japanese whaling ship. There are also allegations that the Ady Gil was ordered to let sink rather than be pulled to rescue because it would generate more publicity than a damaged ship. What do you say to the critics who say “Paul Watson and Sea Shepherd with their controversial tactics are not above blatant lying in order to draw emotional publicity to their cause?”


They need to demonstrate some evidence to back up their unsubstantiated accusations. The bullet and the vest were presented by me to the Australian Federal Police for a forensic examination. The police refused to look at the evidence citing that it was not their jurisdiction. I did have the bullet examined by a U.S. Federal agent and he said it was a shotgun slug. It was near spent when it hit me. So the truth is, I can’t prove I was shot and no-one can prove that I was not. That’s the trouble with international waters. No jurisdiction.

The science on this is the opposite. The impact of a bullet is never greater than the recoil of the shooter. The doctor examined me and made a report of the bruising. I think it will be a conspiracy theory for years to come! Myth busters could look at it maybe? I would cooperate with them if they did.

Now, the scuttling. All the evidence is on our website. I did not order Pete Bethune to scuttle the Ady Gil after it was rammed. I could not have done so because it was his ship and he is on camera making the decision. It was the right decision to make; the Ady Gil could not be saved.


Why do the Japanese whaling fleet only hunt whales in Antarctica and never in their own waters or that of another country?


They do hunt illegally in the North Pacific also; they kill some 22,000 dolphins in their own waters every year. About 2,000 in Taiji and about 20,000 Dall’s porpoise in the Northern waters ofJapan.


How do you see spirituality connected with environmental activism – example – first Greenpeace activists were initiated to Native Indian tribe after their action. Do you feel the influences of spirituality consciousness in your activism?


I am not spiritually connected. I live my life in accordance to the three laws of ecology.

  1. The law of diversity. That the strength of an eco-system is dependent upon diversity of species within it.
  2. The law of interdependence that all species are interdependent with each other, and
  3. The law of finite resources that there is a limit to growth and a limit to carrying capacity no species can survive that lives outside these laws. My religion I suppose is ecology. I am a deep ecologist or a biocentrist.

 

What do you think of the Australian government stating that they would take a stand againstJapanin the Rudd election, and now only taking thru the courts now, plus have you heard any news of the outcome?


I never expect much from governments. At leastAustraliais pro whale and not pro whaling but they have come under a great deal of economic pressure fromJapan.


Are they? I heard they were selling the whales out.


At least now we have a good chance with the Greens being the balance of power inAustralia.

Senator Bob Brown is passionate about whales and the forests, and if he could only become Prime Minister that would make a difference.

It may not be a dream. It could happen.

 

Could you please give your feelings on zoos and aquariums?


The aquarium trade is what is driving the Taiji dolphin slaughter. The model for the aquarium being an educational facility can be found inMonterey. Sea World is a circus and the animals die. The emergence of aquariums in Africa, Asia and South America and theMiddle Eastis fueling the demand for captures. That is why Ric O’Barry is presently inEgypt, trying to block the sale of dolphins to an aquarium there.

 

You used to live inBritish Columbia,Canada. Considering the phenomenal biodiversity we have on the west coast. I would like to know what kind of marine conservation work have you done here.


I am inVancouvertoday actually. And I live on the border inFridayHarbor. We have had campaigns in this region, a campaign to protect salmon from seiners and of course our intervention against plans by the Makah Indian tribe to slaughter whales. Primarily however, we concentrate on deep sea issues.


What is your take on the situation with all sharks, especially the great white, knowing how slowly they reproduce? How many years do we have left to stop this murderous abuse before they are beyond saving? Thank you!

Yes the shark trade is a very serious situation. We are working primarily in the Galapagos on this trying to enforce anti-poaching laws. If we can’t stop it there we won’t be able to stop it anywhere. This year we installed a 1 million Euro AIS system to track all vessels coming into Galapagos waters. We have a full working relationship with theGalapagosParkrangers and the Ecuadorian Federal police. To date we have confiscated some 200,000 shark fins.


On Whale Wars we see that you and the crew have lots of down time as you search for the Japanese. We’d love to know more about all the jobs/responsibilities of the crew and some background on each.


There will be 77 crew on 3 ships. In three departments – Deck – engine – galley. Everyone has their job and watches are organized so the ships run 24 hours a day. All I can say is we will have a great crew come December – a passionate crew. A couple of celebrities but mainly just hard core committed and dedicated people.

 

I am planning on writing a term paper about what happens in the southern oceans, how could i go around and get information from the No. 1 source, SSCS? And I would like to volunteer for SSCS


Please contact our office info@seashepherd.org


Can you tell us about Sea Shepherd’s next campaign


Our next campaign is Operation No Compromise The objective is to cut the Japanese kill quotas as much as we possibly can. We learn more each year, we get more experience and we get better resources. This is why we become more effective each year.

 

How do you feel about Pete Bethune?

 

Pete Bethune gave false testimony to the Japanese to implicate me for conspiracy that is why he was asked to disassociate himself from Sea Shepherd.

 

Have you resolved your differences with Pete?

 

Yes I fired him.

 

I saw that he resigned

 

He resigned the day after I fired him.

 

Any hints as to type/size of the third ship you mentioned in your commentary?


We will reveal the third ship in a few weeks time.


Do you think after so many campaigns the Japanese will yet again become even more aggressive and possibly display more deadly tactics? If so, have you any new ideas to rule out any possible threats to the vessel or crew members.


They become more aggressive every year. The fact that they destroyed the Ady Gil and got away with it gives them the green light to escalate their violence.

We are taking measures to increase our security. Sea Shepherd is not breaking any laws in the Southern Ocean. We have not been charged with anything connected with our activities except when PB boarded the SM#2 and became subject to Japanese law. I think they would take Migaloo to spite the Australians.


What’s your speculation for the number of seals who will be killed inCanada’s 2011 slaughter since the European market has disintegrated? Might we discard the word TAKE when meaning kill?


We can’t give up until we get that number down to zero. When they kill they take but I get your point.


Take is an industry word.


But of course the real problem is that humans take and do not give back so I look on the word as meaning something even more negative than killing in some ways.


I don’t. We don’t say we TAKE children. Really the word serves industry; not whales.

 

Some species are givers, they give us life and others like our own are takers that take away life. No need to argue over words. Take however is a bad word in the area of deep ecology.

 

Thank you, Paul.

 

Good bye, it has been a pleasure.

 

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ARZone exists to promote rational discussion about our relations with other animals and about issues within the animal advocacy movement. Please continue the debate after a chat by starting a forum discussion or by making a point under a transcript.

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