Years ago, I read an old newspaper account of chaos in 19th century New York City; A storm damaged many of the cages at the Central Zoo, and most of the wild animals got out. The next day or two was spent rounding up the animals, and even the mayor and the governor, who were experienced big game hunters, got involved in tracking down the rhino and the hippo and the lions and the rest of them.
A few months ago, for some reason, that story re-emerged in my memory for the first time in decades, so I went and looked it up and found out that it was a hoax. I don’t remember if I knew it was a hoax when I first read it … I think not. I think I read it in a magazine at the dentist office and never followed up on it. As stories go, it’s a great story. As hoaxes go, not so much. A bad hoax of a great story adds up to … uninteresting.
But last weeks events were neither uninteresting nor a hoax.
Continue reading On the Ownership of Large Dangerous Wild Animals
What rights should be afforded non-human animals, to which animals, under what circumstances, and why? What are the criteria for such decisions? What should those who disagree with the status quo do?
Continue reading Animal Rights and Human Needs: Foundations of the debate (Part I)
When I heard the news that day … Oh boy. I had received an email from a man whom I knew only as the father of a (now former) student. We had met once, a few years ago when his son graduated, and he gave me a very nice bottle of wine, which I shared with a select group of wine experts only last Christmas. The wine had aged well and was outstanding.
He gave me the wine as a gift for having “done so much for his son” while he, the son, was an undergraduate student. It was true. I had done a lot for the young man. I had many long conversations with him about lofty sciency concepts, and he took a couple of my classes, but mainly I had helped him out by setting him up with fieldwork opportunities in South Africa. This young man, whom I’ll call John, was one of a small number of undergraduates that I’ve either taken with me to the field or arranged to go to the field to work with my colleagues there. I am very very careful about which students I might bring or send to the field. I am so careful that sometimes I make the mistake of accidentally chasing away a student that I shouldn’t have chased away.1 John was carefully selected by me for this opportunity, as well as by a colleague of mine who also sent John off to the field (to a different continent).
Continue reading From Graduate School to Prison: What is the rational argument for ELF or ALF?
The incident just reported an hour or so ago is unusual, but not unexpected or unheard of.
A 200-pound chimpanzee kept as a pet and once used in commercials was shot and killed by police Monday after it mauled a woman visiting its owner and later cornered an officer in his cruiser, authorities said.
Stamford police Lt. Richard Conklin said the injured woman was hospitalized late Monday in “very serious” condition at Stamford Hospital; her identity was not immediately released. Conklin said she suffered “a tremendous loss of blood” from serious facial injuries.