We are now in the Anthropocene where humans are impacting on the planet to such an extent that they are affecting climate, polluting habitats globally and causing mass extinctions on a scale not seen since major comet hits or volcanic events. And those natural events were disasters for life on this planet. It is humans that have the intelligence and means to affect the flora and fauna on a universal basis so it is to them that the rights of animals must be directed.
I see nothing wrong with that.
We need to start to view all animal life as sentient beings with feelings and needs and to treat them with respect. We also need to appreciate the balance of life within the food webs of ecosystems
Unless we afford animals rights we violate their right to life. We have abused animals with impunity and treated them abominably. The world used to teem with creatures but we have reduced their numbers drastically. Many farming methods are incredibly cruel and need altering. Many people treat animals with great cruelty causing agony and suffering. We need to afford these creatures rights and form a better relationship with them.
I know the world has too many people. Over recent years my trips to Asia, Africa, South America, India, China and Indonesia have shown a world full of squalor and misery with rubbish, pollution and immense environmental damage. It is heartbreaking. The planet is being systematically trashed to feed and accommodate these masses. I am not proposing radical reductions. We merely need to bring in a series of measures and the population will control itself:
a. Educate girls
b. Provide sickness benefit
c. Provide pensions
d. Provide contraception
e. Give incentives for families of two children
f. Move away from this constant capitalist mantra of growth
That is probably is all that is necessary. In the days of automation we no longer have a need for large armies of workers. They are redundant and destructive.
‘A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest’ is true for all of us. I go by the evidence of my own eyes as much as anything. I have seen the huge decline in wildlife in Britain and I have seen the destruction all around the world. It is undeniable.
In search of koalas, echidnas, wombats and platypus in Australia I can’t begin to tell you the number of times we were told that there used to be lots but they’re gone now.
Vietnam was silent. I asked my guide why the jungle was so quiet and he replied that the people eat everything that moves. No birds, no insects.
In Tasmania we stood on denuded hillsides overlooking bare rock and stumps as far as the eye could see – logging.
In Peru the refuse trucks from Lima unloaded directly on the beaches – mile after mile. The sea was a mass of garbage.
In Cape Town South Africa the raw sewage from the township was piped directly into the sea. A great brown slick hugged the coast.
In Brazil we flew over the denuded landscape previously thriving rainforest teeming with animals.
In Kenya the elephants, once plentiful, no longer roam in herds. The waterholes are no longer spectacles of abundance.
Sailing along the coast of South America, once bountiful with life, where records from the first sailing ships record how many tons of fresh meat was taken on board, the seas, skies and shore were almost empty of life. What had been abundant was now rare. We biologists had to search for the remaining vestiges.
It is a tragic catastrophe of our making.
More than 15,000 scientists from 184 countries issue ‘warning to humanity’ (CBC)
Could we set aside half the Earth for nature? (The Guardian)
Sixth mass extinction? Two-thirds of wildlife may be gone by 2020: WWF (CNN)
How many species are we losing? (WWF)