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Part 11. Rewilding Our Hearts: The Importance of Kindness, Empathy, and Compassion for All Beings

Marc Bekoff New World Library ePub

The Importance of Kindness, Empathy, and Compassion for All Beings

HERE IS THE BIG QUESTION: What can we do to make the world a better place for all beings, human and nonhuman, and to protect their homes? There are no easy answers. We need to move out of our comfort zones and think and act outside of the box because what we’ve been doing in the past hasn’t worked very well. We really are decimating our planet at an unprecedented rate, and we need to stop doing this now. We’ve ignored nature for far too long a time, and we can’t continue living as if what we do doesn’t really matter, as if we don’t need to make changes right now to stop plundering Earth. What we do really does matter in all arenas. Humans are very accomplished denialists. I often think we should be called Homo denialus rather than Homo sapiens.

I travel a lot, and I meet many wonderful people who are working tirelessly and selflessly for other animals, humans, and the planet as a whole. I’m an unflinching, card-carrying optimist, and that’s because I know there are many others doing all they can do. This keeps my hopes and dreams alive. Many people lose faith and burn out because the work is tedious and can be rather depressing. I always say to avoid burnout one should work hard, play hard, rest hard, and be able to step back and laugh at oneself when need be. Also, avoid being sidetracked by people who just want to waste your time as you work to make the world a better, safer, and more peaceful and compassionate place for all beings.

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4: Trade in Meat

Phillips, C.J.C. CABI PDF

Trade in Meat

4

4.1  Introduction

Humans are not anatomically or physiologically designed to eat raw meat. The absence of elongated canine teeth makes tearing through raw meat difficult and the relatively high pH in our stomachs renders us susceptible to food poisoning if the flesh is at all contaminated. For our ancestors the infrequency of successful hunts would have made contamination of stored meat likely. However, their ability to master fire provided a method of processing meat to make it more easily consumed and less likely to be contaminated. Hence for as long as prehistoric records are available, meat consumption has been a part of the human diet. Our ancestors’ advanced ability to communicate facilitated complex hunting methods, luring animals into traps for example. Cave paintings suggest that there were ritual gatherings before the hunt, perhaps even with music and hallucinogenic drugs, which bonded the males together to improve their performance in the hunt.

Hunting for meat provided an alternative to the long process of gathering nutrients from plant life, which varied with climate and season and often required a nomadic lifestyle to follow the geographic availability of suitable plants. The nutrient demands for hunting, gathering and nomadism were considerable, and meat was able to provide the highly digestible food needed. Nevertheless, the risks involved and uncertainty in finding food meant that life was short, typically 25–40 years. With the coming of agriculture, and the development of improved plants, principally cereals, with higher seed yields, a settled way of life became possible and it was no longer necessary to hunt animals for meat. However, in colder parts of the world, particularly the northern parts of the northern hemisphere, meat consumption remained necessary because it could provide the nutrients needed, and in these regions crop growth was limited. Over the last 1000 years people from these regions came to colonize most of the rest of the world and the colonizers took their meat-eating habits with them. For example, the British colonies covered one-third of the world at the beginning of the 20th century,

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2: Trade Policies for Animal Products

Phillips, C.J.C. CABI PDF

Trade Policies for Animal

Products

2

2.1  Development of Trade Policy

Trade is a natural activity for a species that is very social, highly communicative and mobile around the planet. Humans evolved as an opportunistic species, seeking out new environments to occupy. When the majority of the habitable areas of the planet had been colonized, several thousand years ago, humans naturally turned to trade to cement relations with people in occupied lands for mutual benefit. Through trade they could obtain goods that they could not produce or obtain at home, and in return they offered goods they were able to produce or could produce more easily, or economically, than those in the lands they visited.

Trade also developed relations between peoples of different cultures, allowing fringe benefits to be had through the cultural exchange that ensued. Inevitably, it required a degree of trust between the traders, concerning delayed payment for example, or the benign intent of visitors. In some cases trade was a smokescreen for an attempt to take over a region, and thus great caution was required on the part of the hosts for a visiting party.

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10: The Future of Animal Trade

Phillips, C.J.C. CABI PDF

The Future of Animal Trade

10

10.1  Introduction

The past has seen some dramatic changes in world trade in animals. This chapter considers what will shape the future of the animal trade and what changes in the trade are likely. Continuation of current trends does not seem to be an option. Worldwide meat and milk production have been growing, as outlined in

Chapters 4 and 5, respectively. Even taking into account increasing population, meat availability per capita has been increasing steadily over the last 50 years to approximately double what it was at the beginning of the 1960s; milk availability per capita has increased by about 20% over the last 10 years (Fig. 10.1). The increasing livestock production requires prodigious quantities of feed grain and there is still potential for meat consumption to increase in many developing regions of the world, e.g. sub-Saharan Africa. The steadily increasing trajectory for meat availability per capita has been consistent over the last 50 years (Fig. 10.1), and it will therefore take extreme measures if this is to be changed.

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6: Trade in Live Farm Animals

Phillips, C.J.C. CABI PDF

Trade in Live Farm Animals

6

6.1  Introduction

Trade in live farm animals spans a wide range of cultures and societies, from a local level to the big bilateral export trades that exist around the world. The local trade has a long history. Livestock have been used as dowry for thousands of years, and are still used in Africa and by primitive tribes in Asia (Anon., 2010). However, the live animal trade usually refers to live export and import, i.e. animals that are traded across national borders, but many livestock are also traded within a country, particularly if it is large, such as the USA, Australia or Brazil. Nowadays, with intensification of the livestock industries, the availability of fast transport and growing demand for animals and their products in many parts of the world, the live animal trade is rapidly increasing.

Demand for trade in live food animals is principally dependent on the size of the human population, their demand for animal products and the feasibility of them being traded alive, rather than as a processed product. The trade most obviously follows a migration of animals from the southern to the northern hemisphere, with regions such as Australia/New Zealand, southern Africa and South

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