Archive for dolphins

Animals Are Stupid

Posted in animal liberation with tags , on December 2, 2009 by carmen4thepets

In a recent interview with Larry King, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain quipped that it was OK for humans to kill and eat animals because we’ve been designed to chase down “smaller and stupider creatures.” Never mind that cows and pigs, two animals that are slaughtered by the millions for food, are most certainly bigger than we are. It was the “stupider” remark that caught my attention, and not just for Bourdain’s obvious grammatical shortcomings.

I think many of us feel that animals are dumb; that animals lack the intelligence we humans seem to have so abundantly. I believe this looking down on animals plays a big part in what allows us to treat them in the most heinous ways — from factory farms to fur farms to laboratories to circuses. We believe that because animals can’t write a book, compose a symphony, or do algebra that we’re so much better than them.

What a load of bullshit.

Did you know, for example, that pigeons can fly thousands of miles to find the same roosting spot with no navigational difficulties? Some species of birds, like the Arctic Tern, make a 25,000-mile round-trip journey every year. Many species use built-in ferromagnets to detect their orientation with respect to the Earth’s magnetic field. Can you do that?

Dolphins have a very distinct language that scientists now refer to as “dolphinese” which humans can’t decipher. For all our human knowledge, we have no idea how to understand what should be, according to Bourdain, a “stupider” means of communication.

Salmon are born in rivers, but swim thousands of miles to the ocean only to return to the exact same spot upstream to die.

Elephants communicate with each other subsonically, using low rumbles that can travel for miles underground. They also mourn their dead and have been seen cradling the bones of family members that have passed on.

Butterflies are now thought to have the equivalent of a GPS system in their antennae.

Pigs have the mental capacity of a four year-old human child and have beat humans in memory games.

So, perhaps animals are not stupid. Perhaps it’s we who are stupid for not recognizing the amazing things animals can do, many of which we can’t do ourselves. Perhaps it’s we who are dumb for not being able to circumnavigate the globe without instruments as albatross do, or find our way home across thousands of miles of ocean as Blue Whales do.

Maybe humans can actually learn a thing or two from these “stupid” animals. How about we start with this: animals don’t create trash. Animals don’t build nuclear weapons to annihilate each other. Animals don’t conjure up religions and then kill each other in the name of their Gods. Animals with white fur don’t discriminate against animals with fur of a different hue or color. Animals only take what they need. Animals are self-cleaning and don’t waste water — my cat has NEVER had a bath yet he’d smell better than any human who didn’t shower. Animals don’t gay bash homosexual animals. Animals don’t screw over other animals for financial gain a la Bernie Madoff. Animals don’t breed other animals to be prettier, fatter, or tastier. Animals don’t systematically torture and abuse and kill billions of other animals (or each other) the way humans do. Animals don’t commit Holocausts, they don’t factory farm, and they don’t ethnically cleanse each other. Animals don’t cheat. Animals don’t front. Animals are their authentic selves.

Yes, humans can do some amazing things: we can cure diseases, we can build skyscrapers, we can figure out how to travel into space. But only human arrogance would suggest that we’re better or smarter than animals. The animals of the world evolved to be just as they are. They exist for their own reasons. Only an idiot would call them stupid.



Tokyo Press Conference Confronts Japan’s Food Safety Minister With Toxic Dolphin Meat

Posted in OCEANS, science, traditions, wildlife with tags on November 17, 2009 by carmen4thepets

“Japan Minister Mizuho Fukishima at a Tokyo Press Conference.”
Photo by Boyd Harnell.

Journalist Boyd Harnell, who has covered the killing of dolphins in Japan for the Japan Times, recently confronted Japan’s new Food Safety Minister Fukishima, with the support of Sky TV’s Pio d’Emilia, with detailed evidence, some supplied by the Save Japan Dolphins Coalition, on the poisoning of dolphin and whale meat on sale in Japanese supermarkets.

The Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan (FCCJ) held a press conference Wednesday, November 11th, to welcome Japanese politician Mizuho Fukishima, the new minister of food safety and general affairs, social affairs, and gender equality. Mainstream Japanese and foreign journalists with the print and broadcast media fielded questions related to her new position, including an interview by reporter Harnell related to the serious health issues revolving around the ongoing sale of highly toxic, mercury-tainted dolphin meat at retail outlets in Japan.

Mr. Harnell told Fukushima that the Japan Health Ministry has so far failed to mandate warnings on the labels of small cetacean meat, adding that mislabeling of dolphin meat as being whale meat was endemic throughout Japan. He also told Fukushima that two Taiji government officials condemned dolphin meat as toxic waste after they had conducted certified lab tests showing Taiji dolphin meat to be extremely high in mercury and methyl mercury
and said it had been formerly served at government-sponsored Taiji lunches for school children.

Harnell went on to point out that top Japanese medical researchers, Dr. Shigeo Ekino and Dr. Tetsuya Endo, also condemned the sale of dolphin meat for human consumption. He mentioned the high levels of mercury found in 50 Taiji residents that tested at ten times the national average for this toxic substance. The Japan Times contributing correspondent turned over ten certified lab reports of dolphin meat showing ballistic levels of mercury along with in-depth studies made by environmental organizations and scientific reports detailing the various toxins found in Japan’s coastal dolphins sold for food to Japanese consumers.

Harnell asked if she would ban the sale of dolphin meat forever. Fukushima said she was aware of the high levels of mercury in Japan’s dolphins and said she would address the issue and investigate studies made by scientists and environmental groups.

Ric O’Barry, Campaign Director for the Save Japan Dolphins Coalition, stated: “Boyd Harnell’s efforts to bring the story of dolphin meat poisoning to the attention of Japanese officials has been outstanding. We really owe him and other brave journalists a great deal for challenging the media blackout in Japan over stories about dolphins and whales. Dolphin meat should not be eaten by anyone, and Japan must ban the slaughter of dolphins and whales to protect public health and preserve their ocean heritage.”