On a cool spring morning, a mother black bear and her two young cubs wander through a thick stand of Douglas fir. Having recently emerged from their winter den, they are hungry and eagerly search for cambium, the sugary, energy-rich sap found beneath tree bark.
“To protect the cow seems to be one of the most admirable manifestations of human progress. To me, the cow is the embodiment of the whole infra-human world; she enables the believer to grasp his unity with all that lives.”
— Mohandas Gandhi
To many people, Gandhi is the very embodiment of compassion, a man who sense of kinship easily extended to all of the world’s creatures. His vision of a benevolent interrelatedness between humans and other animals — cows, in particular — stands in stark contrast to the cruelties that modern agriculture inflicts on billions of living beings. There’s little doubt that Gandhi would be horrified at how the abuse of the cows he so treasured is an inherent part of today's dairy industry.
Thousands of captive wild animals — elephants, lions, tigers, ocelots, servals, wolves, bears, alligators, venomous snakes, monkeys and other nonhuman primates, and more — are privately held, displayed at roadside zoos and menageries, and used in traveling circuses all across the country.
The sale, possession, and use of captive wild animals is regulated by a patchwork of federal, state, and local laws that generally vary by community and by animal. What results is very little protection under the law. These animals need our help! We must pursue legislation on all levels to ensure stronger protections.
Disclaimer: Before you start to feed your companion animal a home-prepared diet, API strongly recommends that you discuss your decision with your veterinarian or a holistic veterinarian in your area. (For a list of holistic veterinary practitioners, contact the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association at 410-569-0795, or check the directories at www.altvetmed.org).
Everyone will remember the clever way the “good guys” in those old-time Western movies scrambled from shrub to tree to boulder, shooting from all angles to make their enemies think they were up against a legion. That same idea has worked wonders for a handful of determined animal protection activists steadily working toward a ban on wildlife snaring in Maine.
When Miami airport inspectors asked a man arriving from Havana, Cuba to raise his pants legs, they were surprised to find 44 birds strapped to his legs. The man had denied he was bringing any wildlife into the United States. He was released the next day on $50,000 bond after being charged with lying on a customs declaration form.
Around the early 1950s, the “arctic fox” strain of rabies entered Ontario from the north. The province’s abundant populations of red foxes and striped skunks are particularly vulnerable to that strain of rabies, and Ontario soon had the dubious distinction of being the “rabies capital of North America.” As I spent so much time “in the bush” and handled wild animals from childhood as I aided my mother with her work in wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, I was familiar with rabies and took vaccinations hoped to protect me in event of contact with rabies.
For two weeks last November, the fate of millions of living creatures hung in the balance.
During that period, the 12th Conference of the Parties (COP 12) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) met in Chile to debate the most pressing trade issues affecting animals and plants.