Animal welfare



Martin Thomas

For January 2019, 4.2 million people said they would join “Dry January”, a pledge to drop alcohol for the month. The Alcohol Change UK group, which organised “Dry January”, says that (even if some of those 4.2 million had lapses) this year’s response was the biggest ever, and hugely up on January 2013, when the project started with just 4,000 signing up.

Tough On Kids, Tough On the Causes of Kids! (1997)

Labour's Shadow Home Secretary, Jack Straw, recently proposed a curfew on children. He opened his heart and mind to Workers Liberty reporter Patrick Avakuum.
AS Tony Blair's team waits impatiently to cross the floor of the House of Commons and show that they can outdo the Tories, Jack Straw, Labour's Shadow Home Secretary has emerged as an unexpected Front Bench star in this brilliant company.

Televote TV Goes Wild

Submitted by Janine on Fri, 08/12/2006 - 21:24

Now this is getting ridiculous. Tomorrow night sees the start of a new TV show where celebrities hang out with endangered species. Then you the viewer get to vote for which animals should get help to survive.

Yes, really. Don't vote and the furry fellas die out. You choose. Will it be the Polar Bear? Or maybe the Giant Panda? Don't forget that when you vote for one, you are voting against the others. So go on - vote Hyacinth Macaw and wave goodbye to the Orang Utans. Save the Mountain Gorilla and damn the Asian Elephant. If the Leatherback Turtle dies out, it's your fault for voting Bengal Tiger.

Are there no depths to which ITV will not descend in the race for Saturday night prime-time viewers?! Come on, Robin Hood can't be that hard to surpass, can it?

All these animals should survive, and human society should take urgent action to ensure that they do. A slice of the TV industry's profits and the celebs' fortunes would go a long way to help.

How about we vote to save all the endangered species of animals and let the celebrities die out and become extinct? That'd get my vote.

Culture and Reviews
Issues and Campaigns

Rights for Great Apes?

Submitted by Janine on Mon, 29/05/2006 - 14:09

I recommend this excellent, thought-provoking article by Princeton University bioethics professor Peter Singer in Saturday's Guardian. His argument is that great apes are so close to humans in evolution, and share so many of our traits - long-term relationships, self-awareness, bereavement, communication skills, intelligence - that as human society, we should declare that they have rights, and protect them from abuse of these rights. Commenters might try to unconvince me, but for now, I'm convinced.

Spanish MP Francisco Garrido (whose politics I should go and look up) is proposing that the country's Parliament approve the aims of Singer's Great Ape Project - "to grant some basic rights to the non-human great apes: life, liberty and the prohibition of torture". It wouldn't be the first thing I'd table if I were an MP - that would be the Trade Union Freedom Bill - but I'll follow Garrido's progress with a generally-supportive interest.

Prof Singer's view certainly weighs in on an argument elsewhere on this website.

Regular readers will know that I can't possibly praise one article in the Guardian without slagging off another to compensate. So please turn to the Work section. With the odd exception, I usually find this section over-stuffed with no-brainer management-babble that ought to swiftly disabuse the reader of the notion that the Guardian is "left-wing".

I only read this one because it also claims an interest in the behaviour of great apes and its similarity to that of humans. Unlike its far more intelligent cousin, though, this article strikes me as pop-science junk. It uses otherwise-interesting behavioural studies of apes to suggest that if only people were a little more humble with colleagues, the workplace and the world would be a much nicer place.

Er, excuse me, but what about management bullying, inequality, exploitation, lack of industrial democracy? The root cause of workplace misery is the boss-worker relationship, the fundamental structure of capitalism. The study of human society can tell us that. Great ape behaviour may shed a little candlelight, especially in exposing behaviours that pro-capitalists might pass off as 'natural'. But Marxism turns on bloody powerful floodlights.

Once again, a Guardian article on work seems to have surgically removed class politics from the subject where it most obviously belongs.

Issues and Campaigns


In Solidarity 3/89 David Broder started a discussion on animal testing and the broader issue of “animal rights”. Here Clive Bradley and Janine Booth take issue with David. His reply and other debate can be found at:

The case for testing on animals

David Broder, a former animal rights activist, assesses the the issues behind scientific (and not so scientific) tests on animals

It’s no surprise that there are plenty of people who oppose Oxford University building animal testing labs. At a February 2005 High Court hearing, British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection activists claimed that at Cambridge, healthy and intelligent monkeys had the tops of their heads sawn off in order to induce strokes. After this ordeal, the monkeys were left without veterinary care for 15 hours, their brains exposed. Harrowing stuff.

The left should back science!

Sacha Ismail spoke to Tom Ogg, an Oxford University student involved in Pro-Test, which campaigns in favour of animal testing for research and medical purposes.

What is Pro-Test?

The campaign was started by Laurie Pycroft, who’s a school student taking a year off from his A-Levels due to illness. Laurie set up a website, through which a number of university students got in touch with him; word got round on message boards, email lists and so on, and it went from there. That was when I got involved.

Should scientists be allowed to experiment on animals?

Should we support the right for scientists to do experiments on animals? The socialist scientist Steven Rose, who experiments on chicks in basic research into human brain function and memory, writes about this in his book The Making of Memory...

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