Aquariums can, of course, be centers for conservation and research. But there is a special issue when we take children to visit them. We are setting an example of how we think we should live, and this might be done only by ignoring what's in front of us, lying just beneath the surface.
Pit bulls are the breed most often found chained in dismal backyards 24/7, thrown into fighting rings to rip each other to shreds and electrocuted, drowned or hanged for losing fights. They are also the number one breed admitted to many shelters.
As disturbing as this is, it's not a surprise to those of us who have to sit through sickening videos and then listen to the profiteers defend the practices, cover them up and kill the messenger along with the pigs, chickens, turkeys, rabbits and others.
As a nation, we take animal cruelty seriously. It disturbs us--we condemn it and our laws forbid it. But the laws must also be enforced. In our efforts to create a safe and peaceful society, allowing animal cruelty to go unprosecuted is detrimental.
Foie gras fanciers, not content just to bathe their arteries in bird fat, are adding insult to injury by trotting out a laundry list of misconceptions, inaccuracies and outright lies about the foie gras industry.
I wonder if the wearing and promotion of the "faux," normalized the style, causing the explosive resurgence of real fur back to the center of our culture. I believe that wearing anything that looks like fur advertises the trend and encourages others to dress that way.
If we are serious about animal welfare, we have to get beyond the mere adoration of hedgehogs and hippos. We have to face up to the big-picture, systematic erosion of wild animal welfare. It's all around us and getting worse by the day, and our public policies precipitate it.
As a vegan and animal rights advocate for more than 20 years, I'm astonished by how mainstream vegan eating has become these days. But even with so much awareness about where our food comes from and how it is produced, there are still many misconceptions about sea animals.
It's worth noting that many people would shudder at the idea of squirting bodily fluid from an animal directly into their mouths, but those same people drink milk freely and happily because it's packaged to look pretty and marketed to us as a health food.