In December, Queen’s Animal Defence submitted a proposal to Queen’s University for establishing a retirement and adoption program for animals used in research at the University. There are many precedents for a program of this kind, at Guelph and other institutions. Earlier this year, Minnesota governor Mark Dayton signed into law an act requiring that publicly funded research facilities, including universities, release dogs and cats to animal rescue groups upon completion of a study, rather than killing them. Universities opposed this legislation, but the Beagle Freedom Project and the elected representatives of the State of Minnesota prevailed. Read about this story here. Now let’s make this change at Queen’s! Please sign our petition here
Unlike this recent story from the US, a court in Argentina granted Sandra, a captive orangutan, limited legal rights. Lawyers successfully argued that Sandra should be considered a person and that she had been illegally detained for 20 years at a zoo in Buenos Aires. Sandra will live out the rest of her life at a sanctuary.
Read the full story here.
An unfortunate decision following this story in the US ruled that apes don’t have the same rights as humans.
According to “…Justice Karen K. Peters of the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court, writing for the five-judge panel, said that apes’ lackadaisical approach to civic life meant they did not deserve many of the rights afforded most people reading this article…. [the judges found that] ‘Unlike human beings, chimpanzees cannot bear any legal duties, submit to societal responsibilities or be held legally accountable for their actions’… ‘In our view, it is this incapability to bear any legal responsibilities and societal duties that renders it inappropriate to confer upon chimpanzees the legal rights'”
Read the full story here
The New York Times reports on the emotional well-being of zoo animals by detailing the work of Dr. Vint Virga, a veterinarian and animal behaviorist, who treats zoo animals for psychological and behavioral ailments. Dr. Virga has “… treated severely depressed snow leopards, brown bears with obsessive-compulsive disorder and phobic zebras. ‘Scientists often say that we don’t know what animals feel because they can’t speak to us and can’t report their inner states,’ Virga told me. ‘But the thing is, they are reporting their inner states. We’re just not listening.'”
Zoos continue to stir up controversy and this powerful quote from the article helps partly to explain why:
“Still, there’s no denying the public qualms about the entire project of keeping our animal friends captive for education and profit. Consider Mali, an aging elephant at the Manila zoo who has spent most of her 40 years in what, without exaggeration, might be described as a cage, and the campaign to free her that has drawn public statements from as far afield as the morose English rocker Morrissey and the South African novelist J. M. Coetzee. Her years in the zoo are ‘a heavy sentence to bear, longer than is served by most murderers,’ wrote Coetzee, a Nobel laureate. ‘Mali has paid the penalty for not being fortunate enough to be born human.'”
Read the full article here
Also, read the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness here.