Tag: cages

?⁠ Captive Animals, Captive Humans ?⁠

(I wrote this letter to the Washington Post in response to their article about animals in zoos during Coronavirus a couple days before a tiger at the Bronx Zoo tested positive for Covid-19.)

In reading the end of your article about how “some zoos and aquariums … are streaming live-feeds of their exhibits to keep the public connected to their animals,” I couldn’t help but see the irony in live-streaming videos of captive animals to the homes of captive humans.

The fact that zoonotic diseases like Covid-19 pass from animals to humans is another irony that should also not be lost on your readers. While Covid-19 (and SARS before it) originated in a live market where wild animals are kept to be sold for human consumption, it is precisely confinement of wild animals and their proximity to humans that increase the chances of zoonotic diseases passing between human and non-human animals.

Perhaps a silver lining in all of this will be a heightened awareness that other animals’ desire for freedom, life, autonomy, and self-determination is as strong as our own. If we’re frustrated by our temporary lack of mobility and independence, imagine how they feel.

We can admire birds in our backyards; watch bees pollinate flowers; or spot wild turkeys, deer, and lizards while on a hiking trail.

We can be captivated by animals without holding them captive.

~Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

?Writing (thoughtful, respectful) letters to editors of newspapers — locally, regionally, and nationally — is a wonderful way to be a voice for animals and helps you articulate your thoughts about a given subject.

?For more on animals and coronavirus, check out my series on the Food for Thought podcast about how the virus affects and is affected by non-human animals.

?Please feel free to share any or all of this letter.

Some related essays you might be interested in:

Animals and Coronavirus: Poaching and Eating Wild Animals

Coronavirus and the Lethal Gifts of Livestock

Vaccines Are a Bunch of Bull: Animal-Related Words for Diseases and Cures

3 Tips for Avoiding Animal Cruelty When Traveling

Can You Eat Eggs And Still Be Vegan?

Because hens don’t have to be killed to obtain their eggs, many people have been conditioned to perceive eggs as being healthy, humane, and cruelty-free, despite the fact that the majority of them are from factory farms. To demonstrate their compassion for animals in general and battery cage hens in particular, as well their desire to promote animal welfare, they buy eggs labeled free-range, cage free, humane, and organic, believing they are not contributing to animal cruelty and factory farming.  

Many people often declare that they get eggs from local farmers or backyard hens, who are genuinely cage-free. That leads them to ask me one of the most common questions I receive about veganism, ethics, and animals: what’s wrong with eating eggs from backyard hens / chickens since it doesn’t contribute to animal cruelty. What if that person is vegan in every other way but eats the eggs of their own rescued hens? Or sanctuary hens? Or their hens who are “pets”? In other words:

  1. Is it unethical / problematic / perpetuating cruelty to avoid buying factory farmed animal products but eat eggs from rescued hens? AND 
  2. Can that person call themselves vegan?

Listener Sponsors

Food for Thought podcast is 100% listener-supporter, so thank you to everyone who sponsors this podcast through Patreon.com/ColleenPatrickGoudreau. Thank you to new patrons Bekah Anne, Karyn Winsor Levie, Rachel Henry, Joe Keever, Amanda Campeau, Bonnie Brandt, Diana Robles, Sabrina, Grace Jimenez, as well as to long-time GENEROUS Platinum supporters Michal Stone, David Cabrera, Alexander Gray, and Morgan Hall, and Brooke Bussard. You’re all amazing. If you’d like to join them in supporting 14 years of podcast episodes and helping me continue, go to patreon.com/colleenpatrickgoudreau. There are some new perks over there, as well. 

Truth Bombs

  • To call yourself vegan, the presumption is you don’t eat animal flesh and fluids. That’s not an arbitrary characterization. While there are grey areas related to being vegan, it’s safe to say that the most basic definition of that is that you’re not eating anything that comes out of an animal. 
  • There is no such thing as a vegan overlord. In the end, whatever you call yourself is up to you.
  • Eggs are loaded with problematic dietary cholesterol, animal fat, and animal protein — not to mention being carriers of foodborne pathogens such as salmonella.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids reside in plants — not animal products. Skip the middle chicken and get your nutrients directly from the source: plants.
  • If there is no rooster, there is no chance the hens’ eggs will become fertilized. No rooster, no chick.
  • Intention has a lot to do with the decisions we make about the critters in our care.
  • Being vegan is about doing what we can to foster compassion and to avoid contributing to violence. It’s not about being perfect, and it’s not about being pure.
  • Being vegan is a means to an end, not an end in itself. I don’t aspire to be as vegan as I can be. I aspire to be as compassionate as I can be. 
  • In order to help animals, we need to change the paradigm from one of entitlement to one of communality.

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