JEFFREY ST CLAIR—So what happened? How did animals come to be viewed as mindless commodities? One explanation is that modernity rudely intruded in the rather frail form of Renè Descartes. The great Cartesian disconnect not only cleaved mind from body, but also severed humans from the natural world. Descartes postulated that animals were mere physical automatons. They were biological machines whose actions were driven solely by bio-physical instincts. Animals lacked the power of cognition, the ability to think and reason. They had a brain but no mind.READ ON
Trump’s appointments in this area are naturally making matters worse, although they have been pretty bad for a very long time. We need better and broader public education and mobilisation campaigns to shift the value system against the real frivolous predators, amongst us, “sports hunters”, and greedy ranchers. All of these types know only one thing: looking at nature and its animals as a source of exploitation. This is the mentality that devastated the West, is devastating what remains of the habitats around the globe, and has brought us climate change and ecological death. It is an ideological continuum. Deal with it.READ ON
LOUISA WILLCOX—In grade school, I was taught that our democratic society depends on citizen access to good information to make good choices. That in order for journalists and citizens to serve their function as watchdogs, government must be transparent, both in terms of information used and in processes employed to reach decisions. And that science involves a healthy debate about what conclusions are best supported by the data at hand.
I was also taught that totalitarian regimes are obsessed with controlling the flow of information. So, I was puzzled to discover how tightly controlled information about grizzly bears was, and still is, by managers, and how opaque decision processes are, especially after delisting.READ ON
The states may ban hunting bears with cubs, as the memorandum of understanding between the three states outlines (Montana’s plan would only allow hunting of solitary animals). They may also ban hunting during the part of the year when females, who emerge from dens later and go into hibernation earlier, are more likely to be killed (Montana’s plan would do this). But mother bears, upon which the survival of the Greater Yellowstone grizzlies depend, could still be taken. That includes 399, until now so adept at living with people.READ ON