Very exciting workshop at Edinburgh's Centre for Medical Anthropology next week. Fabulous speakers such as Samantha Hurn, the Programme Director for the MA Anthrozoology at Exeter, Frédéric Keck from the Laboratoire d'études sur les relations hommes-animaux at the CNRS and Head of research at the Musée du Quai Branly and Henry Buller Professor of Geography at Exeter. Definitely worth going if you are in the area!
'Are White Storks Addicted To Junk Food?' is the title of this new study published with Movement ecology. It shows that some European populations of white storks (Ciconia ciconia) have recently stopped migrating to Africa because they can now guarantee year-round food from nearby landfills.
The animal rights organization L214 recently released a video showing the mistreatment of animals in a French slaughterhouse. Animals improperly electrocuted, sheep thrown violently against the fences and repeatedly beaten down with electric batons. The video was shot in the certified 'organic' slaughterhouse in Vigan. An investigation was opened and the slaughterhouse was closed down "as a measure of precaution". This video was release only four months after a first video was filmed in the municipal slaughterhouse of Ales, also in the Gard, which was also closed down. The video is a difficult watch. Please leave your comments below!
I thought I would translate parts of the attached newspaper articles to let you know about an absurd culling of ibex in south-eastern France (please forgive my imperfect translating skills!) This is what the article says:
The slaughter of Bargy ibex continued on Friday, October 9, in the Haute-Savoie massif of Bargy (France). The Bargy ibex, a protected species since 1981, is being accused by local farmers to contaminate their animals with brucellosis, an anthropzoonosis that reappeared in the region in 2012 (it had been eradicated in 1999). As a result, about two-thirds of the local ibex population will be euthanized (some 230 animals) under a prefectural order. The prefecture will slaughter infected animals (40% of the herd) but also some who had not been screened in 2015. Only 75-80 animals should be spared.
François Moutou, a local vet and epidemiologist explains the absurdity of the culling:
‘I do not discuss the need to remove contaminated ibex, but killing the entire herd is both useless and counterproductive. The operation in October 2013 worsened the situation, as tests conducted in spring 2014 showed that 43% of the herd had been contaminated, against 36% previously- This is due to the fact that the massive slaughter of 2013 which consisted of removing adult males, has allowed youngsters to access previously ‘dominated’ (his term, not mine!) females. This led to the contamination of the youngsters. By emptying the Bargy region, we also contaminated the surrounding mountains, including the Aravis. Ibex are highly social animals who move around a lot, especially during mating season. By eliminating the alpha males, we increase the chances of surviving infected females infecting males from other regions … Ultimately, this massive and brutal operation is merely political: it only serves to reassure the farmers, regardless of biodiversity.’
Read more about it here (in French):
© 2015 AFP PHOTO/DIETER NAGL
Tory plan to relax foxhunting ban fails thanks to threat from Scottish National Party! This is a great opportunity to (re)-read Fukuda's research on foxhunting and pet keeping in Britain.
© 2009 Simon Dawson via theguardian.com
Giant rats that can locate mines (and diagnose tuberculosis much quicker than human beings) in Angola. Great video. French speakers, here is a French-speaking article from the Courrier international (thanks Pierre Dugnoille for the article!)
© 2015 New York Times.
Watch these incredible footages from The Océano Profundo 2015: Exploring Puerto Rico’s Seamounts, Trenches, and Troughs expedition.
Please read this report by Animals Asia who were contacted by 'Mr Yan', a Chinese bear bile farm owner, to turn the farm into a bear sanctuary.
Image © 2014 Animals Asia
The call for papers for the first Anthrozoology student conference is now open!! Held at the University of Exeter’s beautiful Reed Hall, from 10-12th August 2015, we warmly invite students from all disciplines and levels to apply. Please feel free to circulate this email so as many students have the opportunity to apply as possible.
Anthrozoology looks at the many dimensions of how humans and other animals interact, yet we wish to stimulate our thoughts towards the future of human-animal relations. The conference will be an exciting place to discuss new ways of being and seeing animals, both within academia but also in daily practice, and what can done to facilitate better lines of communication between the two. We invite you to participate in our first anthrozoology student conference, and join the exciting conversation.
Themes we hope to cover include ‘Seeing’ the nonhuman animal, Fostering coexistence, and Action research: Methods and considerations. The topics within these are vast and varied, so we have provided some ideas to help with your application in our full version of Call for Papers.
This is a free event, and all students from all disciplines are invited to apply, whether you are working through an undergraduate degree, or nearing completion of a PHD. Papers can either be delivered as a 20 minute presentation, or in the form of a poster to be displayed during intervals. The deadline for applicants is the 12th June, 2015.
Full details can be found via our Call for Papers, attached above.
We very much look forward to hearing from you!
Student of Ma Anthrozoology
University of Exeter
The New York Times reports in a detailed article that the US Meat Animal Research Center supervised by the US Department of Agriculture violates the US Animal Protection Act, which is supposed to be enforced by … the US Department of Agriculture itself. This centre was created by the Congress in the 1960s to conduct research on livestock production to adapt to the needs of the 21st-century population. Here are a few situations where the US Meat Animal Research Center has put animal welfare at risk since the 1960s:
Tiger wine consumption in China - A booming business which is reminiscent of cat and dog meat consumption in Korea
This article from The Guardian mentions the existence of a booming industry in China: wine made of tiger bones. Predominantly in Heilongjang (north-east China), but not only, many tiger farms are created to facilitate the legal trade of tiger products. Tiger wine is often consumed in China to cure both impotence and rheumatism. This is reminiscent of dog meat and cat meat consumption in Korea which are often thought to, respectively, increase sexual stamina and agility.
© 2015 Qilai Shen/Washington Post
'From plate to pet: Promotion of trans-species companionship by Korean animal activists', Anthropology Today
In Korea cats and dogs are both pets and food. This article looks at how Korean activists bring the issue of animal welfare to the attention of Korean society in the context of cat and dog meat consumption. It explores the ways in which activists deploy rescue narratives in order to attract families willing to adopt rescued animals, thus transforming people's perception of livestock animals into that of potential lifetime companions. Combined here are the Confucian virtue of impartial benevolence and 18th-century Western moral philosophy.
View full article here:
DUGNOILLE, J. 2014. From plate to pet: Promotion of trans-species companionship by Korean animal activists. Anthropology Today. 30(6) 3-7.
Psychologist Michael Pettit at the University of York in Toronto has published an article on raccoon psychology which suggests that the intelligence of raccoons has tremendously developed in North America thanks to recent urban developments. In the past 10 years, raccoons have adapted to urban life remarkably well and have developed clever scavenging strategies, such as opening bins and unlocking storage rooms very easily. The fact that raccoons have outsmarted human precautions so rapidly, suggests that they could potentially become a huge social issue for North Americans in the next few decades.
Illustration © 2014 Michael Byers
According to local wildlife conservation and animal welfare organizations, there are 1,48 million cats for 8,1 million inhabitants in Switzerland. This overpopulation is responsible for the extinction of wildlife species in many of Switzerland's urban areas. As a result, local animal welfare organizations are implementing a one-cat policy along with a cat curfew and strict spaying/neutering measures (article in French).
WWF just published its biannual living planet report (French and 한국어 versions also available), which shows the massif decline in global wildlife populations in the past 40 years. The forest elephant of West and Central Africa, the tiger of Nepal, and the African lion of Ghana, or only a few examples of species, now endangered, whose population has declined dramatically in the last decades.
For the past 40 years, British biologists Peter and Rosemary Grant have observed finch birds on Daphne, one of the Galapagos Islands. In 1981, the Grants witnessed the origin of a long-lasting species when a hybrid finch landed on the island before mating with local finches and altering the local species' dimensions. This allowed the British biologists to witness evolution in action.
This INRA research conducted in Lyon indicates that urbanization and biodiversity may be compatible. This is the perfect opportunity to (re)read Javier Lezaun's article on parasitism and the politics of transgenic life, as well as his brilliant article on urban mosquitoes and ethics of separation in Dar es Salaam, written with Ann H. Kelly for American Ethnologist.
French speakers, here is an interesting article about Pyrenean shepherds who have tested a geolocation device on their cattle over the last two years. They were able to easily locate and follow their herds of cows through their smartphones' GPS.
Restaurant Row, a University of Minnesota neurophysiological experience on rat behavior, identified that rats, just like human beings, experience regret after 'making a mistake'. It is the first time that regret is identified in a non-human mammal. French speakers, here is a post on these findings from Le Monde's mblogs.
By 2050, our consumption/production of meat is expected to double. This will have a disastrous impact on our environment. In January 2014, Prof. Mark Post at the University of Maastricht has found a way to create meat by harvesting, without pain, muscle cells from a living cow.
Dr. Austin Stewart, Assistant Professor at Iowa State University, is attempting to design Second Livestock, a takeoff of virtual life device Second Life, which aims to provide chickens, and other farm animals, with the illusion of a free-range existence. French-speakers, here is a summary of Austin Stewart's interview from Le Monde.
Prof. Tim Clutton-Brock will be giving this year's Tinbergen Lecture at the Department of Zoology on Monday, 19th May, 4pm (Lecture Theatre A, Tinbergen building on South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS). He will be talking about the origins of cooperation and society, using comparative analysis and phylogenetic reconstruction in relation to his work on meerkats and other mammals, including humans.
If you cannot attend, not all is lost, you can still watch reruns of Meerkat Manor on the Animal Planet website.