TIME Denmark

Danish Radio Host Criticized for Killing Rabbit on Air During Animal Rights Debate

The host said he hit the rabbit over the head with a bicycle pump

A radio station in Denmark was heavily criticized Tuesday after one of its hosts killed a rabbit live on air in a debate about animal rights before later cooking it.

Radio24syv presenter Asger Juhl said he killed 9-month-old Allan by hitting him over the head with a bicycle pump.

The incident, which took place in a studio, was broadcast live on air.

The station explained on its Facebook page that Juhl intended to “stir a debate about the hypocrisy when it comes to perceptions of cruelty towards animals.”

It posted a video that it said showed the rabbit being cooked…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Britain

Harry Potter Owls Mistreated, Animal Cruelty Group Says

PETA has accused 'The Making of Harry Potter' tour of mis-treating owls

The successful Warner Bros studio tour of ‘The Making of Harry Potter’ has come under fire for its treatment of animals.

The Harry Potter attraction at Warner Bros Studio Tour London opened in 2012 and allows fans to tour the sets, sample Butterbeer and meet animals from the franchise, including Harry’s owl.

Animal rights group PETA has accused the tour of mistreating the owls that appear on the tour. After secretly filming the tour, PETA has accused the tour operators of keeping the “distressed birds… tethered in tiny cages for hours and forced to perform tricks.”

“Confining frightened owls to tiny cages where they can only chew at their tethers in frustration goes against every message of respect and kindness that J.K. Rowling’s wonderful books taught us,” PETA director Mimi Bekhechi told the BBC.

Warner Bros Studio Tour London told the BBC, “It is essential the welfare of the birds… is of the highest standard.” They also said that they had asked the company that owns the birds, Birds and Animals, to “review this matter.”

Meanwhile a spokesperson for Birds and Animals told the BBC, “The owls are always given regular breaks and closely monitored by a vet. Now that we have had the opportunity to see the footage, we have instigated a review of the issues raised.” They added: “We will take appropriate action to ensure that the birds and animals always receive the very best care.”

[BBC]

TIME China

Joaquin Phoenix Speaks Out Against China’s Brutal Dog-Leather Industry in New Video

Actor Joaquin Phoenix attends 'Vizio Di Forma - Inherent Vice' photocall at Hotel De Russie on January 26, 2015 in Rome, Italy.
Elisabetta A. Villa—Getty Images Actor Joaquin Phoenix attends 'Vizio Di Forma - Inherent Vice' photocall at Hotel De Russie on January 26, 2015 in Rome, Italy.

It's "one of the worst things" the actor has ever seen

Hollywood star and longtime vegan Joaquin Phoenix has taken a stand against China’s dog-leather industry in a new video campaign by animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

The sickening footage claims to show workers at a slaughterhouse in northeast China’s Hebei province beating dogs to death with a stick before having their throats slit and their skin ripped from their bodies.

Some are supposedly still alive when they are skinned.

In the clip, the Inherent Vice actor says it was “one of the worst things I’ve ever seen.”

The footage, originally released in December, is from a yearlong investigation conducted by PETA’s Asia department into China’s dog-leather industry.

The facility in the clip told PETA they bludgeoned 100 to 200 dogs every day and when the film was shot they had 300 dogs in the compound waiting to be killed.

Dog leather, which is cheaper to produce than material from cows or sheep, can be made into gloves, coat trims and other accessories, and is exported all over the globe.

China is the world largest leather producer, with exports this year slated to top $270 billion, but there are no penalties against abusing animals killed for their skin.

PETA claims the leather from such factories could end up in shops on U.S. or European high streets because, unless the skin is DNA tested, you won’t know where or what animal, it came from.

“If you buy leather gloves, belts or shoes, remember,” says Phoenix, who has appeared in several other PETA campaigns, “there’s no easy way to tell whose skin you’re really in.”

Warning: The video contains extremely graphic footage which viewers may find distressing.

 

MONEY Food & Drink

Vegan Meatballs on IKEA Menus Soon

Meatball dish of a Ikea food store inside their furniture store.
Maxim Shipenkov—EPA

The vegan twist on the Swedish meatball will be sold in IKEA stores starting in April. It'll join new vegan and vegetarian options from Chipotle and White Castle, among others.

Behold the power of the veggie and animal lover lobby! The movement can claim two big victories this week. First, a planned GoDaddy Super Bowl ad was pulled after the “humorous” commercial—about a puppy that’s lost, then sold online—was widely criticized for being offensive.

“As someone who feels incredibly strong about animal rights, I am extremely offended by this commercial,” reads a Change.org petition that pleaded with GoDaddy to drop the commercial and attracted 40,000 online signatures in one day. “Go Daddy is encouraging private breeding/puppy mills while shelter animals wait patiently for their forever homes or worse—to be euthanized. They are also encouraging purchasing an animal online; the animal could be sold to someone who runs a fighting ring, someone who abuses animals, or to someone who cannot adequately care for the animal.”

Then, on Wednesday, PETA (hat tip: Grubstreet) patted itself on the back for what was apparently the successful pressuring of IKEA into adding vegan meatballs to the menu. Last spring, it was reported that IKEA was developing vegetarian meatballs, but now it looks like the meatballs will be fully vegan—using no animal products whatsoever. They’re expected to be available at IKEA stores this April.

Meanwhile, large quick-serve restaurant chains have also been expanding vegetarian and vegan options. White Castle rolled out veggie sliders a few weeks ago, while Chipotle pumped up sales of its new sofritas vegan burrito with a special giveaway promotion on Monday. The deal, which promised a free burrito in the future with the purchase of a sofritas burrito on Monday, sold out in some Chipotle locations.

TIME Culture

Foie Gras Freedom Is Also a Win for Free Speech

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lucydphoto—Getty Images/Flickr RF Sauteed foie gras

Nick Gillespie is the editor in chief of Reason.com and Reason.tv.

Opponents of the delicacy shouldn't use the state to force their subjective value judgments on those who have a taste for things they find abhorrent

The overturning of California’s idiotic and repressive ban on the production and sale of foie gras is a small but important victory for “food freedom.” The only downside is that the decision is open to appeal, so it might be temporary.

The ban was passed in 2004 but only went into effect in 2012. The politicians responsible—including then governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who hypocritically claimed to be probusiness and in favor of limited government—said they wanted to give producers and restaurants time to adapt to the change. But in fact the long lag time had everything to do with Golden State term limits. By the time the ban was in full force, you see, none of those responsible would still be in the legislature.

As defined by the nonprofit Keep Food Legal, food freedom is “the right to grow, raise, produce, buy, sell, cook and eat the foods of their own choosing, including everything from raw milk to trans fats, hemp to soda, and foie gras to Four Loko” (disclosure: I once served on Keep Food Legal’s board of trustees). In an age of artisanal everything and skyrocketing interest in all sorts of new and innovative cuisine, food freedom is every bit as important as rights to free speech and alternative sexuality.

Indeed, what we cook and what we eat have become as much an arena of individual expression as whom we vote for and whom we marry. Raw-milk producers still labor under draconian regulations and the threat of federal raids despite strong demand for their products by impeccably informed consumers. In a world in which caffeine-enhanced Four Loko has been prohibited, it’s a wonder that Irish coffee is still available.

In order to ban a choice of something as personal as food, government at any level should have extremely compelling reasons related to public health and safety. Simply finding something offensive is no more a warrant for prohibition than for censoring art that some find disturbing. In the case of foie gras, animal-rights activists could only express concern for the birds that are traditionally force-fed in the production of foie gras. All animals that are ultimately slaughtered for human consumption may have our sympathy and empathy. They do not, however, have rights equal to ours. The basic problem helps to explain why the California ban was written in a way that critics presciently called both constitutionally vague and impossible to enforce.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), one of the major players in the foie-gras issue, has tried over the years to assert constitutional rights for orcas. In this, PETA is joined by other activists who have done the same for chimpanzees, dolphins and other animals. None of their lawsuits have gotten far, and they are not likely to because they are nonsensical. However much humans may or may not have an ethical obligation to treat animals in a humane fashion, animals simply do not have rights in any meaningful legal sense.

Which isn’t to say people opposed to foie gras have no means of carrying the day. They can work to end the market for foie gras and other animal products through persuasion and informational campaigns. But they cannot and should not bank on using the coercive power of the state to force their subjective value judgments on the rest of us who have a taste for foie gras or other delicacies they find abhorrent.

And they should assiduously make sure that tax dollars are not going to support food they would never eat. That’s a likely point of agreement between them and libertarian defenders of the right to cook and eat what we want. A central part of the food-freedom agenda is freedom from subsidizing other people’s preferences. Keep Food Legal’s mission statement emphasizes that the group “also support[s] ending agricultural subsidies, which distort the market and help lead to problems like obesity and environmental degradation.”

Increasingly, we live in a world of wildly proliferating choices in virtually every aspect of our daily lives. Like never before, we are free to dress how we like, live where we want, marry whomever we love (or just live with them). The Internet and global trade mean we can have goods from all over the world shipped to our doors. In more and more states, we can even legally smoke pot. In such a climate, it is both folly and hubris for anyone to think he can command the world to live by his rules alone.

Gillespie is the editor in chief of Reason.com and Reason.tv and the co-author with Matt Welch of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong with America

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Companies

SeaWorld Chief Resigns After Blackfish Film Damages Firm’s Reputation

Killler Whale Calf At SeaWorld San Diego
Getty Images A baby killer whale calf nurses from its mother at SeaWorld San Diego's Shamu Stadium on Dec. 4, 2014 in San Diego

The enterprise’s share price dropped by more than 40% in 2014

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment’s chief executive Jim Atchison announced plans to resign this week as the company struggles to attract visitors to their parks since the release of the 2013 film Blackfish, according to the BBC.

The critically acclaimed documentary revolves around the alleged mistreatment of the amusement park’s orcas and the gruesome deaths of several of the animals’ trainers.

SeaWorld’s current board chairman David D’Alessandro is set to serve as the corporation’s interim chief executive and will help manage a reorganization that aims to save $50 million by the end of next year.

[BBC]

TIME Courts

Chimpanzees Are Not Entitled to Human Rights, New York Court Says

ICOAST-ANIMAL-ZOO
Sia Kambou—AFP/Getty Images A chimpanzee holds a lettuce at the zoo in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on June 12, 2014

The chimpanzee at issue is not entitled to a writ of habeas corpus allowing him freedom from his cage

A chimpanzee does not have legal personhood and is not entitled to human rights, a New York appeals court has decided.

The three-judge Appellate Division panel ruled unanimously on Thursday that the owner of Tommy, a chimpanzee, is not obligated to release him from what an animal-rights’ group has called unlawful detention.

The Nonhuman Rights Project had sought Tommy’s freedom from a cage in upstate New York, arguing that the animal’s living conditions, selected for him by his owner, equated to unlawful solitary confinement. The group, which planned to move Tommy to a sanctuary, did not seek to have the chimpanzee declared a human, but to obtain legal personhood, a status that would entitle him to a writ of habeas corpus and merit his release.

A trial level court had in October denied the Nonhuman Rights Project’s effort, when the group’s lawyer, Steven Wise, argued that Tommy, 26, is best compared to a human child who “can understand that he does not want to be imprisoned for his life in a cage,” but, unlike a human adult, cannot be held legally responsible for his actions. The judge, Michael Lynch, had noted that legal personhood comes with “responsibilities” and it would be unwise “to foist any responsibilities on this chimpanzee.”

In its decision, the appeals court reiterated the lower court’s findings that chimpanzees, though intelligent, are unfit take on the legal implications of personhood, ruling 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 — such as the fundamental right to liberty protected by the writ of habeas corpus — that have been afforded to human beings,” reads the decision.

Tommy’s owner, Patrick Lavery, told the Guardian that he finds the Nonhuman Rights Project’s argument for his pet’s legal personhood “ridiculous.” Lavery, who has not attended any of the proceedings, called the chimpanzee’s living quarters “an excellent home” that includes a TV and in which the chimpanzee is “happy.”

The Nonhuman Rights Project did not allege that Lavery had violated any state or local laws in keeping Tommy as a pet. The appeals court concluded that if the group believes that current legal protections for animal welfare are insufficient, they should seek improved legislation on the issue, not legal personhood.

TIME Science

Humans, Chimps and Why We Need Personhood for All

2014 Pennebaker Hegedus Films, Inc. Tommy the chimpanzee

Barbara J. King is a biological anthropologist at the College of William and Mary.

We accord rights to babies, the profoundly disabled and elderly people with dementia. Is Tommy the ape that different?

Advocates of animal rights are eagerly awaiting the results of a case brought before a New York state appellate court in Albany earlier this month that will decide if a chimpanzee named Tommy is a person. The judge’s decision may be handed down at any time between late October and December. If, in the eyes of the law, 26-year-old ape Tommy is deemed a person, he will be released from the small cage where he is kept in isolation by his owner near Gloversville, New York, and sent to an ape sanctuary in Florida.

Tommy would then become the world’s first non-human animal to be legally granted personhood.

The idea behind the court case, argued on October 8th by lawyer Steven Wise of the Nonhuman Rights Project, rests upon Tommy’s right to determine what happens to his own life. And that idea in turn rests on what researchers in my field, primate behavior, know to be true: Our closest living relatives in the animal kingdom (along with their close cousins the bonobos), chimpanzees, are conscious, intelligent and emotional beings. In the wild in Africa, they plan ahead by making tools and carrying them to a site where that technology enables them to get better food; remember details of past encounters according to features like kinship status and dominance rank of their social partners; and cooperate with each other in hunting monkeys and sometimes in carrying out acts of brutal aggression against apes of neighboring communities.

Field researchers across Africa, including Jane Goodall at Gombe, Tanzania; Toshisada Nishida at Mahale, Tanzania; Christophe Boesch at Tai, Cote d’Ivoire; and Jill Pruetz at Fongoli, Senegal, have published abundant evidence in support of these conclusions. This information becomes significant beyond the learned journal and the college classroom when we think about chimpanzees like Tommy who aren’t living in their natural habitat but instead in harsh confinement: It tells us that Tommy isn’t meant to live alone, without companionship, mental stimulation or, at its most basic, freedom to make choices about his own actions.

I’ve never met Tommy, but know that if I were to do so, I’d soon come to see him as a unique personality, an animal with characters traits and likes and dislikes conveyed to those around him–just as I have been privileged to know certain other non-human primates over the years of my own observational studies. There’s no question in my mind that Tommy deserves our help. But is Wise’s approach the best path forward?

In first reading about Tommy, I concluded that we humans need to ramp up our responsible actions toward apes rather than bestowing rights of personhood upon apes. This perspective is beautifully articulated by the philosopher Lori Gruen. And the questions tumble one upon the other when we consider what might happen if Tommy and other apes were to become persons in the eyes of the law. How exactly would they participate in the determination of their own lives? Yes, they are smart creatures, but they are relentlessly non-verbal. Will our observation of their behaviors be enough for us to know what they want? What if they want what we can’t give them (a great deal of space to roam, let’s say) or isn’t good for them (unhealthy but delicious sugary foods)? How would we begin to think about the interrelationship of apes’ rights and responsibilities? What could it even mean for apes to have responsibilities to society?

But I began to wonder, are these questions of mine the most appropriate ones? After all, we protect the rights of many humans who contribute to society simply through their own valued existence: babies, the profoundly disabled, elderly people with dementia. It’s well past time to create new ways of relating to other creatures who are sentient without language.

Having gotten this far in my thinking, I asked Wise to clarify for me how he approaches the question of Tommy’s ability for self-determination. Wise told me:

At the root of the Nonhuman Rights Project’s arguments that a chimpanzee is a legal person possessed of the right to body liberty protected by a common law writ of habeas corpus is [the view that] they are autonomous and self-determining beings. One of our experts defined autonomous behavior as ‘behavior that reflects a choice and is not based on reflexes, innate behaviors or any conventional categories of learning … [It] implies that the individual is directing the behavior based on some non-observable internal cognitive process.’ Because chimpanzees are autonomous, self-determining and social beings, it is unlikely that a mentally healthy chimpanzee would choose a life of forced solitary confinement in an indoor cage in a Northern clime over a life lived with dozens of other chimpanzees, outdoors, in a Southern clime. As human beings who are mentally unable to make complex decisions because they are too young or otherwise mentally incompetent have the right to make simpler decisions about their lives, so chimpanzees should have the right to make those decisions about their lives about which they are capable.

I find this definition of self-determination, which recognizes the reality of different levels of capability across species, and its application to Tommy’s case, to be persuasive. In the end, I think it’s time now to be bold, to throw open our imagination and envision a different future for chimpanzees like Tommy. This is what visionaries like Wise encourage us to do: to stand apart from the mainstream and pose new solutions. If those solutions come with a set of challenging questions attached, let’s open a conversation about them, and meet them head on.

Animal lives matter, all on their own. This is a wonderful and freeing perspective to embrace as we wait for the judge’s decision regarding Tommy.

Barbara J. King is a biological anthropologist at the College of William and Mary who teaches, writes and speaks about animal studies, primate behavior, human evolution and evolutionary perspectives on gender. Her latest book is How Animals Grieve, published in 2013.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

MONEY Second Career

3 Secrets to Launching a Successful Second Act Career

Robert Merhaut Adele Douglass created the first U.S. humane certification program for farm animals raised for food

Adele Douglass built a non-profit that protects millions of farm animals and gives farmers a new marketing niche.

After a three-decade career in Washington devoted to animal welfare issues, Adele Douglass thought she knew a lot about how bad their mistreatment could get. Still, she was shocked when she began to look closely at the conditions of farm animals in the U.S.

She discovered chickens being raised in cages so overcrowded they couldn’t raise their wings, pigs unable to turn around in tightly packed pens, and animals left unsheltered against outdoor elements.

Douglass decided the best way to improve the conditions of livestock was to push for change herself. So in 2003, at age 57, she quit her job as a non-profit executive for an animal rights association and launched her own organization, Humane Farm Animal Care. “The more I knew, the more appalled I got, and the more I wanted to do something myself,” says Douglass, now 67. “Legislation was not going to solve the problem. It took 100 years for the Humane Slaughter Act to be passed.”

Douglass figured out a way to engage farmers and consumers on the issue—by addressing their growing concerns over eating meat from animals being fed antibiotics. She developed Certified Humane, which is the first certification in the U.S. that guarantees farm animals are treated humanely from birth to slaughter. To get this certification, farmers must allow animals to engage in natural behaviors, provide appropriate space for roaming, and food free of antibiotics or hormones. Farmers who are Certified Humane can market to natural food shoppers and get higher prices for their products, Douglass says.

Humanely raised food appeals to American families of all income levels. “Young mothers want to feed their families good food. Poor people don’t want to feed their families junk” says Douglass.” Following humane practices also improves the environment, since fewer animals raised on more space creates less pollution.

To fund the organization, Douglass cashed in her $80,000 401(k) account. Her daughter, who had encouraged her to make the move, gave her $10,000 and worked at the organization during its first few years. Douglass also received grants from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and The Humane Society. In the first year of operation in 2004, 143,000 animals were raised under the organization’s standards.

Today 87 million animals are in the program, and the non-profit has three full-time employees and two part-timers. Fees for certification and annual inspections cover about 30% of the organization’s costs—the rest comes from donations and grants.

Douglass shares this advice for others hoping to launch a second act career:

Make a plan before you exit. Douglass spent years researching the issue before quitting her job. She was able to get off the ground in just one year because she modeled the certification program after an existing similar program in the U.K. called Freedom Food.

Leverage your contacts. Douglass has a deep list of connections, from animal scientists and USDA officials to fundraisers and academics, as well as contacts in the animal rights movement and veterinary profession. “I had the contacts, knowledge and experience which gave me confidence I could do this on my own,” says Douglass.

Cut personal expenses. Though Douglass’ salary isn’t much less than what she earned in her previous career, her compensation is a lot more volatile. She has willingly taken pay cuts in recent years. Douglass says she hasn’t had to change her lifestyle much. But she reduced her biggest expense—her home—by downsizing to a smaller place, which made it easier to adjust.

At 67, Douglass doesn’t envision retiring. Now living alone, with three adult children and five grandchildren, she says her family is one of her greatest joys. But her work remains an enormously satisfying part of her life too. “Sure, there are days when I am tired and frustrated. But I am doing something that benefits people, animals and the environment. I feel really good about that,” says Douglass.

Adele Douglass is a 2007 winner of The Purpose Prize, a program operated by Encore.org, a non-profit organization that recognizes social entrepreneurs over 60 who are launching second acts for the greater good.

Related:

How to Ace Any Interview and Land the Job of Your Dreams

The 9-to-5 Start-up: How to Launch a Business Without Quitting Your Day Job

How This Former Techie Gave Her Career a Jolt

TIME Courts

The U.S. Supreme Court Upholds a California Ban on Foie Gras

Forbidden Foie Gras Goes Underground At California 'Duckeasies'
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images A worker performs "gavage," or force feeding, on ducks in the preparation of foie gras at Hudson Valley Farms in Ferndale, New York, U.S., on Sunday, July 15, 2012.

Haute diners in California will have to do without

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld California’s ban on foie gras, refusing to hear an appeal against the state’s kibosh on products made by “force feeding a bird for the purpose of enlarging the bird’s liver beyond a normal size,” Reuters reports.

Foie gras, French for “fatty liver,” is made by force-feeding corn to ducks and geese, a process that animal-rights activists have described as cruel and unethical. The birds’ unnaturally enlarged livers are then harvested for high-end dining.

A Los Angeles-based restaurant group, a foie gras producer in New York, and a group of foie gras farmers in Canada had challenged the ban, calling it a violation of federal protections barring states from interfering in interstate commerce, Reuters says.

The ban was passed in 2004 but went into effect in 2012, according to the Los Angeles Times.

[Reuters]

Read next: The Case Against Eating Ethically-Raised Meat

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