Re the chooks...you have an interestingly different experience. Home raised chooks that I have lived with seem to have a very peaceful life....they sort out the pecking order thing, then get on with it. I have seen roosters bug the hens, but not rape them. They would if the could, but they don't have hands.
I was exaggerating but only slightly. The way it looked to me was the rooster would run up, leap onto a chicken (often in the middle of trying to run away) and beat its wings over the chicken (which seemed to work pretty well to control them) a few seconds and it was over.
Sure, "rape" is a concept that doesn't really work with animals (given that consent is not always clear) but my point was that they seemed happier without roosters around. Too many roosters and they'd start looking worn out.
I raised chickens in several different cities in at least two countries, so there were some more peaceful scenarios (e.g. in Brazil they weren't attacked by foxes and the occasional dog attack was more rare) than the mountain location in Japan where the foxes would come for them but there were also moments of suffering that they'd not experience in cages. The predation was especially harmful I think, I remember a rabbit we had that was frozen in fear for hours after a fox attack that took one of the chickens. Usually their agitation was the first sign we had (despite the traps, the lookout dogs and all) and at that particular place the chickens would end up cooping themselves.
Of course, maybe the big deal is that the chicken farm I saw was very humane. They were caged but could walk around a bit and I didn't see anything like cut beaks (and I wish we'd target specific practices like this more than general labels like "free range" which could still include cut beaks and get away with it). I also just didn't notice much of a sensory deprivation angle with them either.
In one place I raised chickens in a parakeet cage (a walk in one, like a miniature aviary) that was like a bathroom size. I had 10 of them (all roosters) and they seemed about as happy on days where they stayed in the cage as days we let them out (eventually they were left out during the days and cooped at night). It wasn't like a dog where I can so acutely see how much they suffer without the sensory input.
I imagine it is worse in huge farms...but really, when you have to cut beaks to stop the chooks pecking each other to death from their cages, and their feathers fall out from stress, and you have to dope them with antibiotics because the conditions would otherwise lead to mass death from infection, and their bones deform from lack of exercise, and they can't do ANYTHING that is natural to them.....ewwww.
Yeah, I saw nothing like this. The chickens looked healthier than the free range ones. I have a feeling that regardless of how you keep them the devil is in the details. Around the world most chickens I see are free range (backyard chickens) and don't seem to have great lives having to run from the occasional stray dog and all and foraging for insects instead of being given feed by the trough. It seems that really minimizing their suffering would take consideration and care no matter which way they are raised.
I do wonder if our governments may end up being tougher on Japan before long, as China becomes overwhelmingly our major trading partner.
Honestly, while I think each Australian cares deeply in abstract I suspect they are little different from Americans collectively in that they care the most about the economy, and if being tough with Japan means a bit of economic malaise I don't think there's much spine for that. Plus, I think there are trade laws that may complicate things.
Which brings me to one reason I object to the more zealous organization in the whaling debate:
Throughout history whales have only been spared though self-enlightened decisions. There is much more precedent for Japanese culture changing and stopping whaling than sanctions pulling it off and the animosity in the exchanges are the vinegar instead of honey that I think isn't helping.
So I'm of the opinion that donating to a company that makes a really sad Japanese TV show with a cute cartoon whale's tragic.... ok here's an easier way to explain it: a Bambi for whales. Bambi and The Yearling are powerful propaganda against killing the animals. Much better spend than publicity hounds spending millions playing pirate IMO.
I would think the UK and places like Germany and Holland (and the US???) would be in the forefront....not us. I do wonder if your experiences re this are atypical? You just happen to have had contact with more Australians who talk about this stuff?
I certainly just happen to have more contact with Australians about this and can't draw more conclusions other than it's not prevalent enough for me to run into more often, but at least about the whaling I think you guys are the cutting edge.
The UN lacks mandate, too, though.
There certainly are a lot of legal complexities to trying to ban whaling but it's the only game in town for this kind of thing and is responsible for just about every such kind of success in international law (e.g. Law of the Sea
I'm not well versed enough in international law to be certain they have the tools to pull something like this off, but I am familiar enough with the dearth of alternatives to know they are the best bet to develop real tools for the goal of eradicating whaling through international law.
I think that happens in all sorts of situations, and we tend to judge the process according to the extent to which we see the outcome, or desired outcome, as a "good".
Yes, and I think most people see my qualms with procedural issues as pedantry, seeing the ends as justifying the means. In this case I object to both the means and the end. After environmental concerns are met I hold the position that it is more right to not whale but also more right not to try to force others to accept this as a moral absolute so I object to both the process of what is happening as well as the hijacking of a goal I do support for one I don't.
But my consensus thing is really separate from the qualms I have with the IWC being hijacked. Process aside I don't consider it a quorum to legislate acceptable species to eat (which is why it doesn't really try to do it outright and hides behind the conservation clauses as long as possible), and I don't actually want there to be laws against eating whales that aren't endangered (even though I prefer that they are not eaten) but if it passed the general UN assembly I would consider it democratic enough to accept.
Would you be as upset by the process if it was the US, rather than Japan, which ended up being targeted?
I'm not sure what you mean. If you are asking if I have personal feelings about Japan that change the issue for me then no, I feel more sentimental attachment to Australia or Brazil than Japan where I will always be a "gaijin" (gringo, foreigner).
Even though I was born there and lived there many years my experience in Japanese culture was as an outsider. I didn't learn to use chopsticks till I was an adult in California, I refused to use their toilets right up untill I left the country (and would still do so), and probably most telling of all my Japanese peaked at a very low vocabulary and I was never really fluent (right now I can't speak Japanese).....
I had something like a mother and sister for many years that were Australian though, and though I lived in Australia much less than Japan I don't really identify with Japan more than Australia. Like fbaezer says, if anything I strike him as a Brazilian.
If you are asking about some kind of situational factor to the US then I missed it entirely and need it run by me another time.