'The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men.'
For hundreds of years, men have been killing and mistreating animals for personal need and gain. In this century, whether it is in the exploitation of meat, animal fur and skin for the sake of fashion, or elixirs to revive male libido, the justification that it is done out of necessity is no longer a reality.
Many women, worldwide, are fighting for the future of our common habitat and for the equality of all sentient beings.
Animal Rights Campaigns.
Two important dates for animal rights are celebrated in December; 4 December, World Wildlife Conservation Day and 10 December, International Animal Rights Day.
The 4th December marks World Wildlife Conservation Day, originally created in 2012 by the then-Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. A "call-to-action" was released by the U.S. government to raise awareness on the issues relating to animal conservation, trafficking and poaching around the world.
Trafficking is the trade of something illegal and many people will primarily think of drug or human trafficking when they hear the term. In fact, wildlife trafficking is unfortunately just as lucrative. Poaching is illegally hunting on land which doesn’t belong to you or, more specifically, hunting an animal which is protected.
Wildlife cannot be manufactured. And once it is gone, it cannot be replenished. Those who profit from it illegally are not just undermining our borders and our economies; they are truly stealing from the next generation.
What Is Conservation?
With global wildlife populations experiencing huge declines, the natural world is on course for a 6th mass extinction. Wildlife conservation is therefore of paramount importance if we’re to successfully preserve complex ecosystems and food in the 21st century. The International Wildlife Conservation Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of the plight of the world’s wildlife.
Conservation no longer focuses solely on ecology and zoology, conservation now is about people rather than just wildlife. While many species are in decline, largely due to anthropogenic causes, we are also in the unique position to reverse this decline. Doing so is in our best interests too, as we rely on nature for almost everything we need, and the loss of biodiversity worldwide will have catastrophic impacts for our species.
How Can We Help ?
Kate Sheridan is a wildlife conservation biologist. She has a Conservation Biology MSc from the University of Cape Town, and has spent significant time in Africa working on various conservation projects.
She writes for She Sapiens an organisation that aims to:
"facilitate the process of empowerment and emancipation of women so that they can mobilise themselves toward building a better world" and her recent article: 10 Simple things you can do to benefit Wildlife Conservation, is a great place to start.
As individuals we feel overwhelmed by the climate crisis, and the term ‘eco-anxiety’ refers to this fear of environmental damage or ecological disaster. Despite the depressing current and predicted future of the environment and climate, we will have to adapt and every effort, however small, can make a difference.
Some examples from the article of the simple things we can do that benefit wildlife conservation are: Plant Indigenous Species ; Remove Invasive Species ; Remove Litter from the Environment ; Do not feed wild animals, with the exception of small birds with only seeds and nuts, no bread.
Last on Kate’s list is voting. She writes:
"Voting is a privilege and power, and one of the most important things you can do for wildlife conservation is vote in people and parties that prioritise climate action, biodiversity conservation and important environmental policies. It’s important to firstly use your vote as your voice, to show the government these issues are important by supporting champions of the environment. Politicians also make important decisions about our future and environmental policies and actions, and so voting for them gives us the power to shape those policies."
International Animal Rights Day.
In 1948, on December 10, the United Nations passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, following the horror that was the World War II concentration camps in Nazi Germany. After this, organisations, associations, and individuals from around the world started demanding that this declaration should be extended to the animal kingdom and that December 10 should also be a day for advocating for the rights of animals.
However, it was not until 1998, that Uncaged, an animal protection organisation, now known as The Centre for Animals and Social Justice, created International Animal Rights Day. The founders stated that, since animals cannot protest, vote, or advocate for their own protection, it is the responsibility of humans to do it for them. December 10 was intentionally chosen so that International Animal Rights Day falls on the same day as Human Rights Day, to emphasise that all sentient beings should be equal.
The word speciesism first appeared during a protest against experimentation on animals in 1970. Philosophers and animal rights advocates state that speciesism plays a role in the animal–industrial complex, including in the practice of factory farming, how animals are slaughtered, blood sports, the taking of animals' fur and skin and experimentation on animals.
Speciesism involves treating members of one species as morally more important than members of other species. The idea that animals are inferior and live for the sole purpose of catering to the needs and wants of humans is an irrational prejudice against them and increasingly unacceptable.
Just as certain segments of the human race suffer due to sexism and racism, animals suffer just as much, if not more, as they cannot speak up for themselves.
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."