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On the NYC Humane Education Resolution and “Radical Moves”

First, Rich (of Smoke fame) reminded me that there will be a vote and conference about the Humane Education resolution by the NYC Council on Dec. 16th. There is a law that "requires instruction on the humane care and treatment of animals, [but it] is unknown to most educators." Resolution 497 would help schools comply and hopefully bring funding. From the League of Humane Voters o New York City:

Take Action!

1) Call your Council Member and tell him or her that our kids deserve humane education. Urge a vote for Resolution 497. To find out who your Council Member is, click here or email us with your address:

2) Attend our press conference with HEART and Council Member Avella on the steps of City Hall on December 16th at noon. Afterwards, join us for the vote!

Voice your support! The passing of the resolution is just the first step, though. As Rich wrote to me: "The next step is getting the information and the money to the principals of every school and then figuring how to make the individual schools accountable."

That makes passing the resolution sound really easy in comparison. This is clearly an issue that NYC-folk need to stay on top of, and the rest of us need to explore in our own communities.

Next, and entirely unrelated, and let me just say I'm aware that I pick on the New York Times, but . . .

I've been hearing a lot about how bluefin tuna are about to leave the planet for good. And not because they want to, but because we're about to kill every last one of them. "Eat less sushi" I keep hearing, as if there's anybody in my sushi.

The new annual quota of 22,000 tons of bluefin far exceeds what scientists have advised, and as stated by the editorial board of the NYT (and all those e-mails I keep getting):

"Under this new quota, there is a real danger that fishermen will catch most of the existing bluefin tuna within a very few years, causing a catastrophic collapse of the species. That is the conclusion of a new report by scientists studying bluefin populations in the waters governed by the tuna commission."

The Times then makes a connection that apparently has gone unnoticed or unacknowledged by the fishermen:" this new quota will ensure their own extinction too."

The editorial ends with:

"Preserving the species they fish for will require sharply reduced quotas or, better, a moratorium on tuna fishing. It is a radical move, but only a radical move will save the bluefin and the industry."

Here's my question, as if you don't already know. Scientists asked for a limit of 8,000-15,000 tons. The international commission set it at 22,000, clearly respecting the guidance of the scientists.

Or not.

Then the Times suggests a sharply reduced quota or a moratorium, and that's a radical move? Wasn't the radical move the 22,000, demonstrating utter disregard for the fish and the scientists? Futhermore, why is it radical to suggest a moratorium on killing in order to prevent species extinction? The moratorium as a tactic simply bolsters the population so we can resume the killing spree at a later date.

And that is one fact that does not go unacknowledged. Remember, the editorial ends with: "It is a radical move, but only a radical move will save the bluefin and the industry" (emphasis mine).

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. rich #

    Thanks for posting the info on the Humane Ed. resolution. A resolution has no teeth but making the public and educators aware of this law and the requirements is a huge first step. I will speak to my principal to see if I can rearrange my schedule that day and take some personal time to attend the conference and vote.
    One thing not mentioned in the article is we can let teachers and administrators know of the NY state law as well as in the twelve other states that have similar laws (including Florida)

    December 8, 2008
  2. Very interesting about states that actually have humane education laws… At my AR activist meeting the other day, we decided to start outreach by getting schools lined up for talks on the negative aspects of animal agriculture… cruelty, environment and so forth – A side note, is that as a result of dwindling funds, most schools now are reducing/eliminating field trips – so they are welcoming class speakers as an alternative…

    Hey, this is great – a tanking economy leads to fewer class outtings to dairy farms – 🙂

    And about the tuna… maybe scientists ought to start playing some statistical verbal jui jitsu? Maybe if they recommended a cap on 5 tons of blue fin… they may have gotten the compromise at 15? Maybe if they said the icecaps will be gone in 10 years… Government and "environmentalists" would react like as if they had "only" 20 years to solve the problem? Cause goodness knows – doing anything that is actually the solution "now" – is just too radical – Jeeze…

    December 8, 2008
  3. Absolutely correct on your views about shaping long term sustainability quotas for the bluefin take. Given the lack of action from policy makers, I have started a ground campaign to help voice concern about the bluefin. is a social network, that's free to join and let's people have a voice. I think public awareness is the bluefin's last hope and I am not standing idle while the policy makers try and banish one of the ocean's greatest creatures. Thanks for posting about the bluefin. Every voice counts.

    December 8, 2008
  4. With "humane education" being a keyword, my BS flag went up, but perhaps I'm a little confused, is this about the humane treatment of domestic animals and such? I assume, by the fact you support this, it is not teaching about cage-free eggs and "humanely"-raised slave animals?

    December 9, 2008
  5. Adam,
    What I can say is my experience, which is the Humane Education program youngsters go to at Caring Fields sanctuary in Martin County (just north of Palm Beach County). There is a presentation about all animals and how they deserve to live their lives free of suffering at our hands, a connection between cats and dogs and cows and chickens, a vegan lunch, and then the kids (and adults, too. The former foster youth from Turtle Nest Village recently went, and they're ages 18-23.) then visit the horses and feed them carrots and apples, and then they go to the cat section (the one with all the little houses) and learn how the cats got there (they were a feral cat colony that Jupiter Island wanted to destroy, but instead they were all trapped, sterilized and moved to their little houses).

    NOW, that is my experience of humane education in Florida (the animal rights foundation of Florida also does vegan-based programs). I don't know what happens elsewhere–we might be lucky. Humane education might mean be-nice-to-cats-and-dogs (which isn't so bad) everywhere else. I went to a day-long workshop for humane educators, and it was vegan-based. But again, that was here … And Rae Sikora spoke at one workshop I went to and all of her stories were about getting kids to connect chickens to dogs and cats and they were vegan based. I appreciate the question, though, as I'm just going on my experience, which could very well be not at all the norm.

    December 9, 2008
  6. Patty #

    The Humane Education section of California law simply states that animals shall be treated humanely when part of a school sponsored activity. This includes experimenting on live anials, etc. However, it states, "The provisions of this section are not intended to prohibit or
    constrain vocational instruction in the normal practices of animal

    Basically, the law says nothing in the state of "happy cows."

    December 9, 2008
  7. rich #

    So the bill was tabled and essentially shot down due to some arm twisting by Christine Quinn. There is a full article here Sadly my councilwoman Melinda Katz was absent from the vote so there is no way to know if she would have changed sides or not.

    December 17, 2008
  8. Thanks for addressing my question, Mary. Indeed, this is a different usage

    I want to make a quick response to Patty. I don't know if this is relevant, but the welfarist-lauded Proposition two actually has an exception for animals in education, fairs, etc. We should also ask ourselves what they mean by "humanely" who's to say what is or is not humane?

    I think what is meant in most cases (perhaps the case of this article excepted) is that the animals are to be treated humanely "given the circumstances".

    December 30, 2008

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