Wildlife exploitation


Anderson R, Waayers R and Knight A. (2016). Orca behavior and subsequent aggression associated with oceanarium confinement. Animals 2016, 6(8), 49; doi:10.3390/ani6080049.
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ABSTRACT
Based on neuroanatomical indices such as brain size and encephalization quotient, orcas are among the most intelligent animals on Earth. They display a range of complex behaviors indicative of social intelligence, but these are difficult to study in the open ocean where protective laws may apply, or in captivity, where access is constrained for commercial and safety reasons. From 1979 to 1980, however, we were able to interact with juvenile orcas in an unstructured way at San Diego’s SeaWorld facility. We observed in the animals what appeared to be pranks, tests of trust, limited use of tactical deception, emotional self-control, and empathetic behaviors. Our observations were consistent with those of a former Seaworld trainer, and provide important insights into orca cognition, communication, and social intelligence. However, after being trained as performers within Seaworld’s commercial entertainment program, a number of orcas began to exhibit aggressive behaviors. The orcas who previously established apparent friendships with humans were most affected, although significant aggression also occurred in some of their descendants, and among the orcas they lived with. Such oceanaria confinement and commercial use can no longer be considered ethically defensible, given the current understanding of orcas’ advanced cognitive, social, and communicative capacities, and of their behavioral needs.


Hunting


Jones M, Allen C, Bacon H, Dalzell F, Eastwood B, Edwards R, Knight A, Lewis J, MacMillan A, McGill I, Menache A and Torgerson P. Badger cull has no basis in science. The Independent 2013; Jun 05. [letter]
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Criticism of the British Government's plans for mass killing of wild badgers as part of its bovine tuberculosis control strategy, and of the British Veterinary Association's support of the killing.


Jones M, Abraham M, Allen C, Bacon H, Dalzell F, Edwards R, Elliott P, Fogle B, Inglis J, Knight A, Lewis J, McGill I, MacMillan A, Menache A, Southgate P, Torgerson P. BVA pilot cull support ‘not representative’. Vet Times 2013; 43(21): 27. [letter]
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Criticism of the British Government's plans for mass killing of wild badgers as part of its bovine tuberculosis control strategy, and of the British Veterinary Association's support of the killing. A similar letter were published in Vet Record around the same time.


McGill I, Menache A, Knight A, Allen C, Hill S & Eastwood B. Simultaneous vaccination ‘best way’ to tackle bTB. Vet Times [UK] 2012; 42(38): 35. [letter].
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A scientific critique of UK government plans to shoot badgers - which harbour tuberculosis - to attempt to reduce its incidence within British cattle herds.


Summary

McGill I, Menache A, Knight A, Allen C, Hill S & Eastwood B. Bovine Tb and badger culling. Vet Record [UK] 2012; 171: 353-354. [letter].
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A shorter version of the above Vet Times letter.


Debate

McGill I, Menache A, Knight A, Allen C & Eastwood B. We can’t ignore evidence to ‘defend indefensible’. Vet Times [UK] 2012; 42(46): 31. [letter].
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A continuation of the Vet Times debate over badger culling. The Presidents of the BVA and BCVA published an opposing viewpoint in the same edition.



Knight A. Insults only show hunt lobby’s desperation. Vet Times [UK] 2005; 35(16): 39.
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Vet Times columnist Manda Scott sparked off a heated debate amongst veterinarians lasting several months with a 1,000 word self-proclaimed “rant” in favour of hunting (Vet Times, 28th Mar. 2005, p.8). The fact that such a debate could even occur is a damning indictment of the ethics of many veterinarians. Here is one of my contributions.