The inherent conflict between animal rights ideology and biodiversity

arctic fox eating an auklet

Arctic foxes were introduced to the Aleutians where they waged war on the seabird population, such as this poor least auklet.

I am a speciesist. Yep. I accept the title. I do believe some individual animals of certain species do have certain privileges that others don’t.

Owned domestic dogs should be treated as individuals, as should anything else kept as an actual companion animal.

Individual animals that must be culled through hunting seasons, like white-tailed deer, get no individual consideration. What matters about those species is carrying capacity as determined by wildlife managers.

Invasive species anywhere should receive even fewer protections than the game species.

That’s because as a conservationist, I value biodiversity over individual animals.

So I really don’t care that conservationists have trapped and killed introduced arctic foxes in the Aleutians, feral cats in the islands of the Sea of Cortés, or red foxes in Australia.

I don’t care about the individual deer that are shot every year in the United States. I care much more about what they are doing to temperate forest ecosystems.  They exist in a world without predators, predators that will never be reintroduced in significant numbers, and it is vital that humans manage their populations.

I don’t think an absolute moral system can be applied to all animals. Indeed, I have issues with the concept of an absolute morality period.

I know, though, that we are but one chain of biodiversity on the planet. And it is out of this chain that we somehow became the dominant species on the planet. As the dominant species, we like to think we’re above all other species, when we’re just the ones at the top right now.

I don’t think every invasive or introduced species is a negative on the ecosystem. Ring-necked pheasants are mostly banal where they have been introduced. In North America, common carp are generally not an invasive species either.

But many things that have been introduced clearly are.

Especially on islands.

New Zealand had rabbits that were introduced, which ate down much of the good sheep grazing. Then stoats, weasel, and polecat-ferret hybrids were released to control the rabbits, and the mustelids wreaked havoc upon the ground-nesting bird population. New Zealand is a place full of unique ground-nesting birds, and it was once fuller of those species before the weasel horde hit its shores.

Therefore, to protect things like the kakapo, a massive ground-nesting parrot, it is necessary to kill these predators.

Animal rights ideology, which posits an absolute set of rights for individual animals, cannot allow for this killing.

So this ideology would rather have all the kakapo and native New Zealand birds go extinct, just because this ideology doesn’t want to see a guild of invasive predators killed off.

And I must say that I have to reject this ideology, because it clashes with my aesthetic, which requires us to maintain biodiversity as much as possible.

That’s because I know fully well that in a hundred years, that biodiversity will be reduced. Habitat loss, poaching, pollution, climate change, and invasive species will take their toll on a whole host of species.

And the diversity of life from which we descend will be reduced because of us.

Therefore we must kill invasive species to protect as much of life as we can.  It is this paradox that many people cannot understand, but failure to understand this concept is ultimately going to add to the many species that will go extinct.

But in the end, animal rights ideology and conservation are not the same thing. Hunters who oppose animal rights ideology should stop conflating the two systems of thought. Animal rights ideology has no room for hunters, but true conservationists, who want to protect wild places from rampant development, believe hunters are part of the solution.

And virtually everyone is a speciesist. I am one, and it is only a small minority who try to hold absolute values when it comes to animals.

We have these inconsistencies, but they are not without reason. And although most mammals are very much like your own pet dog, they don’t act in the ecosystem in the same way. Transferring one’s feelings about a pet dog onto a mongoose in Hawaii is not wise– that is, if you care about nene. If you don’t care about biodiversity, then go ahead.

But don’t pretend that these two concepts are consistent. They are not.

And they are very much in conflict with each other.

Natural History

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A dog dead for 18 years receives voter registration form

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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Dogs Blacklisted by Insurance Companies

From an article in Psychology Today: Because dog bites account for up to one-third of the claims paid out by home insurers, they may be sensitive to the type of dog you have in your homeThey can refuse to provide you with a policy, exclude dog bite coverage, or charge higher rates if you own […]


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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9 Subtle Statement Earrings

9 Understated Statement Earrings

I feel like hoops and tassels are all I’ve worn for earrings in the past year, so I went searching for something unique and fell in love with all of these above. I love that they’re mostly statement earrings, but they’re understated. (Does that make them Understatement Earrings? Hmmmm.) Which is your favorite?

(All of these earrings are from Madewell, but this is not a sponsored post. Just love them all!)

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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This dog is being trained to sniff…water

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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Friday Funny: More Snow for the Weekend?

Just sitting here, minding my own business, waiting for spring! Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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No Permanence

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My grandpa’s deck. The great feeding ground for countless songbirds.

The snow hangs around in patches where the sun doesn’t hit it directly. Beneath the bows of the white pine and the steep northern slopes of a hollow, it holds on cold and white.

The cardinals have stopped their flitting forays in somber in winter flocks. The trees rise with cardinal song, and the cockbirds are resplendent red and game for scuffles in the woodlots. The sun comes in casting stronger now, and the days are lengthening. And testosterone levels drive the redbirds into their coming days orgy.

A band of three whitetail does stands upon the dormant grass. The starving time is now, when the acorn crop has long since been exhausted and so have their fat reserves. The land has yet to bring forth the green grass and chewy twigs of spring, and so they live in hunger.

But the cardinals will soon have their nests and screaming broods to feed. The white-tail does will shed out their mousy-gray coats of winter and replace them with fine pelts of tawny. And then they’ll seek the thickets of greenbrier,  multiflora rose, and bracken and drop their spotted fawns into the May balmy.

Today, I was at my grandparents’ house. My parents have rented it out since my grandpa’s death, and now, they are between renters.  All landlords know that time between renters is a time to clean and renovate and do improvements.

I came to pick up some garbage left on the premises. I hadn’t been on this property since the November of 2011, when I was left to watch some Jack Russell pups while my parents and my aunt and uncle went off to attend to some of my grandpa’s final affairs.

It felt eerie to stand on that property today, a place where I spent countless happy childhood hours. I see my grandpa’s beloved Colorado blue spruce, a shelter for so many songbirds in winter, now standing nearly needle-less against the sky.  It too has fallen into death.

I then passed by the grove of spruce where my grandpa sat every evening and every morning. He would sit in his wooden chair and stare out of over the old pasture. His blue eyes glanced on countless numbers of deer that came there to graze. They even fell upon an errant emu, which he initially mistook for a bear.

To left of the spruce grove is a black cherry tree that stands at the edge of another old pasture, and a carefully placed birdhouse was the nesting box for a great many generations of bluebird.

But when I passed the spruce grove today, I saw that his wooden chair had a broken leg, and it stood sideways and unstable as if it were crumbling away into the earth.

The cherry limb that held the bluebird box had fallen to the ground, and the birdhouse was bashed to pieces. Only one of the sides and the board with the opening remained intact.

The former renters put up a cheap above ground swimming pool. It lies beside the outbuilding where I kept my hamster puppy mill. I could still smell the motor oil and sawdust and hamster piss, but that damned pool just took away from it all.

Below the pool is the dog cemetery, where several generations of good dogs now lie.  I think there is something almost sacrilegious about putting an above ground pool so close to a dog cemetery. It is on those grounds that Miley was laid to rest last summer, and just yards from her lies Dixie, my grandpa’s last dog. A beagle cross of some sort, she live out most of her 18 years on this land, spending her mornings and evenings resting beneath my grandpa’s wooden chair and glowering out at any dogs that bother to approach her place near the throne.

The pool will gone soon enough.  New renters will move in. They will bring in new things. I won’t set foot on that property so long as they live there.

They will not know the summer evenings when I’d beg my grandpa to take me fishing at his bluegill pond that lay just across the gravel road. They will not know of my grandmother’s big hugs and special pancakes.

They will not know that the first story I ever wrote and illustrated was in that house. I did the illustration, and the writing was all by dictation. It was a story about the beagle named Willie, the one that used to watch my playpen while my parents worked on their home just down the road.  I gave the words to my grandmother, and she obliged my puny childhood prose.

They won’t know about my early forays into wildlife photography, when I set up the cushions to the deck furniture up against the sliding glass door so that I could have my own photography blind. I was mimicking Dieter Plage, who set up his own blinds to photograph birds in the jungles. My grandpa fed the wild birds on his deck, and you could watch them all day through the sliding glass door. But I thought I had to do it, so I could see the birds.

My photos were all crappy.  They were out of focus, and I often got better photos of the deck furniture than the birds. But it was all in good fun.

The new renters will come with their own lives, their own histories. They will make their memories there.

And I will hold onto to mine. I will keep them buried until something rises them from my psyche. If I stand on that property, they will be evoked again. I will feel sorrow and sadness.

I will miss those beautiful days of youth and my two loving grandparents.

But I must let them live within me.

There may be no permanence to this world.  But they live on in my memories.

My grandpa once told me that grandchildren were the most important generation, for they are the last ones who will remember what their grandparents were like as people and not as characters in stories told to the younger ones.

I think that this is true. In fact, it is beyond true. It is profound.

As long as my memory works, they will live as real as they were, and I must make sure that I create memories for my younger relatives. That way, I can live on in their minds, as my grandparents do with me.

This is the afterlife I know really exists, and though one will not know it in one’s passing, it will be some solace to know that one’s life touched someone else enough that they remember you.

Our existence is a fleeting deer. Blink once and the tawny form will bound away from the sunshine and into the deepest thicket, where your eyes will be able to make out its form again.

So the eyes must be open to sear that deer’s essence on the psyche before it goes out of sight.

Natural History

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Win an #IsleofDogs Prize Pack! #Giveaway

We’ve got a special giveaway of interest to movie-loving dog lovers! Enter to win a special ISLE OF DOGS movie prize pack to celebrate the release of this new stop-motion-animated film from…



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DogTipper

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Simply Avocado and Pan Toasted Chickpea Pitas

Avocado and Pan Toasted Chickpea Pitas

I could start this post by professing my love for avocados, but unless this is the first time you’re stopping by here (and if it is, hi!), then you already know all about my adoration. Not a day goes by that I don’t consume them in some form. Because I eat them so often, I’m always experimenting with new ways to prepare them. (I mean, I’d be lying if I said I couldn’t eat chips and guac every single day and never get sick of them, but sometimes you have to change things up.) The other day I spotted a can of chickpeas (another of my favorites) in our pantry and had an idea to make flatbread style sandwiches with my newest obsession, Simply Avocado (more on this goodness in a minute) and pan toasted chickpeas (something we eat often in the quinoa bowls I made). Lucky for me, they turned out to be delicious, and everyone – including my 2 and 4 year olds – loved them. Best of all, it only took 10-15 (tops) minutes to prepare these babies. If you’re an avocado fan, I’m pretty confident you’ll love them too.

Avocado and Pan Toasted Chickpea Pitas
Avocado and Pan Toasted Chickpea Pitas

Serves 2 as meal, 4 as a snack

INGREDIENTS
1 package Simply Avocado spread (I like the Sea Salt variety)
1 can of chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans)
2 multigrain pitas
Small handful baby spinach
Greek Yogurt (plain) for topping
chili powder
cumin
salt

Heat a small amount of coconut oil (or olive oil) in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drain the chickpeas, then pour into the pan. Sprinkle chili powder, cumin, and salt to taste, then stir well. Cook until chickpeas are slightly browned, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool slightly. While chickpeas are cooling, place pitas in warm pan to soften, about one minute on each side. (Tip: You can also prep the chickpeas in advance and store in the fridge.) On each pita, spread about half a package of Simply Avocado. Top with a few baby spinach leaves, followed by chickpeas. (You may have some leftover depending on how many you like.) Top each pita with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt and sprinkle with chili powder. Eat! (You can also cut in half to serve as a snack or appetizer.)

Avocado and Pan Toasted Chickpea Pitas
Avocado and Pan Toasted Chickpea Pitas

The key ingredient to these delightful pita treats is the Simply Avocado I mentioned above. I recently discovered this new line of avocado dips and spreads from the makers of my beloved Wholly Guacamole and was instantly smitten. This stuff is so fresh you guys. Made from hand scooped Hass avocados and containing four ingredients or less, Simply Avocado is ripe and ready to eat (unlike most of the whole avocados I buy at the store, if we’re being honest here). It also eliminates the time of having to prepare avocados, which for me (visualize two young children running around the kitchen and loudly singing repetitive nursery rhyme songs off-key while you’re trying to cook) is huge. My favorite is Sea Salt, but it’s also available in the equally tasty Chunky Avocado, Garlic & Herb, Roasted Red Pepper and Jalapeno & Lime. You can grab some of your own (trust me, you’ll be glad you did) in the produce department at Walmart stores and also online at Mexgrocer.com, with more stores coming very soon.

Avocado and Pan Toasted Chickpea Pitas
Avocado and Pan Toasted Chickpea Pitas
Avocado and Pan Toasted Chickpea Pitas

What are your favorite ways to enjoy the almighty avocado? Have you tried Simply Avocado yet?



This post is in partnership with Simply Avocado. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible.

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Two Fun Books to Enjoy and Share

Life's a Pooch and Fido Factor Cover

This week I wanted to bring two very different books into the limelight – because they show the broad range of the ways in which dogs inspire and delight us, in real life and on the page.

Boze Hadleigh’s delightful book “Life’s a Pooch: Quotes About Dogs By People Who Love Them is chock full of  hundreds of celebrity quotes and anecdotes about what dogs have meant to them. The book embraces many aspects of the human-dog bond and explores our furry companions’ sometimes baffling world, while celebrating their impact on ours. Those quoted range from famous animal advocates like Betty White, Doris Day, and Martha Stewart – to Leonardo da Vinci and Leonardo DiCaprio. There are quotes from actors who co-starred with Lassie as well as singers, Presidents, and Walt Disney.

The Fido Factor: How to Get a Leg Up at Work” by Krissi and Dan Barr, is a leadership book written by Krissi Barr with her husband, Dan. The book is written from the perspective – and with the expertise – of a business coach,whose consulting firm Barr Corporate Success, has a 15 year track record of working with executives and business people to help them reach their full potential. The practical advice for success draws its inspiration from the simple and clear way that dogs live their lives.
Tracie HotchnerTracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, who wrote THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is recognized as the premiere voice for pets and their people on pet talk radio. She continues to produce and host her own Gracie® Award winning NPR show DOG TALK®  (and Kitties, Too!) from Peconic Public Broadcasting in the Hamptons after 9 consecutive years and over 500 shows. She produced and hosted her own live, call-in show CAT CHAT® on the Martha Stewart channel of Sirius/XM for over 7 years until the channel was canceled, when Tracie created her own Radio Pet Lady Network where she produces and co-hosts CAT CHAT® along with 10 other pet talk radio podcasts with top veterinarians and pet experts.

Dog Film Festival - Tracie HotchnerTracie also is the Founder and Director of the annual NY Dog Film Festival, a philanthropic celebration of the love between dogs and their people. Short canine-themed documentary, animated and narrative films from around the world create a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains. With a New York City premiere every October, the Festival then travels around the country, partnering in each location with an outstanding animal welfare organization that brings adoptable dogs to the theater and receives half the proceeds of the ticket sales. Halo was a Founding Sponsor in 2015 and donated 10,000 meals to the beneficiary shelters in every destination around the country in 2016.

Tracie lives in Bennington, Vermont – where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based – and where her 12 acres are well-used by her 2-girl pack of lovely, lively rescued Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda.

Halo Pets

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