Op/Ed Den

Global Animal's Op/Ed Den is where writers roar on behalf of animals. Here you'll find progressive op-ed articles on animal rights and animal welfare issues. Animal news opinion and current affairs.

Abusive methods are often used to train circus animals. Photo credit: Kerri9494 via flickr

World Circus Day: What Does The Circus Really Teach Kids About Animals?

(CIRCUS ANIMALS) In the article below, child psychiatrist Dr. Sujatha Ramakrishna explains the unintentional negative effects of going to the circus with children. She asserts how showing kids that wild animals can be dominated and used as objects sends the wrong message about controlling other beings. We'd add that the circus teaches that animals are made for our entertainment and the sanctioned suffering of animals by adults is an assault on developing empathy. Just in time for World Circus Day, read on to learn more about circus animal abuse and the relationship between how children treat animals and the way they eventually treat people. -- Global Animal

Why We Must Let Dogs Be Dogs

(DOGS/PETS) Have you ever noticed that dogs rarely get to be dogs? Think about it. In movies, they're often cast as furry human replacements who can talk (Cats & Dogs, Homeward Bound, and Beverly Hills Chihuahua) and excel at human activities like professional sports (Karate Dog, Soccer Dog, and Air Bud). Whereas in GIFs and memes shared across the Internet, they're dressed in clothes, ascribed human emotions and desires, and posed as if they're taking a phone call or eating at the dinner table. In the article below, Alexandra Horowitz, a dog behavior and cognition researcher, examines how dogs are largely misrepresented and overly anthropomorphized. Continue reading to learn more on how we often diminish these complex creatures into objects of our imagination by transplanting our human story onto them. -- Global Animal

Meat: Why Bother?

(MEAT-FREE/VEGETARIAN LIFESTYLE) Over the past 50 years, meat has become a staple of the American diet, and this primarily meat-based diet has spread to much of the world. But in the past, meat wasn't always so easy to access and was considered a rare treat. Mark Bittman suggests that we go back to viewing meat as a food to be consumed only once in a while. What do you think? — Global Animal

“You Know Chicken Is Chicken, Right?”

(GREEN/VEGETARIAN) In Jonathan Safran Foer's new book, 'Eating Animals,' the novelist shares his family's winding path toward vegetarianism. -- Global Animal

The Planet Can’t Stand This Presidency: ‘Breaking The Back’ Of The Climate

(CLIMATE CHANGE/GLOBAL WARMING) Despite the fact the Earth just experienced its hottest year on record, climate change denials are foolishly becoming national policy as U.S. President Donald Trump signs one executive order after another reversing President Barack Obama's plans to reduce carbon emissions. Given this stark divide between scientific fact and what our politicians will allow for in terms of action, it's become increasingly apparent that we have a limited time to curb global warming, and if we don't do something soon, the damage could be irreversible. Trump's environmental policies (or lack there of) will have a ripple effect for thousands of years to come that we may never recover from--i.e. making certain species and fauna extinct. In the article below, learn more about our Earth's dire need for climate change policy, and see what we could lose for good. -- Global Animal

Trumping Tradition: The First U.S. President Without A Pet?

(PETS/POLITICS) While Donald Trump's presidency has posed a number of concerns, perhaps one of the largest red flags is the lack of a pet in the White House. Believe it or not, Trump could become the first U.S. President in nearly 130 years to not have a canine companion in the White House. Most American Presidents have had a least one dog, and many have had several. Most recently, the Obamas had two Portuguese water dogs named Sunny and Bo. The White House Pet Museum maintains Presidents without a pet dog have been relatively “unlucky," while those with four-legged friends have been somehow protected. Many are urging Trump to bring home a dog simply because having a pet is good for a one's health. Adversely, the Humane Society has gone so far as calling Trump “a threat to animals everywhere” due to his environmental policies (or lack there of), and his close ties to his trophy hunting elder sons Donald Jr. and Eric. Read on to learn more about President Trump's relationship to animals, and see which pet seems to suit him best. -- Global Animal

S-Town Is A Eulogy For The Planet

(ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH/CLIMATE CHANGE) After listening to the podcast “S-Town” by investigative journalist Brian Reed, I am left with a multitude of feelings, but the overwhelming one is sadness. The poignant story starts as an investigation of a purported murder and morphs into a complicated portrayal of a local genius named John B. McLemore and his relationships with the residents of Woodstock, Alabama, or, as he christened it: “S*** Town.” -- Global Animal

My Cat Dies In The Time Of Trump

(PETS & POLITICS/OP-ED) Omar the cat died today. A veterinarian came to our home, and with two quick shots, Omar was put out of his pain after 19 years of life. The vet said it's better to be a day early than a day late, and that we seemed to hit the 'sweet spot' between Omar’s quality of life and a painful existence. For the past two years, Omar got the best medical care possible, a daily regime the kept him frisky to the end. It was care I only wish was available to all people. -- Global Animal

Teaching Compassion: What Every Parent Should Know

(ANIMAL WELFARE/OP-ED) Introducing children to animals is an important stage of parenting. How you present the human-animal relationship to a child will unquestionably echo into his/her adulthood. It's during these formative years where kids learn how to peacefully and respectfully coexist with living beings unlike themselves. Read on to learn what kids shouldn't be doing at the zoo.— Global Animal
Donald Trump Sons, Brothers Eric and Donald Jr. hunt and kill wild leopard

Are Trump Boys Worthy Of Respect?

(TROPHY HUNTING) At the end of the last presidential debate, Hillary Clinton was asked if she could say something positive about her opponent. She said the following: "Look, I respect his children. His children are incredibly able and devoted, and I think that says a lot about Donald….I don’t agree with nearly anything else he says or does. But I do respect that and I think that is something that as a mother and a grandmother is very important to me.” On the surface, Hillary’s response seemed like an anodyne answer to a difficult question: What, at this point, is there positive to say about Donald Trump? But ever the politician, Hillary chose a seemingly safe and political response—nobody can argue with praising his kids right? -- Global Animal

Gun Violence & Humane Education

(SPORT HUNTING/OP-ED) While gun control continues to be a hot topic for debate, many across the nation are pointing to hunting as an example of "responsible" gun ownership. Dr. Sujatha Ramakrishna, author of Raising Kids Who Love Animals, weighs in on the strong correlation between animal cruelty and violence towards human beings, while emphasizing the importance of humane education and the fact that violence is wrong regardless of which species is harmed. — Global Animal

Tickling Apes Teaches How Humans Aren’t So Special

(ANIMAL SCIENCE/HUMAN ANIMAL CONNECTION) Why are humans so eager to project their own feelings and experiences onto animals? In doing so, aren't we forgetting that people are animals, too? Advanced skills once associated only with humans are actually found in many species, ranging from dolphins to wasps--thus defying the overall structure of the animal kingdom. So, isn't it more likely that every animal has their own cognition, adapted to their own senses and physicality? In the article below, Dutch primatologist and ethologist Frans de Waal tackles our overuse of the term "anthropomorphism," or the attribution of human characteristics or behavior to an animal. He argues that animals think much more deeply than we often assume, and humans should do away with insisting on our own species superiority. Read on for more on the connections between humans and various animal species, and learn how humans aren't so special after all. -- Global Animal
Livestock and their waste account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide each year. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Save The Planet One Meal At A Time

(VEGAN/ACTIVISM/ANIMAL WELFARE) Ever wonder what you can do to help save and protect the earth's ecosystems? The animal agriculture industry is a critical factor in species extinction, habitat destruction, and pollution. By going vegan, you can refuse to contribute to the cruelty of the meat industry that destroys the earth's ecosystems. Increased greenhouse gas emissions and degradation of natural resources are among the many consequences of the agriculture industry. The future of the earth's ecosystems, however, does not have to be so bleak. Individuals can make food choices that not only promote their own health, but the health of the planet as well. Read on to learn more about the harmful effects of the agriculture industry and what you can do to help support smarter agricultural choices. —Global Animal

Hair-Raising Question: Who Is Trump’s Doggie Doppelganger?

(PETS/HUMOR) Donald Trump has a big mouth in a salesy "there's a sucker born every minute" kind of way. With many calling him the weakest presidential frontrunner in Republican history, it's safe to say his arrogant approach may be better-suited for his roles as a big name real estate tycoon and producer of The Apprentice. And while comedians have a field day poking fun at the big wig, we thought we'd join in on the fun, too. Pets can often look like people, and in the case of The Donald, it's all about the hair. Here are a few photos we found of Trump-esque doggie-do imaginings. Check out the doggie doppelgangers below and share which is your favorite in the comments below. -- Global Animal

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