Sociologists, criminologists, social workers, psychologists, legal scholars, feminists, and others are recognizing the myriad reasons that animal abuse is worthy of serious scholarly focus.
Rowan Blogg is an Australian veterinarian of the highest distinction and I greatly admire his professionalism, which I observed for years at close range.
In Any Kind of Danger he has extended his work into the environment and moral philosophy by tackling the complex issue of how we exploit animals. In the 19th Century William Wilberforce and other pioneers argued that our treatment of animals is a measure of our humanity. Peter Singers Animal Liberation (1975) stimulated international interest in the subject. Dr Bloggs book should do the same.
Rowan Blogg examines the role of wildlife on the planet, millions of years before our species became dominant, but how much habitat do we reserve for their natural life? How many species are under threat?
The worlds population will stabilise at about nine billion in 2050 and this raises the fundamental issues of how much land, water and energy we will devote to raising animals for food. Is grazing an efficient or humane way of feeding our species?
Industrial farming out of sight and out of mind involves inescapable cruelty. Chickens are raised on an A4 size of smaller scratching area, confined in multi-layered cages.
Do animals have a right of access to sunlight and paddock for at least the great part of their lives? How does a cow giving birth cope with a crowded cattle truck?
Do we turn our eyes away from the inevitable suffering involved in animal transport, especially life sheep exports?
There are profound moral lessons to be learned from observing how we treat animals and yet the issue will not be on the agenda for the next Federal or State elections.
We are in Dr Bloggs debt for this thoughtful, passionate book.
-Barry Jones, AO, FAA, FAHA. FTSE, FASSA
Australian Minister for Science 1983-90
Over the course of two decades, John Hargrove worked with 20 different whales on two continents and at two of SeaWorld's U.S. facilities. For Hargrove, becoming an orca trainer fulfilled a childhood dream. However, as his experience with the whales deepened, Hargrove came to doubt that their needs could ever be met in captivity. When two fellow trainers were killed by orcas in marine parks, Hargrove decided that SeaWorld's wildly popular programs were both detrimental to the whales and ultimately unsafe for trainers.
After leaving SeaWorld, Hargrove became one of the stars of the controversial documentary Blackfish. The outcry over the treatment of SeaWorld's orca has now expanded beyond the outlines sketched by the award-winning documentary, with Hargrove contributing his expertise to an advocacy movement that is convincing both federal and state governments to act.
In Beneath the Surface, Hargrove paints a compelling portrait of these highly intelligent and social creatures, including his favorite whales Takara and her mother Kasatka, two of the most dominant orcas in SeaWorld. And he includes vibrant descriptions of the lives of orcas in the wild, contrasting their freedom in the ocean with their lives in SeaWorld.
Hargrove's journey is one that humanity has just begun to take-toward the realization that the relationship between the human and animal worlds must be radically rethought.