Tag Archives: animals

Caring about animal welfare

As individuals it is down to us to look after animals.

I define sustainability as action in harmony with nature, which includes how I or my business treat animals.

I define sustainability as action in harmony with nature, which includes how I or my business treat animals.

As so-called consumers each of us influence how government or corporate treats animals.  Tesco, a British food retail corporate, planned to shoot a wild bird flying around one of its shops, but a consumer outcry forced it to use alternative capture methods.  I could have stopped buying from Tesco had it shot the bird.

For six months I have been experimenting with a Facebook account in order to stay in contact with the creative industry in my town of Colchester.  This experiment came to an end today when I closed my Facebook account due to Facebook allowing content associated with the torture of animals.

My personal company now has an animal policy which means it will refuse to work with either customers, suppliers or investors who causes or supports the suffering of animals.  One potential customer I will refuse to work with under this policy is Colchester Zoo which for instance unnecessarily in my opinion shot three wolves last year that it allowed to escape.  In addition my company might employ animals rather than machines in some of its activities, and such animals would be treated as like an employee, with a focus on positive incentives, health and happiness of the animal.

The connection with nature

I feel in my encounters with nature a connection with the universe.

Once you get close to wild animals, doors can open and you are never the same again.

Once you get close to wild animals, doors can open and you are never the same again. (Photo source: unknown)

The blogger mike585 of the blog WILDEN MARSH is a photographer and blogger who spends many hours watching and taking quality photographs at his local wildlife haven.  He is a passionate enthusiast who relates his latest encounters with the creatures of the night in his blog post entitled “Strangers in the night, exchanging glances” I asked him how he feels to be so close to these wild animals, and I quote his response:

“Being close to the marsh animals, whether it is during the day or in the dark evenings, is always exciting. I never know what’s going to turn up next, Alex. The truth is that I’m so familiar with the marsh and the tracks I find there; that my mind invents scenarios about what the animals might have been up to last night. I wonder where the badgers go when they leave their setts. Do they run from one place to another? Do they waddle along in a ‘devil may care’, sort of aimless way? Are they driven across the Reserve by their noses, in a stressed hyperactive feeding frenzy, or do they forage close to home? I imagine similar things about the muntjac deer, foxes and otters. I have a strong interest in the animals as individual characters. I know, more or less, how they behave in general, but I find myself drawn further and further into their world. I am there with them, if only for a couple of hours, as they go about their normal business. I like watching the interactions: seeing a muntjac walk by, and a fox crossing its path moments later. I like the see how the fox reacts to a muntjac being so close, and how the muntjac is affected.”

Mike has established a connection with nature through his interaction with the wild creatures of Wilden Marsh.  He has become part of their narrative, drawn into a magical landscape of animal and plant, and I sense in his response his deep connection and love for those animals he photographs.

In my feeding swans or squirrel, or my encounter with the butterfly in my house last night there is a connection, which goes beyond the animal to something else.  When I look into the eyes of the swan, partaking for a brief moment an interaction of touch, communication and shared experience, a door opens to me, the entire universe is shining through that door.  That moment I drink from something huge, deep and alive.  Once you have opened the door, tasted of that moment, you never forget, and then you are drawn in ever deeper into a something that is alive, creative and deep.

Being a big brother or sister to animals and plants

Supposedly as the most evolved of animals we have a duty to look after the planet.

Be a big brother or sister to animals and plants.

Be a big brother or sister to animals and plants.

I today wondered how we should view our relationship with plants and animals.  Even though we often fail to live up to our potential, we are the most evolved species so far to walk upon this planet.  In my opinion since we are the most advanced of the animal species, we are in a relationship of being like a big brother or sister to fellow animals and the plants on this planet. We have a duty of care to look after animals and plants like a big brother or sister.  We are the stewards of our planet.

If we accept our responsibility as stewards, then we must enter the relationship with animals and plants with respect.  Cute and beautiful our little brothers and sisters may be, but they are unpredictable and dangerous, with the capacity to do us harm.  That which we will steward need the space and the opportunity to manifest their needs, so we need to develop strategies of co-existence and support to animals and plants.

A video on YouTube, a teaser for a nature documentary by the BBC on polar bears shows why animals and plants should be respected.  A hungry mother polar bear attempted for 45 minutes to get at a human in a glass box in order to feed herself and her two cubs; all she was missing was a can opener.  The BBC is famous for its nature documentaries, and this film will appear on BBC 2 on 7th Jan 2013; and for a short time after will be available on BBC iPlayer.


Sustainability action 4 : found location for beehive

My dream of being a beekeeper is for me a huge leap into the unknown.  Fear and procrastination has dogged me, so my New Year resolution of “getting off the fence” by boldly going forward to do what needs to be done to achieve my dreams is now in play.  Large challenges can be broken down into smaller stages, which makes them easier to achieve in small steps.  A major obstacle was finding a location for a beehive.  A neighbour has agreed to the location of one beehive on their land free of charge, the reward of me boldly taking the plunge and asking my neighbour if they would host my beehive.

As I have no experience of beekeeping I am only going to have one beehive this year, and learn through trial and error as the year progresses by looking after that beehive.  Next challenge is putting together the funding for the equipment, bees and the beehive.  As far as sustainability is concerned, looking after bees is putting energy back into the environmental energy system.