Love you to death: how we hurt the animals we cherish | The Guardian

Something has gone badly wrong with the way we keep pets. Our casual cruelties are a symptom of our unhealthy relationship with other species. By Esther WoolfsonI must have been about four when we drove to buy a dog. The day is now only a haze of Sunday afternoon impressions of rain and green, of the muddy track somewhere in the Stirlingshire countryside, a room, a log fire, and the two chosen puppies who would be the confidants of my growing up. The black dog died when I was in my early teens, and the brown one, the last dog I knew well, shortly before I left school. Our buying them must have been part of the growing tendency for post-second world war pet-keeping, which had been increasing since Victorian times, and was about to expand into the vast pet trade of today.But what makes us choose one creature over another? Many studies have evaluated the importance of a species’ appearance in determining its popularity, commercial potential or conservation status. The conclusions are dismaying: “An animal’s attractiveness substantially increases support for its protection,” one study says, while another concludes: “A few charismatic and cute species … tend to receive most of the conservation funds and policy attention.” Creatures are ranked – “the 20 most charismatic species” – or described as “powerful commercial icons” or “the world’s cutest animals”. Even the birds in our gardens are subject to our caprices. The results of a study on the “likeability” of garden birds show that we like songbirds (even though we may not be able to define correctly what a songbird is), preferring robins and blackbirds to corvids, gulls, pigeons and starlings. We consider the former attractive but the latter argumentative, competitive and noisy – all necessary, natural behaviours of wild birds. “Charismatic”, “iconic”, “cute” – in a time of devastating and irreversible species loss, can these really be the measures of our love? Continue reading…

Something has gone badly wrong with the way we keep pets. Our casual cruelties are a symptom of our unhealthy relationship with other species. By Esther Woolfson

I must have been about four when we drove to buy a dog. The day is now only a haze of Sunday afternoon impressions of rain and green, of the muddy track somewhere in the Stirlingshire countryside, a room, a log fire, and the two chosen puppies who would be the confidants of my growing up. The black dog died when I was in my early teens, and the brown one, the last dog I knew well, shortly before I left school. Our buying them must have been part of the growing tendency for post-second world war pet-keeping, which had been increasing since Victorian times, and was about to expand into the vast pet trade of today.

But what makes us choose one creature over another? Many studies have evaluated the importance of a species’ appearance in determining its popularity, commercial potential or conservation status. The conclusions are dismaying: “An animal’s attractiveness substantially increases support for its protection,” one study says, while another concludes: “A few charismatic and cute species … tend to receive most of the conservation funds and policy attention.” Creatures are ranked – “the 20 most charismatic species” – or described as “powerful commercial icons” or “the world’s cutest animals”. Even the birds in our gardens are subject to our caprices. The results of a study on the “likeability” of garden birds show that we like songbirds (even though we may not be able to define correctly what a songbird is), preferring robins and blackbirds to corvids, gulls, pigeons and starlings. We consider the former attractive but the latter argumentative, competitive and noisy – all necessary, natural behaviours of wild birds. “Charismatic”, “iconic”, “cute” – in a time of devastating and irreversible species loss, can these really be the measures of our love?

Continue reading…


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What Is Geo-Poli-Cyber™?

MLi Group created the terms Poli-Cyber™ and Geo-Poli-Cyber™ (GPC™) in 2012 and 2013 based on the philosophy that if you cannot identify and name the threat, you cannot mitigate that threat.

Geo-Poli-Cyber™ attacks are political, ideological, terrorist, extremist, ‘religious’, and/or geo-politically motivated.

More Sinister Than Financial Motivations

Geo-Poli-Cyber™ attacks are significantly different from financially motivated cyber-attacks in damage, scale, magnitude as well as in risk mitigation strategies and solutions.

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