Why Was Harambe the Gorilla in a Zoo in the First Place?

Source: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/why-was-harambe-the-gorilla-in-a-zoo-in-the-first-place/

Amid the debate over who was at fault in the death of a beloved animal, we need to step back and ask a different question
Why Was Harambe the Gorilla in a Zoo in the First Place?
By Marc Bekoff on May 31, 2016

Harambe, a 17-year-old male western lowland gorilla, was killed at the Cincinnati Zoo to save the life of a four-year-old child who fell into his cage. Opinions vary as to whether the boy was really in danger and who was to blame, the zoo (why was the boy able to get into the enclosure and why wasn’t Harambe tranquilized?) his mother, or both? Playing the blame game will not bring Harambe back and for me the real question, while also considering why Harambe was killed, is “Why was Harambe in the zoo in the first place?”
As I watched footage of the event I was reminded of an incident that happened in 1996 at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo in which a female western lowland gorilla named Binta Jua rescued a three-year-old boy who fell into her enclosure. She became a worldwide celebrity. I also thought about the movie King Kong.
People worldwide are outraged by Harambe’s death. This global interest is all part of a heightened awareness about the nature of human-animal relationships, the focus of a rapidly growing field called anthrozoology. People are keenly interested in how and why nonhuman animals – animals – are used by humans in a wide variety of venues, in this case “in the name of human entertainment.”
Harambe was in the zoo because he was captive born, and breeding animals who are going to live out the rest of their lives in cages raises numerous issues. However, that is precisely why Harambe was living in the Cincinnati Zoo. Being a zoo-ed animal, Harmabe lost all of his freedoms – the freedoms to make choices about how he was to live, what he would eat, when he would sleep and go to the bathroom, where he would roam, and if he were to become a father. While some might say Harmabe had a “good life” in the zoo, it doesn’t come close to the life he would have had as a wild gorilla, with all its attendant risks. Indeed, one might argue that the animal people were seeing was not really a true western lowland gorilla, surely not an ambassador for his species.
Harambe’s cage also was his home where he felt safe. When the boy fell into his home it was a trespass of sorts, and it’s most likely Harambe was startled, perhaps feeling vulnerable and unprotected, and wondering what was going on. Let’s not forget that gorillas and many other animals are highly intelligent and emotional beings and they deeply care about what happens to themselves, their families and their friends. In this case Harambe did what was expected, he picked up the boy, but he didn’t harm him. Of course Harambe could have killed the boy in a heartbeat, but he didn’t.
An analysis of Harmabe’s behavior published in another essay I wrote indicates that he was doing what one would expect a western lowland gorilla to do with a youngster. Harmabe’s hold on the child and his sheltering of the youngster are indicators of protection. He didn’t seem to be afraid. He examined the boy but also was attentive to the reaction of the crowd who saw what happened and the communication between the child’s mother and her son.
Along these lines, it’s essential that the people who work with zoo-ed animals know their behavior in detail, and those people who know individuals the best—the caretakers who interact with certain individuals daily—be called in in emergency situations. Each animal has a unique personality and this knowledge could be put to use to avoid what happened to Harambe.
For people who want to know more about what was going on in Harmabe’s head and heart, think about your companion dog, for example. How do they respond when someone trespasses into where they feel safe? I like to ask people to use their companion animals to close the empathy gap because people get incredibly upset when a dog is harmed because they see dogs as sentient, feeling beings. So too, was Harambe.
So, would you allow your dog to be put in a zoo? If not, then why Harambe and millions of other individuals who languish behind bars?
It’s not happening at the zoo
Captive breeding by zoos to produce individuals who are going to live out their lives in cages, in the name of entertainment and possibly in the name of education and conservation, raises many challenging questions. Did people who saw Harambe learn anything about what the life of a male western lowland gorilla is really like? No, they didn’t. Did they learn something about these fascinating animals that would help Harambe or his wild relatives? Clearly, nothing learned would help Harambe as he was forced to live in his cage; a large enclosure is still a cage. Harambe was not going to be put out in the wild and introduced to other gorillas.
Did people learn something about these gorillas that would help wild relatives? Once again, likely not. While some might argue that learning about Harambe is good for conserving his species, and while many of us know someone who went to a zoo and said they learned something new about a given species, there’s no hard evidence that these people then go on to do something for the good of the species. Indeed, a recent study conducted by zoos themselves, showed that what people learn is very limited in scope in terms of what the new knowledge means in any practical sense. While a very small percentage of people learn that maintaining biodiversity is important, they don’t learn about the need for biodiversity conservation.
Where do we go from here?
Harambe is dead and the boy is alive. I’m very sad, and also very happy. A gorilla’s life was traded off because a human child was in danger. What needs to be done in the future to be sure that events like this never happen again? First, zoos need to stop breeding animals who are going to live in zoos for the rest of their lives.

Zoos also should be turned into sanctuaries for the animals themselves.

Over time there will be fewer and fewer captive animals and zoos as we know them can be phased out. And, the money that is saved as time goes on can be used to preserve populations of wild animals and their homes. These sorts of changes will take time and we need to be very patient, but we need to move in this direction.
As we move on, the choices we make should emphasize preservation of wild animals and critical habitats, and we need to move away from captive breeding and the zoo mentality of keeping animals locked in cages for our entertainment—and supposedly for their own and their species’ good.
We humans are constantly making decisions about who lives and who dies, and we need to focus our attention on the animals themselves, and put their lives first and foremost. The rapidly growing international field called compassionate conservation comes into play here. The guiding principles of compassionate conservation are “First do no harm” and “the lives of all individuals matter.”
Turning a moment into a movement
I hope Harambe did not die in vain, and that this moment can be turned into a movement that is concerned with the plight of captive animals. Judging by what is sailing into my email inbox each minute and by worldwide media coverage, it already is. The publicity generated by killing Harambe can and must be used to save the lives of numerous other captive animals. We must face the difficult questions that arise because animals are “in” and the questions are not going to disappear.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Marc Bekoff
Marc Bekoff is professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has published many books. His newest, “The Animals’ Agenda: Compassion and Coexistence in the Human Age” (with Jessica Pierce) will be published by Beacon Press in 2017. His homepage is marcbekoff.com

Pamela Anderson Appeals for Vegan Options For 600,000 Students

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Lila Copeland and Pamela Anderson (Photo courtesy of Earth Peace Foundation)

She spoke about how although she was able to pack lunches for her children while they were attending LAUSD schools, many families don’t have that luxury, and advocated for the district to support Healthy Freedom and introduce a daily vegan option on their menus.

“As a mother, it was important to me to be here because we are presented with a unique opportunity to help this generation of young people become more compassionate, be kinder to the environment, and make healthier lifestyle choices,” she said. “Kids today are appalled to learn that animals killed for cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets live crowded by the thousands in dark, filthy sheds, are mutilated, and are slaughtered by having their throats slit while they are still conscious.”

Anderson made a powerful case for the financial, ethical and health reasons for why LAUSD should offer its 600,000 students a daily vegan option, but the real star of the evening was fourteen-year-old Lila Copeland.

The middle school student and vegan activist not only began the Healthy Freedom campaign, but also organized the evening’s presentation and corralled a panel of experts to speak. Copeland, who is youth director of Earth Peace Foundation, also supplied vegan hot lunch samples from Gardein for the board, which Copeland’s mother told LAist “went over amazingly.”

Vegan Golden Cheddar Sauce

This velvety cheese sauce has a mild cheddar flavor that will please the entire family. It’s ideal for preparing macaroni and cheese and cheesy rice. Try pouring over freshly steamed vegetables or baked potatoes too. This recipe yields about 2 cups of sauce.

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Ingredients
1 and ¾ cup organic plain unsweetened soymilk or almond milk
¼ cup tapioca starch
¼ cup mild vegetable oil
¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 T mellow white miso paste
1 T tomato paste or 2 tsp tomato powder
2 tsp raw apple cider vinegar
1 tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt
½ tsp dry ground mustard
½ tsp onion powder

Tip: For a tangier sauce, add 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice.

Preparation
Whisk the ingredients together in a small saucepan until smooth. Place over medium-low heat and stir slowly and continually with a flexible spatula until the mixture becomes bubbly, thickened, smooth and glossy. Please note that the golden color will develop as the cheese sauce cooks. Taste and add salt as desired and/or additional soymilk or almond milk to lighten the consistency to your preference. Reduce the heat to low to keep warm until ready to serve, stirring occasionally.

Human Lives Are Not More Important Than Animal Lives. Commentary by Captain Paul Watson

Is a human life worth more than a gorilla, a whale or any other species?

I’m going to tread on some very sensitive toes with this commentary but I think it needs to be said.

My perspective is biocentric, whereas most of humanity looks on reality from an anthropocentric point of view.

I do not expect the anthropocentric mind to understand my position.
My position is that a human life is not more important than the life of a gorilla or a whale.pw

This is is going to make some people angry as hell but that does not concern me. What concerns me is the reality of our relationship with the natural world.

Columnist Dave Bry recently wrote in The Guardian:

As much as I love animals – and I love them very much – the idea that the life of a cat or a dog or a lion or a gorilla is as important as the life of a human is a terrible one, a wrong one, an insulting one.
[There] are powerful, important things about being a human being … Yes, I would save the life of Ted Kaczynski, Idi Amin or Donald Trump over any animal you could name. (Yes, even my beloved childhood pets: the cats Love and Honey, the dog, Yvette. Sorry, guys, RIP.)

Personally I think this statement by Bry is asinine, insensitive and absurd. Idi Amin was a mass murderer. His life was not worth the life of a mosquito and if someone had shot the bastard, thousands of people’s lives would have been spared not to mention the slaughter of African wildlife under his authority. Would Bry say the same about Hitler, and if not, why not, how is he any different than a mass murdering dictator like Idi Amin? So I think Brys’ position has not been thought out, and if it has, it is he who holds a terrible idea with a wrong position and insulting to every person who was slaughtered in WWII or in Africa under Amin. Bry is saying his cats and his dog are expendable but a vicious dictator is not, simply on the basis of being a member of the human species.

The reality is that some human lives are simply not worth more than other humans and also not more important than many animals.
A few years ago when I was teaching at UCLA I asked my students this question?

If you had to choose between a human life and the survival of an unknown species, what choice would you make?

And to make the question a little easier for them, I said the human life is a cute little baby and the species is a type of bacteria.

“So,” I said, “Does the baby live in exchange for the eradication of the species or do we save the species and allow the baby to die?”

They answered without hesitation and chose the life of the baby.
“What if I ask you to save 200 species of unknown bacteria in exchange for the baby?”

Again they chose the baby.

“Can anyone tell me why you made that choice? I inquired.

“Because human lives are more important.” One student answered. Another said, “The life of a baby is more important than some germs, how could you even ask such a thing?” she said with a look of disgust.

“Congratulations everyone,” I said. “Your choice just caused the extinction of the human race.”

This is because there are anywhere from 700 to 1,000 different species of bacteria residing in the human gut and without them we could not digest our food or manufacture vitamins for our bodies.

This was part of a lesson I was trying to teach on the law of interdependence, that all species need each other and without some species we cannot survive.

Are phytoplankton and zooplankton less important than human lives? If it was a choice between diminishing human numbers and diminishing worldwide populations of phytoplankton what choice would we make?

Again I put the question forth, this time to some die-hard anti-abortionists. If the choice is between forcefully preventing abortions and allowing the births of millions of unwanted babies or watching the disappearance of phytoplankton, what choice would you make?

They said that the lives of the babies were more important even if it meant the babies would not be properly cared for, nurtured, educated and loved.

One person asked me what a phytoplankton was?

“It’s a tiny marine plant,” I answered.

“You mean like seaweed?”

“Yes but much smaller.”

“So you’re saying that seaweed is more important than babies?” The man asked with a look of disgust on his face.

“Yes that’s what I am saying.” I answered.

“You’re a sick man,” he literally shouted at me.

And of course he was not interested in my explanation.

And the truth is that we have already made that choice to eradicate phytoplankton in exchange for increasing human populations.

Since 1950, the Ocean has suffered a 40% decline in phytoplankton populations and phytoplankton produces over 50% of the oxygen for the planet.

This is a serious problem but one which most people remain blissfully ignorant of.

Phytoplankton has been diminished because of pollution, climate change, acidification and the slaughter of the whales.

Why the whales?

Because whales provide the nutrients essential for the growth of phytoplankton, especially iron and nitrogen. These nutrients are spread to the phytoplankton in the form of whale feces similar to a farmer spreading manure on his crops. A single Blue whale defecates three tons a day of nutrient rich fecal material which makes the whales the farmers of the sea and a key species for the survival of phytoplankton.

Diminishment of whales means diminishment of phytoplankton means diminishment of oxygen.

There are many species much more important that we are. Bees and worms, trees and plankton, fish, ants and spiders, bacteria, whales and elephants amongst many others.

They are more important for a very simple reason. Most of them can live quite happily without humans but humans cannot live without them. A world without bees and worms would be a world where we could not feed ourselves. A world without phytoplankton and trees would be a world where we could not breathe. A world without yeast (an animal) would be a world without beer and wine which I mention only because this is a loss that may get some people’s attention.
Nature has three very basic ecological laws. 1. Diversity, meaning that the strength of an eco-system is determined by the diversity within it. 2. Interdependence, meaning that the species within an eco-system are dependent upon each other and 3. Finite resources, meaning that there is a limit to growth, a limit to carrying capacity.

As human populations grow larger they literally steal carrying capacity from other species, leading to diminishment of other species which leads to diminishment of diversity and diminishment of interdependence.

In other words, no species is an island entire unto itself and that includes our own human species.

Humans have created a fantasy world called anthropocentrism, the idea that all of reality, all of nature exists only for humanity, that we are the only species that matters and human rights take priority over the rights of all other species.

In other words we look upon ourselves as divinely created superior beings when in reality we are simply overly conceited arrogant, ecologically ignorant, naked apes who have become divine legends in our own limited minds.

This anthropocentric view of the world has made us selfish, self-centred and extremely destructive to all other forms of life on the planet including our own. Our fantasies have allowed us to destroy the very life support systems that sustain us, to poison the waters we drink and the food we eat, to amuse ourselves with blood sports and to eradicate anything and everything we do not like, be it animal, plant or other human beings. We demonize each other and we demonize the entire living world.

This fantasy world we have invented has witnessed our creation of Gods out of whose mouths we can give voice to our fantasies with the moral authority to justify our destructive behaviour.

Over the years I have risked my life and my crews have risked their lives to protect whales and seals, sharks and fish. I am often asked how can I ask people to risk their lives for a whale?

Very easy, is my answer because fighting for the survival of whales or fish means fighting for our own future.

The mystery however to me is how people can question risking our lives for a whale yet accept that young people are routinely asked to risk their lives for real estate, oil wells, religion and for a coloured piece a cloth they call a flag.

Apparently risking their lives to protect property is acceptable whereas taking risks to defend non-human lives is not.

This was very neatly summed up once by a ranger in Zimbabwe who was attacked by human rights groups after killing a poacher who was about to kill an endangered Black rhino.

The accusation was, how could you take the life of a human being to protect an animal?

His answer revealed the hypocrisy of human values. He said, “If I was a policeman in Harare and a man ran out of a bank with a bag of money and I shot him dead on the street, I would be called a hero and given a medal. My job is to protect the future heritage of Zimbabwe and how is it that an endangered species has less value than a bag of paper?”

Humanity slaughters some 65 billion animals every year for meat and takes even greater numbers of lives from the sea, much of which is discarded callously as by-catch. We kill animals for fun or because we consider them to be pests. There has never been a species as mercilessly destructive as the human primate. We kill wilfully, viciously and relentlessly and we do so because we feel entitled to do so.

Anthropocentrism is an incredibly delusional conceit by a single species to lift ourselves above in value and importance over all other living things.

Humanity is so entrenched in this view of the world that we have stifled all empathy to the feelings and interests of all other species. We view them as expendable, as property, as nuisances, as sources of amusement, as slaves.

In an anthropocentric world only humans matter and this has absurdly led to beliefs that this entire planet was created just for us, that we are the pinnacle of evolution and the masters of the universe.

Every single anthropocentric religion places human beings at the centre of everything and above all other species. We have fashioned God in our image in order to justify our superiority and woe be it to any one of use that questions this fantasy.

Anthropocentrism is a form of ecological insanity and is leading us towards self destruction, because only so many species can be removed before the laws of diversity, interdependence and finite growth lead to our own extinction.

Are humans the most intelligent species on the planet? Yes. because we define what intelligence is and therefore declare ourselves to be the most intelligent species. We define ourselves as moral, ethical, benevolent and wise despite the fact that our actions reveal that we are anything but moral, ethical, benevolent and wise.

I would define intelligence as the ability to live in harmony with nature and within the boundaries of ecological laws. We wilfully ignore that dolphins and whales have larger more complex brains and we dismiss any speculation that animals think, make choices, dream and have emotions. We also dismiss the reality that trees communicate through chemicals and fungal networks. We pride ourselves on our art, our science, our religions, our politics, our cultures and totally reject that other species have their own cultures, their own realities completely independent of our hominid vanities.

Recently a 17=year old gorilla named Harambe was shot dead because zoo-keepers determined that he was a threat to the life of a four year old child despite the indications that the gorilla was actually attempting to protect the child.

The primary justification was that the life of a gorilla is of less value than the life of a human child and thus expendable without hesitation.
Never mind that in two previous incidents, one in Chicago and another on the island of Jersey a child’s life was saved by a captive gorilla.

The Cincinnati zoo was most likely motivated by the threat of a lawsuit unless they shot Harambe and ended the drama with a bullet to the head of a sentient being that although confused and disoriented was displaying real concern for the child that fell into his prison cell.

Very few thought of the trauma this would cause to the other gorillas or the fact that the killing was a horrific betrayal to the good intentions of Harambe. After all he was just an animal and no animal is worth the life of a single human.

Instead of acknowledging that her child was not hurt by Harambe, the mother of the child thanked God for the child not being hurt with the assumption being that her God could not have cared less about a gorilla. Harambe and the child were together for ten minutes before Harambe was murdered.

There are 7.5 billion of us and every year there are fewer and fewer of everything else except for the slaves we breed for food and amusement.

Gorillas do not contribute to climate change, to pollution of the ocean to deforestation, to war and habitat destruction. They are gentle, vegetarian, shy, and intelligent self-aware sentient beings whose existence benefits the planet and gives hope for the future.
What human being can equal a gorilla for the virtues of harmlessness, sustainable living, peacefulness and ecological intelligence?

Not one of us. So in my opinion the life of a gorilla is not only of more value than the life of a human being, it is a hundred times more valuable, as are whales, and snails, bees and trees.

3 Animal Rights Undercover Investigators Share What They Really Witness

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By: Natalia Lima May 31, 2016

Equipped with hidden cameras and a thirst for justice, animal rights undercover investigators infiltrate factory farmscircusesroadside zoos, labs and other facilities where animals are known to be mistreated. Investigators gather the necessary evidence to show the world — and authorities — what really goes on behind closed doors. Catching animal abusers in the act isn’t easy, but it’s the job description of animal rights undercover investigators.

The investigative footage is hard to watch — so much so that the news media rarely shows videos and images when reporting on the issue. The live version is even tougher to endure, so how do they do it? Mike Wolf, Investigations Manager for Compassion Over Killing, TJ Tumasse, Manager of Investigations for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, and Taylor Radig, a former investigator for PETA  and Compassion Over Killing all spent years undercover. We asked them what the experience was really like.

How did you end up working as an undercover investigator?

Mike Wolf: After my dog died I started becoming more aware of things and started seeing how animals were treated. In a few weeks I became vegetarian and wanted to help animals.

T.J. Tumasse: I read “Animal Liberation,” by Peter Singer, and I didn’t make it through two chapters before deciding I was going vegan and fighting for animals. I sent an email to PETA wanting to get involved as an artist and at the end I just said, “by the way, I’m 6’4, 200 pounds and a pretty intimidating former football player,” and then they got back to me about being an investigator.

Taylor Radig:  Seeing an undercover investigation was what started my journey into animal protection work. I believe that people’s circle of compassion is in constant flux — bending, shifting and expanding — and I think undercover investigations are one of the most powerful tools we have in allowing people to see why animals are in desperate need to become a part of that circle.

What was your first day undercover like? Was it what you were expecting?

Wolf: I started out at a zoo. I spent about four months there and it was eye-opening. There were weeks that animals barely got fed. Seeing first-hand what was happening just pushed me harder to keep on doing it.

Tumasse: The first job I got was at a factory farm, in a slaughterhouse owned by Tyson in Georgia. I thought I was prepared, and when it came down to it the reality was much different. When you’re actually exposed to it there’s nothing that compares. A part of me never left and I’ll never get that part of me back. It changes who you are.

Radig: My first day at Quanah Cattle Company, my coworker called me over to show me this blind calf. When I came over, he showed me the blue color of this tiny baby calf’s eyes as he sat on the ground, too sick to stand. Knowing how sick this calf was, my coworker repeatedly kicked this baby calf over and over to try to get him to stand, when he very clearly couldn’t even muster the energy to stand even though he was being kicked. It took everything in my body to not scream at my coworker in that moment.

What is the worst thing you ever saw?

Wolf: Artificial insemination is so cruel and barbaric. It happens to millions of animals and people at the farms are every crude about it. It becomes normalized and people make jokes about it but it’s awful and the closest thing I can compare it to is rape.

Radig: That [first] day I also went with my coworker to get baby calves from local dairies. I remember my coworker and I entering into the space of where the calves are held, and the look on the mother’s face as we took her baby from her. The heartbreak in her eyes felt like she realized that this was the time where strangers took something from her that she would never get back.

How do you cope with seeing these awful things as an animal lover?

Wolf: You need to find an outlet. I used weightlifting as an outlet. I found a gym close by and spent time there. Even after working 12 hours a day, I would still go and lift. It definitely has an impact on you, and it’s the kind of thing that sticks with you. But the way to look at it is that my being there was the only way to show the public what’s going on there. And to remember that we’re trying to help the future generations, not the ones already at the slaughterhouse.

Tumasse: In order to stay you have to become a different version of yourself. You’re playing a character that is like you but not you. For me it was like getting psyched for a football game — I would talk myself up and listen to empowering music like some vegan metal bands before going to work and then some classical music to calm down after. What keeps me going is the belief that any action we take for animals is an end in itself.

Radig: I get this question a lot, and it’s always tough, because the answer is sometimes that I just can’t. Investigations are about the animals who are suffering needlessly in these farms, and if I breakdown, especially on the job, I not only put myself at risk, but I fail them. Sometimes I think about all the animals I loaded up on trucks to be sent to slaughter, and those I cuddled next to in their crates when no one was around, and just can’t handle the fact that I left them to die. But then I think of how incredibly powerful undercover investigations are for stopping and preventing the abuse these animals endure every single day of their lives.

What would you say the main quality is that someone needs to have to become an undercover investigator for animal rights?

Wolf: It’s really more of a mental thing. There are a couple of things that push people away. First you need to travel a lot and live on the road. And, people who care about animals usually have companion animals they can’t leave behind. Second is the long hours. Third is the fact that you have to perform standard practices. If you’re in a hog farm, you need to castrate a pig without anesthesia. You may need to kill an animal and if you are passionate towards animals you might not be able to do that.

Radig: A strong ability to compartmentalize your emotions, and a very — I mean very —strong work ethic. With the smell of ammonia, fecal matter, blood, and terror filling your lungs sometimes 12 hours a day, working on factory farms, specifically slaughterhouses, is one of the most dangerous jobs that exist.

Did you ever get caught?

Wolf: No, I never got caught. [At the zoo] I worked with the big cats, and one time I was in a pen with a lion, and he started playing a little rough and ripped my clothes. Some of my equipment fell out to the ground. That’s the closest I ever came, but nobody saw it happen.

Tumasse: I never got caught but there were times I was accused. Once I got searched while wearing my equipment but by then I had figured out how to wear it so they didn’t see it.

What’s your take on Ag-Gag legislation that aims to outlaw the work of undercover investigators?

Wolf: It would be interesting to bring Ag-Gag to the supreme court one day because there’s no way they could uphold that. It’s so obvious that it’s an infringement of the first amendment rights.

Tumasse: Fighting Ag-gag laws is the next step in achieving the peaceful world we all believe in and is part of the golden rule we all love so much. “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” does not say human others. Surely each other individual is worthy of our consideration and to try to hide abuse toward others, adult, child, or animal falls outside that universally moral imperative. To make it illegal to say there is cruelty and abuse happening and stop the person speaking out instead of the company committing the abuse is deplorable.

Radig: Ag-Gag laws are created by the industry to cover up what they do. Instead of stopping the cruelty, it’s their way to shut the information down and keep people from knowing what’s in their plates.

Where are they now?

Mike Wolf

After working as an investigator for four years, Wolf has been the investigations manager for Compassion Over Killing since 2014. He helps set up investigations like the one into a chicken facility in North Carolina where birds were being buried alive and he recruits new investigators. Those interested in the job can email him directly.

T.J. Tumasse

Tumasse works as the manager of investigations for the Animal Legal Defense Fund helping to set up investigations like the organization’s newly released expose on Hormel pork supplier, Maschhoffs. The undercover video shows pigs being left days without food, piglets having their tails seared off without anesthesia and injured animals being left without proper care. The organization has issued a letter to the attorney general of Nebraska where the facility is located asking authorities to further look into the company’s practices.

Taylor Radig

After finishing a Compassion Over Killing investigation into Quanah Cattle Company, Radig went to the sheriff’s office to hand over her evidence and give them a first-hand witness account of the acts of animal cruelty she witnessed. The sheriff, however, who turned out to be a former dairy farmercharged Radig with animal cruelty for not reporting the crimes as soon as she saw them and distributed her mugshot to the media. After having her mugshot printed, Radig’s identity was exposed and her career as an undercover investigator was forced to come to an end. But, over 180,000 people signed a petition to have the charges against her dropped, which the sheriff’s office eventually did. She now does research work for several animal rights organizations.