Animal welfare and the environment – two steps forward, two steps back

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Just where are we as a society in 2013, where animal welfare and environmental issues are concerned? I’m seeing some progress in some areas and a troubling trend of decline in other areas.

I like classic TV shows and movies. My viewing tends to drift to films from the 1930s to the 1970s – or so – and TV from the 60s to 70s and at times more recent stuff. I find it interesting when a reference to protecting air and water appears in a movie or TV episode from say, 1972. Or maybe a primary character is speaking about protections for animals. I was watching a show recently from the early 70s, where a character was distressed about pollution.

Fast forward to 2013 and elected officials in my home state are actually debating about opening the land up to natural gas fracking. And a push is underway to allow for the injection of polluted fracking fluid waste into deep wells in the coastal regions. We have a decades-old ban on injecting pollutants such as this into wells in the state. But now, with powerful entities pushing for it, the state legislature might open the door to full-scale pollution.

We’ve seen the very recent destruction of the Appalachian Mountain Range, by the coal industry. Mountaintops are completely blown up and the material has been dumped into mountain streams below. We would never have even seen that happen in the 1970s.

The Environmental Protection Agency was officially established on December 2, 1970. The Endangered Species Act went into effect on December 28, 1973. Now – some four decades later – we’re seeing some elected officials trying to gut these important regulatory acts.

We’re seeing wolves killed at alarming rates. We’re seeing efforts to block protections for other endangered species such as whales and polar bears. We’re seeing some politicians call for the abolishment of the EPA. They actually want industries – some that are greedy, polluting industries – to go unregulated and unchecked in terms of polluting, in any way they see fit.

We’ve tried that and it didn’t work out well at all. This was the very reason for the creation of the EPA and at the time, members of both political parties firmly supported the idea. It is nothing short of insane to even suggest we go back to an era when wildlife was completely unprotected from greedy poachers and when polluting the environment was the norm and was an easy cost-saver for industries.

We’re better than that as a society now – or at least I hope so. Big Industry already has too much power over elected officials and over the governmental process. Look at what happened in the lead-up to the BP Oil Gusher.

The EPA needs to be stronger and the Endangered Species Act needs to be stronger. As I’ve noted above, we’re seeing an erosion of protections of late. To suggest these big, polluting industries need a break from regulations and to suggest the animals have too much in the way of protections is factually and logically inaccurate – on a grand scale.

Greed already has a firm hold on the process. Let’s take it away from the greedy and put it back in the hands of the people, where the animals and the environment can be protected for future generations.


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2 thoughts on “Animal welfare and the environment – two steps forward, two steps back

  1. The assault on the environment and animal welfare simply parallels the assault on the standard of living of the working classes by the one-percenters and the assault on civil liberties by the cops and the vast (in)security establishment. It all boils down to the wealthy seeking ever greater profits at the expense of humans, animals, and the planet in general, while taking steps to suppress any attempt to stop them from their selfish and ruinous course.

  2. Jeff,

    I agree. The greedy have been sucking the life out of the economy and the environment for too long now.

    The pie is only so big and when a few take all but a tiny slice, it zaps the overall picture for everybody else.

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