It’s difficult to say exactly when my interest in animals and our treatment of them started, but it’s likely with a little West Virginia rescue dog I adopted named Scout – to be followed by Piper, Big Nick, Zia, Mango and Blaze. In 2009 I moved to New Mexico, working with volunteer animal welfare nonprofits and private rescue groups here. Seeing the sheer number of dogs needing homes here I began to look to sources to help me understand why. New Mexico news stories about animals were often the heartbreaking and gruesome stories of animal cruelty, but what I was looking for was the why – the political, economic, and social contexts behind the headlines. In time that interest has expanded to encompass the treatment of all animals as reflected not in what as a society we say but as measured by what we do.
There are so many stories involving animals that are current or are unfolding in New Mexico and nationwide – animals protected under the Endangered Species Act, but who like all animals are subjected to the pressures of a growing human population; horse doping in the horse racing industry; spay & neuter funding; trapping on public lands; the regulation of commercial breeding facilities; and so on. The list of animal policy issues grows as we become more cognizant of the need for “big picture” information. I recognize that people often have strong opinions and feelings about animal issues; my aim is not necessarily to have everybody agree, but to generate needed dialog on the complexities and ethics underlying our treatment of animals.