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.
Animal Talk looks at our relationship to other species as reflected by existing and emerging policies and practices. The program alternates between issues impacting domestic animals and wildlife in New Mexico and animal-related issues of national or international relevance.