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Vegas - 2016 - Issue 2 - Late Spring - Dita Von Tesse

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opposite page: photography by Jim brandenburg/getty images/minden pictures rm conscious and alert, scientists who are helping with that, occasionally politicians who show great leadership. You also have huge philanthropy at work. We're an enormously wealthy society in terms of having a lot of resources out there, and you have billionaires willing to invest in these issues. You've got Paul Allen, who is trying to solve problems, and you've got titans of capitalism like Carl Icahn who are trying to solve problems. And then you have corporations adapting. They know that they're going to be roadkill if they don't adjust to the new realities. JM: I'm pretty wealthy, and one of the things that happens is that you have all your needs taken care of, so then it's a question of: Do you just pile up money for money's sake or do you invest that money in ways that help the world to become a better place? WP: David Duffield, who founded PeopleSoft, a Silicon Valley company, committed hundreds of millions of dollars to solving euthanasia in dogs and cats in the late 1990s. He was mocked by a number of people: Why would you put all of that money into that kind of enterprise when we have so many human problems? Now you have philanthropists coming out of the woodwork on these issues. JM: People are beginning to realize that government doesn't really solve many prob- lems. Instead you have these twin forces: economic business entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs. Whole Foods has started three foundations, and they've all been very impactful in a short amount of time. So you're combining the nonprofit model with the business model, and sometimes these work together. WP: Part of that ensemble cast that I talked about driving the change are animal scien- tists and ethnologists who are teaching us more about animals. It wasn't that long ago that the dominant animal behavior theory was that animals operate just by instinct, that they're like machines in the wild who are on an endless task of food gathering, mating, predation, and defense. Now we know that animals have feelings, emotions. Elephants have burial rituals; chimpanzees have rituals to honor family members who have passed away. We see incredible problem-solving, from crows to dolphins. Once you see that behavior, you can't think of them as just this thing or commodity. And I think this increase in understanding animal consciousness layers over this social reform movement. That's why no industry that's exploiting animals in a severe way is going to be immune from this movement. One area we haven't talked about too much is the animal testing issue, [which] can be completely overtaken by different technologies. What do you foresee happening in the near future? JM: I'll make a prediction: What is building is a scientific consensus around health. Although there's a very strong vested interest in keeping people ignorant by the dairy industry, cattle and meat industry, and processed food industry, there's a strong scientific consensus that is building that eating either none or only small quantities of animal foods leads to optimum longevity. The longest-living people that we know of are all plant eaters. Cancer, heart disease, diabetes—they all correlate very strongly with the more animal food you eat. Sometime over the next five to 10 years, I predict you're going to see a sci- entific consensus come around—just like it took a long time for science to gather enough data to overthrow the propaganda machine that the tobacco industry was. WP: It takes activists and scientists and all of that together. JM: That's what's happening with food now. We have a healthcare crisis in America; we have an obesity crisis. Eighty percent of the healthcare money that we spend, which is bankrupting us, is due to diet and lifestyle. And it's avoidable. Y ou're going to see this growing scientific consensus about how to solve our healthcare issues, which will be life- style shifts, [which] will correlate well with the humane economy, because it's very interesting that the thing that will help solve our healthcare crisis and our obesity epi- demic is basically living in a more humane fashion and not exploiting animals. The exploitation of the animals is not just harming the animal; it's harming us. That's what people don't understand. WP : Absolutely. I really like the word "humane." I chose it very intentionally because the root word of "humane" is "human," and we're the ones who are creating the problems, so we're the ones that can solve the problems. John's point is really important: It just so happens that when we're better to animals, we have better outcomes throughout society. Companies are going to be more successful when they have a more animal-friendly sensitivity. . We are in the midst—much closer to the beginning than to the end, I believe—of an epic political, cultural, and economic realignment in the treatment of animals. Doing something about a moral problem requires first identifying it and then intentionally breaking old habits and conventions. Confronting terrible injustices— from slavery and child labor to segregation to gender discrimination—was a painful and necessary part of our American tradition. With the availability of information on the Web, and the transparency it brings, it's harder now to sidestep these questions. Just as people are shaken from their comfort zone when they realize that a T-shirt from a well-known clothing company was stitched together in some hellish, overcrowded factory in Bangladesh, more of us are connecting our choices and purchasing practices when it comes to matters of animal cruelty. Exposing abuses goes a long way in prompting sellers to get their supply chains in order, even as it better informs their customer base. Smart businesses want to get ahead of controversy and avoid protests, boycotts, and social-media campaigns that target them. We are seeing transforma- tions in all sectors of the animal-use economy, and we will see many more. Once resolve has set in to change for the better, it's easier than ever to make it happen. It's not a matter of sacrifice—just conscious, better choices. Enlarging our vocabulary from "whaling" to "whale watching" Kindness Unto others In this excerpt from The Humane Economy: How Innovators and Enlightened Consumers Are Transforming the Lives of Animals, Wayne Pacelle argues that animal welfare is the next great frontier in America's cultural consciousness. is just one example of an emerging shift in the manner we humans regard animals— whether in the wild, on the farm, in laboratories, or in our homes. The society we have now is different from what it was 25 or 100 or 200 years ago, with revolutionary advances in commerce, banking, currency, energy exploration, global transport, information technology, and computing. How can we not have a commensurate revolution in our treatment of animals? How can we tolerate the misery that comes from whaling, factory farming, trapping, and cruel industries of every kind once we recognize a more vibrant economic path forward, producing jobs that are better to hold, goods that are better to have, and a society in the end that is better to live in, without unlighted places where cruel things are permitted? Published on April 19 by HarperCollins/ William Morrow 108

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