Dr Daniel Allen is a unique commentator of the natural world. A Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Daniel explores people’s interactions and understandings of animals around the world. A passionate animal welfarist, Daniel applies his candid approach to issues in the pet trade, conservation and beyond. He has written two books. Otter (Reaktion Books, 2010) was described by Virginia McKenna OBE as 'the most brilliant mix of facts ancient and modern about the otter species'. His latest, The Nature Magpie (Icon Books, 2013), was called a ‘natural page-turner’ in British Vogue, and ‘part Walden Pond, part Origin of Species, and part Ripley’s Believe It Or Not’ by Hal Herzog. For more information go to www.drdanielallen.co.uk and uk.linkedin.com/in/drdanielallen/
I have a confession to make. Otters are my animal obsession! This is nothing new. Since early childhood they have been my favourite animal. It started as a six-year old boy - soon after choosing <em>Tarka the Otter</em> in the video rental store.
As a columnist for Mental Health Today magazine (Animal Instincts), I always feel privileged when individuals entrust their personal experiences of human-animal companionship. I'm repeatedly humbled by the life-changing unions between humans and animals...
The world of animal rescue is full of brave, heroic and hard-working individuals. Every rescued animal has experienced tragedy. Every rescue is powered by compassion. Every charity is hoping for broader financial support. Sadly the stories of everyone cannot be shared, but more public exposure will certainly help.
The campaign itself could be seen as proof that informed individuals working together for the same cause really can make a difference to the lives of animals. It also provides an interesting insight into animal welfare micro-campaigning and the power of social media.
Rabbits are the third most popular pet in the UK, with an estimated 1.6 million kept in and outside of our homes. They are also the most neglected and mistreated animal companion in the nation. Out-dated preconceptions that rabbits are hutch loving, carrot crunching, cheap, small-child friendly pets is largely to blame.
What I dislike is the lack of regulation, and the rise of start-up companies with neither the knowledge nor experience to share such specialist animals with the public. The problem with animal encounter companies can be split broadly into two main areas: animal welfare, and, public safety.
Dawn is accompanied by thousands of individual birds advertising their whereabouts and protecting their territories. Together this avian choir awakens the new day with birdsong. The time of the chorus varies around the world, from around 4 a.m. in northern temperate areas, 6 a.m. in the tropics, and as late as 8 a.m. in the southern hemisphere.
Romania hit the international headlines in early September 2013, after a four-year-old boy was left unsupervised in a Bucharest park and mauled to death by stray dogs. A public backlash led to vigilante killings, and protests calling for government action. Images of dogs being beaten to death, and bloodied corpses lining pavements were shared across the world through social media.
"Pet crazes": a purchasing fad initiated by popular on screen representations, and reinforced by badly researched photo-led tabloid journalism. Photogenic animals are labelled as the next "must-have" pet, trend-setting breeders are afforded free national publicity, and an unsuspecting public can make the "craze" a reality.
Bobi was a political pawn, used by the media to condemn the RSPCA. In this case, the two charities in question were both doing the right thing in relation to the remit of their policies. The media hysteria, public bias and negative publicity meant that the death of Bobi would have haunted the RSPCA in 2014.
21/01/2014 17:21 GMT
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