Restrained by chains, isolated from other elephants, kept in bright sunlight on hot concrete that hurts his feet - until it's time to carry the next heavy load of excited tourists on his back, controlled by a bull hook if he should put a foot wrong. Such is the life of an elephant 'working' in entertainment in Asia today.
For the moment, Japan seems intent on launching its plan for a new 'scientific' whaling programme in the Southern Ocean. Whilst it has some allies, the issue drives a wedge between Japan and many other nations. Japan may be able to deflect charges against whaling, including that it is cruel, by casting such criticism as a form of anti-Japanese cultural imperialism. Our only hope is that, given the ICJ ruling is above any rhetoric or politics, perhaps those in power in Japan will be better able to see that commercial whaling is ecologically unsound, uneconomic and, in terms of international relations, disastrous.
Raccoons, badgers and squirrels- each year many millions of animals are trapped and brutally killed in the wild for their fur and hair. I will spare you the soul-eroding statistics of animal deaths on fur-farms and the fate which meets these animals even while still 'living', suffice to say they live in misery.
There are plenty of adorable animals with majestic appearances such as pandas or tigers, however there are also many bizarre looking animals that may not appeal to us humans. Charles Darwin has taught us that animals undergo constant evolutionary selection so that the seemingly disfigured animals are actually naturally adapted to thrive in their habitats.
I love animals and have always had a passion for wildlife but red squirrels in particular fascinate me, not least because they are such an iconic native species. Everyone in Britain has heard of the red squirrel - they represent and encapsulate a lot of our island's history and the fact that they are endangered has led many people recently to take a greater interest in the species.