Humane Issues in the News...

Each week we post links to news about humane education & humane living, and items connected to humane issues, from human rights to environmental preservation, to animal protection, to media, consumerism and culture.

Study shows “even the most sophisticated” news readers “can be manipulated” - AlterNet (11/9/09)
“Bruter calls this the ‘time bomb’ effect of one-sided news. His study paints a blunt picture of how cynicism, far from inoculating citizens to resist political persuasion, merely delays the impact. ‘We know that an increasing proportion of citizens distrust the media and that some explicitly claim to discount bias in the news that they receive,’ he wrote. ‘However, we show that despite this qualified reading strategy, the effect of news resounds over time.’”

“Blame contagion” (commentary) – Global Ethics Newsline (11/9/09)
“By ‘blame contagion,’ these researchers don’t mean simply that if you blame me, I ‘catch’ that habit and blame you back. Nor do they mean that, after being blamed, I’m more apt to blame others. They’re saying something more subtle. Apparently we soak up a propensity to blame, which they define as ‘the act of attributing a personal failure to another person or event,’ from any atmosphere where people are busy casting blame, even when the issues have nothing to do with us.”

College students work to help Ugandan child soldiersTwinCities.com (11/9/09)
“The larger goal for Rebekah Johnson and Lauren Johnson, who are not related, is raising awareness of what is happening in Uganda, said Lauren Johnson. War has been waging for more than two decades between the rebel group Lord's Resistance Army and the government of Uganda. It's estimated that more than 90 percent of the soldiers in the LRA were abducted as children to fight in the army, according to Invisible Children Inc., the nonprofit that produced ‘The Rescue.’"

Survey shows dissatisfaction with capitalismBBC (11/9/09)
“More than 29,000 people in 27 countries were questioned. In only two countries, the United States and Pakistan, did more than one in five people feel that capitalism works well as it stands. Almost a quarter - 23% of those who responded - feel it is fatally flawed. That is the view of 43% in France, 38% in Mexico and 35% in Brazil. And there is very strong support around the world for governments to distribute wealth more evenly. That is backed by majorities in 22 of the 27 countries.”

Chicago schools working toward zero waste lunches – Chicago Tribune (11/3/09)
“Zero-waste initiatives at schools across the Chicago area have students aggressively reducing the garbage they produce and trying to avoid anything not biodegradable. Now they're separating food, determining what can and can't be composted. They do the composting themselves in outdoor bins or with worm composting in the classroom. They're learning how to reuse paper towels and use fewer of them. And they're no longer taking home endless fliers -- many schools now post announcements online with ‘virtual backpacks.’"

NASA to irradiate squirrel monkeys in experiments New York Post (10/31/09)
“NASA has long used lab mice and rats to test radiation, but is turning to monkeys in the new tests because scientists say they must be carried out on animals more similar to humans. The study will rely on 18 to 28 squirrel monkeys that will be exposed to low doses of the type of radiation astronauts traveling to Mars can expect to encounter. The goal is to understand how the radioactive environment of space affects humans during long-term travel.”

Teacher suspended after assigning students scientific article on homosexuality in animalsPsychology Today (10/30/09)
“Mr. Delong's assigned reading asks students to question the dominance and ‘naturalness’ of heterosexuality. He is helping his students understand concepts such as heterosexism and heteronormativity.”

U.S. blueberry supplier caught using child laborABC News (10/30/09)
“The law prohibits, with only a few rare exceptions, the use of any child under the age of 12 on large agricultural operations. Yet, as migrant families try to scrap by on meager earnings, they often put their children to work with the tacit acquiescence of growers and their foremen. ‘Everybody knows that's the economic reality for the families,’ said Hendricks, ‘and so it's something that happens and people just put their head in the sand and know that it happens, a nod and a wink and we look the other way.’"

“The methane makers”BBC (10/28/09)
“The greenhouse gas emissions associated with meat consumption has many components, the largest of which is land use change - the clearing of forests for pasture or for the production of soya for animal feed. Other elements that have an impact on emissions include the rearing and slaughter of livestock, and the transport, refrigeration and cooking of meat.”

Modern slavery in Pakistan - Time (10/27/09)
“While the nation's 1992 Bonded Labour System Act mandates five-year sentences for violators, Pakistani officials have yet to record a single conviction. 'The police are turning a blind eye on the issue,' says Hyder, though he acknowledges that police in one of the districts acted successfully, in response to a court order, to free more than a dozen of the hostages. However, bonded families rarely press their rights because of the overwhelming influence of the landlords in local politics, the threat of retaliation and their families' dependence on the landlords for survival.”

Bolivia’s circus animals are free…now where do they go? Time (10/27/09)
“The new law gives circuses until June 2010 to hand over their animals. Llamas, ponies and dogs, the most common performers here, can be easily reintegrated into comfortable habitats. And the country's performing tigers and bears have already been taken to neighboring countries by the owners of larger circuses to avoid confiscation. But small, family-owned circuses are unlikely to flee the country, which will leave two dozen lions and primates needing new homes.”


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