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Promoting bioethics & challenging speciesism

April 3, 2020

For thirty five years Dawn Chorus Educational Initiative, in partnership with Juno Enterprise Charitable Association and other organizations, has delivered community learning activities that have been cutting edge and trail blazing. Biodiversity, animal welfare, climate change, sustainability, wildlife, landscape conservation and habitats, heritage culture and wellbeing all remain key work streams. Since we started our work, parts society have moved on to embrace the vital importance of climate change, biodiversity and veganism, which are now main stream rather than marginal issues. We believe that climate survival and speciesism are crosscutting issues. In these areas we are long established as expert educators and project delivery agents.

Below: access to nature can teach that habitats are vital to wildlife and people.

Our Kosy-Kitchen project was set up to celebrate the millennium (in 2000) and nurture a plant based vegan diet, promote health and compassion. Our resources on Pinterest are well accessed & popular.

Below: Children made vegan eater nests to celebrate life and nature and vegan chocolate cherry shortbreads.

We initiate animal care and welfare activities. We encourage moral, ethical thinking towards animals, challenge speciesism and explore bioethics. We actively oppose all cruelty. We challenge animal abuse, including vivisection, as we do racism, bullying and exclusion.

Below: caring for animals teaches compassion and understanding.

In the wild, chickens spend their days pecking at the ground for food and dustbathing. In factory farming chickens do not have the opportunity to live natural lives. Most people are now aware of the terrible suffering of battery hens. In addition, the males from egg-laying hens (who being male do not produce eggs) are culled whether the egg farm is free range or battery. The few short hours of a male chick’s life are ended in a gas chamber or they are minced up alive. Chickens reared for meat are called ‘broiler’ chickens. ‘broiler sheds’ can hold 40,000-50,000 birds. Crowding and machinery noise offers little opportunity to rest. Bred to grow fast, and with just 670cm2 per bird, they can be more crowded than caged egg-laying hens. This unnatural rapid growth, enormously strain their skeletons, often causing leg deformities that can prevent them from reaching food and water. Other health problems are documented and burns to the chickens’ legs are common, from ammonia in the excrement on the shed floor. Antibiotic-laced food is needed to keep them alive. It is said that six per cent of all chickens reared for meat (50 million per year) die in broiler sheds. Most chickens reared for meat are slaughtered at just six weeks old, having lived just a tiny fraction of their natural lifespan of around six years. At Dawn Chorus, we support initiatives that work to rescue chickens and other poultry and improve the lives of these widely abused birds.

Below: left- rescue chickens, well cared for and living natural lives. right- our worm hotel.

In our Dawn Chorus organic heritage trials garden, we love our worm hotel, the worms have an excellent, comfortable, predator free home with as much food as they can eat. In exchange they provide us with rich compost and liquid fertilizer. Earth worms benefit the planet, making our soil healthy and increasing the capacity for rain water to be stored at root level. Pesticides, compaction from heavy machinery, lack of bio-matter and other modern farming practices have led to a steep decline in earth worms. 42% of UK farmland surveyed was deficient in earth worms. It is not just farming; many golf courses eradicate worms with chemicals to prevent spoiling of the greens. Some experts warn that not only does our planet have a crisis in pollinating insects (such as bees) and earthworms (both essential to food production) but that all insects and invertebrates, given current rates of decline, could vanish within 100 years. This would lead a total ecosystems collapse.  We had a huge response to our simple online survey asking people if they pick up worms from paths and move them to a place of safety; it is heartening to know that so many people care about earth worms!

We set up a virtual learning community event during lockdown, aimed at anglers, individuals and community wildlife groups, to increase awareness that fish feel pain. We have also stimulated community based discussion to try to help stop shrink-wrapped live packaged lobsters being sold in supermarkets to be bought to boil alive.

Below: children are taught to care about and care for animals and other creatures, both domestic and wild.

Education, beneficial activity and involvement are vital to fight climate change and biodiversity decline. We support many eco-conscious and animal rights campaigns and create peaceful pathways for members of the community to become involved in creating social and environmental justice and making the positive change that they wish to see in the world.


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