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The Monday review – people are animals

Well, we’ve all thought it; here are some links exploring the idea.

1. On separating neurological pathways so mammals don’t feel pain when they’re factory farmed.

2. On rights and self-regulation: Apple learning from the factory farming industry.

At least eleven 15 year-old children were discovered to be working last year in three factories that supply Apple.

“When we investigated, we uncovered records and conducted worker interviews that revealed excessive working hours and seven days of continuous work,” Apple said, adding that it had terminated all contracts with the factory.

Only 65 per cent of the factories were paying their staff the correct wages and benefits, and Apple found 24 factories where workers had not even been paid China’s minimum wage of around 800 yuan (Pounds76) a month.

3. On welcoming chimpanzees to the human family: ‘Closer to man than ape’.

In 1991, the Pulitzer prize-winning ecologist Jared Diamond called humans “the third chimpanzee”, setting us alongside the common chimp (Pan troglodytes) and its less aggressive but astoundingly promiscuous cousin, the bonobo (Pan paniscus).

By 1999 confusion over the biological status of chimpanzees prompted scientists in New Zealand to join forces with lawyers to petition the country’s government to pass a bill conferring “rights” on chimpanzees and other primates. The move drew derision. Roger Scruton, the moral philosopher, asked: “Do we really think that the jails of New Zealand should henceforth be filled with malicious chimpanzees? If not, by what right are they to be exempted from punishment?” New Zealand granted great apes legal protection from animal experimentation. British Home Office guidelines also forbid experiments on chimps, gorillas and orang-utans.

4. John Oliver on the human’s closest relative.

5. On looking and seeing: Berger’s, ‘Why look at animals?’

Visitors visit the zoo to look at animals. They proceed from cage to cage, not unlike the visitors in an art gallery who stop in front of one painting, and then more on to the next or the one after next… When you look at these animals, even if the animal is up against the bars, less than a foot from you, looking outwards in the public direction, you are looking at something that has been rendered absolutely marginal; and the concentration you can muster will never be enough to render it…

The space in which they inhabit is artificial. Hence their tendency to bundle towards the edge of it. (Beyond the edges there may be real space.) In some cages the light is equally artificial. In all cases the environment is illusory.

6. On anthropomorphism and subjectivism: Dave Eggers with ‘After I was thrown in the river and before I drowned’.

OH I’M A FAST DOG. I’m fast- fast. It’s true and I love being fast I admit It I love it. You know fast dogs. Dogs that just run by and you say, Damn! That’s a fast dog! Well that’s me. A fast dog. I’m a fast- fast dog. Hoooooooo! Hooooooooooooo!

7. On the nature of humanity: Tom Waits with ‘King Kong’.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

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Jacinda Woodhead is the editor of Overland. Her PhD research examined abortion politics in Australia and nonfiction as political intervention.

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