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Hidden: Animals in the Anthropocene

Hidden: Animals in the Anthropocene

Britta Jaschinski

“Our ultimate goal is that this collection of difficult photographs will inspire compassion, conversation, and most importantly, change”

Hidden: Animals in the Anthropocene

HIDDEN: Animals in the Anthropocene is an unflinching book of photography documenting our relationship with non-human animals in the 21st Century. It focuses on the invisible animals in our lives: those with whom we have a close relationship and yet fail to see. They are the animals we eat and the animals we wear. They are the animals used in research and for entertainment, as well as the animals we sacrifice in the name of tradition and religion.

HIDDEN includes the work of a global community of photographers, 40 of the world’s best animal photojournalists who work globally to investigate, document, and expose animal use. Editor Jo-Anne McArthur’s previous books include We Animals and Captive; editor Keith Wilson’s include Photographers Against Wildlife Crime, Remembering Elephants, and Remembering Rhinos.

An Interview with Creator and Co-Editor Jo-Anne McArthur

What was the origin of ‘Hidden’? Where did the idea for the book originate?

There is a war photographer, James Nachtwey who put together a tome of a book called Inferno, which documents genocide, famine, civil war and what we do to one another, which moved me to the core, and I knew animals needed a book like this. With the growing number of photographers who are turning their lenses to an invisible war, one that few people see, the war on animals, I knew we could create something historic, an indictment. Not sugar coated. A document of what is and what never again should be. When done well, books have staying power and they start conversations. With that in mind, we chose to go big with heartbreaking, unflinching images because we wanted anyone looking at HIDDEN to be stunned. And informed. And moved to no longer contribute to these industries.

Aitor Garmendia

The book covers a wide range of hidden animals. Which animals in particular are more hidden than others? Which industries in your opinion exploit animals the most?

Farming today doesn’t look like it used to. What we think of as farms are often massive industrial complexes. There are now even “hog hotels” in China, built vertically. Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations – CAFOs – hold billions of animals globally, and animal photojournalists often turn their lenses to this problem. The animals in CAFOs are stuffed in there, without exaggeration; many of these animals can’t turn around in their crates or stretch their wings, and have short miserable lives before being transported to slaughter. Fishes are also mass farmed now, both on land and in sea pens. We can’t possibly count the number of fish farmed each year, so they are counted by weight, by the tonne.

Lissy Jayne

How many photographers contributed to the book? How were the photographers chosen?

HIDDEN represents the work of 40 photojournalists who have – and continue to – document animal stories. I’ve been keeping an eye on the work of many photographers, and visual animal stories overall for a number of years, and knew there were a handful of people whose work had to be in the book. Aitor Garmendia, Andrew Skowron, Britta Jaschinski, Konrad Lozinski and Amy Jones are but a few. We also reached out to individual photographers who had shot exceptional stories, or who were in the field while we were making the book. From there, it wasn’t so much about selecting the photographers as the strongest images, and building a poignant and concise narrative.

Aitor Garmendia
Louise Jorgensen

Many of the images in the book are difficult to see. How are you mentally able to bear witness to such atrocities? How do you keep faith in humanity?

The work is difficult and painful because I care so much about others, and have a lot of empathy, but the action and change that comes from the work is catharsis. I’ve learned not to carry the pain. If I were to do that, I would have quit years ago as suffering is exhausting and demoralizing. But I can observe the pain in the world without carrying it on my shoulders every day.

I had to learn how to do that. I am, as a baseline, a really happy person, but after so much fieldwork I started to become depressed and was diagnosed with PTSD, so I had to not sponge up the suffering of others while also continuing to do something about it. Therapy helped, and I regularly meditate on impermanence and just how fortunate we are to be here in this brief moment in time, how improbable and awesome it is. So, I try to live in the present and make the most of every moment and be happy. I wish this for everybody. We can accomplish more, be more, when we are content.

Experiencing suffering – ours and theirs – is a learning opportunity to care more and to grow. It’s an opportunity for resilience. The closer we can get to it and see that we can take part without getting destroyed is galvanizing. We’re seeing a rise in animal law, changes in policy, positive changes everywhere really, slowly but surely. I’m heartened that there are more ways than ever to participate in animal advocacy.

Jo-Anne McArthur
Joan de la Malla

How were you guys able to infiltrate some of these notoriously secretive industries to capture images?

Carefully! Observation, planning, strategy, and learning to use our tools in tricky technical situations so that we’re getting good video and photos in a short amount of time.

Kristo Muurimaa

The animal rights movement is growing rapidly, are you optimistic about the future for animals?

Absolutely. We’re on the right side of history and that gives me energy and momentum. It’s clearer than ever that industrial farming needs to end. For every reason: for the animals, the environment, humanity. More people than ever are working to curb this thing. While there is a rise in meat-eating in some of the rising economies, we are also seeing veganism explode. I’m heartened by the many efforts happening on behalf of animals these days, in food tech, law, policy. There’s much to feel optimistic about.

Aitor Garmendia

How do you feel social media has impacted the animal rights movement, and how can we use it’s reach to help animals?

Socials have been incredible for disseminating information about animals and animal advocacy but it needs to continue to grow out of its own echo chamber. This means using different kinds of messaging, aiming for new audiences, bridge-building with other issues and campaigns. We should be as strategic as possible when creating AR messages.

Jose Valle

If you could give one piece of advice to people reading this, what would it be? What things could we do on a daily basis to positively impact animals’ lives?

Making decisions, both big and small, that help others is totally empowering. As a front-liner to the abuse of animals, I see the urgency with which we must act to end their suffering. It really is an emergency. Whatever you can do to make the world a kinder place for others, do it without delay. Donate to animal NGOs. Volunteer. Speak with your politicians. Buy only cruelty free products. Eat fewer animals. Eat no animals. Take part, take part, take part.

Selene Magnolia
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Sanctuary Spotlight

Vale da Rainha Sanctuary

Vale da Rainha Sanctuary

Name and location:

Vale da Rainha Sanctuary – Minas Gerais, Brazil

What animals do you have in your sanctuary?

There are cows, oxen, horses, goats, sheep, roosters and chickens, buffaloes, peacocks, dogs, cats, pigs and donkeys.

How did you get started with your sanctuary? What led/inspired you to open one?

“Ten years ago, my husband and I decided to move out of the city and reconnect with nature.

He would grow organics and I would continue to teach yoga. We bought this little farm which we moved in right away. One night, I had a vision of a very old woman – wise and strong. She told me to look after any and all living creatures.

The following day, a friend of mine asked me to adopt her horse because she could no longer take care of him. And I thought it was all very magic – the vision, then her request. As soon as he came, we realized we could offer this to many others.

That is how the journey of our sanctuary began.

Since then, we hold programs to tell our animals’ stories. We call them Masters, because of their ability to forgive and love unconditionally. We suggest people talk and listen to them, to allow their magic. They teach us the importance of loving rather than being loved. They teach me to not give in to my fears of getting hurt.”

– Patricia (Sanctuary Guardian)

What is your dream for animals?

“My dream for Masters Animals includes the dream for human beings. That our humanity regenerates. That it is only through our regeneration that the biggest and best dream for Masters Animals will happen: their freedom.

I dream that our humanity is rescued. And this work that each one must develop inspiring the others is paradoxical, as it cannot be developed with the intention of saving the other since it is only each one who can save themselves. May this individual responsibility happen, so that every dream we have for Masters Animals can come true.”

– Patricia (Sanctuary Guardian)

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Blog News

Is Horse Slaughter Legal in the US?

Is Horse Slaughter Legal in the US?

Their Turn

Horses in the United States are not bred and raised for meat, yet horse slaughter in the U.S. is a complicated issue. Although the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to end horse slaughter in 2006, the bill never came to a vote before the Senate. Yet in 2007, the slaughter of horses on US soil came to an end when a court ruling upheld a Texas law banning horse slaughter, and similar legislation was passed in Illinois. Texas and Illinois which were the locations of the last three large scale slaughterhouses, and they were ordered to close. Shortly after the last U.S. horse slaughterhouse shutdown, the USDA was prohibited from spending any money on equine inspections. Important point here: the USDA must inspect any meat for human consumption in the U.S., which basically means that horse slaughter plants cannot operate in the U.S. if inspections are defunded. The language to defund horse slaughter has been maintained in most yearly spending bills to keep horse plants closed, however, it is not a permanent solution, Congress must reconsider the issue yearly. For example in 2011, President Obama asked Congress to lift the prohibition, and USDA began to review requests for “grants of inspection” from a handful of applicants in rural areas. By 2014, however, bipartisan action re-imposed the ban on equine spending, and it was re-imposed before any applicant was able to obtain a “grant of Inspection” from the USDA. Since then, the budget ban has been re-imposed annually, and there are no prospects for horse slaughter within the U.S, but as the issue comes up for discussion every year in Congress, it is always a huge risk.

The language to defund horse slaughter has been maintained in most yearly spending bills to keep horse plants closed, however, it is not a permanent solution

Although it is technically illegal here, thousands upon thousands of horses are shipped from the US to Mexico and Canada each year to be slaughtered for meat. It is estimated that 60,000-80,000 horses meet this horrific fate each year. 

Currently there is a big push to pass The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, H.R 961, introduced today by Reps. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and Vern Buchanan, R-Fla. Their measure proposes to end the transport of American horses, burros and other equines abroad to be slaughtered for human consumption, and it would also ensure that horse slaughter plants on U.S. soil remain shuttered.

shuttermutt/Shutterstock
Jack Gruber/Save our Mustangs
Dennis​ ​W​ ​Donohue/Shutterstock

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News Sanctuary Spotlight

Uncle Neil’s Home

Uncle Neil’s Home

Name and location:

We are “Uncle Neil’s Home, A Farm Sanctuary”, named in honor of our rescued dog, Uncle Neil. We are located in Bridgeton, New Jersey.

What animals do you have in your sanctuary?

We have cows, goats, chickens, ducks, and turkeys at our sanctuary.

How did you get started with your sanctuary? What led/inspired you to open one?

Many years ago, we began our rescue journey with dog rescue, until quickly realizing that being a voice for the voiceless does not only apply to the animals that we consider family and welcome into our homes, but to all living beings. When we rescued our dog, Uncle Neil, in 2018, he was in very rough shape and it took us months to nurse him back to health. During that trying time, it was impossible not to think about the countless other animals who needed our love and protection, just as much as Uncle Neil did. He inspired us to take the unconditional love that we have for him and spread it to other animals in need.  We were already vegan and abstained from using animal products in any way, but we wanted to do more. We decided that we would purchase a farm and turn it into a safe haven for rescued farmed animals. We named our sanctuary Uncle Neil’s Home and began our mission to give rescued farmed animals a lifelong home, while educating about animal agriculture and animal rights, and advocating for a compassionate, cruelty-free, vegan lifestyle.

What is your dream for animals?

Our dream for animals is a world that rejects speciesism, where all animals are free from suffering and exploitation and treated with the love, respect, and kindness that they deserve.

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Did You Know? News

The Decline of Greyhound Racing

The Decline of Greyhound Racing

Hedser van Brug / Shutterstock

Greyhound racing is a dying industry in the United States, thanks in large part to Christine Dorchak, and the organization she founded Grey2kusa Dog racing is now illegal in 41 states, but only four states have active dog racing tracks, Arkansas, Iowa, Texas and West Virginia. For more information, click here to check out the MDFA feature on Christine Dorchak.

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Did You Know? News

Orangutans: People of the Forest

Orangutans: People of the Forest

Sergey Uryadnikov / Shutterstock

The word orangutan is derived from the Indonesian and Malay words for “person” and “forest”, or “person of the forest.”  The name was originally a reference to humans who lived in the forest, but later came to include these great apes.

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Blog News

Dairy is the Veal Industry

Dairy is the Veal Industry

Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

Why is milk and cheese bad for animals? For years I didn’t understand the connection, and ate dairy products and cheese not realizing how it impacted the lives of animals. For starters the dairy industry is the veal industry. For a cow to produce milk she needs to constantly be pregnant and giving birth. Typically male calves are taken days after they are born, and sold to the veal industry which is one of the most horrifically cruel industries imaginable. The babies are kept isolated in crates or small hutches where they can barely move, so the meat does not become tough. Because they cannot exercise their muscles are weak and often atrophy, which means they are often dragged to slaughter. If the calf is a female she is cycled right back into the dairy industry where she is forcibly impregnated by bulls or artificially inseminated, and kept pregnant for approximately five to six years. At this point she has passed her peak for milk production, and is sold to slaughter. A cow in a natural environment typically will live 20 plus years.

It is also extremely traumatic for cows to have their babies taken from them right after birth. It is common for cows on dairy farms to moan and cry incessantly for weeks after their calf has been taken away. To deny this bond is to deny one of the strongest bonds in all of nature. Occasionally the babies are left with their mothers, and fitted with spiked muzzles so they cannot nurse, which is unimaginably cruel. Every time you eat a piece of cheese, or eat ice cream you are supporting this cycle of cruelty.

It is common for cows on dairy farms to moan and cry incessantly for weeks after their calf has been taken away

Furthermore cow’s milk is meant for cow babies, as human milk is meant for human babies. It has been so ingrained in our collective psyche that we need cow’s milk for “healthy bones” or “to grow big and strong” that we forget that cow’s milk is not meant for our bodies. Humans would typically find it gross to drink dog or cat milk. Why? There is no difference. Our bodies are not designed to digest cow’s milk, or the milk of anything other than that of our mothers.

Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals
Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals
Dobrovizcki / Shutterstock
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News Sanctuary Spotlight

Tamerlaine Sanctuary & Preserve

Tamerlaine Sanctuary & Preserve

Name and location:

Tamerlaine Sanctuary & Preserve
141 Clove Road, Montague, NJ 07827

What animals do you have in your sanctuary?

Pigs, Goats, Cows, Turkeys, Chickens, Roosters, Peafowls, Ducks, Geese, Bunnies, Cats and Horses

How did you get started with your sanctuary? What led/inspired you to open one?

Since 2013, we have been a paradise for previously neglected and abused farmed animals from our food system. All of them with their own unique personality and personal history, including animals rescued from factory farms, ritual sacrifices, urban slaughterhouses, and found abandoned or wandering the streets.

What led us to open a sanctuary is that the founders, Gabrielle Stubbert & Peter Nussbaum, adopted two roosters, Yuri and Jupiter. They never imagined the impact these two fellows would have on their lives. They would greet them when they got home, showed up at the back door waiting for snacks, and would eat breakfast in the kitchen with their two dogs. Yuri and Jupiter’s role in their lives ignited a dream to create a refuge for more of these intelligent and affectionate beings.

In 2014, we founded Tamerlaine Sanctuary & Preserve to create a paradise. In 2018 we expanded our sanctuary and moved to the historic Westfall Farm. Built in 1774, it is comprised of 336 acres of pristine and preserved farmland. We knew this would be the perfect home to serve and expand our mission of rescuing farmed animals and preserving native wildlife. Tamerlaine is the first and only sanctuary to be accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries in the state of New Jersey. We are creating a haven that will go on for generations to come.

What is your dream for animals?

Our dream is a world that is compassionate toward all beings, especially the most vulnerable among us. To care for abused and neglected farmed animals, to conserve our native wildlife, and to educate about animal protection and environmental ethics.

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Did You Know? News

Dolphin Pair Bonds

Dolphin pair bonds

Willyam Bradberry / Shutterstock

Male bottlenose dolphins often develop a life­long friendship called a “pair­ bond” with another adult male. The two, or sometimes three, males socialize, feed, seek female mates, and travel between pods together for extended periods, often for the duration of their lives. Should a dolphin male’s pair ­bond die, he will try to pair up with another male who has lost his pair­ bond.

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News Sanctuary Spotlight

Austin Farm Sanctuary

Austin Farm Sanctuary

Name and location:

Austin Farm Sanctuary. Just East of Weird (Cedar Creek), Texas

What animals do you have in your sanctuary?

There are 65+ full time residents at the sanctuary consisting of cows, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats, goats and a tortoise.

How did you get started with your sanctuary? What led/inspired you to open one?

Love fuels the sanctuary and love started the sanctuary. We (Angela and Chris, co-founders) and our 4 dogs closed on our first home in 2016 in South Austin. One week after moving in we rescued our first farm animal residents, Bertha and Cookie, a mother/daughter pair. Not long after we rescued Doya the Pig, and that’s when the party really started. Our dream had been realized and our passion ignited. We began rescuing more animals and building our sanctuary family.
In 2018 we moved to Cedar Creek, TX in order to create more space for our current residents and prepare for future rescues. A LOT has gone into Austin Farm Sanctuary in the last few years and we are incredibly overwhelmed by the support that’s allowed our dreams to flourish. We love growing our farm family and encourage you to donate, volunteer and/or visit to support these amazing animals.

What is your dream for animals?

My dream for animals is that one day they will all be seen as equal. We hold many animals in high regard (dogs, elephants) while others go unconsidered (cows, pigs). I hope that one day the value of an animal’s life will not be based on how the animal can serve humans (as companion animals or food), but instead regarded as equal in their sentience and desire for care, safety and security.