Recently, I’ve been thinking about jaguars, three in particular. One is on my wall, his or her face slightly hidden behind a tree branch in the Belize Zoo, or at least that’s where I think it was taken. You wouldn’t know it was a zoo, since there are no bars or concrete to be seen. (While I haven’t visited the Belize Zoo, it’s said to be well-run and not to take animals from the wild, but rather foster orphans and rehabilitate animals in need.) In Belize, the jaguar is in a manner of speaking, king. You see the big cat’s image on everything from painted calabashes to Mayan temples, T-shirts to hotel logos. Perhaps as many as 50 jaguars live in or around Belize’s Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Reserve Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as the Jaguar Reserve. I walked the trails in the Sanctuary in March and although we were keen, we didn’t see a jaguar live (or much mammalian life at all, apart from us humans).
Brighter Green, in league with Farm Sanctuary, has produced a white paper (PDF), analyzing the U.S. Farm Bill. Brighter Green wanted to approach the paper from a holistic perspective: in other words, one that examined the issues of food security, environmental conservation, and animal welfare, and offer a vision of farming that respected the earth, local and organic agriculture, and the farming communities who have been decimated because of decades of decisions made by successive Congresses regarding who and what is funded.
Both Brighter Green and Farm Sanctuary hope that this unique collaboration and analysis will offer a blueprint for a further conversation about the future of farming in the United States, about corporate power and subsidies, and, in a larger sense, about our relationship with the land and other animals.