The last day of the Second World Conference on Bioethics and Animal Rights began with a heartfelt lecture by conference organizer Heron Santana on climate change and animal rights. Professor Santana spoke about the fact that citizens of Brazil are beginning to eat more meat and the country exports an increasing amount of live animals, as they used to do with slaves. He also discussed the health risks associated with eating meat and our ability to decrease meat production by decreasing consumption. He explained that there is a wall of prejudice against other species that we must break down in order to abolish animal slavery. Professor Santana concluded by stressing the importance of speaking out for animals and making changes in our daily lives to work toward an end to these violations against nonhuman animals.
Next, Professor Heron opened the floor for the international speakers to comment on climate change and the environment. Carlos Maria Romeo Casabona spoke first, however no English translation was available. Pamela Frasch then discussed the importance of switching society to a vegetable-based diet, but the difficulties associated with doing so due to the government subsidy of meat and lack of comparable assistance for the organic fruit and vegetable industries. David Favre followed by speaking about the practical political hurtles associated with decreasing meat consumption, citing the uproar in response to the suggestion of meatless days, but pointing out that a meat tax may work. The next speaker was Carmen Velayos, who explained that, though there are differences among animal activists and scholars we have similar goals and must work together holistically toward accomplishing them. Steven Wise then spoke about the fact that the affect of climate change on nonhuman animals is never discussed and unless they achieve legal personhood, it is unlikely they will be protected from these impacts. Kathy Hessler went on to discuss the legal issues that arise when an animal becomes endangered in one region, while an abundant, invasive species in another, how food insecurity will increase and we will no longer be able to waste resources on meat production, and the importance of education in solving these problems. M. Giménez-Candela closed by applauding constitutions that have provided for the protection of animals and the environment, such as that of Germany and Switzerland. Each speaker was hopeful, yet recognized the many hurtles we must overcome.