Defender Radio and The Switch

A lot of animals are tested upon and killed in the name of science, particularly biomedical research. In conversation, many people adopt a utilitarian attitude – the lives and deaths of these non-human animals is to benefit human health, an acceptable trade off.

But what if it wasn’t benefiting human health – and what if, before the experiments even began, there was a solid chance the research would never, ever have human applications?

Those are some of the questions being posed by the Center for Contemporary Sciences, a new organization that is, quote, “pioneering a paradigm shift towards innovative, evidence-based research methods that are based on human biology. Through collaboration, we champion technologies that are better for humans and that replace animal testing.”

Dr. Jarrod Bailey, Director of Science and Technology at the Center for Contemporary Sciences, joined Defender Radio to discuss the current state of animal testing and why it continues to fail, the results of a just published paper following up on so-called breakthroughs using animal testing in decades past, and we even get into the use of squalene in COVID vaccinations and animals being tested on during a pandemic.

Some of the content of this episode may be upsetting to listeners as we discuss animal testing; if you’d like to learn more about the work of the CCS without listening, please visit

Center for Contemporary Sciences:

Clinical impact of high-profile animal-based research reported in the UK national press (study):

Coronavirus Vaccine Makers Are Not Mass-Slaughtering Sharks (NY Times article):


Direct download: Defender_Radio_804_Jarrod_Bailey_Contemporary_Sciences.mp3
Category:Season 08 -- posted at: 12:34pm EDT

Anthrozoology is a fascinating field of study – simply put, it examines the interactions between humans and other animals. This is a broad concept, which is why so many fields overlap with it: anthropology, biology, philosophy, psychology and more.

To me, the concept of combining these fields is daunting and intimidating; but thanks to many dedicated and passionate anthrozoologists, I’ve found the journals and discussions more approachable than many other, more specific disciplines. Among the dedicated and passionate are three University of Exeter students who love the field of study so much and see such potential for it that they started a podcast!

The Anthrozoology Podcast is hosted by University of Exeter PhD students Sarah Oxley Heaney and Kris Hill, along with PhD candidate Michelle Szydlowski. The trio of anthrozoologists have arrived at Exeter’s program from different places (both literally and figuratively, as we scheduled this group call across three different time zones) and with different specific interests. But it takes only the briefest moment of conversation to understand what drew them together – shared passion, dedication and excitement for doing more for humanity, non-human animals and the planet.

Their new podcast, The Anthrozoology Podcast, can be found on YouTube, Spotify and other places podcasts can be heard; to get to know this new show and the people behind it, Michelle, Kris and Sarah joined Defender Radio.

The Anthrozoology Podcast on YouTube:

The Anthrozoology Podcast on Spotify:

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Direct download: Defender_Radio_Podcast_803_Anthrozoology.mp3
Category:Season 08 -- posted at: 3:26pm EDT

In a world with a 24-hour news cycle, robot trolls on the internet and unprecedented political changes, knowing where we stand on some core issues can be a bit… difficult. Fortunately, there are tools that can cut through the noise and help us find answers to understand where Canadians and Americans stand on animal-related matters.

Mario Canseco, president of Research Co., polled Canadians and Americans on their views regarding eating animals, hunting for meat, trophy hunting, keeping animals in zoos and aquariums and rodeos. Of significance, the survey also found that 81% of Canadians and 75% of Americans oppose killing animals for their fur.

Mario joined Defender Radio to discuss these findings, how surveys can be misused or misinterpreted during elections, and why animal advocates can feel hopeful.

Read the survey, press release and full data set:

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Direct download: Defender_Radio_Podcast_002_Mario_Canseco_Animal_Attitudes.mp3
Category:Season 08 -- posted at: 2:26pm EDT

It’s season eight! We’ve got a lot to catch up on – the pandemic, the outstanding contest, what’s going on with The Fur-Bearers and more – and we will catch up on all of that with a special episode soon. This week I want to dive right into our interview because of the timeliness and need for action on this issue.

Southern Mountain caribou in British Columbia are on the brink of collapse – and despite promises to create endangered species legislation, the last government continued to auction off sections of caribou habitat to logging companies. A cutblock auction is taking place in the Argonaut Creek drainage, which is home to the endangered North Columbia caribou herd.

This news came as a result of an investigation by Wilderness Committee, Echo Conservation Society and Wildsight.

To give us a quick overview of this long-standing issue and what the latest is, as well as how you can take action, Charlotte Dawe from Wilderness Committee joined Defender Radio.


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Direct download: Defender_Radio_Podcast_801_Caribou_v3.mp3
Category:Season 08 -- posted at: 2:27pm EDT