Amidst birds passing over or nesting by the Solway Firth in southern Scotland, writer Kayo Chingonyi explores the role of poetry in bringing humans and non-human animals closer. He asks why we turn to poetry to fill the space between human and animal life and discovers ways in which poetry is a powerful human form for entering into the unstructured, more instinctive world of non –human animals. He walks through the wetlands with poet Isabel Galleymore and poetry scholar Sam Solnick. He also talks to newly appointed professor of poetry at Oxford University, Alice Oswald, along with Joshua Bennett and Onno Oerlemans.
The programme features full readings or extracts from the following poems:
Tame by Sarah Howe
Black Rook in Rainy Weather by Sylvia Plath
To A Mouse by Robert Burns
Pike by Ted Hughes
Otter by Seamus Heaney
The Kingdom of Sediment by Jacob Polley
Dear Whinchat by Belinda Zhawi
Limpet and Drill Tongued Whelk by Isabel Galleymore
Self Portrait as Periplaneta Americana by Joshua Bennett
Flies by Alice Oswald
The Moose by Elizabeth Bishop
Elephants by Les Murray
Producer: Kate Bland
(Photo: Kayo Chingonyi with Isabel Galleymore, Sam Solnick and Brian Morrell at Caeverlokc Wetlands Centre. Credit: Kate Bland)
Dominion: The animals and the philosophers
Environmental journalist Gayathri Vaidyanathan considers the impact of Philosophy and Religion on animals as food. In and around Chennai in India, she reveals how India is managing a terrible dilemma in the massive rise of buffalo meat production next to the catastrophe of animal welfare and environmental pollution. She talks to Jains, Hindus and Buddhists and visits fast food restaurants where young people associate eating burgers with independence and modernity. She also spends time at a pioneering dairy along with one of the many animal sanctuaries in the city.
Producer: Rose de Larrabeiti and Kate Bland
(Photo: Buffalo market in Chennai)
Dominion: The animals and the linguists
Zimbabwean author and essayist Panashe Chigumadzi asks what part Language plays in our regard for other animals. In wild animal reserves in the south of the country, she talks to ethologists to understand lions, rhinos and vultures. She asks if our greatest problem in entering the mind of another animal has been its inability to communicate as we do? She looks to her ancestral culture of animal totems and praise poems, and the relatively recent explosion of scientific interest in the animal’s point of view
Contributors include animal behaviourists Frans de Waal, Peter Mundy, Noxolo Mguni, Beks Ndlovo, Francoise Wemelsfelder, Ian Harmer and Anele Matshisela.
Producer: Kate Bland
(Photo: Panashe Chigumadzi and rhinos in Matopos Park, Zimbabwe)
Dominion: The animals and the lawyers
Science writer Heidi Ledford travels to the Hague, centre of political power in the Netherlands and home to the Party for the Animals. She’s shown around the House of Representatives by Marianne Thieme, leader of the party, who describes the resistance to her work, and the terrible impact of factory farming on climate change. She is passionate to represent the voiceless in society: “Once you have them covered, everyone is protected.”
Along with exploring ways in which laws protect animals collectively, Heidi turns to the work of animal rights lawyers who are seeking ways for animals to be considered persons, at which point they stop being ‘things’. She considers Happy, the 48-year-old Asian elephant who lives alone in the Bronx Zoo, who is at the centre of an important case of legal personhood. The hard work has been in the hands of Steven Wise, a non-human animal rights lawyer, who has been working for the recognition of animals as persons for 30 years. Wise draws attention to the fact that many animals meet the criteria of personhood, and must be awarded certain rights and protections or the rest of law becomes a nonsense.
Producer: Kate Bland and Victoria Shepherd
Image: A baby Asian elephant walking with its herd at the Minneriya National Park in north central Sri Lanka (Credit: Alex Ogle/AFP/Getty Images)
Media Front: USA
With 14 months to go until the next US presidential election, former foreign correspondent Andrea Catherwood finds out how the American media is preparing for the forthcoming onslaught.
In this programme, looking at current media issues in countries around the world, Andrea hears from key media insiders about how Donald Trump will control his message, what power remains with local media players and how Facebook will play its part in determining the next leader of the most powerful nation on earth. Andrea is joined by Emily Bell, a professor at Columbia Journalism School, to discuss what lessons have been learned by the American media from the last presidential election and considers what media channels and communication methods will be exploited by politicians in next year's race for the White House.
(Photo: Donald Trump argues with CNN journalist Jim Acosta in November 2018. Credit: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)