Friday, July 29, 2005
United Poultry Concerns
Activists Sexually and Physically Assaulted During Battery Farm Raid
Meredith, Victoria July 28, 2005
Patty Mark (ALV President): 0417 396 236
Debra Tranter (Senior Campaigner): 0417 536
Three Animal Liberation Victoria (ALV)
today conducted a daring daylight raid at Happy
Hens Egg World, in Meredith. ALV have conducted 20
rescues at the property, each time exposing horrific
cruelty to animals. After about ten rescues farm
management began increasing security, with
electrified fences and trained guard dogs patrolling
the property, so that the factory farm is now a
Dachau style concentration camp for the 220,000
battery hens caged there. The electrified
fence gate is open during daylight hours for worker
Prior to being assaulted, the three ALV
investigators observed battery hens suffering
severe feather loss crammed into rusty old
cages. A number of birds were also observed in
the manure pits, without access to food or water.
After only five minutes of documenting these
conditions, the women were set upon by seven
farm employees who started
physically assaulting them and pushing them
along the length of the dirty shed covered in dust
The women asked the men to please let them
go as they were happy to leave the sheds. The
violence escalated when one young man
approached rescue team member Debra
Tranter from behind and put his arms around her,
grabbing and squeezing her breasts. Ms
Tranter screamed and fell to the ground at
which time she was grabbed by both her ankles
and dragged along the filthy floor.
Police were called and took photographs of
the injuries sustained by the rescue
team members, and took their statements.
The rescue team members are
pressing for charges of sexual and physical assault,
in addition to charges of cruelty to animals, to be laid
against the farm and its employees.
Debra Tranter, a trained nurse and
supervisor said outside the shed: "For
eleven years I've been coming to these sheds to
document the suffering of these birds. I've never
been treated so violently. I kept pleading to these
angry males to please let me go as I was quite happy
to leave the sheds. I knew the hens were
overcrowded and tormented in their tiny cages. But
the aggressive treatment of me today by those
in charge of these captive hens has only
made me more determined to help them."
Patty Mark, ALV President, added:
"The bruising and roughing up we received
today, highlights the extreme peril these birds
are in. Not only are they debeaked, featherless, and
dying in tiny cages, but the only ones there for them
day to day are these violent and
abusive men. We've been campaigning against
Happy Hens for eleven years and the sheds were
worse than ever. Today the police told us that two
weeks ago 70,000 birds died after a mechanical
breakdown. This property requires urgent attention
by legal authorities."
United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization
that promotes the compassionate and respectful
treatment of domestic fowl.
Would you please take a moment and e-mail or mail this letter- or your
own version- to the Melbourne Film Festival.
SOURCE OF INFORMATION
June Bird, email@example.com
Rheya Linden, firstname.lastname@example.org
Animal Active! email@example.com
Mr. James Hewison, Executive Director
Melbourne International Film Festival 2005
PO Box 2206
Fitzroy Mail Centre VIC 3065
ph: 03 9417 4500, +613 9417 2011; fax: +613 9417 3804
Dear Mr. Hewison,
As someone who advocates free expression in the arts, I am stunned the
Melbourne International Film Festival agreed to screen a film in which
heroin-addicted men skin and disembowel a live cat. Please add my voice
the majority of citizens worldwide who draw the line at animal "snuff"
The July 24, 2005 showing of "Casuistry: The Art of Killing a Cat"
the entire July 20-August 7 festival, drawing global disdain similar to
outcry over its premier at the 2004 Toronto Film Festival.
"Killing a Cat's" makers claim to examine "one of Canada's most
abhorrent animal cruelty cases" while simultaneously exposing "the art
world's tolerance for these kinds of actions." They seem to believe
violence wrapped in intellectual reverie is acceptable, as long as it
art. MIFF should have made the socially responsible decision to reject a
film that showcases animal torture.
In a Herald Sun voteline (7/20/05) 93.3% of respondents voted to delete
documentary from the festival. RSPCA president Dr. Hugh Wirth argued any
portrayal of animal abuse prompts others to commit comparable offenses.
doesn't matter whether you show the cruelty or just describe it, it is
same thing." (The Herald Sun, 7/19/05)
Cat Protection Society executive director Dr. Carole Webb, who described
flood of cat killings in Australia, stated the film could trigger more
brutality against animals. "If there was a film titled 'How to Abuse a
Child' it would be censored." (The Herald Sun, 7/19/05)
Indeed, just as snuff films cater to psychopaths who enjoy a sneak peek
terror and murder, "Killing a Cat" risks provoking mimicry. The film is a
how-to manual for disturbed individuals with violent tendencies.
Furthermore, animal abusers are commonly linked with domestic violence or
other aggressive crimes. Police case files reveal most convicted serial
killers victimized animals before graduating to humans.
In the future, I hope MIFF will show more discretion and refuse to screen
any film that trespasses all moral and artistic boundaries.
This sets a good precedent.
House Passes CAFTA; Gives Bush His Biggest Win, and Farm Animals Biggest Loss - Cow-Calf Weekly, 7/28/05
217-215 to pass the US Central America-Dominican
Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), widely
recognized as favorable to animal farmers. USDA
Secretary Johans called the passage "an immensely
positive step for America's farmers and ranchers. The
agreement eliminates barriers to our producers and
greatly improves our competitiveness in these
markets." Opponents fear that CAFTA-DR will undermine
Central America's domestic industries and encourage
the use of US-based farming practices including higher
concentration of animals.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2005 10:39:40 -0700
Great News for Animals:
Kentucky Bans Exotic Animals as "Pets"
Great News: A regulation that will prohibit the future private possession
of tigers, lions, monkeys, bears, venomous reptiles, and other dangerous
wildlife has been enacted in Kentucky!
The regulation is one of the most comprehensive restrictions on the
keeping of exotic animals as "pets" in the United States. This important
regulation will not only prohibit the future private possession of these
exotic animals but also prohibit existing animals from being bred.
As mentioned, this ban affects future possession of wild animals. Persons
currently possessing legally obtained animals can keep them, provided
that they maintain veterinary and acquisition records establishing that
the animal was possessed prior to the effective date of the regulation.
Wild animals are often kept captive in private homes as "pets." Common
animals kept as "pets" include lions, tigers, cougars, ocelots, servals,
wolves, bears, alligators, snakes, monkeys and other nonhuman primates.
These animals by their very nature are incapable of being domesticated or
Wild animals are inherently dangerous. Across the country wild and exotic
animals privately held have attacked humans and other animals, and have
escaped from their enclosures, freely roaming the community. These
animals require the care that the average person simply cannot provide.
To date, 37 states have some form of law either banning or regulating the
private possession of exotic animals — it is now time for all other
states to act.
The Animal Protection Institute and the Primate Rescue Center worked
together in getting this important regulation passed in order to protect
animals and protect the people in Kentucky from the risk that exotic
animals pose when kept as "pets". API is working nationally on exotic
animal legislation and has extensive information relating to wild animals
in captivity, including incidents involving dangerous exotic animals in
private possession. For more information visit www.MoreBeautifulWild.com
Thank you to all that took action on this very important issue. Stay
tuned for more ways to help animals in your state and across the country.
Monday, July 25, 2005
Now that sucks. I feel for this guy.
We need YOUR help to raise critical funds for Farm Sanctuary’s direct animal rescue efforts, groundbreaking investigative campaigns, and national public education programs. The Walk-a-thons are held around October 2 in honor of World Farm Animals Day. The Walks are generally 5k – 10k long (about 3 to 6 miles) and are often held in public parks. Walkers who raise over $100 receive exciting Farm Sanctuary prizes, so start collecting those pledges now!
As a Walk participant, you will collect pledges from friends, family, colleagues, and members of your community. Walks are held between mid-September and mid-October — dates vary from city to city. To register, please contact the Walk Coordinator in your area (see list below). There is a $10 registration fee that entitles each registrant to a Walk for Farm Animals T-shirt designed by “Bizarro” comic creator Dan Piraro. To reserve your T-shirt, please register no later than three weeks prior to the Walk.
Raise over $500 and receive a 100% cotton Farmy shirt and our popular Rescue & Refuge Calendar.
Raise over $250 and receive a pewter pin and our popular Rescue & Refuge Calendar.
Raise over $100 and receive one small plush animal and our popular Rescue & Refuge Calendar.
Bud Makelke, Christine Morrissey &
Maryann Blanchard & Arlene Wedgwood
Delphine S. Pichot
Mary Anne Holls
Farm Animal Welfare Network
Anne Marie Sadler
Peter & Christina Fairman
New York City
Mike & Shon Chaffee
Bill George Jr.
Mari Facenda, Shannon Phillips & Stephanie Luther
Juli Kaiss & Holly Larson
Farm Sanctuary is a national, non-profit organization dedicated
to ending farm animal abuse through direct rescue and protection
campaigns. For more information about Farm Sanctuary programs,
please visit http://www.farmsanctuary.org or call 607-583-2225.
Friday, July 22, 2005
Tell PBS Not to Air Pro-Factory-Farming Propaganda
The factory-farming industry, including agribusiness giant Monsanto and
the American Farm Bureau (a front group for corporate agriculture), has
collaborated with a California public television network to produce a TV
series called Americas Heartland. The shows producers claim that they
will profile the people, places, and processes of todays agribusiness.
But if the shows trailer and the shows predecessor, Californias
Heartland, are any indication, Americas Heartland will do its best to
mislead viewers about the true nature of the modern meat, egg, and dairy
The shows trailer creates the illusion that farmed animals are raised on
small, idyllic farms where they are given plenty of space and fresh air.
In reality, the vast majority of animals raised for food in the United
States suffer immeasurably on huge, industrial factory farms, where they
are confined and mutilated before being violently killed. The corporate
sponsors of Americas Heartland are very concerned about the growing
public outrage surrounding the abuse of animals on modern factory farms.
These companies have already shelled out more than a million dollars to
produce this show, all in an effort to trick Americans about the way
farmed animals are treated.
Monsanto and the American Farm Bureau are offering the show to 300 U.S.
public television stations this fall. Please politely ask your local
public station to refuse to air Americas Heartland and other agribusiness
propaganda. Find the contact information for your station.
Read more about the reality behind modern animal agriculture.
Thanks for all that you do for animals.
The Northern edition of the the Big Issue "Big Issue in the North"
advertises for the animal testing company Covance. Here's an extract from a
BUAV investigation into Covance.
“One female monkey was called, sickeningly, ‘Rape; because she screamed so
often. Her face was slapped when she struggled during masking. On another
occasion ‘Rape’ was being transferred from one room to another when, our
investigator wrote in his journal, “Rick was standing at the washroom door
holding the monkey that the technicians call ‘Rape’ up to his chest. The
monkey was being held by both arms and she was frantically screaming. Rick
was laughing as the monkey struggled and became more stressed. Then Sandy
came over and with his pen ruffled the hair on the monkey’s head and then
prodded her in the stomach. The monkey screamed louder and, lifting her
legs, she held tightly to her head with her feet. Still screaming, and with
her eyes closed, she was taken away to her cage.”
Please contact the Big Issue in the North stating that you will be
boycotting the Big Issue whilst they continue to advertise jobs for
Covance and will be advising others to do the same. Thanks.
The Big Issue in the North: 135-141 Oldham St, Manchester M4 1LN. Tel: 0161
834 6300 Fax: 0161 832 3237
HuntingdonSucks mailing list
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Monday, July 11, 2005
Hi! I just sent a fax to Congress to save our
vanishing wildlife at:
Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA) may be on the verge
of introducing recently drafted legislation which
would tear apart protections for our endangered
wildlife. If Rep. Pombo's bill passes, our wolves,
bald eagles, sea otters, and other endangered animals
will be at risk of extinction.
Please help me protect the Endangered Species Act
today by sending a
fax to your Representative, too.
Act now at: http://www.saveesa.org/action.html
June 26, 2005
Endangered Species Act Faces Broad New Challenges
By FELICITY BARRINGER
WASHINGTON, June 22 - More than three decades after the Endangered Species
Act gave the federal government tools and a mandate to protect animals,
insects and plants threatened with extinction, the landmark law is facing
the most intense efforts ever by the White House, Congress, landowners and
industry to limit its reach.
More than any time in the law's 32-year history, the obligations it
imposes on government and, indirectly, on landowners are being challenged
in the courts, reworked in the agencies responsible for enforcing it and
re-examined in Congress.
In some cases, the challenges are broad and sweeping, as when the Bush
administration, in a legal battle over the best way to protect endangered
salmon, declared Western dams to be as much a part of the landscape as the
rivers they control. In others, the actions are deep in the realm of
regulatory bureaucracy, as when a White House appointee at the Interior
Department sought to influence scientific recommendations involving the
sage grouse, a bird whose habitat includes areas of likely oil and gas
Some environmentalists readily concede that the law has long
overemphasized the stick and provided fewer carrots for private interests
than it might. But some of them also fear that the law's defects will be
used as a justification for a wholesale evisceration.
"There's an alignment of the planets of people against the Endangered
Species Act in Congress, in the White House and in the agencies," said
Jamie Rappaport Clark, executive vice president of Defenders of Wildlife,
a lobbying group based in Washington.
On the opposite side, Robert D. Thornton, a lawyer for developers and
Indian tribes in Southern California, has argued for years that the
government goes too far to protect threatened species and curtails
people's ability to use their own land.
"I've raised a child and sent him through college waiting for Congress to
amend the Endangered Species Act," he said. "But I do think that a lot of
forces are joining now."
The Endangered Species Act of 1973 set out a goal that, polls show, is
still widely admired: ensuring that species facing extinction be saved and
robust populations be restored.
Currently 1,264 species are considered threatened or endangered. Some,
like the bighorn sheep of the Southern California mountains, have obvious
popular appeal and a constituency, while others, like the Kretschmarr Cave
mold beetle in South Texas, are an acquired taste.
But in the past 30 years lawsuits from all sides have proliferated. And
more private land, particularly in the West, has been designated critical
habitat for species, potentially subjecting it to federal controls that
could limit construction, logging, fishing and other activities.
A "critical habitat" designation gives the federal government no direct
authority to regulate private land use, but it does require federal
agencies to take the issue into account when making regulatory decisions
about private development.
The conflicts are becoming sharper as the needs of newly recognized
endangered species are interfering more often with the demands of exurban
Western governors, who convened in San Diego last year in a mini-summit on
the act, are also weighing in with Congress, for the most part seeking to
explore new means of species conservation while clarifying - or limiting -
local and state government obligations under the law.
And Representative Richard W. Pombo, the Republican chairman of the House
Resources Committee, whose district near the Central Valley of California
was the epicenter of a battle over the delta smelt, is preparing
legislation that is likely to curb how much land or water can be defined
as critical habitat.
Mr. Pombo, who attended the gathering in San Diego, said in an interview
that there was some common ground on the critical-habitat issue. But, he
added, consensus will be harder to find on proposals he is considering
that would change how the agencies weigh available science.
Even without Congressional rewriting, the federal agencies involved have
taken a different attitude in the past four years, sometimes raising the
bar of scientific proof and giving more weight than before to the economic
impact of Endangered Species Act decisions.
In one instance, a top aide to Craig Manson, the assistant interior
secretary who oversees the Fish and Wildlife Service, edited the
scientific assessment of the sage grouse's status, playing down accounts
of its range and population declines. The edited assessment and the
original document prepared by scientists were sent to an expert panel,
which recommended against listing the grouse as endangered; the Interior
Department did not list it.
In the case of the salmon, a federal district judge in Portland, Ore.,
last month rejected the Bush administration's interpretation of its
obligation to endangered fish, including its argument that dams should be
considered part of the landscape.
Noah Greenwald, a biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity, said
the Interior Department under President Bush has been much less aggressive
than under President Bill Clinton in putting species on the endangered
Under Mr. Clinton, he said, the Interior Department agreed to place a
species on the list in 88 percent of the instances in which it made a
decision. Under Mr. Bush, the figure is 52 percent, according to Mr.
Greenwald's analysis of federal data.
The Bush administration has expanded on the Clinton administration's
reluctance to delineate critical habitat. The administration includes a
statement in all documents on the subject saying that the designation of
critical habitat "provides little real conservation benefit, is driven by
litigation rather than biology, forces designations to be made before
complete scientific information is available" and "imposes huge social and
Economic analyses, which the law allows for in decisions on territory, are
now the leading reason for reducing the size of species' critical habitat,
according to a report by the National Wildlife Federation.
In 2003, the report says, lands proposed as critical habitat by biologists
were reduced by one-third; 69 percent of those reductions were based on
economic factors, up from fewer than 1 percent in 2001. Territory can also
be removed from proposed critical habitat if higher-ranking officials
believe a species does not need it.
Mr. Manson, the assistant interior secretary, said in an interview that
the interior secretary has discretion to make such decisions, and that
guidelines from the Office of Management and Budget are followed in
performing economic analyses.
The National Wildlife Federation argues that the administration assigns
little economic benefit to habitat designations, to which Mr. Manson
responded: "The National Wildlife Federation and other groups have a
different view of what ought to count as benefits. That's a legitimate
Environmental groups argue that the land-use provisions of the law have
been working, because federal data shows that 68 percent of listed species
whose statuses are known have stable or recovering populations.
Even so, some environmentalists indicate gingerly that some of their
number may have overreached or, more precisely, over-sued.
"Litigation is a hammer, but not every problem is a nail," said Michael
Bean, a co-director of the Center for Conservation Incentives at
Environmental Defense. "The good news about litigation has been that it
has forced the government to take seriously its obligations."
Environmentalists have had considerable success in the courts, most
memorably in 1978, when the Supreme Court blocked - temporarily -
construction of the Tellico Dam in Tennessee to preserve a tiny fish, the
This month, the Supreme Court refused to hear a case challenging
enforcement of the law, in a dispute involving six endangered species of
small insects that live in caves in Texas, including the Kretschmarr Cave
mold beetle. Developers said the property would be worth $60 million if
development were not limited by the Endangered Species Act.
And in the desert around Palm Springs, Calif., the Agua Caliente Band of
Cahuilla Indians is suing the government because more than half the
tribe's 31,000 acres fall into an area the Fish and Wildlife Service says
is critical to the conservation of the endangered bighorn sheep. The
sheep's numbers in the area were down to about 280 when they were listed
as endangered in 1998. A recent count put the number above 700.
The tribe says the designation creates "an economic impact of hundreds of
millions of dollars" by complicating plans to develop resort condominiums
and a golf course near tribal land.
There have been compromises on habitats. In hundreds of areas, the various
groups with an interest have cooperated on "habitat conservation plans" to
help species on the brink.
Such plans, like one around Tucson regarding the endangered pygmy owl,
have been promoted by the Clinton and Bush administrations.
But the plans do not tend to flourish where litigation is rife. And Steven
P. Quarles, an industry lawyer with the Washington firm of Crowell &
Moring, said that until there was a legislative compromise that Senate
moderates could support, "what we'll see is a chipping away at the act by
federal rules and guidances from the executive branch, and litigation from
The Calgary Stampede is a very large rodeo event. Though this article is small, it really shows some of the fact behind rodeos. Animals do die every year at every event. Useless deaths that are typically preceded by fear. Read on. Found at:
Animal rights activists picket Calgary Stampede
CTV.ca News Staff
Fans trying to enter the first full day of the Calgary Stampede had to run a gauntlet of animal rights protesters who accused organizers of animal cruelty.
Demonstrators laid wreaths in front of mock animal graves and carried signs displaying how many animals have died over the 100-year history the Stampede.
Last weekend nine horses drowned near the end of a 200-kilometre trail ride held as part of the city's famed Stampede. And it wasn't he first such tragedy in Stampede history.
Just three years ago, seven animals were killed at the rodeo. Of those, six were horses injured during the chuck wagon races and one was a calf that suffered a broken leg during the calf-roping event.
The Humane Society of Canada is calling for a boycott of the Stampede's rodeo and chuck wagon events.
"I hope that some people do stop and think of what they're doing," young protester Fiona Sheddon told CFCN News in Calgary. "Things you wouldn't do to your dog or your cat -- you happily go watch done to a horse or cow."
Stampede organizers said another horse died this weekend, but there was no indication the horse was overworked or overheated. Organizers say the animals can have sudden and unexpected heart attacks.
Friday, July 08, 2005
I typically hate Time magazine. Any magazine that calls a war monger man of the year sucks in my mind. But, I know Marc Bekoff, and know his expertise. A very smart man who knows his stuff. Please read on.From Time magazine at:
Sunday, Jul. 03, 2005
Honor Among Beasts
Think altruism, empathy and a sense of fair play are traits only humans possess? Think again
By MICHAEL D. LEMONICK
Anyone who has owned dogs or spent much time watching them is familiar with the posture: hind end up, chest down on the ground, forelegs stretched forward, an eager expression on the face. It's obviously a friendly, playful gesture, and for most dog lovers, that's all you need to know. Ethologists--animal-behavior experts--go a step further. They call this move the "play bow" and know it's used not just by dogs but also by wolves and coyotes to signal an interest in the romping, pretend-fighting sort of games that canines of all kinds seem to love.
But Marc Bekoff, an ethologist at the University of Colorado, always suspected there was something more going on. True, the posture happens most often at the beginning of a bout of canine play. But it also happens in the middle, and not randomly. And the more closely Bekoff observed dog behavior, the more he began to recognize other ritualized motions and postures--some of them so fleeting that he couldn't really keep track. So he began making videotapes, then playing them back one frame at a time. "The more details I saw, the more interesting it got," he recalls. "It wasn't just dogs playing; it was also dogs exchanging an incredible amount of information as they played."
In short, Bekoff was able to show--after at least a decade of painstaking observation and analysis--that canine play is actually a complex social interaction in which the participants constantly signal their intentions and check to make sure their behavior is correctly interpreted. Dogs that cheat--promising a playful bite but delivering a harsh one, for example--tend to be ostracized.
That understanding is nothing short of revolutionary. Only a decade or so ago, scientists were arguing vigorously over whether animals had emotions: just because a dog looks sad or a chimp appears to be embarrassed doesn't mean it really is, the skeptics said. That argument is pretty much over. The idea of animal emotion is now accepted as part of mainstream biology. And thanks to Bekoff and other researchers, ethologists are also starting to accept the once radical idea that some animals--primarily the social ones such as dogs, chimps, hyenas, monkeys, dolphins, birds and even rats--possess not just raw emotions but also subtler and more sophisticated mental states, including envy, empathy, altruism and a sense of fairness. "They have the ingredients we use for morality," says Frans de Waal, a professor of primate behavior at Emory University in Atlanta, referring to the monkeys and chimps he studies.
That doesn't mean animals necessarily have a fully developed moral or ethical sense. "I don't say dogs are fair the way you and I are fair, or have the same moral systems," says Bekoff. But it does mean that-- just as with so many other attributes once considered unique to humans, including toolmaking and language--animals have at least rudimentary versions of what we call morality. That would conform to Darwin's ideas of evolution, and indeed, Darwin himself was convinced this must be true. "It would be bad evolutionary biology," says Bekoff, "to assume that moral behavior just pops on the scene only with us."
Study after study bears him out. In one of De Waal's experiments at Atlanta's Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center, for example, pairs of capuchin monkeys (the species favored by organ grinders) have to cooperate in dragging a heavy tray so they can get the food on it. They quickly figure out how to do so, sharing the effort and the food. But when the food is placed on one side of the tray, giving only one monkey access to it, they still share. "There is no need for the one who gets all the food to do it," says De Waal. "He could sit in the corner and eat all by himself."
In another experiment, De Waal and his students reward two monkeys for a task by giving them cucumber. It's not a favorite food, but they happily go on doing the task anyway. Then the scientists begin giving one of the monkeys grapes--like caviar for a capuchin. At that point, the monkey that is still getting cucumber refuses to play. Says De Waal: "It's like me discovering my colleague, who works just as hard as I do, gets a salary that is twice the size of mine. I was perfectly happy before."
Both those results can be explained in part by self-interest. But De Waal has also observed behavior that can be seen only as empathetic. When a male loses a fight and sits on the floor screaming, the other chimps will comfort it. "They come over to these distressed individuals and embrace them and kiss them and groom them, and try to calm them down," De Waal says. True, there's an implied benefit for the comforters--the hope that others will do the same for them if they end up in that situation--but that's a level of emotional abstraction that would once have been presumed impossible.
At TerraMar Research on Bainbridge Island, Wash., animal behaviorist Toni Frohoff has also observed dolphins behaving with what appears to be altruism--although not predictably. In one case, she recalls, she and her colleagues watched a group of dolphins assemble around a female swimmer the researchers later learned was exhausted to the point at which she was afraid for her life. "Conversely," Frohoff says, "I have been 'abandoned' [by dolphins], where all of a sudden they'd disappear and I'd see a shark."
Does that mean the supposed altruism of dolphins--not just in Frohoff's studies but also in anecdotal reports of the animals' rescuing sailors--is a myth? No, she says: "The mythology in some cases is true." But dolphins have adapted so long in such a different environment to humans that there's reason to suppose that their ethics might be equally different to ours.
Dolphins, dogs and primates are the usual suspects when scientists talk about higher mental functions, but fairness, at least, extends even deeper into the lower animal kingdom. If you watch rats wrestle, says Steven Sivy, a biologist at Gettysburg College, you'll see that the bigger rat lets the smaller rat win every now and then so that the smaller rat will keep playing. That, he says, could be interpreted as a sense of fair play, although he emphasizes that a rat's behavior is probably Darwinian--based not on thoughtful consideration but on what has worked in the past to keep species alive. "I can't see a rat sitting around and contemplating the ethical consequences of what it's doing," he says.
At Bowling Green State University in Kentucky, psychologist Jaak Panskepp is similarly leery of using words like morality and ethics to describe animal behavior. He is sure that rats and other animals do experience joy, sadness, anger and fear--because the wiring of the brain is set up to generate those feelings. (Actually, Panskepp discovered a few years ago that rats chirp in laughter, albeit in response to tickling, and in a register too high for the human ear to detect.) Nobody has yet found the neurocircuits for ethics or morality, however, so Panskepp is reluctant to comment about those qualities. But he does accept that some animals have strict rules of behavior. "Cockroaches probably don't have a sense of justice," says Panskepp. But dogs and rats, which are social animals, clearly do.
So do birds, says Dan Blumstein, a former student of Bekoff's, now studying animal behavior at UCLA. While he hasn't addressed the question through formal research, Blumstein has seen hints of behavioral rules in songbirds. A given species tends to have similar songs but with local "dialects" that vary from one territory to another. If a bird sings with a nonlocal accent, he says, "everybody knows: 'Oh, my God, there's an invader.' Then they get upset and kick it out." The question, Blumstein says, is whether that's a sign of ethics or just instinct.
While some behaviors are obviously instinctive, Bekoff is convinced that others are not. "If you study animals in the complex social environments in which they live," he says, "it's impossible for everything they do to be hardwired, with no conscious thought. It really is." And once again, he cites play as perhaps the most obvious example. Play between dogs involves extremely complex, precise behavior, he says. "They're really close, they're mouthing, but they don't bite their own lips; they almost never bite the lip of the other animal hard, nor the eyes, nor the ears." And that requires communication and constant feedback. "Just think of basketball players faking left and going right," says Bekoff. "There's no way you could be doing that by pure instinct."
As for the play bow, his guess that it meant more than just "Let's play" turned out to be correct. "It says, 'I want to play with you' but also 'I'm sorry I bit you so hard' or 'I'm going to bite you hard, but don't take it seriously.'" It even works between species: Bekoff has seen wild coyotes bow to dogs--and vice versa--before they engage in something like play. "At least they don't fight," says Bekoff. "The play bow changes the whole mood."
Meanwhile, dishonesty is punished across all canid species. "I know coyotes best," says Bekoff. "Coyotes will signal play and then try to fight or mate with others, but if they do that enough, they can't get other animals to play." Does that behavior rise to the level of ethics or morality? If morality is simply living by the rules of a society, says hyena expert Christine Drea of Duke University, then yes, animals do that. But just because animals have rules and bad things can happen when those aren't followed, she says, "doesn't mean they're ethical creatures."
But while animals may not possess true ethics or morality, Bekoff, De Waal and a growing number of their colleagues think fairness and cooperation may be the forerunners of those qualities, just as the apelike brain of our distant ancestor Lucy was the forerunner of our own, much more sophisticated minds. After all, Lucy was no Einstein—but without her, the leap from the tiny brains of primitive mammals to the subtle intelligence of an Einstein could never have occurred. --Reported by Dan Cray/Los Angeles and Wendy Grossman/Houston
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Your effort goes to feed a dog or cat in need.
Apparently, this does work. The web site advertisers pay for the food. Please pass it on!
Friday, July 01, 2005
Here is action you can take to help chained dogs.
1) If you know people who are chaining dogs, send us their snail-mail addresses and
we’ll anonymously mail letters/information to them. Send addresses to Bronwyn
2) You've asked for shirts, bags, caps, stickers, etc. to help raise awareness, well,
here they are!
Show your support for chained and penned dogs by wearing and using the many messaged
items you’ll find at the below links! (The most glorious thing about wearing/using something
with a message is that you just don't know how many lives you may change.
Everyone, absolutely everyone, reads “a slogan,” it's human nature. By wearing or using one
of our items, you may actually get a dog off chains or out of a pen!)
Tammy Sneath Grimes, Founder
Dogs Deserve Better: No Chains!
First Prize Winner, ASPCA Pet Protector Contest
1.877.636.1408 € 814.941.7447
Make a Difference in a Chained Dog's Life!
Change Laws. Educate Society. Volunteer your Time. Foster a Chained Dog.
The More You Stand With Us, The More Chains We Will Break, Together!
Donate Fencing, Training, Time, Crates, Corporate Sponsorship.
Donate via http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/donations.html
Shop through http://www.igive.com/ddb
They Deserve Better!
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