Animal Emotions

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Our Complex and Contradictory Relationships with Other Animal Beings

Just about every day is a mixed bag for nonhuman animals

Just about every day is a mixed bag for nonhuman animals. For example, last week we learned about the horrific torture of wolves and this morning I learned about new discoveries concerning the social behavior and social complexity of bottlesnose dolphins who form groups that then coalesce to cooperate with one another but not to control territory or for reproductive reasons (the abstract for the original research paper is here).

The next email I opened this morning was not as celebratory as it concerned competitve raccoon hunting using dogs to raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Of course I and everyone I know fully support the remarkable work of St. Jude, but there is no reason at all for them to assoicate with a horrific blood-sport that not only will result in the merciless killing of numerous raccoons but also in leaving many orphaned babies to die. Furthermore, coon-hunting dogs are often trained using live bait and a dog was killed during their 2010 event. 

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We continue to have very complex and contradictory relationships with other animal beings and it's important to celebrate their remarkable lives and also to call for an immediate stop to our causing wanton, heinous, and intentional harm. You can sign a petition to ask St. Jude to stop raising blood money here. Thank you for doing so.

Marc Bekoff, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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