Dr. Dolittle To the Rescue: Animals Do Indeed Have Language

Con Slobodchikoff's new book "Chasing Doctor Dolittle" shows clearly we aren't the only linguistic animals. Using linguist Charles Hockett's thirteen design features of human language he shows how nonhumans share them with us. He then goes on to provide numerous examples of animal language. It's difficult to see how even the most hardened skeptics can reject his arguments.

Florida Encourages People to Kill Snakes In a Sick Contest

Just when you think you've heard it all, Florida will host a fully sanctioned snake beating contest in which a $1,500 prize will be awarded to the person who kills the most snakes. Surely there are much more humane and compassionate ways to deal with the invasive pythons.

The Imperiled American Wolf: When Will the Killing Stop?

Since being removed from the endangered species it's been an open season on wolves by sport hunters and trappers, some of whom openly torture the animals before killing them or letting them die. The heinous slaughter of these magnificent carnivores is ruining research and management programs and according to wolf experts it is scientifically and thoroughly unjustified.

Animal Cruelty and Antisocial Behavior: A Very Strong Link

Eleonora Gullone's book "Animal cruelty, antisocial behaviour, and aggression: More than a link" shows there is strong empirical evidence linking various types of abuse. Because animal cruelty is invariably trumped by, but closely associated with, human cruelty, she argues that we can learn a lot about the etiology of human cruelty by studying abuse to animals.

Dogs, Dominance, and Cesar Millan Redux: Dominance is Real

Those who claim animals don't form dominance relationships and that alpha animals are a myth are dead wrong and do not understand these concepts or their more subtle aspects. Animal behavior experts who study a wide variety of species agree that dominance and alpha animals are real. Even Cesar Millan notes this but egregiously abuses what they really mean.

Elephants In Zoos Don't Do Well

A recent fact filled report shows elephants in American zoos are truly dying out. Infant mortality for elephants in zoos is almost three times the rate in the wild. It's time to move elephants to sanctuaries where they can live their lives in safety and with dignity.

Should Animals Be Used To Test "Party Pills"?

New Zealand is considering if psychoactive drugs should be tested on animals. I hope New Zealanders will decide that nonhumans should not be used in research on party pills. This would set a nice precedent for other countries to follow.

Butts Keep Bugs Away From Birds

Recent research shows that nicotine in cigarette butts may keep parasites out of bird nests. However, cigarette butts are also a significant cause of pollution and can harm animals who eat them.

Do Animals Dream? Science Shows Of Course They Do, Rats Too

If we dream it's very likely that other animals also do and science is showing this is so. Rats, for example, dream about a maze they previously ran through, and it's likely that dogs and many other animals are also dreaming about past events and perhaps much more. Future research will surely provide many answers to these very interesting and vexing questions.

Dogs and Wolves: Dispelling Cesar Millan Once Again

A new book by Toni Shelbourne called "The Truth About Wolves and Dogs" is a very easy, worthwhile, and informative read. Shelbourne ends her well-illustrated book by imploring readers to "Say 'no' to inappropriate training methods." She also writes, "Let's have a revolution and let our dogs be dogs." Amen.

Stealth Dogs Steal Food in the Dark and Snatch it Quietly

Two recent studies of our best friends show they're crafty thieves. In the first, dogs preferred to steal food in the dark and in the second, dogs tried to hide auditory but not visual cues. Both studies show dogs are able to take into account the perspective of the humans when trying to steal food they had previously been forbidden to have.

Killing Wolves Ruins Research in Yellowstone

While there are many ethical concerns about the wanton and heinous slaughter of wild animals including wolves, an outcome of hunters killing Yellowstone wolves is a strong and negative impact on long-term research on these amazing predators who very rarely attack humans, who actually do extremely little damage to livestock, but who are vital to the health of ecosystems.

Animal Pain Hurts: The Ghosts In Our Machine

This feature-length documentary challenges deep-seated cultural practices about how we annually brutally mistreat billions upon billions of animals who are caught in the web of so-called "civilized society" as if they don't care about what happens to them. The fact is they do care about how they're treated and we should too. It's time to stop the heinous war with animals.

Vivien's New Leash on Life: A Dog's Tale of Hope

Read a heartwarming story about Vivien Peyton's abuse, rehabilitation in a prison, and her new leash on life as a therapy dog, a wonderful antidote to all of the animal abuse about which we read far too often. When she left the prison one inmate said, “Please, just promise me that you’re going to love her as much as I love her.” Vivien Peyton's story is a tale of hope.

Thanksgiving Day Violence Extends to Black Friday

Black Friday chaos and violence have extremely weak, if any, biological explanations, and are very much uniquely human. So, when we say to someone, "Oh, you're behaving like an animal" it's actually a complement rather than an insult. We can learn much from other animals about kindness, decency, cooperation, empathy, compassion, and peace.

Chimpanzee Midlife Crises and Orangutans Going Ape

New research shows great apes suffer midlife crises and freed orangutans visibly express happiness and joy after being released into the wild for the first time.

Animal Deaths in 'The Hobbit' Were Avoidable

Five horses, a pony, several goats, sheep, and chickens were allegedly maimed or killed in the making of "The Hobbit." A spokesman for the film admitted that the death of two of the horses was avoidable. All the abuse is sickening and could have been avoided if the people making the film really cared about the animals' well-being with whom they were working.

Science Shows Caged Animals Get Really Bored

Let's hope that as long as there are animals in captivity, they're given the best treatment possible.

How Widespread Is Sentience in the Animal Kingdom?

A debate on the question "How widespread is sentience in the animal kingdom?" hosted by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) as part of their Sentience Mosaic is now available and contains much food for thought about the extent of sentience among nonhuman animals. There are many surprises and more are sure to come as additional research is conducted.

Penguins in Love and Giving Thanks to Turkeys

New research on birds show just how emotional and smart they really are. Read about a pair of wild Magellanic penguins who remained lovingly faithful to one another for 16 years and why we should thank, and not needlessly, mercilessly, and unnecessarily slaughter turkeys to celebrate Thanksgiving. Birds should be appreciated and respected for who they really are.

Green Mountain Oxen: Bill Lives, Lou Dies

We wouldn't kill a dog whose best friend died, and this remaining ox shouldn't be killed.

Wild Dogs in Captivity Are Still Wild Dogs

The tragedy that occurred when a pack of African wild dogs at the Pittsburgh Zoo attacked a young boy raises questions about why zoos exist and what they do for the animals who live in them and for their wild relatives. Playing the blaming game is useless. Available data clearly show that zoos do very little, if anything, in the long term for education of conservation.

Good Dogs: Kindess, Patience, and Morality

We don't have a monopoly on moral behavior and there are fascinating odd couples who display patience, kindness, compassion, and empathy. In a recent essay called "The kindness of beasts", University of Miami philosopher Mark Rowlands concludes, "Our morality is rooted in our biology rather than our intellect." And, it's not "being anthropomorphic" to see animals as moral.

Play By a Grizzly Cub and Wolf Pup: A Superb Video

Watch a grizzly cub and wolf pup playfully romp here and there. This video will make your day.

Elephant Speak: Koshik Mimics Korean

Koshik, a captive Asian male elephant, can say hello, no, sit down, lie down, and good in Korean using his trunk.

Wildlife Services Trapper Allows Animal Torture

A federal employee of Wildlife Services allows dogs to savagely attack a trapped coyote and is also responsible for other heinous acts of animal cruelty. You can easily do something about this thoroughly unacceptable behavior that uses our tax dollars.

Fish Are Sentient: Proposed Memorial is Justified

Fish are sentient beings who feel pain, and the death of 1600 pounds of fish, countless individuals, in an accident in Irvine, California, warrants formal recognition by the city.

Odd Couples: Compassion Doesn't Know Species Lines

A PBS documentary shows how animals you'd never imagine become close friends and develop strong and enduring compassionate bonds. You'll see "Endearing interactions between a cheetah and a retriever, a lion and a coyote, a dog and a deer, a goat and a horse, and even a tortoise and a goose [that] offer captivating glimpses of supportive connections in the animal world."

The Animal Anthology Project: Heartwarming Stories

Edited by 16 year-old Christine Catlin, The Animal Anthology Project is a wonderful collection of stories about a diverse array of animals including cats, dogs, chimpanzees, birds, horses, elephants, hedgehogs, fish, bees, cockroaches, and tarantulas. I learned a lot about many animals with whom I was unfamiliar and I'm sure you will as well.

'Animal Practice' Canceled: Faulty Media Fails

The show has been canceled because of widespread protests about animal abuse and the reprehensible misrepresentation of animals. I applaud NBC for pulling this ridiculous show.