Animal Minds are Richer Than Science Once Thought

An essay in The Economist provides a good review of research in cognitive ethology (the study of animal minds).

A Rewilding Mandate: A Conversation with Michael Tobias

Read an interview with a renowned ecologist about the need to rewild in the Anthropocene. Topics include the incredible loss of species, humane education, and population control.

Do Dogs Ever Simply Want to Die to End the Pain?

Here, I briefly consider the claim, "There is no such thing as an animal who is so traumatized that he wants to die." Nonhumans, like humans, want the pain to end right now.

A Rewilding Manifesto: Compassion, Biophilia, and Hope

Rewilding, reconnecting with other humans, nonhumans, and their homes, will make the world more peaceful and will foster hope in challenging and far too often violent times.

Toadfish Love: Singing Fish Seem to Invite a Ménage à Trois

Biologists find love in a fish who is "awfully ugly," croons beautifully, and invites a ménage à trois.

Detroit Zoo's Ron Kagan Talks About "Patient-Centered" Zoos

A TEDx talk by Ron Kagan, executive director of the Detroit zoo, about the future of compassionate "patient-centered" zoos is worth watching regardless of your views on zoos.

How and Why Dogs Play Revisited: Who’s Confused?

A new book presents some interesting but untested ideas and beliefs about play behavior in dogs as facts. Beliefs don’t substitute for data that have been reviewed by peers.

Trophy Hunters' Smiles Show How Much They Like to Kill

A new study shows that pleasure smiles are greater when hunters pose with large "dangerous" corpses and that "they’re quite a bit happier when they kill a large animal versus a small animal of the same species.” There really are killing smiles.

The Evolution and Ethology of Terrorism: We Are Unique

Detailed ethological data show that human exceptionalism reigns uncontested in the arena of within-species violence.

Research Chimpanzees to be Finally "Freed" and Retired

A decision made on 16 November by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will send 50 "reserve" chimpanzees to sanctuaries so they can finally live out their lives in peace and safety.

SeaWorld San Diego to End Killer Whale Shows for New Image

Next year SeaWorld San Diego says it will replace killer whale shows with a new more natural conservation oriented experience and will partner with a San Diego hotel owner and realtor "to build a resort on underdeveloped areas of the SeaWorld San Diego park."

The Conservation Charade: Elephants Do Not Belong in Zoos

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) recently made public a permit request for the import of 18 wild-caught young elephants from Swaziland to the Dallas Zoo in Texas, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo in Nebraska, and Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas. Eighty scientists, conservationists, and professionals from around the world have issued a statement opposing this plan.

Beastly Morality: New Book Shows Animals Are Moral Beings

A new book edited by Emory University professor Dr. Jonathan Crane called "Beastly Morality: Animals as Ethical Agents" offers the latest information about animal cognition, emotions, and morality and shows that many different nonhuman animals are moral beings who can process ideas of good and bad and think seriously about virtue.

New Zealand Kids Kill Possums for Fun and Games

Youngsters in a rural New Zealand school joyfully trap and kill possums. According to their principal, “They’re country kids, so they loved dealing with dead possums!" This is a most disturbing example of "teach the children wrong" and also very disturbing because of the well known link between violence toward nonhuman animals and violence toward humans.

Florida's Brutal Black Bear Massacre: A Bloody Update

The sanctioned killing of black bears in Florida is a regrettable bloodbath that defies anything that comes close to even the loosest definitions of compassion. It is unregulated and blatantly ignores public opinion and solid science.

Pound for Pound: Shelter Dogs Love a Woman Back to Life

A new book by Shannon Kopp, "Pound for Pound: A Story of One Woman's Recovery and the Shelter Dogs Who Loved Her Back to Life," is an inspirational gem.

Howler Monkeys Have a Deep Voice or Big Balls But Not Both

Howler monkeys have low sexy calls or big balls, but not both. While this research "has no practical application to human mate choice … some research has suggested that men with deep voices have more sex partners, and therefore more opportunities to reproduce. But another study showed lower sperm quality in deeper-voiced men." Oh wouldn't it be nice if … or would it?

The Psychology and Thrill of Trophy Hunting: Is it Criminal?

Trophy hunting is gratuitous violence that can justifiably be called murder. The failure to use the word “murder” for nonhumans is a view that ignores who other animals truly are — their cognitive and emotional lives and capacities — based on detailed empirical research.

Florida Bear Hunt Ignores Conservation Psychology & Science

Florida's ill-planned slaughter of black bears fails to consider public opinion, solid science, and compassionate conservation. Indeed, Florida's Black Bear Management Plan, released at the time of delisting, explicitly eschewed hunting and called for the enhancement of bear habitats. The bear hunt will serve as an exemplary case study of why it shouldn't have been done.

Unnecessary Boulder Bear Killing Challenges Anthrozoology

A mother bear was killed in Boulder, Colorado. The original headline read "Boulder bear No. 317 euthanized; 2 cubs also captured," but it was later cleaned up to read "Boulder bear No. 317 killed; 2 cubs also captured." Of course, she wasn't euthanized. Those involved in the killing claim it "sucked" and wonder if it was fair. Indeed, they could have stopped the killing.

Fish Show Coordinated Vigilance and Watch Each Other's Backs

A new study shows fish display coordinated reciprocity providing safety for foraging partners; they watch one another's back. The results add to the database showing fish are much smarter than most people assume, and can rightfully be included as members of the sentience club. One researcher notes, "This may also require a shift in how we study and ethically treat fishes."

Is Your Dog an "Upper" or a "Downer" and What It Means

It's wrong to assume dogs are always "up" and ready to bound around without a care in the world. A study using non-invasive methods shows there are marked individual differences in personality among dogs concerning whether they're "glass half empty" or "glass half full" bowsers, just like humans. This information is directly linked to questions about their well-being.

Naropa University vs. Prairie Dogs: Just Leave Them Be

Boulder's contemplative Naropa University, founded by Chögyam Trungpa, should not allow "problem" prairie dogs to be killed. Killing these family-living, highly social sentient beings, is radically dispassionate and utterly sickening. I wonder what Chögyam Trungpa would feel if he knew Naropa turned into a killing field. Let's hope and pray it does not.

Quebec Considering Bill Declaring Animals to Be Sentient

Quebec’s National Assembly is considering a new bill that would declare that animals are sentient beings. An interview I recently did lays out what this bill will and won't mean. Declaring animals to be sentient beings would help them along and encourage passing and enforcing legislation to prevent intentional pain, suffering, and death. Science totally supports this move.

My Old Dog: Rescued Seniors Show that Old Dogs Rock

A new book called "My Old Dog" will move you to tears of joy because old dogs rock. However, senior dogs over seven are often the highest-risk group at shelters. In a most inspirational book laden with incredible photos of senior canines, we learn that adopting a senior can be really be more rewarding than choosing a younger dog. The teaser is of Fiona in her wheelbarrow.

Who Apes Whom? Frans de Waal Notes We're Not All That Unique

In a recent and outstanding essay in the New York Times titled "Who Apes Whom?" world renowned primatologist Frans de Waal clearly shows that among animals, humans are basically one of the gang, except for our capacity for language. I highly recommend this essay for readers of all ages as a solid review of what we know about other animals and where we fit into the scene.

Psychological Disorders in Animals: A Review of What We Know

An essay titled "Many animals can become mentally ill" published in BBC Earth summarizes what we know about mental illness in animals. It concludes, "But far from being something limited to pampered modern humans, mental illness can strike many kinds of animals and seems to have been around for hundreds of millions of years." I highly recommend this fascinating essay.

Animals Don't Experience Emotions, Claims Texas Journalist

To justify killing and eating other animals as part of the "eat-what-you-kill" movement, a journalist claims, "There is no definitive scientific evidence that animals experience emotions as we do," ignoring reams of hard scientific evidence to the contrary. It's not asking too much for those who write about animals to know about the scientific research that has been done.

Charlie: The Feral Dog Who Came in From the Wild

A new book about a feral dog called "Charlie: The Dog Who Came in From the Wild" by Lisa Tenzin-Dolma shows the importance of shared trust, love, and deep commitment when one chooses to live with a "difficult dog" who came to the author with very special needs that could only be satisfied by a very special human being. This is a most important book for humans and dogs.

New Book Re-examines Lives of Captive and Confined Animals

In his new book called "The End of Captivity?" Dr. Tripp York discusses zoos, pets, conservation, Christian ethics, and much more centering on the lives of captive and otherwise confined animals. It would be a perfect choice for undergraduate and graduate courses in biology and religious studies, and I'm sure high school students would get a lot out of reading it as well.