Exposed: Human-Animal Interactions and the War on Wildlife

In "Exposed: USDA's Secret War on Wildlife" you'll see former federal agents and a Congressman blow the whistle on Wildlife Services' barbaric program and expose the government’s secret war on wildlife. U.S. Congressman Peter DeFazio notes, “Wildlife Services is one of the most opaque and least accountable agencies I know of. It is not capable of reforming itself."

Redecorating Nature: Have We Really Killed Pests Too Rarely?

An essay in Time suggesting killing urban wildlife is okay is profoundly disturbing. The author tries to argue that killing these "pests" is just what's needed to solve the problem of their success and our addictive invasive ways as we redecorate nature. This anthropocentrically driven essay deserves careful reading and dissemination to get much-needed discussion going.

Slaughtering Sentience: There's No Reason to Eat Turkeys

Why kill turkeys to celebrate Thanksgiving? Millions upon millions of turkeys are horrifically raised and killed, but why? There really is no reason at all to mercilessly slaughter and to eat these fascinating sentient beings in the name of a holiday, and it is very easy to choose alternative meals. Animals shouldn't be used as mere token objects of joyous festivities.

Thanksgiving Relief for Research Chimpanzees: "Free" At Last

President Obama signed a bill to support the retirement of chimpanzees to sanctuaries. These individuals have suffered far too much and for far too long and deserve their "freedom" and now there's hope that millions of other animals will also be spared being used and abused in research. What a nice way to celebrate thanksgiving. And, what an inspirational message of hope.

'No Animals Were Harmed,' Not So Even with AHA 'Oversight'

Abuse and death of animals in Hollywood continues despite supposed monitoring by the American Humane Association (AHA). A recent essay in The Hollywood Reporter makes it clear that the AHA isn't doing its job and the phrase "No Animals Were Harmed" they rubber-stamp at the end of films is meaningless. Horses are killed, dogs beaten, and goats drown despite AHA monitoring.

Speciesism, Bad Zoos, Fish Personality, and Clever Reptiles

In the past weeks there's been significant news about animals. A new documentary called "Speciesism: The Movie" clearly dispels myths about human superiority and shows how confused we are about our relationships with other animals, and we've also learned that British zoos don't meet welfare standards, fish have personalities, and coldblooded does not mean stupid.

Aging Animals: Their Behavior, Social Roles, and Lives

Aging and elderly animals are important in many social systems, including human households, but their role in influencing the behavior of others is often ignored. A recent photo essay about "the beauty and dignity of elder animals" and a novel and seminal book called "The Social Behavior of Older Animals" are very useful guides to what we know and what needs to be done.

Why Dogs Hump and Rupert Sheldrake's Morphogenic Fields

Theories about what causes different behavior patterns need more open discussions and study. For example, I would like to see Rupert Sheldrake's ideas and theories about morphic fields revisited because while they are considered to be "radical" we must remember that many causal explanations about why nonhuman and human animals do what they do are constantly being revised.

Frankenstein's Cat: Biotechnology, Strange Creatures, and Us

What does genetically engineering animals such as producing glowing fish and establishing frozen zoos really mean? A book called "Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts" by Emily Anthes made me think deeply about this and other questions and as the field of anthrozoology—the study of human-animal interactions—grows, so too should our concerns.

Kiss a Pig Contests, Cheap Laughs, and Bullying

Kiss a pig contests used by schools to raise money demean everyone involved, the human kissers and the pigs. Students should be to taught to extend kindness to everyone, including other animals. With so many innovative and humane ways to motivate kids, schools are failing themselves and their students by promoting animal exploitation and bullying for cheap laughs.

Disabled Whale Missing Two Fins Cared for by Family

A heartwarming story that shows that wild animals display compassion and empathy for others and will care for them when they need help.

The Dog's Tail Tale: Do They Know What Others are Feeling?

The way in which dogs wag their tail tells us how they're feeling. A wag to the right indicates a positive emotion and a wag to the left indicates a negative emotion. But, what do dogs themselves make of seeing an image of a dog wag his or her tail to the right or to the left? Is it a form of communication? One researcher thinks it's not. I'm not so sure it isn't.

Ethics in Field Research: Are We Really that Noninvasive?

A new book considers the nature of fieldwork and what we really do and know as a result of this sort of research. It is a must read for practicing fieldworkers regardless of the species in which they're interested and for students who plan a career doing this sort of research. There's no doubt the discussions in this book will make for more ethical and better studies.

The Politics of Species: Reshaping Relations With Animals

A new interdisciplinary book called "The Politics of Species: Reshaping our Relationships with Other Animals" contains diverse essays about animals and us. It is a major contribution to the growing field of anthrozoology, the study of human-animal interactions, and will help to change the ways in which people view and interact with other animals.

Should Animals Be Used for Scientific or Commercial Testing?

Our relationships with other animals are a very messy and confusing affair. Some people say they love animals and then intentionally harm them. I always say I'm glad they don't love me. A new website that presents both sides of the daunting and vexing question, "Should Animals Be Used for Scientific or Commercial testing?" is now online and is well worth visiting.

Suicidal Sex: Male Marsupial Mice Die After Endurance Mating

Male marsupial mice (who aren't really mice) put everything they have into sperm production by copulating for up to twelve hours at a time and then dying. This "suicidal sex" seems to be driven by competition for females.

"RoboRoach" is Bad News in So Many Ways

Cyborg cockroaches who can be controlled by smartphones teach many wrong lessons including that they encourage bad citizen science and utterly inhumane education. There is nothing at all good or right about them. They also suggest that neuroscience "research" is something you can do from your home or wherever you may be. What a misguided message this is.

Why Dogs Hump and Bees Get Depressed: The State of Animals

A new book on the state of the animals reveals who they really are. In "Why Dogs Hump and Bees Get Depressed: The Fascinating Science of Animal Intelligence, Emotions, Friendship, and Conservation" I offer select essays that showcase the cognitive abilities of other animals as well as their empathy, compassion, grief, humor, joy, and love. We can learn so much from them.

Shadow and Cesar Millan: An Update on the Strung Up Husky

It's no surprise that Shadow suffered long-term trauma as a result of being strung up. However, there is a happy ending for this abused husky because the woman who had originally rescued him was able to get him back and help him recover. Shadow is a very lucky dog. Others are not as fortunate.

The Ghosts in Our Machine: Award-Winning Documentary in USA

This top ten documentary challenges common 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.

Dogs Are People, Too: They Love Us and Miss Us fMRI's Say

Noninvasive neuroimaging of our best friend's brains shows similarities to ours. Data show they love us and miss us and that we're not being overly sentimental or anthropomorphic when we say this. The work of Emory University's Gregory Berns and his colleagues is a true paradigm shift in how we study the brains of nonhuman animals and learn about what they feel.

The Fairness Instinct: Science, Human Nature, and Sociality

In "The Fairness Instinct" biologist L. Sun argues, using research from the biological and social sciences and humanities, that fairness is a DNA-based emotion rather than a product of ideology or convention. In this respect, science can contribute much more to the everlasting issue of fairness.

Do Animals Play Just for Fun? Watch this Dog

This video of a Siberian husky playing by himself or herself is a dataset in and of itself. Animals play for various reasons including because it's fun and feels good, during which time they also are otherwise benefiting from the activity.

Animal Emotions Book Banned in Texas

My book "The Smile of a Dolphin" is now banned in certain libraries and schools in the Lone Star state, but I'm not sure why. There are evolutionary arguments about animal emotions, there are some essays on sexual behavior, and there is a picture of a whale's penis but why in the world would the book be banned? There's much food for thought for anthrozoologists.

Animal Consciousness Matters: Dawkins' Dangerous Idea Redux

Marian Dawkins claims we need to focus on what animals can do for us to get people to care about them - a case of arrogant anthropocentrism - rather than the fact that they are conscious beings. Going against what numerous outstanding scientists now accept as a fact, she claims we don't know enough about animal consciousness to use it on their behalf. She is clearly wrong.

Do Elephants Weep as an Emotional Response?

We are not 100% certain solid scientific research supports the view that elephants and other nonhuman animals weep as part of an emotional response. Rather than dismiss this possibility as merely storytelling, we need to study it in more detail. Many surprises have been discovered in the emotional lives of animals including laughing rats and empathic chickens.

Animal Sentience is Not Science Fiction: Recent Literature

Recent essays on animal sentience are essential reads for a wide audience. For the few skeptics who remain these papers should convince you that detailed scientific data show that a wide range of animals are sentient beings, and for those who know this to be the case, these essays provide wonderful resources. Animal sentience is a fact, not science fiction.

Research Data: Should We Ignore Studies on Abused Animals?

Should we use data from behavioral studies in which animals are mistreated? People disagree and I feel this question will be of interest to readers of Psychology Today. My own take is that it is acceptable to use these sorts of existing data with some very strong restrictions especially for future research. And, the data must be used for the animals' benefit.

Designer Dogs Costa Rica Style: Unwanted but Unique Breeds

Despite the fact that millions of dogs each year are "put to sleep" because no one wants them, many people still choose to buy purebreds from breeders themselves or from pet stores. I just learned of a brilliant program in Costa Rica that is well worth sharing. In an inspirational video you'll see how a shelter is finding homes for unwanted but new breeds of mutts.

Divided Brains: Fascinating Facts about Brain Asymmetries

"Divided Brains" brings together vast amounts of research on asymmetry (lateralization) of brain function in many different species. Lateralization refers to structural and functional differences between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. This extremely important book offers many surprising discoveries including research on horses and dogs and their well being.