Elephants Rescue Baby Who Lies Down on a Busy Highway

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and this video of a herd of elephants rescuing a young herd member who decides for some reason to lie down on a busy highway in Kruger National Park in South Africa is well worth numerous words and the two plus minutes it'll take to watch it. Other animals can teach us valuable lessons about caring, compassion, and empathy.

Butts and Noses: Secrets and Lessons from Dog Parks

Dog parks are gold mines of information about the behavior of dogs and humans. In this brief essay I consider a number of common questions and provide "quick answers" and many different references to which readers can go. While we know a lot about dogs there also are many holes in the database despite claims to the contrary. There are numerous projects waiting to be done.

Empathic Rats Save Drowning Pals Rather than Eat Chocolate

Research once again shows rats display empathy so why do we continue to torture them in all sorts of invasive research? In the latest study rats were found to save other rats from drowning rather than eat chocolate and were "more likely to help when they’ve had an unpleasant swimming experience of their own, adding to growing evidence that the rodents feel empathy."

Killing "Happy" Pigs Is "Welfarish" and Isn't Just Fine

A new book by Barry Estabrook called "Pig Tales: An Omnivore's Quest for Sustainable Meat " could make a huge difference in people's meal plans. Following in Temple Grandin's footsteps Mr. Estabrook argues that pigs need to be treated better before they're killed on the way to people's mouth and that killing "happy pigs" is just fine. But, really, no one has to eat a pig.

Your Dog and You: A New Book About Forming Close Friendships

A new book by Gill Garratt, a psychologist and specialist in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) called "Your dog and you...: Understanding the canine psyche," is a very useful guide for forming close relationships between dogs and humans. The combination of scientific data, numerous case studies, and exceptional photographs make this book a most valuable read.

Captive Killer Whales Die Much Younger than Wild Orcas

A new study shows captive killer whales don't live as long as wild relatives. The researchers show that "62 to 81 percent of wild female killer whales live at least 15 years. In contrast, only 27 percent of the now-dead females in the captive study survived that long. Roughly half of the still-living captive female whales are at least 15 years old."

Dogs and Underdogs: Happiness at Both Ends of the Leash

Elizabeth Abbott's "Dogs and Underdogs: Finding Happiness at Both Ends of the Leash" and Toni Shelbourne's "Among the Wolves" are excellent reads. Both books are filled with personal stories about these amazing beings and show how we can rescue and help them and they can in turn rescue and help us. Both also raise numerous questions about human-animal relationships.

Kids and Animals Helping One Another at Green Chimneys

I just returned home from a most inspiring conference called "Growing Together: Kids, Animals and Sowing the Seeds of Resiliency" held at Green Chimneys in Brewster, New York. This interdisciplinary gathering on human-animal interaction shows how much can be done for the kids and the animals who in many ways rescue, help, and heal one another. Green Chimneys rocks!

Judge Recognizes Two Chimpanzees as Legal Persons: A First

According to the Nonhuman Rights Project, "For the first time in history a judge has granted an order to show cause and writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a nonhuman animal…in a case brought by the Nonhuman Rights Project … Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe issued an order to show cause and writ of habeas corpus on behalf of two chimpanzees, Hercules and Leo.

Dogs, Humans, and the Oxytocin-Mediated Strong Social Bond

A new study has shown that mutual gazing by dogs but not wolves increases oxytocin levels in humans. To demonstrate there was a causal relationship, when oxytocin was administered to a new group of dogs before they interacted with their owners, the researchers saw an increase in the extent of mutual gaze between owners and dogs and an increase in oxytocin in the humans.

Why Writing for Psychology Today Is a Good Idea

A recent essay called "Prof, no one is read you" shows why writing for popular audiences is more effective than publishing in professional journals. It turns out that "82 per cent of articles published in humanities are not even cited once. No one ever refers to 32 per cent of the peer-reviewed articles in the social and 27 per cent in the natural sciences."

Wildlife Services Slaughtered 2.7 Million Animals in 2014

Wildlife Services, more appropriately called Murder Inc., wages a horrific war on all types of wildlife using inhumane and indiscriminate methods. In 2014 they killed 2,713,570 animals. Wildlife Services kills using taxpayers money and there is enormous collateral damage and what they call "unintentional killing." Fortunately, their killing ways are being scrutinized.

Worms Sniff Out Cancer in Urine Better than Blood Tests

Researchers using what they call a Nematode Scent Detection Test (NSDT) discovered that its sensitivity was 95.8% and "this is markedly higher than that of other existing tumour markers." Who would have thought a roundworm could be such a reliable cancer detector? I think the discovery of this new test should be made widely known.

The Modern Savage: A New Book Questions Why We Eat Animals

James McWilliams' book "The Modern Savage: Our Unthinking Decision to Eat Animals" is a very thoughtful work about our meal plans where he covers the ecological and ethical reasons for not eating other animals and shows that labels such as "cage free," "free range," and "humanely raised" are not necessarily sound and ethical. There's a good life beyond beef and after meat.

The Emotional Lives of Rats: Rats Read Pain in Others' Faces

A new study shows that rats are able to read the pain that other rats are suffering. When are those people who are responsible for writing legislation to protect animals from invasive and abusive research going to use the scientific information that is readily available to protect them from unnecessary harm, pain, and death? The federal Animal Welfare Act is lame.

Do Orcas Go Crazy Because of Petting Pools and False Hopes?

Orcas who lived in petting pools show higher levels of aggression than other killer whales. This essay lays out the details of what is known about aggressive encounters and early experience. It is objectively clear that there is a correlation between “petting pool” history and significant later orca aggression. Now we need to know more about why this is so.

Thousands of Cormorants to be Killed: There Will be Blood

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to perform a heinous experiment that includes killing 11,000 cormorants and destroying 26,000 nests to save salmon despite experts arguing that killing the cormorants is wrong and won't work. Conservation has a bloody history and there simply is no reason to continue these killing ways.

Peter Singer Argues for "Effective Altruism" in His New Book

Renowned philosopher Peter Singer's new book called "The Most Good You Can Do" is a very thoughtful discussion about charitable giving. Whether you agree or disagree with Professor Singer's arguments I guarantee they will make you think deeply about what you do with your money and if your donations really do the most good you can do. This book also left me hopeful.

Beneath the Surface: SeaWorld Insider Goes Beyond Blackfish

Former senior orca trainer John Hargrove's new book called "Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Beyond Blackfish " will blow your mind—or not. Nearly every page in this book made me stop and think about how we humans have had wide-ranging negative impacts on the lives of numerous individuals who we keep in captivity for our, not their, benefit.

Elephant Don: The Politics of a Pachyderm Posse

Caitlin O'Connell's book "Elephant Don: The Politics of a Pachyderm Posse" is an outstanding up close and personal work of art about these magnificent beings. In this monumental work you'll meet Greg, the Don, along with Abe, Keith, Mike, Kevin, Torn Trunk, and Willie, and read about the roller coaster of emotions of a pachyderm posse and also those of the author.

Whipping Horses: A Critical Analysis Shows It is Unwarranted

The British Horseracing Authority's (BHA) conclusion that whipping horses is okay, that it is in the best interests of horse safety, is flawed. The BHA "is an organisation that exists to promote, as well as regulate, the racing industry," and the authors of a recent critique note that many of the BHA's conclusions are not supported by available data.

Scalding Live Chickens Is an Accepted Brutal Business Model

Nicholas Kristof's NYTimes essay "To Kill a Chicken" is a must read. It begins: "IF you torture a single chicken and are caught, you’re likely to be arrested. If you scald thousands of chickens alive, you’re an industrialist who will be lauded for your acumen." I leave it to you to decide whether to read it, but be assured that when you eat chicken you're eating pain.

Citizens for Alternatives to Animal Research (CAARE)

A new organization called Citizens for Alternatives to Animal Research (CAARE) is dedicated to making the use of animals obsolete. Their website, a wonderful source of information, shows clearly that "It is now possible to conduct a vast array of experiments without using animals and derive results that are faster, cheaper and more relevant to human medicine."

Spiders: Oral Sex During Mating Saves Males' Lives

Male Darwin's bark spiders have evolved a unique strategy for avoiding cannibalism during mating. They perform oral sex that seems to relax older females so that they are less likely to eat the males.

Confessions of a Wildlife Filmmaker: Misinformation & Abuse

According to Dr. Chris Palmer's book called "Confessions of a Wildlife Filmmaker," the state of wildlife filmmaking worsens every year. He argues it’s time for wildlife filmmaking to move in a more ethical direction. Broadcasters such Animal Planet, Discovery, National Geographic, and the History Channel must do better. And viewers can play a role in making this happen.

Dogs Don't Remember Yesterday, Claims Psychologist

Ample data show dogs and many other animals are not "stuck in an eternal present"—they remember the past and plan for the future. From an evolutionary point of view, it would be somewhat odd and exceptional if other animals didn't "remember yesterday" and plan accordingly.

Why SeaWorld Can’t Float: Censorship and Business Ethics

SeaWorld attempted to censor talks at the 14th International Conference of the American Cetacean Society (ACS) last November that criticized them in the areas of the ethics of captivity and their business practices. Dr. Thomas White, who was one of the presenters being closeted, has now posted his presentation for all to see. It's well worth the time to view and share it.

Entangled Empathy: How to Improve Human-Animal Relationships

A new book by philosopher Lori Gruen called "Entangled Empathy" sets out a new ethic for our interactions with other animals, including humans, that involves blending our feelings and our knowledge of the others with whom we are in relationship and focusing on their situations by attending to their needs, interests, desires, vulnerabilities, hopes, and sensitivities.

Wicked Tuna: NGS Supports Animal Abuse and Poor Conservation

The "Wicked Tuna" series sponsored by the National Geographic Society (NGS) continues on showing incredible torment and torture of these sentient beings. The NGS also is fully aware that "overfishing throughout their range has driven their numbers to critically low levels." It's astounding that the NGS, given their commitment to conservation, would air such a program.

New Conservation Science is Misguided and Too Much About Us

New Conservation Science argues conservation should focus on human self-interests. It is wrong-minded and ignores the magnificence of nature including the fact that other animals and diverse ecosystems have intrinsic value and should be valued for whom and what they are, not for what they can do for us. There are far too many of us and it shouldn't be all about us.

Pages