Essential Reads

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

"The Most Good You Can Do" is a very thoughtful book about charitable giving.

Do Dog People and Cat People Differ in Terms of Dominance?

Evidence shows that the personalities of dog versus cat lovers are different.

Scalding Live Chickens Is an Accepted Brutal Business Model

Nicholas Kristof's New York Times "To Kill a Chicken" is a must read

A Landmark Case for the Legal Rights of Dogs?

The legal rights of dogs may have been changed by a trial for cat-slaughter.

Recent Posts on Animal Behavior

Thousands of Cormorants to be Killed: There Will be Blood

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on March 28, 2015 in Animal Emotions
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.

Violent Expression: Sign of Our Deep Need to Communicate?

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on March 26, 2015 in The Dolphin Divide
When notions of fair play are violated, our ability to speak helps keep the peace. We are capable of sudden, violent physical outbursts, but calm expressions of anger through language can keep us from resorting to brute force – sometimes.

Who Participates in Dog-sporting Events and Why?

Although people can be highly competitive in the various dog-sports, recent research shows that internal motives and social benefits are more important than trophies and accolades.

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

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on March 25, 2015 in Animal Emotions
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.

What to Consider When Adding to Your Four-Legged Family

Choosing a new canine companion can be daunting. Should you adopt a shelter pet or buy from a breeder? Would a puppy or adult dog be a better fit for your life style and family? In this blog Dr. Stepita discusses what to consider before bringing your next furry family member home.

Is Euthanasia Just Another Pet Service?

Euthanasia is often listed alongside nail trimmings and flea treatment, as if it were one among a series of “services” a pet owner might seek out on a given day. Isn’t the killing of a pet a far more serious proposition, morally speaking, than a mere “pet service” like a vaccination or a quick shampoo?

Beneath the Surface: SeaWorld Insider Goes Beyond Blackfish

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on March 24, 2015 in Animal Emotions
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.

RIP Beloved Benji

How people in the past cared for their dogs is often lost to history, but one strong sign of a loving relationship is the care people took in burying their dogs. I have seen dog burials from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in London, but also from 12,000 years ago in what is today Israel. These show how people of the past loved their dogs.

Elephant Don: The Politics of a Pachyderm Posse

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on March 22, 2015 in Animal Emotions
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

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on March 22, 2015 in Animal Emotions
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.

How to Spend the Time You Have Left

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on March 20, 2015 in A Sideways View
Today is the first day of the rest of your life! Are you living life to the full? Are you spending your time wisely?

Say What? Why Do People Forget They Have a Live Mic?

What is it that makes this universal faux pas in attention and concentration so easy to occur?

Do Dog People and Cat People Differ in Terms of Dominance?

New data suggest that dog people and cat people are selecting their preferred pet because it complements their own personality.

Scalding Live Chickens Is an Accepted Brutal Business Model

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on March 18, 2015 in Animal Emotions
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.

Treating William Shakespeare

Asking which of the things I did that worked and which didn’t is exactly the same as asking which things the patient does in response I should feel rewarded by.

Did Humans and Wolf Dogs Make Neanderthals Perish?

By Mark Derr on March 16, 2015 in Dog's Best Friend
Pat Shipman's "The Invaders" proposes a new explanation for Neanderthal's extinction.

Foraging Through Our Memories

By David Ludden Ph.D. on March 16, 2015 in Talking Apes
The idea that human thought processes arose suddenly and fairly recently in our past is just as improbable as angels’ wings.

Humans vs Honeybees

Honeybees are truly social; humans are not. When, 75 years ago, Arthur Koestler wrote Darkness at Noon, the differences were obvious.

How the Menstrual Cycle Affects Women's Libido

By Michael Castleman M.A. on March 15, 2015 in All About Sex
Unlike dogs and cats, women don't experience "heat," but studies show a libido spike around ovulation.

Citizens for Alternatives to Animal Research (CAARE)

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on March 14, 2015 in Animal Emotions
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."

Kitty Play Saves the Day

Cat on the attack? Slug on the rug? Improve your cat’s mental and physical well-being though play and enrichment.

Buying And Selling Binge Eating Disorder

By Allen J Frances M.D. on March 12, 2015 in DSM5 in Distress
In Greek myth, Cassandra was cursed with the gift of seeing the future without having any power to change it. I now know the feeling. What a mess.

10 Reasons Dogs Make the Best Therapists

Dogs are natural-born therapists. They have a Zen-like ability to stay centered (except in the presence of squirrels) and are masters of non-judgment. Also, they have a cute way of tilting their heads when they listen to you. How many therapists do you know who do that?

In Dog We Trust

Can a dog’s death prompt a human to think about immortal souls?

A Landmark Case for the Legal Rights of Dogs?

Legal precedents establishing the rights of dogs under the law may have been set when, for the first time, a dog charged with murdering a cat was tried in front of a judge and jury.

Spiders: Oral Sex During Mating Saves Males' Lives

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on March 11, 2015 in Animal Emotions
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

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on March 11, 2015 in Animal Emotions
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.

Still Lonely and Friendless After 25 Years?

Embodying the loneliness of the human condition.

Dogs Don't Remember Yesterday, Claims Psychologist

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on March 05, 2015 in Animal Emotions
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.

Do Dogs Listen to Our Words or Voice Tone?

By Jann Gumbiner Ph.D. on March 05, 2015 in The Teenage Mind
Dogs are more similar to us than we like to believe.