animal rights

Pixabay

The days of the traveling circus featuring elephants and wild cats are mostly gone.  But some circuses still go from town to town, bringing the animals with them. 

And PETA hopes to change that, with California playing a major role.  The state Senate recently passed a bill prohibiting the use of animals in circuses and sent it along to the Assembly. 

pixel2013/Pixabay

The title The Invisible Reich and the swastika on the cover might give you the wrong idea about Kenneth Pazder's book.  It is fiction, and it is not about Nazis now or in the past. 

The focus of the novel is actually the treatment of animals by humans... the author says 30,000,000 animals are killed every day, in North America alone. 

JenRegnier/Pixabay

How would your dog do on the SATs?  The question is a joke, but not the concept of testing dogs for problem-solving abilities. 

Oregon State University's Human-Animal Interaction Lab put both pet dogs and trained search & rescue dogs to work solving puzzles (yes, they involve treats). 

And the dogs displayed some differences in behavior based on whether humans were encouraging them, or not. 

Lauren Brubaker, a doctoral student at the lab, led the research. 

Linda Bartlett, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24032397

Congress rewrote chemical safety laws a couple of years ago, with instructions to the Environmental Protection Agency to work to reduce testing of chemicals on animals. 

Instead, reports indicate animal testing is now more common, with many more animals being exposed to potentially harmful chemicals. 

Animal rights groups have expressed concern, and so has the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.  Kristie Sullivan of PCRM will join us. 

Wikimedia

One of the more notable ballot measures in California's November election could be a real chicken fight.  Because it is all about the treatment of farm animals, chickens included. 

Signatures are in, but a proposition number has yet to be assigned to the "Cage-Free California" referendum. 

It would go beyond the guidelines of 2008's Proposition Two, by specifying that egg-laying hens, breeding pigs, and veal calves must be raised outside of cages. 

Prevent Cruelty California, which backs the measure, is a coalition of several animal rights groups. 

pixabay

Pet stores in California will be stocked differently under a bill just signed into law.  That law makes the state the first in the country to ban pet stores from selling animals raised in "breeding mills." 

Animal rights groups including PETA object to the treatment of animals from the breeders. 

The law will force pet stores to offer rescue animals for sale, though breeding operations can still sell direct to customers. 

The Group Social Compassion in Legislation also supported the change. 

Wikimedia

Yeah, your pets cost you a few bucks when you have to take them to the vet.  But aren't they worth it? 

For that matter, is it possible they've saved you from a few trips to the doctor?  Pets do certainly enhance life for humans. 

And Carlyn Montes De Oca says there are real health benefits for humans in keeping animals around. 

She writes of those benefits in Dog as My Doctor, Cat as My Nurse

Neil McIntosh/Flickr

People may sit atop the food chain on Earth, but they can certainly learn things from the other animals. 

The Kerulos Center in Southern Oregon is all about respecting animals and their rights. 

Center director Gay Bradshaw has some ideas about how animals think; she presents her thoughts in a talk at Southern Oregon University. 

OHSU Details Recent Issues At Primate Center

Jun 3, 2016
Brennan Linsley via OPB

Oregon Health Sciences University--OHSU--has released the list of problems it’s experienced in its animal research centers over the last 16 months.

They range from the disturbing: a monkey bleeding to death after pulling out its shunt — to the bizarre: another monkey drinking so much alcohol it passed out.

OHSU’s primate research center has about 5,000 monkeys. And at any one time, scientists there are conducting about 120 experiments.
Center director Nancy Haigwood says mistakes happen.

Humans Re-Assess Animal Thinking

May 5, 2016
W.W. Norton Books

Does the cat actually judge you when you trip on your bathrobe belt?  We can't rule it out. 

Science knows a lot more about animal thinking these days, enough to know that we may not rank above animals so much as next to them--think evolutionary bush, not ladder. 

Biologist Frans de Waal studies primates and other creatures in his work, and he wrote the book Are We Smart Enough To Know How Smart Animals Are?  He provides many examples of animals using their brains well. 

Economy Being Kind(er) To Animals

Apr 13, 2016
William Morrow Books

The recent announcement from Sea World that it will phase out the "performances" of orcas before crowds represents another step in a series. 

Industry is responding to pressure to manage animals more humanely, even if they will end up killed and eaten at the end. 

Call it The Humane Economy, that's what Wayne Pacelle calls the trend, and his book.  The name should ring a bell; Pacelle is the President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.