Scientists at the South China Agricultural University announced last week that they had successfully engineered 10 piglets that could glow green under black light. By using a technique pioneered by the University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Medicine, the researchers were able to isolate a fluorescent protein in jellyfish DNA and inject it into pig embryos. Turkish researchers were able to raise fluorescent rabbits with the University of Hawaii's technique earlier this year.
Tag Archives | Animals
To what extent do animals share our sense of consciousness? Some of our Disinfonauts may enjoy this piece by Scientific American’s Cristoph Koch.
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I grew up in a devout and practicing Roman Catholic family with Purzel, a fearless and high-energy dachshund. He, as with all the other, much larger dogs that subsequently accompanied me through life, showed plenty of affection, curiosity, playfulness, aggression, anger, shame and fear. Yet my church teaches that whereas animals, as God’s creatures, ought to be treated well, they do not possess an immortal soul. Only humans do. Even as a child, to me this belief felt intuitively wrong. These gorgeous creatures had feelings, just like I did. Why deny them? Why would God resurrect people but not dogs? This core Christian belief in human exceptionalism did not make any sense to me. Whatever consciousness and mind are and no matter how they relate to the brain and the rest of the body, I felt that the same principle must hold for people and dogs and, by extension, for other animals as well.
Abby Martin talks to self-proclaimed animal abolitionist and Rutgers University Professor, Gary Francione, about the need rethink treatment of animals, discussing everything from factory farming to the ethics of eating meat.
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Jann Wenner’s Rolling Stone occasionally delves deep into issues that most major publications would rather leave well alone. Case in point, its report on what it takes to provide America with cheap meat. Not for the faint of heart…
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Sarah – let’s call her that for this story, though it’s neither the name her parents gave her nor the one she currently uses undercover – is a tall, fair woman in her midtwenties who’s pretty in a stock, anonymous way, as if she’d purposely scrubbed her face and frame of distinguishing characteristics. Like anyone who’s spent much time working farms, she’s functionally built through the thighs and trunk, herding pregnant hogs who weigh triple what she does into chutes to birth their litters and hefting buckets of dead piglets down quarter-mile alleys to where they’re later processed. It’s backbreaking labor, nine-hour days in stifling barns in Wyoming, and no training could prepare her for the sensory assault of 10,000 pigs in close quarters: the stench of their shit, piled three feet high in the slanted trenches below; the blood on sows’ snouts cut by cages so tight they can’t turn around or lie sideways; the racking cries of broken-legged pigs, hauled into alleys by dead-eyed workers and left there to die of exposure.
Today it’s sticks. Tomorrow? Well… let’s just say I’d throw away any alligator belts or boots you may have in your closet.
As described by Dinets et al. (2013), Mugger crocodiles Crocodylus palustris in India and American alligators Alligator mississippiensis in the USA have both been observed to lie, partially submerged, beneath egret and heron colonies with sticks balanced across their snouts. Birds approach to collect the sticks for use in nest building and… well, let’s just say that it doesn’t end well for the birds. If the crocodylians really are using the sticks as bait to attract their bird prey, this is tool use, since the sticks are objects that are being employed for a specific function.
Via the Guardian, powerful mental abilities we ironically have lost through evolution:
In a landmark test of short-term memory conducted in public in 2007, the young chimp Ayumu demonstrated astonishing powers of recall, easily beating his human competitors, who had been in training for months.
“We’ve concluded through the cognitive tests that chimps have extraordinary memories,” Matsuzawa says. “They can grasp things at a glance. As a human, you will never be a match.”
Why do the latter have such vastly superior working memories? As humans evolved and acquired new skills – notably the ability to use language to communicate and collaborate –they lost others they once shared with their common simian ancestors.
The institute’s researchers are trying to find how far Ayumu can go before he falters. In the most recent tests, the number of digits [shown for a split second] has been increased from 1-9 to 1-19.
They’re coming for us. Via Intellihub News:
54-year-old Professor Park Se-pill of Jeju National University in South Korea was seriously injured after being attacked by a cloned cow that he created in 2009. He has suffered a spinal injury and 5 broken ribs and will need 8 months of treatment before recovering.
The researchers took cells from the ear of a bull before it was butchered in 2008. They kept these cells in cold storage before using them to fertilize eggs which were implanted into a cow.
“Park was video-recording a black cow, which he cloned from species indigenous to Jeju four years ago, and all of a sudden, it charged and attacked him for 15 minutes,” a school official said. “The 800-kilogram black cow is very strong because its cell donor was the best available. Park could not escape easily because he wore a special suit and long boots.”
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Incitatus, the horse of Caligula, who it is alleged became a consul and a priest.
Boston Curtis, a brown mule, was offered as a candidate for a Republican precinct seat in Milton, Washington in 1938, winning 52 to zero.
In 1967, an Ecuadorian foot powder company advertised its product, Pulvapies, as a mayoral candidate in the town of Picoazá. Surprisingly, the foot powder won by a clear majority.
Pigasus the Immortal, a boar hog that the Yippies nominated as a candidate in the U.S. presidential election, 1968.
The mayor of Sunol, California was, for ten years (1981–1990), a black Labrador-Rottweiler named Bosco.
Tião, a bad-tempered chimpanzee, was put forward by the fictional Brazilian Banana Party (Partido Bananista Brasileiro, actually the satirical group Casseta & Planeta) as a candidate for the Rio de Janeiro mayoralty in 1988.
After over a century, mainstream scientists finally got around to acknowledging something anyone with pets or has watched nature documentaries has known all along – animals are conscious beings.
A year ago at the Francis Crick Memorial Conference, evidence of this obvious conclusion was presented by self-congratulatory scientists, despite the fact that only one of them had actually bothered to do any field research into wild animals and that field researchers had already made the same conclusion years before. As Michael Mountain at the Nonhuman Rights Project, which seeks to change the common law status of some nonhuman animals as “things”, stated: “Science leaders have reached a critical consensus: Humans are not the only conscious beings; other animals, specifically mammals and birds, are indeed conscious, too.”
Two of the primary reasons why it has taken so long for the scientific establishment to come to such self-evident conclusions are the nature of the study of psychology and consciousness itself, and the historical cultural values towards animals in the Western world.… Read the rest
Our pets are becoming obese, as well as pests and vermin…but bafflingly, so have laboratory rats given the same controlled diets that have been in use for decades. Could toxins, viruses, or some other factor be at play in humans and animals living in proximity to our society growing fatter decade after decade? Marginal Revolution writes:
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In a remarkable paper Allison et al. (2011) gather data on the weight at mid-life from 12 animal populations covering 8 different species all living in human environments. Dividing the sample into male and female they find that in all 24 cases animal weight has increased over the past several decades.
Cats and dogs, for example, both increased in weight. Female cats increased in body weight at a rate of 13.6% per decade and males at 5.7% per decade.
The authors also looked at animals not directly under human control such as rats. For the 1948–2006 time period, male rats trapped in urban Baltimore experienced a 5.7 per cent increase in body weight per decade and a nearly 20 per cent increase in the odds of obesity.