Tag Archives | Animals

India To Recognize Dolphins As “Non-Human Persons”

non-human persons

Are we moving beyond the human/animal binary? Via Environment News Service:

India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests has decided to forbid the keeping of captive dolphins for public entertainment anywhere in the country. In a policy statement released Friday, the ministry said:

“[Their] unusually high intelligence as compared to other animals means that dolphin should be seen as ‘non-human persons’ and as such should have their own specific rights and is morally unacceptable to keep them captive for entertainment purpose.”

The grassroots Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organization, FIAPO, was pleased with the decision. FIAPO spokesperson Puja Mitra called the decision “a huge victory for the dolphins!”

Ric O’Barry, director of the U.S.-based Earth Island Institute’s Dolphin Project, said, “Not only has the Indian government spoken out against cruelty, they have contributed to an emerging and vital dialogue about the ways we think about dolphins – as thinking, feeling beings.”

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Can Animals Get High On Marijuana?

ram-RACannabis can have tremendous benefits for sick creatures, but veterinarian Dr. Andrew Springer Browne, who has treated numerous pets that got a hold of their owners’ pot brownies, warns that animals should never ingest THC. Via the The New Inquiry:

Yes, an animal can get high on marijuana, but I would call it a very bad trip rather than being stoned or high.

The main clinical signs in dogs are low body temperature, dilated pupils, increased sensitivity to noise and movement, being unsteady on their feet. The animals are usually distressed and whimpering or howling. With really high doses they are collapsed, with a slow heart rate, barely responsive. This can last 24 to 48 hours. Usually they survive.

I would say though that any amount of marijuana is too much for an animal. Also, marijuana can have a variable amount of THC in it and also may contain contaminants like fungal spores, pesticides, or fertilizer.

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Uruguayan Scientists Create Healthy Glow-In-The-Dark Sheep

It has been announced that nine sheep born this past October at Uruguay's Institute of Animal Reproduction have been developing normally and living contentedly. The sheep were genetically engineered to contain a gene from a jellyfish which spurs the production of green fluorescent protein, a modification which will no doubt soon be a common one for designer house pets:
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Russia Launches A Variety Of Animals On A Space Journey

space animalsWe know what kinds of rodents and lizards we are sending up into space, but the question is, what sort will return? Yahoo! News:

Geckos, mice and gerbils and other animals launched into orbit Friday to begin a month-long Russian experiment to study how space travel affects living creatures. The space mission, scientists assure, will return the animals to Earth alive.

A Russian-built Soyuz 2 rocket carried the Bion-M1 space capsule, with 45 mice, eight Mongolian gerbils, 15 geckos and numerous other species. They are expected to spend a month in orbit, flying 357 miles above Earth while scientists on the ground monitor the health of the capsule’s passengers.

While the project is run by Russia’s Federal Space Agency, an international team of scientists is overseeing the mission’s many experiments. Bion-M1 is Russia’s first mission dedicated to launching animals into space in 17 years. The last Bion mission carried rhesus monkeys, geckos and amphibians into orbit for 15 days in 1996.

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Florida Hit By Invasion Of Hundreds Of Thousands Of Giant Snails

giant african land snailWill this be how the world ends — covered in snail slime? Tampa’s WTSP reports:

Since September 8, 2011 when the snails were first found, the Florida Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have collected more than 40,000 of the Giant African snails.

The Giant African land snail is one of the largest land snails in the world, growing up to eight inches in length. State officials said this invasive species eats at least 500 different agricultural crops, can cause damage to plaster and stucco on homes and though rare, can carry rat lungworm, a parasite that can cause meningitis in humans.

The last reported outbreak and eradication of the Giant African land snail in Florida occurred in 1966 when a boy smuggled three Giant African land snails into Miami as pets and his grandmother released the snails into her garden. It’s not known how the latest outbreak started, but it’s illegal to bring the snails into the US without a permit.

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Accepting Alternate Forms Of Intelligence In The Animal Kingdom

Our inability to perceive animal intelligence revealed the limits of our own. Via the Wall Street Journal, Frans de Waal writes:

Who is smarter: a person or an ape? Well, it depends on the task. Consider Ayumu, a young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University who, in a 2007 study, put human memory to shame. Trained on a touch screen, Ayumu could recall a random series of nine numbers, from 1 to 9, and tap them in the right order, even though the numbers had been displayed for just a fraction of a second and then replaced with white squares.

I tried the task myself and could not keep track of more than five numbers—and I was given much more time than the brainy ape. In the study, Ayumu outperformed a group of university students by a wide margin. The next year, he took on the British memory champion Ben Pridmore and emerged the “chimpion.”

A growing body of evidence shows, that we have grossly underestimated both the scope and the scale of animal intelligence.

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Should Medical Marijuana Be Legalized For Dogs?

Pet website Dogster.com writes that veterinarians are awakening to the miraculous abilities of cannabis to heal sick animals:

Christine L.’s Rottweiler, Sampson, had a rare form of blood cancer. After giving Sampson cannabis flower-bud material mixed with virgin coconut oil, whereas before Sampson had been too weak to walk, almost overnight he became a born-again youngster. “He was a puppy again, happy and playful,” Christine recalls. “Cannabis saved my dog’s life,” she says. “It brought him back from the brink.”

Since Sampson’s passing, Christine consoles herself by reaching out to others in a similar situation. Online, she found Dr. Doug Kramer, whose mission is to improve pets’ quality of life by outlining safe and effective dosing guidelines.

Kramer’s become an outspoken, tireless advocate of pain control for animals and has established a veterinary practice, Enlightened Veterinary Therapeutics, specializing in palliative and hospice care. He’s the first vet in the country to offer cannabis consultations as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for pet patients.

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Kentucky Town Terrorized By Swarm Of Millions Of Birds

Will global warming do us in by provoking multitudes of agitated, disease-laden birds to descend upon us? Via the Bangor Daily News:

Millions of birds have descended on a small Kentucky city this winter, fouling the landscape, scaring pets and raising the risk for disease in a real-life version of Alfred Hitchcock’s horror film, “The Birds.”

The blackbirds blacken the sky of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, before roosting at dusk, turn the landscape white with bird poop, and the disease they carry can kill a dog and sicken humans.

David Chiles, president of the Little River Audubon Society, said the migratory flocks’ roosting in the city rather than flying further south is tied to climate warming.

The birds also pose a serious health hazard because their droppings can carry a fungal disease which can cause lung infections and symptoms similar to pneumonia. It is particularly dangerous for people with compromised immune systems or respiratory ailments.

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Dogs Are Smarter Than Cats

Beagle and sleeping black and white kitty-01Continuing the media assault on cats, the Wall Street Journal says that canines outsmart felines:

With half as many neurons in their cerebral cortex as cats—and half the attitude, some would say—dogs are often taken to be the less intelligent domestic partner. While dogs drink out of the toilet, slavishly follow their master and need a chaperone to relieve themselves, cats hunt self-sufficiently and survey their empire with a regal gaze.

But cats beware. Research in recent years has finally revealed the genius of dogs.

Like other language-trained animals—dolphins, parrots, bonobos—dogs can learn to respond to hundreds of spoken signals associated with different objects. What sets dogs apart is how they learn these words.

If you show a child a red block and a green block, and then ask for the chromium block, not the red block, most children will give you the green block, despite not knowing that the word “chromium” can refer to a shade of green.

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The Great Porcupine

Picture: Pearson Scott Foresman (PD)

In the spring of 2006, I was living in Madison, WI and going through a painful divorce. I decided the best remedy was for me to spend large stretches of time alone communing with nature. My work schedule at the time allowed me four days off after working three overnight shifts. So after work, I would drive five hours North to the Nicolet National Forest. The forest is a marvel of modern conservation. Reduced to clear cut stump fields by the turn of the century, it was restored by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930's. Today it is a lush, healthy second growth forest teeming with wildlife - even wolves and black bears.

After one of my many long drives to Nicolet, I parked my car in the gravel Parking lot of my favorite lakeside campground and backpacked down a cross country ski trail which at this time of year was completely deserted by humans.… Read the rest

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