In the past 100 years, agricultural practices - and the explicit and implicit ethics around them - have changed dramatically, to be almost unrecognizable from their former selves. The shift in animal farming has be especially dramatic, so much so that it has also resulted in widespread public concern, leading to both public pressure campaign and industry-led initiatives to try to address the issues. Of course "ethical food" markets are almost as varied as there are different ethical positions: they develop in specific forms...more >>
Understanding non-human animal behavior is essential to understanding animal welfare. And one of the key ways that we interpret farmed animal welfare is by how much a given situation allows them to express their natural behaviors. One of the most unnatural places for animals is the slaughterhouse. And slaughterhouse welfare is a divisive topic at the best of times. While divisive, it's not a complete unknown. Many studies have looked at the behavioral and physiological reactions of animals at various stages of slaughter, as well as during transport before slaughter.
There is a large body of literature evaluating the relationship between early childhood exposure to animals and the risk of asthma, allergies, and respiratory illness. This study, conducted in Finland, focuses specifically on the effect of dog and cat contacts on respiratory tract infections during a child’s first year of life. The authors found a benefit to increased contact with dogs and cats.
To curb rising temperatures, most countries have focused on reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) as a way of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are also significant GHG contributors to climate change. Livestock farming is the primary producer of both of these GHGs, and is responsible for about 15% of all GHG emissions related to human activity. CH4’s short atmospheric lifespan and the mean global warming potential of both CH4 and N2O over the next century make reducing these GHGs...more >>
Have you ever considered what we learn from animals? It's one of those arguments supporting the ideology of animal protection that is often tabled by conservation advocates.
We may complain about freezing temperatures, but most cold snaps leave us little worse for the wear. That’s not the case for a common lizard living on the Texas-Mexico border, which, in just the span of a few months, underwent a dramatic genetic transformation in response to cold weather. In fact—in one of the most detailed examples of rapid evolution to date—a new study shows that just one...more >>
Now that the law has recognised animals as "sentient" (defined as “the capacity to have negative and positive experiences”), how will that make a difference for the animals, and for people?
True story. The monkey pressed the shutter button on the camera and took a "selfie". A US appeals court has debated whether or not a monkey can own the copyright to a selfie. In the meantime, photographer David Slater could not afford the air fare to San Francisco to attend the hearing, afford to replace his broken camera equipment, or pay the attorney who has been defending him since the crested black macaque sued him in 2015, and is exploring other ways to earn an income.
The story of the monkey selfie began in 2011, when Slater traveled to Sulawesi, Indonesia, and spent...more >>