This paper calls for more attention within the field of bioethics to animal death, and to the implications of related research for animal welfare. Animals' awareness of, and behavior in reaction to death, including death of humans and other animals, and anticipation of their own death is discussed. The author also cites research on animal emotions, empathy, social bonds, and grieving to argue that death is a psychological as well as a physical harm. In addition, she examines techniques and justifications for euthanasia, and questions whether a different term should be used for death administered to end animal suffering when the suffering was caused by experimentation.
In this psychological study, the author identifies and discusses 8 ways meat eaters reduce cognitive dissonance (conflicting beliefs) related to their meat-eating behavior. These mechanisms were measured after vegetarianism had been mentioned in passing (or not) to meat-eaters, and increases did occur. The author concludes that some campaigns to reduce meat-eating may actually increase entrenchment in meat-eating justifications. The discomfort these reactions create for vegetarians may also make it more difficult to remain vegetarian.
This brief conference abstract discusses the impact of climate change on parasitic diseases that can be transmitted between humans and another species (known as "zoonotic" diseases). In addition to direct effects due to disrupted ecological balances, socioeconomic impacts of climate change can promote transmission of parasitic diseases. Zoonotic conditions known to be affected by climate change are listed, and the author calls for more research to identify additional conditions, risk factors, and vectors (carriers), and to develop prevention strategies and treatment protocols.
Seeing the big picture is complicated. Research to measure and predict outcomes is an indispensable tool in the development of sustainable policies. Like any tool, it’s up to us what we build (or tear down) with it. A compartmentalized mindset has become the accepted standard, in advocacy as well as in research. But is compartmentalization sustainable?
Biomass Use, Production, Feed Efficiencies, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Global Livestock SystemsSubmitted on Apr 21, 2014 (Original item from 2013) Diet and Nutrition | Farmed Animals | General Animal Protection | Research Tools and Methods
This article from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences introduces a 120-page appendix describing animal distribution, biomass consumption (feed), farm size and practices, and animal-related greenhouse gas emissions in global "livestock" farming. The report is presented as a baseline dataset for environmental and agricultural decisions. Animal advocates may wish to address its assumptions that animal farming is key to food security, and that conversion to western-style factory farming best reduces its environmental impacts in the developing world. The comparison of "feed efficiency" in meat vs. dairy production may also be of interest.
What prompted this son of wealth, with little history of persistent effort or particular accomplishments, to suddenly become a hands-on, full-time animal advocate when he was well into his 50s? A lot of people have wondered, including those who knew him at the time. The mystery is intensified when we read that the founder of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals didn’t actually like animals!
The use of fish as a substitute for mammals in laboratories has skyrocketed into the millions. Little research has been done on the effects of anesthetics that are used on fish during surgical procedures and euthanasia. This study tested nine anesthetics on Danio zebrafish for reactions that indicated discomfort, distress or pain. Seven of the anesthetics, including two of the most widely used, caused aversive reactions. The authors conclude that they are inhumane, and should be discontinued. They also call for similar tests for other types of fish, since reactions can vary from species to species.
Additional Foraging Elements Reduce Abnormal Behaviour – Fur-Chewing and Stereotypic Behaviour – in Farmed Mink (Neovison vison)Submitted on Apr 04, 2014 (Original item from 2013) Farmed Animals | General Animal Protection
The authors of this Danish study theorized that hunting and chewing behaviors are inherent to minks, and are insufficiently expressed in a farm environment, leading to undesirable stress-related behaviors. They provided chewing ropes, chewier feed, both, or neither to 4 groups of 50 minks each. Fur-chewing was reduced by either chewing ropes or chewier feed. Pacing was reduced only by chewier feed. The authors suggest several possible reasons for these results and call for further research to better understand mink behavior and needs.
In 1999, a law against depictions of animal cruelty was enacted to criminalize fetish videos of women trampling small animals to death ("crush videos"). When it was applied in a case of dog-fighting videos (U.S. v. Stevens), the law was struck down for being overly broad, and a narrower law was enacted. The author analyzes underlying legal issues, especially whether animal protection can override free speech rights. Since the new law specifies a state interest in extreme cases of animal cruelty, the author argues that animal protection law was ultimately advanced due to the Stevens case, even though the conviction was thrown out.
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