“A key reason animals are still used so widely is money. Vivisection is very big business. The pharmaceutical industry is the most profitable industry in the world and its interests are strongly protected by governments. Animal experiments are in the industry’s interests because they can be used to market their products more quickly and – most importantly – they provide a legal defence for the company when people are injured or killed by ADRs [adverse drug reactions]. They will argue that, having carried out the animal tests, no blame can be laid at their door.”– Animal Aid
Animal advocates – up against “the most profitable industry in the world”– that is some formidable foe. Faunalytics Fundamentals aims to arm us for the fight with the best and latest data from the USA on what people think about the issue of animal research; and on the millions of animals…
For those who have never had the chance to pet a cow or see her of him run happily over a meadow, the following insights might seem a bit exaggerated. Once you get to learn more about these sentient beings you will hopefully never want to eat them (or even take away their milk). This is from the Farm Santuary’s blog:
“Cows have a secret mental life in which they bear grudges, nurture friendships, and become excited over intellectual challenges…” — The Sunday Times (UK)
Goats are merry pranksters, chickens and turkeys are inquisitive and always exploring, pigs are the brains of the operation, and cattle are the farm’s deeply social and most contemplative residents.
Cows interact with one another in complex ways, forming collaborative relationships (for example, they form “grooming partnerships,” just like chimpanzees)1, learning from one another, and making decisions based on altruism and compassion2. Sunday Times science editor Jonathan Leake explains that “cows have a secret mental life in which they bear grudges, nurture friendships, and become excited over intellectual challenges…”3
As a researcher at Moulton College in the UK, Krista McLennan has documented the fact that cattle form deep friendships and strong family bonds. Like humans, when cattle “have their preferred partner with them, their stress levels in terms of their heart rates are reduced compared with if they are with a random individual.”4
Because of their complex social lives, they are also quite intelligent. Professor Donald Broom from Cambridge University explains: “[S]ocial animals such as cattle…need substantial intellectual ability in order to cope with their complex social life.”5 As another indication of their intelligence, cows have great memories. Professor Joe Stookey from the University of Saskatchewan explains that cattle “demonstrate good spatial memory (they remember where things are located). … They can remember migration routes, watering holes, shelter, and the location of their newborn calf.”6 Other researchers report that cows remember the best spots in a pasture for grazing.7
They are also good problem solvers. Professor Broom explains that when cows solve problems, “[t]heir brainwaves showed their excitement; their heartbeat went up, and some even jumped into the air. We called it their Eureka moment.”8 Explains Guardian science reporter Laura Spinney, “The evidence that they are capable of learning associations suggests brains that are…aware of what has happened in the past and of acting on it in the future.”9
Tim Sell, chair of the UK’s National Farmers Union explains: “They are all individuals and all have their own characteristics. They are tremendously curious. They have emotional storms. When it is a miserable, cold day, they will all be miserable, but when it is nice and sunny, you can almost see them smiling.”10
Dr. John Webster echoes Sell’s comments: “You only have to watch how cows and lambs both seek and enjoy pleasure when they lie with their heads raised to the sun on a perfect English summer’s day. Just like humans.”11 And, as Dr. Temple Grandin explains, “When big old huge dairy cows are let out in the spring, after spending the whole winter cooped up in the barn, man, they just jump around all over the fields like little calves. It’s the same feeling young animals have when they play.”12
Meet Cinci and Sonny
Farm Sanctuary’s Susie Coston reflects: “Cinci holds a special place in our hearts here at Farm Sanctuary. She leapt a six-foot fence at a slaughterhouse near Cincinnati (hence her name) and hid out in a park for 10 days before she was finally caught by the local SPCA. As you can imagine, she was incredible and very smart. Farmers said she was dangerous — that she was probably culled from a breeding herd because she was nuts, and she would likely kill someone, but she was nothing but respectful to us.
Well, except this one time. We were attempting to have her hooves trimmed with the other cattle. The trimmer came with his chute and set up. We got to Cinnci, and she slammed the trimmer to the ground, turned, and took out two gates and a slider door in a matter of about 30 seconds. Then she jumped the fence. When the trimmer drove away, she returned to the herd. From that point on, when she heard his truck — which clanks with metal — she would jump the fences and stay far away until he left, and then she would again return to the herd.
Her death was also incredible — there was a huge respect for her in the herd and also an obvious awareness of her fear of people and their protectiveness of her during her final month or so. I really miss her so much.”
Sonny is a male calf who was born into the dairy industry. His owner brought him to the stockyard as a weak and injured newborn for a quick sale for veal or cheap beef. Today, Sonny is a rambunctious boy. He’s playful, confident, and maybe just a little bit spoiled from the round-the-clock care he received from Farm Sanctuary caregivers after his rescue. He was found just after his birth in a filthy stall, too weak to stand, his umbilical cord torn from his belly leaving a badly infected wound. Sonny never knew his mother or nursed from her, so he lacked the rich colostrum that was critical for his health and immunity. But with bottle-feeding, blood transfusions, and lots and lots of attention, the baby boy has grown into an irrepressible youngster.
You’ll usually find him looking for fun — or trouble — with his buddies, Conrad and Orlando. In the early morning, the boys moo and protest until someone finally comes with their food. Sonny checks in with his pig friends, Sebastian and Eric, only to be nipped on the nose. He tests the gates, hoping for a chance to sneak into places he shouldn’t be, then settles in for a day of fun with Conrad and Orlando. These overgrown boys spend their days together playing, complaining, napping, and playing some more. Always curious and ever testing his limits, Sonny finds a visitor’s camera bag and tosses it in the air and generally makes a nuisance of himself until one of his beloved caretakers relents and gives him a good old scratch on the neck. He still struggles with minor health issues from his rough start, but that doesn’t stop this boy from kicking up his heels in pure delight.
This is a well put together article on the plight of yet another being. Donkeys have been used and abused probably almost as long as humans walk the earth. What is their chance of survival? And is survival and any cost really worth the price of abuse?
“Donkeys may soon go extinct if they continue to be killed.”
Abubakar Ya’u, Nigerian sand-digger
China is on a quest to buy up the global supply of donkeys.
With a population of a whopping 1.4 billion – the largest of any country in the world and bigger than the populations of North America, South America, Australia, New Zealand, and all of Western Europe combined – the country of China is one gigantic gaping mouth sucking up commodities from every corner of the planet. And in no arena of global trade is this more true than with the trade in wildlife ‘products’, legal and illegal.
Traditional Chinese medicine is the villain of this story, not only for horribly cruel practices like extracting bile from captive bears, condemning the poor animals to a life of utter misery, but also for the tiger bones, pangolin scales, dried seahorse, antelope, buffalo and rhino horn, deer…
I doubt I’m alone in thinking that when it comes to scientific studies, researchers do have a tendency to find what they’re looking for. And if you believe as a human that you sit astride the topmost rung of the evolutionary ladder, your ‘scientific’ view of other animals’ abilities is already skewed out of true.
This is exactly what has happened over two decades’ worth of studies into apes. Yes, the scientists did say apes are clever – just not as clever as us. But conducting a new analysis of all those studies, Dr Leaven¹ discovered that “what we think we know about apes’ social intelligence is based on wishful thinking and flawed science.”
“The fault underlying decades of research and our understanding of apes’ abilities is due to such a strongly-held belief in our own superiority, that scientists have come to believe that human babies are more socially…
After more than 50 long years chained near the popular tourist spots Shri Bhavani Museum and Yamai Devi temple in Aundh, Satara, Gajraj has finally been rescued from his chains. This old elephant, whose appalling treatment sparked a global #FreeGajraj campaign led by PETA India and its international affiliates, is on his way now to the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre (ECCC) in Mathura – a collaborative project of PETA India, Wildlife SOS, and the Uttar Pradesh Forest and Wildlife Department – to receive vital veterinary treatment and begin his integration into the company of fellow elephants after all these years alone. He was rescued by the Maharashtra Forest Department today and is being accompanied to the ECCC by an expert veterinary team. PETA arranged for the Wildlife SOS elephant-care centre to take him in, a collaboration, and PETA has paid for his new home and other costs.