Paying Attention to the Noise: Barbara Smuts’ Research with Dogs, Wolves, and Nonhuman Primates

Dr. Barbara Smuts, professor of Biopsychology at the University of Michigan, knows she isn’t a rock, which is actually very useful information when studying animals. Similarly, for example, baboons are also aware that the scientist sitting nearby is not an inanimate lump. As Smuts discovered, once this mutual acknowledgement has happened, a whole world of … Continue reading

No Easy Answers: McWilliams Takes on Locavore Logic

Food movements have been gaining serious momentum lately. The meanings of “just”, “ethical,” and “sustainable” food are all contentious. Biotechnology, organics, “free range” meat, vegetarianism and localism are but a handful of issues currently marinating in the proverbial stew. Historian James E. McWilliams, author of Just Food: Where Locavores Get it Wrong and How We … Continue reading

Filling the Ark: Dr. Leslie Irvine discusses animals in disasters

When disaster strikes, news reports come fast and furious with constant updates and around the clock coverage. However, the coverage of earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and floods is almost always human-focused; where animals are concerned, the media often has little to say, especially if those animals were to become food or be used as research subjects. … Continue reading

Friends or Dinner?: A Toronto Subway System Campaign Stops the Public in Its Tracks

“Why love one but eat the other?” is the provocative slogan of the recent campaign launched by concerned citizens of Toronto and the U.S.-based animal advocacy organization, Mercy for Animals. This ambitious initiative, running June 9th to August 15th, involves a series of visually-striking subway posters that centrally juxtapose images of animals typically considered pets … Continue reading

Matters of Life and Death: The Toronto Humane Society Under Investigation

Toronto listeners will likely be aware of the recent Globe and Mail’s shocking investigation of the Toronto Humane Society (THS), Canada’s largest animal shelter. The allegations are serious and damning, including claims that animals languish in filthy conditions, as others are left to slowly die without proper veterinary care, while still others are adopted out … Continue reading

Why Cockfighting Must End: Views from the United States and Puerto Rico

The ubiquity of cockfighting is shocking. Even in places such as the United States where the practice is illegal, underground fighting continues to be a lucrative (and inherently cruel) industry. Before a fight, roosters (or gamecocks) have their spurs cut off without anaesthetic, and metal or plastic razor-sharp blades (known as gaffs) are attached to … Continue reading

More than Meets the Eye: NYC’s Horse-Drawn Carriage Industry

At first glance, for many, New York City’s horse-drawn carriage industry might seem pretty benign, even romantic and quaint. However, like most animal industries, there is much that is disguised, distorted, and hidden from public view. In the documentary Blinders: The Truth Behind the Tradition, filmmaker Donny Moss gives the viewer an intimate — and frequently … Continue reading