Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween's 5 Favorite Animals

Like many holidays, there are a series of beliefs and superstitions that surround Halloween. While it is often celebrated by kids dressing up in costumes and shoveling in way too much candy, the holiday has roots in ancient folklore and Celtic rituals. For this, Halloween is seen as an eerie holiday filled with fear--as well as mystery and magic. Halloween is also often associated with some seemingly spooky iconic animals --spiders, black cats, ravens, wolves and bats. But are they really all that spooky? Decide for yourself.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Are Prey Animals Scared All The Time?

In September 1865, a young Charles Darwin first set foot on the Galapagos Islands and started taking notes. These writings, later published as The Voyage of the Beagle, featured long accounts of the island's geology and wildlife. They contained the kernels of what would become his "Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection," and brought him great acclaim as a keenly observant naturalist.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

When Animals Shrink to Miniature Form

A tiny dwarf chameleon just 29mm long (1.1 inches) and a record-breaking miniscule frog measuring in at 7.7mm (0.3 inches) are among the headline-grabbing species of diminutive proportions that have only been discovered in the past few years.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

As Large Animals Disappear

It only takes a glance at a history book and a look out the window to know that our planet has lost many of its biggest creatures: The world that was once home to mammoths and towering dinosaurs can now barely maintain stable populations of rhinos and whales. But according to a new study, we've got more to mourn than just the animals themselves. We've lost their feces, too — and that's a bigger problem than you might think.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Can We Justify Killing Animals For Food?

Is it right to kill animals for food? And if it's wrong, how wrong is it? Could and should Western society ever change its views?  Four philosophers share their views with BBC Radio 4's Analysis programme.  Peter Singer: Our future selves will consider meat eating to be barbaric  Peter Singer is professor of bioethics at Princeton University and the author of Animal Liberation.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Outrage at Millions of Experiments Carried Out on Animals

Animal welfare charities reacted angrily today as the Government released details of the 3.87 million experiments carried out on mammals, birds and fish last year.The experiments were described as causing “'unacceptable levels of suffering” and the Government came under attack for failing to reduce the numbers of animals used in laboratories.  Critics say 184,00 procedures deemed to be at the severest level were carried out – a figure twice the seating capacity of Twickenham.  Announcing the figures, the Home Office said the statistics showed the number of scientific procedures carried out on animals had fallen by six per cent from 4.12m procedures during 2013 to 3.87m in 2014.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Visitors Can’t Tell If a Tourist Attraction Is Bad for Animals

In the first major study of wildlife tourism around the world, researchers at the University of Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit—the same group that had been studying Cecil the Lion before he was shot in July—found that the millions of people who visit wildlife attractions each year don’t seem to realize that places they’re visiting have ill effects on animals.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Animals Spy a New Enemy: Drones

On a sunny morning in October 2014, Christopher Schmidt strolled onto the grassy fields of Magazine Beach, a public park along the Charles River in Cambridge, Mass. To get a better view of the fall scenery, he launched his drone, a DJI Phantom quadcopter equipped with a camera.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Animals That Pretend to Go Belly-Up

Anyone planning a fright for Halloween might learn a trick from a South American frog that dramatically fakes its own death, according to scientists.  Leaf litter frogs (Ischnocnema aff. henselii) of southern Brazil were recently observed playing dead by turning belly-up, shutting their eyes, and throwing back their arms and legs. The frogs stayed in their exaggerated death pose for about two minutes, according to a team lead by biologist Vinicius Batista of the State University of Maringá in Brazil and reported in the fall issue of the Herpetological Bulletin.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Support Animals Help UNC Students

Senior Jared Scruggs is the proud owner of a small 10-month-old pointer fox terrier mix named Willow. But Willow isn’t any regular puppy — she is a support animal. Three years ago, UNC allowed its first support animal in a residence hall. Today, there are three students living with support animals on campus, said Rick Bradley, associate director of housing and residential education. According to UNC’s Animals On Campus policy, a service animal is defined by law as a dog or miniature horse, but support animals include more species. A support animal is “an animal that provides emotional or other support to an individual with a disability.”

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Video: Paralyzed Dog Makes a Fully Recovery

In April of 2013, Two Hands Four Paws founder Leslie Gallagher received a call from Doberman Rescue regarding a paralyzed Doberman named Kenny.  Kenny had suffered a traumatic event to his neck, possibly due to a kennel gate being dropped on him. He was rendered paralyzed in all four legs, completely unable to move.  Due to the potential costs of a proper diagnosis and restorative surgery, euthanasia was proposed.  Lisa contacted Leslie for advice.  Leslie subsequently offered to take Ken in and try to work her magic one more time.  The odds were not in her favor.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Why Do European Zoos Kill Healthy Animals?

On Thursday, the Odense Zoo in Denmark is scheduled to dissect a lion for the educational benefit of children on school holidays.  The 9-month-old female lion was considered "surplus." Officials at Odense said they had too many female lions. And they also were concerned about inbreeding, according to reports. The lion was offered to other zoos, but when no takers were found she was killed and stored in a freezer earlier this year.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Too Many People Are Still Not Adopting Animals

For most people concerned about animal welfare, adopting pets from an animal shelter or rescue organization is unquestionably the right thing to do, both for the pets brought into loving homes as well as to create more room and resources for animals left behind. And as we observe "Adopt a Shelter Dog Month," it's easy to assume the general public understands this imperative.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Ecotourism Could Bring New Dangers to Animals

Ecotourism seems like it should be a win-win. Visitors get to experience exciting, often exotic locales and see creatures in their natural habitats. The money raised through these visits goes to local communities and to preserving ecosystems.  But what if nature tourism is hurting the very animals we want to protect?

Friday, October 9, 2015

Animals Deserve To Be Treated Humanely

Thank you for publishing columnist Kirsten Powers’ piece “It’s time for evangelicals to speak up for animals.”  The animal rights movement is the logical successor to the other major social justice movements of the second half of the 20th century: the civil rights movement, the women’s rights movement and the gay rights movement.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Humans Harder on Animals Than Radiation

The site of the worst nuclear disaster in history might be turning into an accidental wildlife sanctuary.  More than 100,000 people had to leave the 1,600 square miles surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear plant, after an explosion in one of the nuclear reactors spewed tons of radioactive material into the air in 1986.  The number of deaths, particularly those from radiation exposure and cancers, has been disputed over the years, with some figures being as low as 43 and others closer to 4,000, or higher.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

We Don't Own the Animals

I was recently honored to receive a humanitarian award from Peta. During the evening, I was reminded of Pope Francis' historical new encyclical on the environment. He praises animals, and calls on all of us to embrace a more humane path: "We read in the Gospel that Jesus says of the birds of the air that 'not one of them is forgotten before God' ( Lk 12:6)." How then can we possibly mistreat them or cause them harm?"

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Secret Lives of Dogs

A dog’s tail wagging could be worth a thousand words, and with the help of a new gadget, we’re a little closer to translating its message.  Believing a dog’s tail is a window to the canine soul, founders of New York-based tech company DogStar Life created a smart device to help owners decode the messages transmitted when pups wag their tails and better understand the emotional lives of their furry friends.  TailTalk is a lightweight sensor that sits on a dog’s tail and documents the peaks and valleys of the pup’s feelings throughout the day, according to the creators.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Campuses Debate Rising Demands for ‘Comfort Animals’

Rachel Brill and Mary McCarthy are seniors and longtime roommates at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. This year, they share their four-bedroom campus apartment with two other female students. Also, Theo and Carl.  Theo, easygoing and unflappable, is a tawny, 103-pound, longhaired German shepherd. Carl, an energetic charm magnet, is a jet-black, 1.5-pound Netherland Dwarf rabbit.  House rules: Carl must reside in a pen under Ms. McCarthy’s raised bed; Theo snoozes in a crate in Ms. Brill’s bedroom. Carl cannot be let loose in the living room, where Theo likes to hang out. “We’re still very careful because we don’t want there to be an issue with Theo and Carl,” Ms. McCarthy said. “We’re both very anxious people.”

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Furriest Animal In the World

In the coldest parts of the world, insulation is essential for survival.  One way is to have a good thick layer of blubber under your skin. But anyone that's seen a walrus flopping across the beach knows that fat can have its downsides. To stay both warm and agile, fat won't do.  The Arctic fox can withstand polar winters, surviving long periods below -20 °C (-4 °F), thanks to some incredible adaptations.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

World Day for Farmed Animals Seeks To Give People Pause

Nobody’s going to ask you to stop eating turkey sandwiches, hamburgers or pork chops. That’s the sort of request that tends to irk devoted carnivores—i.e., the vast majority of humans who, worldwide, will consume upwards of 65 billion farm animals this year.  Not even the most passionate vegan organizer behind World Day for Farmed Animals (Oct. 2) is expecting legions of meat-eaters to dramatically change their diets overnight, no matter how many distressing facts they offer up on their website ( or on placards carried by supporters at the many rallies planned for Saturday.