Please see below selected recent animals-related change.
- A writer for Aeon argued that if the only morally relevant factor is ‘can they suffer?’, then there is no relevant moral difference when animals rather than human suffer pain that we can alleviate.
- If 2018 is the year of mainstream veganism, then according to The Guardian, then there is not one single cause, but a perfect plant-based storm of factors. People cite one or more of three key motives for going vegan - animal welfare, environmental concerns and personal health - and it is being accompanied by an endless array of new business startups, cookbooks, YouTube channels, trendy events and polemical documentaries. The traditional food industry is desperately trying to catch up with the flourishing grassroots demand.
- New animal species and behaviours are reportedly emerging within the growing urban sprawl, including fluorescent light loving arachnids and traffic exploiting, nut-cracking Japanese crows.
- Meanwhile, a French park has recruited crows for garbage pickup, reported Quartz. The clever rooks have been trained to pick up litter and move it to a receptacle in exchange for a treat.
- Global coworking powerhouse WeWork announced that it would no longer let its 6,000 employees expense meals containing meat, or serve meat at its events. WeWork stated in an internal memo: "New research indicates that avoiding meat is one of the biggest things an individual can do to reduce their personal environmental impact - even more than switching to a hybrid car".
- A Quartz writer argued that feeling compassion and respect for the creatures around us doesn’t necessarily preclude eating meat. Whether we’re vegans or devout carnivores, our actions will sometimes have ramifications that cause harm to other living things. What’s important, the writer believes, is interrogating our individual ethics and responsibilities.
- As humans gain an ever-increasing understanding of animals’ ability to think, feel, and experience pain, many of us are asking whether eating meat is morally acceptable. Can you care for animals and also eat them, asked a Quartz article.
- Quartz noted that scientists test new chemical compounds on animals because we they claim we still don’t completely understand the world around us. New compounds might interact with living cells in unexpected ways, causing unforeseen harm. But an artificial intelligence system published in the research journal Toxicological Sciences showed that it might be possible to automate some tests using the knowledge about chemical interactions we already have. The AI was trained to predict how toxic tens of thousands of unknown chemicals could be, based on previous animal tests, and the algorithm’s results were shown to be as accurate as live animal tests.
The evolution of the human brain is one of the wonders of nature, but a philosopher of science asked recently: what if intelligent life on Earth evolved not once, but twice? He wondered how the octopus - a solitary creature - became so smart and traced the story from single-celled organism 3.8 billion years ago to the development of cephalopod consciousness, casting new light on the non-human animal mind.
Crows are even smarter than we thought. A recent experiment showed they remember the tools that work best—and how to make them.Another example: according to research at the University of Washington's Avian Conservation Laboratory, crows hold "funerals." when they see a corpse of their own kind they gather together and squawk loudly.
Meanwhile, living among humans seems to favour fearless problem-solvers interested in new things: that’s how city birds get smarter than rural birds.
- ASOS, the online fashion retailer, has announced a major new change in the products it will - or rather won’t - carry, noted Quartz. Under pressure from the animal-welfare group PETA, the company has joined the likes of Zara, H&M, Gap, and others in ditching mohair, but it’s also going a few steps further. The company’s new policy will ban products using cashmere, silk, feathers (including down), bone, horn, shell (including mother of pearl), and teeth from ASOS’s websites too. It will be fully in effect by the end of January 2019.
- What separates our mind from an animal's? Maybe we think it's our ability to design tools, our sense of self, or our grasp of past and future-all traits that have helped us define ourselves as the planet's preeminent species. But in recent decades, these claims have eroded, or even been disproven outright, by a revolution in the study of animal cognition. Based on research involving crows, dolphins, parrots, sheep, wasps, bats, whales, and of course chimpanzees and bonobos, Frans de Waal explored recently both the scope and the depth of animal intelligence.
- Animals like lobsters feel pain. Our laws need to protect them, Quartz argued in 2018. On the news of Switzerland banning the boiling of live, non-stunned crustaceans of the species, it’s time to reopen the ongoing discussion about animal consciousness and cognition.
- Juxtaposing this with this EU communication from 2012 on animal welfare illustrates clearly how, so often, poetry trumps policy. I myself had an awakening realisation about how we should treat non-human animals, and captures perfectly why I protested against animal exports many years ago and eventually stopped eating meat entirely. In contrast, the dull but worthy EU prose (perhaps it contains good news for animals, perhaps it doesn't, but who's going to wade through it to find out?)
- All this in the one continent which - above all others - should remember and recoil from shipping sentient beings in trucks.
- Seeing humans as social animals, rather than rational machines, and arguing that the latest neuroscience suggests that the experiental view of the world espoused by the likes of David Hume trumps the mind/body divide of the Cartesians, David Brooke explored new insights into human nature and the forces that shape our choices and actions.
- The environmental impact of the lifecycle/supply chain of animals raised for food may have been vastly underestimated.