November 28, 2006

Animal welfare notes

Mirror, Mirror: Evidence that psychology, like biology, is conserved between human and nonhuman species augurs a shake-up for science and society. Excerpt:
"This idea isn't new. Charles Darwin placed human beings on the continuum of animal species nearly 150 years ago. Somehow that insight was lost. Nurture is being reconciled with nature, and boundaries that once separated academic disciplines are dissolving, all of which bring models of animal and human behavior to unity. Separation has given over to integration, and what seemed like a haphazard collection of observational anomalies is now taking form as a coherent, human-inclusive, trans-species theory of mind and body."
U.S. Congress has passed an animal terrorism bill: Legislation gives additional legal protection to scientists and companies that provide services and support for animal research. The proposed bill expands protection for scientists by outlawing economic damage against "animal enterprises." It will soon be a crime in the U.S. to trespass, harass, vandalize, or otherwise threaten anyone associated with an animal enterprise, including scientists and their families. Similar legislation was enacted in England last year. Personally, I'd rather be hearing about proposed animal welfare bills like the ones in the UK and New Zealand.

Humpback whales share brain cells with humans: Humpback whales have joined an exclusive evolutionary club alongside humans, gorillas and dolphins, thanks to the discovery of a particular type of brain cell in the large aquatic mammals.

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