BBC Video: Proof that calling some politicians “bird-brained” is an insult to birds

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In the BBC video posted below, a complex puzzle is set up in an attempt to stump a crow. These birds are well-known for their intelligence and use of tools.

The crow’s problem-solving skills are amazing, which begs the questions: Should we elect crows to Congress? Could they do a better job of solving the economic problems the nation faces? Could they do a better job of promoting renewable and green energy sources? Could crows enact better protections for the environment? Would crows reject bribes from Big Oil and other special interests? Would crows be able to overturn the horrible Citizens United Supreme Court ruling with new legislation?

The answer, based on the video and other evidence collected over time, is a resounding YES to all of the above. Of course, even if the birds sat around all day and did nothing but eat treats, we would no worse off than we are now.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Farm Sanctuary: Chickens are smarter than a 4-year-old human

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Bruce Friedrich of the Farm Sanctuary wrote an editorial concerning the intelligence level of chickens, published August 16 on the New York Daily News website.

Friedrich notes the Farm Sanctuary has been caring for rescued chickens and other animals for 25 years. They have “come to understand them as individuals with interests, desires, and personalities.” They respond to their names and react when they are called.

He references supporting research by the University of Bristol, where the studies suggest the chickens can be smarter than human toddlers. Chickens show a capacity for “empathy, navigation, communication, social interaction, transitive inference” and learning basic arithmetic.

We are learning so much more of late about animal cognition and state of consciousness. The studies are troubling for segments of society that might have a financial problem with this news getting out to general public. Some industries will resist humane methods of treatment for animals, because they will claim it cost more.

But the science is in and it can no longer be ignored.


PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Video: Important studies on canine cognition

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Studies have been going on for years at Duke University – in researching dog cognition.

Our pets are connected to us a special level and animals such as dogs and cats do truly possess self-awareness and individual states of consciousness.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Study: Bears can count

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Scientists have trained three American black bears to count, or at least to select between groups of dots on a touchscreen. (I guess everybody loves these new tablets.)

An article on reports the bears’ performance in the study matches those of monkeys.

Every study like this one takes us another step closer to a time when the overwhelming consensus points to animals having a higher level of intelligence than previously thought and that animals are indeed self-aware.

And if you still don’t believe that bears even want to learn new things, just take a gander at the Associated Press story about a bear who broke into a high school in Anchorage, Alaska. The school: Bartlett High School. It’s mascot: The Golden Bears.

Another case offers more evidence of self-awareness in dogs

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I recently got into a back-and-forth about greyhound racing under a Huffington Post blog entry. A couple of folks on the pro-racing side talked about the dogs as “athletes” and about how much they are worth in monetary terms. And they claimed the dogs love racing.

I came out of the discussion thinking about how far behind these people are when it comes to understanding animal welfare, animal behavior and cognition. One side of the animal-welfare debate is pushing compassion for animals and pushing for better laws to protect animals from cruelty. The other side is fighting all of that and considers an animal to be nothing more than a physical possession.

The science is in, however. The research and study needs to go on, but the conclusion has been reached. Animals – most notably what we might call the higher-order animals – have self-awareness and a state of consciousness. A recent story out of Massachusetts piles more information on the ever-growing mound of proof that these theories have now advanced deep into the category of FACT.

And this story heaps more evidence into the research:

This pit bull – yes pit bull – pulled his unconscious guardian off a train track and saved her life. Lilly risked her own life and suffered severe injuries. After her leg has been amputated, Lilly is expected to recover.

As reported by My Fox Boston, the train engineer witnessed Lilly pulling Christine Spain off the track, but despite all of his efforts to stop the train in time, he could not avoid hitting the dog.

This is not instinctive behavior on Lilly’s part. What she did took a higher-order thought process, to recognize a danger and act on it to save another being from harm. How can we – as an advanced society – not advance our legal system to offer for animals better protection from cruelty?

How can we allow horse slaughter, knowing they have an advanced level of consciousness? How is it that particular entities in 2012 are fighting against stronger anti-puppy mill laws? How is it that certain entities are trying to hide from public view the cruelty that takes place on too many factory farms?

These people and entities fighting against animal welfare are not only on the wrong side of history, they are on the wrong side of the galaxy when it comes to compassion and science. I am excited and heartened by the fact that in the case of animal welfare, science and compassion have fully joined forces. The mounting scientific evidence clearly supports the animal-welfare movement and its compassionate message.