Research test offers more proof of self-awareness and a sense of fairness in animals

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The ever-growing, hugely-extensive mountain of evidence that animals have a state of consciousness and self-awareness gains another important bit of proof in this video.

Capuchin monkeys were trained to give a researcher a pebble and in return they would receive a slice of cucumber. The monkeys clearly like grapes much better. So when one began to receive grapes as the reward, the other started throwing back its pieces of cucumber. (Can you blame him or her?)

The monkey clearly doesn’t think this is fair and gets pretty pissed about the unfairness. Reportedly, the monkeys do get to live together and a more humane setting. But they go into the smaller enclosures for the experiments. While I am very opposed to much of the testing done on animals, this sort of study – as long as the animals are humane treated to the highest standards – is very important to our understanding of animal cognition and consciousness.

The next step needs to be for reports on studies such as this to be distributed far and wide. We need our elected officials and everyone to understand the meaning of facts uncovered in this research. We should no longer allow torture and cruelty to any being with self-awareness. It’s barbaric.

Note: Thanks go to my brother Gary for finding this video and passing it along.

Dog tries twice to visit his guardian at hospital

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A husky twice recently escaped his yard and attempted to visit his guardian in a nearby hospital. And some people might try to tell us dogs don’t have self-awareness.

A story posted Thursday on the Opposing Views website tells Zander’s story. A family member was hospitalized with a skin condition about two miles from Zander’s home. He most likely followed his scent to the Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in Bay Shore, NY, where he was found roaming the grounds.

A couple of days later, he tried again.

This is just another piece of evidence as to our connection with our pets and their keen state of consciousness.

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.

Researchers: Apes have similar personalities to humans

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An article published last week by the Huffington Post reported on new research on the personalities of chimpanzees, conducted by an international team of researchers. The conclusion: chimpanzees and orangutans do share personality traits with humans.

The writer explains that to date some scientists are still challenging to the notion that suggests once again that other researchers are engaging in anthropomorphism, merely wishing human qualities on animals. But the naysayers seem to consistently overlook the fact that individual personalities and emotions can be shared by humans and animals.

So we are not at all engaging in anthropomorphism when we see emotion and personality in beings from apes to dogs to cats. The fact is, some of these qualities of self-awareness are shared. I fear some of these other scientists are putting up a wall to any new findings that show this, because they can’t bring themselves to come to the conclusion – for whatever reasoning.

From the article: “(Jane) Goodall’s impressions of the human-like personalities of the chimpanzees she studied reflected the chimpanzees’ individual behavioral differences,” the researchers wrote in their study.

We now know this is true for other animals, such as dogs and cats. We’ve personally adopted enough basset hounds and greyhounds, for example, to know that dogs within the same particular breed have their own, distinct personalities and self.

After one pit bull is struck and killed by a car, another lays by her side

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A tragic photo of two pit bulls is drawing a lot of attention on the Internet. A female pit bull was apparently struck and killed by a car along a Phoenix, Ariz. road. A male pit bull who was with her, remained by her side, for reportedly 14 hours. Someone from a nearby business did put out food and water for the male dog.

There has been, of course, a bit of outrage that the pair was there for so long before someone actually arrived to save the surviving and grieving dog and take away the body of his fallen companion.
And what about the individual who struck the dog with their car? Why didn’t they stop, to help the dogs or at least report the incident.

But this story also offers more evidence, as sad as it is, for self-awareness in animals. Some might wrongly consider this merely instinctive behavior. They can give it whatever terminology they choose, but it does show a state of consciousness in dogs.

And here we have a pit bull showing compassion for other dog. Once again, the rule of thumb is – no bad dogs, just the bad people who try to raise bad dogs.

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.

Important study concludes animals dream

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This is another item to file in the “Science Now Confirms What Animal Lovers Know” folder. We’ve all seen our pets moving their legs, feet or tails or even twitching their lips and eyelids during long naps. It was never a vast leap to suggest they were dreaming.

Now, we can state logged scientific research to support the theory. An article posted on reports a key study was conducted by Matthew A. Wilson of MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.

Researchers monitored the brain wave patterns of mice as they roamed mazes and they recorded matching brainwave patterns during sleep. This led the researchers to conclude the mice were indeed dreaming about their experiences.

And I will take it step beyond this by stating this is another important bit of evidence of self-awareness and state of consciousness. Dreaming means the animal (or human) is experiencing some event in the movie studio in their mind. This is – without a doubt – a key aspect of state of consciousness.

Back at it after battling a really bad cold

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After a few days of hacking and coughing and blowing my nose way too often, the pack of Grady rescue dogs is glad I’m not waking them up from naps quite so much today.

So what’s been going on during my sick leave?

Arizona Senate votes 28-2 to end greyhound racing: GREY2K USA is cheering a 28-2 Arizona State Senate vote today to end greyhound racing at Tucson Greyh0und Park.

Possible signs of ritualistic animal sacrifice found in home: NBC 10 Philadelphia reports a dog’s head was found in  a freezer in a Chester County, Pa. home, along with three dog skulls.

Declaration of dolphin rights: The Daily Mail out of the UK ran a story today about a “coalition of scientists, philosophers and animal welfare groups have come up with a declaration of dolphin rights.”

And the following statements from the article are great:

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Philosopher Thomas White said: ‘Scientific evidence is now strong enough to support the claim that dolphins are, like humans, self-aware, intelligent beings with emotions and personalities.

‘Accordingly, dolphins should be regarded as “non-human persons” and valued as individuals. From an ethical perspective, the injury, deaths and captivity of dolphins are wrong.’

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