Thursday, May 5, 2016


As proud supporters of Best Friends Animal Society and their No Kill L.A. campaign, we were thrilled to read the recent L.A. Times story by Veronica Rocha about an impressive drop in the kill rates at L.A. County shelters. According to the April 26 report, "The number of euthanizations performed at Los Angeles animal shelters dropped from 8,240 from July to March in 2014-15 to 6,214 for the same period so far this year, according to the latest Los Angeles Animal Services figures. The decrease is due mostly to the city’s partnership with Best Friends Animal Society, an organization leading the No-Kill Los Angeles initiative. “The goal is to transform the city of Los Angeles into no-kill, which means that 90% of the dogs/cats who need sheltering will have a positive outcome,” the agency’s spokeswoman Sara Ebrahimi said. In the past year, NKLA found homes for 27,000 dogs and cats.
Tanner & Eugenie: Thank You NKLA
Do animals think and feel the same way humans do? For centuries it was assumed they didn't, that they were just low levels beings, one step up from plants, that operated on natural instinct. In recent years, though, scientific research has revealed that they are far more sophisticated than first assumed. Books like Carl Safina's "Beyond Words: How Animals Think And Feel", and primatologist Frans De Waal's "Are WeSmart Enough To Know How Smart AnimalsAre" species mourn their dead, use tools, communicate emotions, and even surpass us at simple memory tests. To wit, consider the story of Inky the Octopus (The Week, April 29, 2016), who recently broke out of his tank at the National Aquarium of  New Zealand by squeezing through a gap in the tank, dropping to the floor, then hightailing to a drain pipe that emptied into the sea. Maybe the eight-legged lam-ster got lucky, or maybe he hatched a plan and pulled it off a la Oceans 8 (legs)? According to Waal, "maybe it's time evaluate other species on their own terms, and “stop looking at evolution as a contest,” with just one winner. The truth is that “we are not the only intelligent life on Earth.
Inky, fugitive mastermind of Oceans 8 (Legs)
In a recent Cesar's Way newsletter piece on dog emotions, writer Jon Bastian offers the following from psychologist Marc Bekoff, Ph.D, who suggests that “until the detailed research is conducted we don't really know” whether dogs can or cannot experience the [complex] emotions" but that " there is certainly evidence that other animals can experience complex emotions. Dolphins, elephants, and our non-human primate cousins have been seen to exhibit those complex emotions like shame, guilt, contempt — and pride. According to the story, "Bekoff further argues that we have determined that dogs have all of the same brain structures that we do, as well as the same hormones, both of which are critical to how we react emotionally to the world. Perhaps we haven’t been able to determine one way or another whether they feel complex emotions like pride only because we haven’t figured out how to test for it. Until we know for sure, it’s safest to not anthropomorphize our dogs too much and settle for a middle ground."

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