On October 5, The New York Times published an opinion piece by Gregory Berns, a professor of neuroeconomics at Emory University, about his two-year study of brain activity in conscious pet canines. (Rest assured, no dogs were harmed: “We used only positive training methods. No sedation. No restraints. If the dogs didn’t want to be in the M.R.I. scanner, they could leave.”)
For Berns, who found that positive anticipation (of food or familiar people, etc.) stems from the same part of the brain in both humans and dogs, the study’s takeaway is “Dogs are people, too.” This leads him to question the righteousness of dogs’ current legal status: “[We] can no longer hide from the evidence. Dogs, and probably many other animals (especially our closest primate relatives), seem to have emotions just like us. And this means we must reconsider their treatment as property.”
This week the website huffingtonpost.com posted a great follow-up article that expands on the concept of “personhood” for animals and quotes the ASPCA’s own Stacy Wolf, Senior Vice President, Anti-Cruelty Group—read it here.
What Do You Think? We want to hear your take on this debate. Should dogs be given the same legal protections as people, or is it right to continue to categorize them as “property”? In what ways have your own dogs shown you that they have emotions? Have your say in our comments section, below.
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Yeah buddy! By now you all know that our friend DJ Pauly D has a BIG soft spot for animals—especially shelter pets. In this special video message, he reminds us just how important it is to always make pet adoption your first option.
Pauly D has already done so much to help shelter pets, and now it’s your turn. Please share this video on your social media channels and help us spread the word about this important cause.
Here’s one more example of how human health and animal welfare are inseparable: On October 7, the USDA announced that 278 people across 18 states have contracted salmonella from eating chicken from a certain West Coast poultry processor. Reports indicate that about 42% of the people infected have been hospitalized—about double the normal rate of hospitalization for Salmonella infections—because this strain of salmonella is resistant to several commonly prescribed antibiotics.
In a recent U.S. News & World Report story, Dr. Marc Siegel, an associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, explained how this life-threatening outbreak is linked to the common industry practice of feeding chickens low doses of antibiotics to compensate for the sickening conditions on factory farms:
"It's not an accident that this particular strain is resistant," he said. "I suspect it's resistant because of the overuse of antibiotics among farm animals."
Chicken live in squalor, Siegel said: "Ninety-five percent of chickens are grown in such horrific conditions that they're standing in poop and they end up infected with salmonella. If one chicken gets it, they all get it."
On top of poor living conditions on farms, most modern chickens are bred to grow so fat, so fast, that many collapse under their own weight and spend much of their lives lying in their own waste, with open sores and wounds.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Chickens deserve better, and so do we. The ASPCA is urging the chicken industry to switch to slower-growing breeds raised in better conditions. Learn more and take action at TruthAboutChicken.org.
On March 24, the ASPCA assisted the Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Attorney’s Office and local law enforcement agencies in a federal dog fighting raid that resulted in the seizure of nearly 100 dogs from multiple properties in Missouri, Kansas and Texas.
Yesterday, at a federal court in Kansas, justice was served. Two individuals connected with last March’s raid learned that they would serve time in prison, pay large fines and perform community service for their roles in the illegal enterprise.
Pete Davis Jr., 38, was sentenced to 16 months in prison and Melvin Robinson, 42, was sentenced to 10 months after pleading guilty to charges related to dog fighting. Davis and Robinson were also ordered to perform 50 hours of community service and pay $430,919 to the ASPCA for the care of the dogs seized. Both Davis and Robinson are also banned from owning dogs for three years following their sentences.
“The ASPCA is proud to have helped secure justice for the dogs involved in this case,” says Tim Rickey, Vice President of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “Thanks to the persistence of the FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Office and Missouri State Highway Patrol, these individuals are finally answering for the suffering they caused these dogs. Dog fighting is a horrific crime, and we encourage the public to continue to report suspected dog fighting activities to local authorities.”
I was talking to my friend and trainer Christopher Lane, and he told me about the 10K happening in Brooklyn. At first I was skeptical, but then I was told I could be a part of Team ASPCA, and that sealed the deal.
Three years ago, on June 13, to be exact, I adopted Clementine from a shelter in Atlanta. Clementine is some kind of doodle. We aren't exactly sure. My friends call her a floppity muppet. I call her the best decision I have ever made. So I'm running for the ASPCA to spread the word that adoption is an amazing option, and it’s personally enriched my life beyond words.
Training for race has been slow and steady. Christopher knows that I get overwhelmed when thinking about the full six miles. He set a slow and easy training plan for me to follow. I started by just run/walking 10 minutes down the road, then turning around and running 10 minutes home. I did this for the first couple of weeks, I progressed to 15 min each way, and then 20. I eventually felt comfortable running for a full hour. I like to train outside, but if I'm forced to run on a treadmill, I like to break it up. I run 10 minute intervals, then walk some and run 10 again.
For me, it's not about competition. It's not about speed. It's about getting out there, getting my body moving, and being a part of a great cause. So, just to be clear, I won't be winning the 10K, but I will finish! If I can share with everyone what a blessing adopting my sweet Clementine has been, it will all be worth it.