Blogging Our Hearts Out
Welcome to our new web site! This newly redesigned and reorganized
site brings you the latest information about Animals and Society
Institute programs and activities. We've been planning and working
toward this day since early last year, and appre...
Toward Intelligent Animal Law
55,000 horses. Parading in single file they would extend nearly 170
miles. What a drum roll those 220,000 hoofs would make on the earth!
They are all sizes and colors, young and old, sick and well. Some
were recently wild, others worked on ranc...
Judge Orders Dogfighter to Get Counseling from ASI
A Michigan judge has ordered a man convicted of dogfighting  to
receive psychological assessment and treatment under the ASI's AniCare
 program. Washentaw County Circuit Judge Melinda Morris sentenced
Michael Alan Dalton to two years of prob...
Society & Animals Journal Featured on NBC News
On December 17, NBC Nightly News  reporter Martin Savidge told the
story of Dr. Melinda Merck, a forensic veterinarian with the ASPCA
whose work in helping to bring animal abusers to justice mentions the
link between violence toward animals and...
Stallwood Collaborates on Elephant Saga
European Director Kim W. Stallwood has collaborated with renowned
artist Sue Coe to produce a feature in the current Blab!  graphic
novel anthology about the tragic life of Topsy, an elephant at Coney
Island's Luna Park who was electrocuted by ...
ASI's Year in Review
The ASI accomplished a lot during 2007. Among the highlights:
We conducted AniCare  workshops and lectures across the country to
teach clinicians and law enforcement how to address animal abusers and
stop the cycle of violence.
Culture and Animals Foundation Soliciting Grant Proposals
The Culture and Animals Foundation currently is soliciting grant
proposals from scholars, artists and performers. The deadline for
submissions is January 31, 2008. Further information at the Culture
and Animals Foundation .
Journal for Critical Animal Studies
The Institute for Critical Animal Studies  announces the
publication of the _Journal for Critical Animal Studies_ (Vol. 5,
Issue 2, 2007). The contents include:
Introduction: Steven Best, PhD and Carol Gigliotti, PhD
Lev Tolstoy and the F...
Giovanni Aloi, Editor of Antennae Project, Lecturer in History of Art
and Media Studies, writes ....
The Winter issue of _Antennae_ is now online. This issue of
_Antennae_ is marked by a philosophical imprint. As the title reveals,
Student Internship Opportunity
Animal Welfare Trust is currently seeking applicants for their 2008
Student Internship Grant Program. The grant provides funding for
graduate students to work on an independent research project under
faculty supervision or for an unpaid position w...
International Society for Anthrozoology 2008 Conference
The 2008 International Society for Anthrozoology Conference is themed
"Human Animal Bond: Theory, Research & Practice" and will be held on
August 13-15 at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Participants are encouraged to submi...
Stray Cats and Pigeons Safe for Now in Windsor, Ontario
Stray cats and pigeons joined in a common cause ? A few months back,
the City Parents of Windsor, Ontario, proposed a ban on the feeding of
both, apparently in response to complaints by neighbors. A spirited
opposition emerged, including represent...
Wake Up Weekend: Animals! Awareness! Advocacy! (and good food, good companions and cold weather)
Billed as “a two-day celebration of animal-friendly food, art,
education and advocacy” how could one resist, even if it was held in
Michigan in the middle of January?
When ASI moved to Ann Arbor last May, I made it a priority to get to
One of ASI’s programs is AniCare, an assessment and treatment
approach for people who abuse animals. AniCare is a hybrid term formed
from “animal” and “care.” Care is an important concept for ASI
and for the animal advocacy movement. It ...
And Bingo Is His Name
One of ASI's goals for 2008 is to expand the knowledge of the AniCare
program (our signature psychological treatment model for adults and
children who abuse animals) and to introduce it to a wider audience,
particularly judges, prosecutors and tho...
Tom Lantos: Friend of Animals, 1928-2008
"THROUGHOUT MY ADULT LIFE I HAVE SOUGHT TO BE A VOICE FOR HUMAN
RIGHTS, CIVIL LIBERTIES AND SOCIAL JUSTICE, BOTH AT HOME AND AROUND
THE WORLD." - TOM LANTOS, JANUARY 2, 2008.
Word just came of the death of Tom Lantos. He was a strong and
Treating Animal Abuse
ASI is partnering with the Arizona State University School of Social
Work to provide a series of online courses leading to certification of
counselors in the treatment of animal abuse. Part of our broader
project on the link, the relationship betw...
Jamming With Cetaceans
Jim Nollman, founder of Interspecies Communications, Inc., has spent
a lifetime playing music with whales and dolphins. Jim ventures into
oceans and bays with an assortment of musical instruments and
underwater acoustical devices. We spoke with No...
Representing Animals at the BASN
The British Animal Studies Network  (BASN) was established to
provide a forum for scholars, students, artists and interested
individuals to "further our understanding not only of the place of
animals in our world, but of the status and role of ...
The Animals Platform Update
The ASI is a member of the National Council for Animal Protection,
which is a professional association of U.S.-based animal advocacy
organizations. ASI’s program, The Animals Platform , was adopted
as one of a small number of priorities at la...
Farmed Animals in the News ... and in Public Policy
It’s been one of those relatively rare animal stories which has
captured the attention of the average American and become a topic of
conversation around the proverbial water cooler. Last year it was the
Michael Vick dog fighting story; before th...
Voting for Change on the Farm
The heavy turnout during the presidential primaries is a strong
indication that the often lackadaisical electorate is finally
motivated to go to the polls in search of political change. But issues
such as the war and the economy aren't the only th...
"Speaking Their Truth"
The Animals and Society Institute is pleased to once again partner
with the Culture and Animals Foundation to produce the 23rd annual
International Compassionate Living Festival. This year's event will
take place October 3-5, 2008, at the Sheraton...
The Animals' Agenda Archive
_The first in an occasional series of postings from the pages of
One of the organizations that came together to found The Animals and
Society Institute was The Animal Rights Network, publisher of The
Animals’ Agenda maga...
Building A Platform
President Franklin Roosevelt once met with a group advocating for
labor’s right to organize unions and to strike. After hearing their
reasoning Roosevelt told his visitors that he agreed with what they
wanted to accomplish. Even so, he said, you...
Moving Toward Meatless
You'd have to be frozen in time in a meat locker to not see that more
and more people are changing their eating habits and eating less meat.
It probably rankles longtime vegetarians and vegans to think that
others are just now catching on, but the...
Teaching About Animals and Society
Before I left the U.S. last summer to return to the U.K. to live I
was a member of the American Sociological Association . The ASA
published in 2005 _Teaching About Animals and Society: A Collection of
Syllabi, Projects, Assignments, Web Sites,...
Paradigm Shift in Toxicology Testing?
Two agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services and
one in the Environmental Protection Agency recently announced the
signing of a five-year Memorandum of Understanding  to collaborate
on the development and implementation of hi...
Cormorants in Canada...A Species Under Attack
“A target of prejudice and persecution” is how Cormorant
Defenders International (CDI) , describes these water birds. They
nearly went extinct in the early 1970s due to pesticide use and other
pollutants, but have staged a comeback...
More Like Us
For the past several years the beginning of Spring has brought a
single wild turkey onto my land. He knows exactly what to do – he
checks under the bird feeders for loose seeds, then he wanders around
incessantly calling in that staccato “gobb...
Another Kind of Tainted Pork
The Associated Press  reports today that the Department of
Homeland Security is involved in a pork project that's tainted in more
than the usual political way. It seems the department is considering
moving an animal disease laboratory from its ...
Hunting in America
U.S. Democrat presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton's recent
defense of hunting is -- if you will forgive the phrase -- a call to
arms for animal advocates. CNN  reports her as saying, "People
enjoy hunting and shooting because it’s ...
Strategizing the Link Conference
As noted in this website’s calendar, a conference is being held in
Portland, ME, June 8-9, 2008. “Strategizing the Link” is a
national town meeting of professionals in the social services,
criminal justice, prosecution, veterinary practice, ...
Hug An Environmentalist
Earth Day, which happened on April 22, is now a veteran with 38 years
of observance. The first event attracted some 20 million participants
who used the event to show our government that people cared for the
earth and its many, varied inhabitants....
A Day "On the Farm"
Like a fair number of people who work for animal organizations, my
days are often spent in front of a computer, on the phone, or doing
paperwork. Therefore it was a particular treat last Wednesday to walk
into the Michigan State University Pavilio...
Shining Light in Dark Corners
This week, animal advocates are observing the annual World Week for
Animals in Laboratories  by shining some light on the dark practice
of vivisection as it continues to be practiced in U.S. labs and around
the world. On April 26, a protest in ...
Children and Animals
Similarities and differences between children and animals were
explored in depth at the most recent British Animal Studies Network
 meeting at the University of London on Saturday, April 26.
Victoria De Rijke  (Middlesex University, UK) ...
In an earlier blog (Caring, January 27, 2008 ), I discussed the
importance of empathy in AniCare , the approach we have developed
for the assessment and treatment of people who abuse animals, and
promised to revisit that topic. Teaching empa...
The Bell Tolls for Eight Belles
I had not planned to write about this. After all, can there be
anything left to say? Haven’t we all become immune to this “rite
of spring” that seems to many as much associated with the season as
the delicate green leaves on the trees, to an...
Speaking Their Truth
The story of "roborats" recently re-surfaced in one of the online
animal discussion groups. Roborats, you may recall, are ordinary rats
with probes inserted into their brains. They wear a radio backpack
which allows researchers to remotely activat...
Wanda Nash 1943 - 2008
It is with profound sadness that we mark the death of Wanda early in
the morning of May 8. She was the first Chair of the Animals and
Society Institute and most recently was our Honorary Board Chair.
Wanda was the natural choice to head our newly...
Two Essential Anthologies
I like to date the start of the contemporary animal rights movement
in 1965. This is the year _The Sunday Times_ in London published the
landmark essay, “The Rights of Animals,” by the erudite novelist,
Brigid Brophy. It began:
Were it ann...
Extending the Circle of Compassion
The College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee,
Knoxville, recently hosted the first Veterinary Social Work Summit.
Veterinary social work is an emerging sub-speciality in social work
practice that deals with topics such as the link b...
A World of Irony
Vegetarians and vegans have long been quizzed about getting enough
iron, but we certainly get plenty of irony. How better to explain
today's start of World Vegetarian Week  coinciding with news of yet
another beef recall? This time it was Chica...
Living A Meaningful Life
What do you want your life to be like? Being an introspective species
we ask ourselves such questions. My list would include loving and
being loved, having enduring friendships, traveling and learning from
other people and different species, feeli...
Life in Chains
As the federal lawsuit against the owners of Ringling Bros. and
Barnum tethers (chains) should not "result in discomfort or skin
injury." Not that anyone is standing by to enforce those guidelines,
or to explain why the sharp metal end of the bull...
Animals and Politics
Recently Britain held local elections for London and various town and
county (Americans read: state) council elections as well as a
Parliamentary by-election for a seat in the House of Commons. These
elections demonstrated a shift in public suppor...
S 2439: Categorizing Cruelty
It’s concise, heavy on bureaucratic language, and was introduced
late last year in the US Senate with relatively little fanfare or
lofty language. It’s so short that I can reproduce the entire text
S. 2439: A bill to require the Nat...
Perception Reflecting Words
In the excitement of a discussion I absentmindedly said, "we need to
put some beef in this project." It’s embarrassing to dredge up those
old phases that denigrate animals, but our language is full of them.
"He’s a turkey," "that’s a cat...
The Noblest Prize
When Jane Goodall addressed the European Union on May 28, she lobbied
for greater restrictions on the use of animals in laboratory testing
. Supported by a petition signed by 150,000 people, she made her
case by noting that “what we do to ani...
The last time I went to the London zoo must’ve been more than 45
years ago. It was, of course, known then – and still is today – as
the London zoo except that it’s now called the Zoological Society of
London. Similarly, the Bronx zoo is no...
The Earliest Human-Animal Relationships
So there we were 800 meters inside the cave in total darkness and
silence, and to whom were we paying homage -- to animals. The cave at
Niaux is one of many that has been discovered in southern France and
northern Spain. The most well known is Las...
I recently re-read “Voice of the Voiceless ,” that remarkable
poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox who lived from 1850-1919. Most of her life
was spent during the Victorian Era which defined much of the cultural,
social and intellectual history of b...
Just A Bird In A Gilded Cage
There are twenty proven methods for smuggling parrots across the US
border. The key is to keep them from vocalizing, so drugging the birds
or taping their beaks shut are tricks often used by amateurs. The pros
are more sophisticated. Either way, m...
One of my 15-year-old son's favorite TV shows is the Discovery
Channel's "Mythbusters," where two guys with a twisted mix of bravura
and brains seek to dispel dubious scientific claims that often relate
to things that explode. It's both funny and ...
What is it about veganism?
The closest comparison in the US that I can think of to the British
_Guardian _ newspaper (and its Sunday version called _The
Observer_) is _The New York Times_ but I'm uncomfortable with the
analogy. For starters, _The Guardian_ is more libera...
Walking the Dog
Most people probably don't think much about how they walk their dog,
but most people aren't psychologists and even fewer are interested in
the psychology of human-other animal relationships. You may think that
is my problem, but if you are reading...
Don't you like Animals?
An acquaintance recently asked me this question. I was admittedly
taken aback and reacted, by turns, with irritation and amusement.
I’ve been accused of many things in my life, but not liking animals
had never been one of them.
She had gone ...
They aren't us
I own an apartment complex that is totally vacant most of the year,
but as Summer approaches it swarms with tenants. That may not sound
like a great investment, but listen to this: the occupants take care
of renovating and fixing things all by the...
A Profoundly Important Metaphor
I am particularly looking forward to this year's International
Compassionate Living Festival . Each year the conference program
just gets better and better. Of course, I'm biased! I'm part of the
organizer's team. Our approach in determining th...
I have never visited The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee  and
quite possibly never will. But that's only because the sanctuary is
just that, a place for elephants abused by circuses and zoos to live
quietly and recover from the trauma they've b...
ASI Web site Update
When Ken Shapiro and I brought together our organizations --
Psychologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and Institute for
Animals and Society (formerly _The Animals’ Agenda_ magazine)
respectively – to form the Animals and Society Inst...
Developing the field of Human-Animal Studies
In the fall of 2003, one of the precursor organizations that became
ASI held an initial meeting of a group of Human-Animal Studies
scholars that eventually became the HAS Development Executive
Committee. Since then the Committee has developed mate...
Teachers and Friends
These dogs must have traded a few ripe bones for a Rolex because
precisely at five-oA��clock, 12 paws batter a drum roll on the
stairs to my home office. It is walk time, and any attempts to
negotiate a few more minutes are easily countered wi...
An Animal Advocate's Nightmare
Two small bombs exploded outside the homes of two California animal
researchers ( NYT August 4). The article notes that a few days
earlier, pamphlets had been distributed locally warning against
"animal abusers everywhere." This is close to the fu...
Penguin Knights, Primate Rights
Norway knighted a penguin this week. Fortunately for Nils Olav ,
the honoree, Mother Nature already bestowed him with formalwear
appropriate to the occasion. Sir Nils, who lives at the Edinburgh Zoo
in Scotland, apparently earned the title beca...
Don't you like animals? part 2
Readers of this blog may recall  an acquaintance asking me that
question after telling her I prefer circuses that don’t use animals,
in response to her describing the wonderful circus animals she’d
seen at a recent performance.
The Very High Cost of Specialness
Like tearing down the Berlin Wall brick by brick, we seem to be
slowly demolishing the perceived barrier that separates us from other
earthlings. Geneticists have found that nearly all of a dog’s genes
are similar to human genes, for instance. W...
Four Exciting Developments in Human-Animal Studies
ONE: TENURE-TRACK POSITION IN CRITICAL ANIMAL STUDIES
The Department of Sociology at Brock University in Canada invites
applications  for a probationary (tenure track) position at the
rank of Assistant Professor, effective July 1, 2009, subjec...
The Greatness of a Nation
Mahatma Gandhi said a lot of wise things, but among my favorites is
that "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged
by the way its animals are treated." I think the same thing applies to
individuals, and now that the United St...
My dog friend Bodhi spent a moment looking at his options before
picking up a long, thick green stick. Good choice, I thought. Sturdy
enough to withstand what was coming.
Glancing to make sure I was watching, he tossed his head, waving his
Congress recognizes Link
This House Resolution speaks for itself. It is not the first time
that Congress recognized the relationship between human violence and
animal abuse. A similar resolution is dated 2000.
Expressing support for the designation of September 2008 ...
Elephants and Art
I invite ASI supporters and friends to join me at the Galerie St.
Etienne  in New York City on Tuesday, October 14 at the opening of
"Elephants We Must Never Forget: New Paintings Drawings and Prints" by
Sue Coe. If you're unable to join us thi...
The Ten Trusts
Lack of awareness, says Dr. Jane Goodall, is the most vexing problem
humankind faces. It is the root cause of the destruction of peace,
love, respect, abundance, and health.
Goodall, first known for her illuminating studies of chimpanzee
Higher (Ethical) Education
One of the best features of the annual International Compassionate
Living Festival , co-produced by the Culture and Animals Foundation
 and the ASI, is our scholarship program. Thanks to donors,
university students from a wide range of acade...
Entertainment, Eating, Elephants and Economics
The economy weighs heavily these days, overwhelming the presidential
campaign and (as I write this the day before the election) perhaps
determining its winner. We are bombarded daily by news of stock
markets, and of banks and their toxic holdings ...
One more step forward
California’s Proposition 2 passed. The measure makes it illegal to
confine chickens, calves and sows in quarters too tight to freely
move, extend their limbs, or lie down and get up again. It becomes law
Passage of Proposition 2 is n...
IF THERE\'S ANYONE LEFT ON THE PLANET WHO NEEDS CONVINCING THAT
CHIMPANZEES ARE MORE LIKE US (OR WE\'RE LIKE THEM) THAN THEY\'D CARE
TO THINK THEY NEED TO READ ELIZABETH HESS\'S BIOGRAPHY OF NIM CHIMPSKY
, THE CHIMPANZEE WHO WAS TAUGHT TO COMMU...
Human-Animal Studies Policy Paper
A new policy paper published by the Animals and Society Institute
focuses on an emerging academic field that studies relationships
between humans and other animals. The paper, titled "Human-Animal
Studies: Growing Field, Applying the Field," was w...
Horse Senseless - With A Happy Ending
How’s this for a scheme that only a government could design:
Over 100,000 wild horses roamed the Western US minding their own
business and not requiring any assistance from people, thank you
anyway. So let’s spend lots of time and money ro...
Seeing Is Believing Is Liberating
They say a picture used to be worth a thousand words, but thanks to
technology and perhaps inflation, a video picture is worth millions
now. Whether on TV or online, images of animal cruelty that used to be
thwarted by censors or suppressed by cor...
Bright Spots in My Not-so-favorite Holiday: 2008 Edition
On Thanksgiving Day 2007, I discussed here  the challenges vegans
face in enjoying a holiday devoted to the consumption of dead animals.
Last year I reported that going to the cat shelter where I volunteer
brightened my day; another bright spot...
The Animal Gaze
In _About Looking_ author and art critic John Berger described the
animal looking at the human as "across a narrow abyss of
non-comprehension." The same may be also said about how we view them
when their representation in the arts is considered. W...
This time of year is associated with the color red, but not always
for the right reasons. You see, in addition to being the Christmas
season, it's also the killing season. While Santa is sleighing,
hunters are in the woods slaying wildlife. So muc...
Animal Rights Course at Ruskin College, Oxford March 16 - 20
Historian and author Hilda Kean and animal advocate Kim Stallwood will
teach the course, Animal Rights: past and present, at Ruskin College,
Oxford on March 16 - 20, 2009. Dr Hilda Kean is a tutor in History,
Humanities co-ordinator and acting dean a...
Hi Tech-Lo Value: The Ethical Costs of Technology
Scientists often claim that technology is value-free and any ethical
issues reside in how it is used. This is incoherent as technology
derives from “techné” which refers to use. By contrast with basic
science, technological innovation is appl...
Politics vs health
Before leaving office many US Presidents issue Executive Orders or
departmental regulations intended to concretize whatever agenda they
want to inflict on the incoming administration. A flurry of such
activity is currently brewing in Washington a...