Dolphins help their dying friend

After the video showing a dolphin going to divers for help I was glad to hear about a similar story from the BBC, a group of dolphins helping one of their own. This is special for a number of reasons. Dolphins have been recorded helping other dolphins but usually it was only one or two dolphins, this incident involved a number of individuals. Also this was observed and recorded by scientists who had been surveying cetaceans (cetaceans are marine mammals) in the area. The incident happened off the coast of Korea in 2008 but was only recently published in a scientific journal. I’m not sure why the delay but it is rather convenient for me. The paper is here but access is restricted. Continue reading

Faculty bioethics day 2/2

II – Professionalism

“Not the casual observer: What happens when medical students encounter unethical conduct during clinical rotations?”
Maya Jaffer

This talk was given by a sixth year medical student who had an interest in bioethics. This talk talked about the ethical conduct of students and how it changed during their medical career and the possible reasons and responses to the situations. Continue reading

Animal Intelligence

In my recent post on plant ethics I said that animals were of ethical concern because we have good reasons to believe that, like us, they are capable of thinking and feeling and so are able to suffer. In this post I want to share some of those reasons and hopefully convince you, if you aren’t already convinced, that animals are far more than just unthinking, unfeeling machines. Since we are so closely related to other primates I’m going to ignore those examples and rather focus on two other animal groups, dolphins and corvids (ravens and crows). Continue reading

Rats appear to show empathy

I wrote earlier that I had become a vegetarian as I was able to recognise animal suffering and made a choice to not contribute to it. With not everyone even accepting that animals are capable of feeling pain or suffering, there’s no chance that they would even entertain the possibility of animals being able to recognise suffering in each other and acting to reduce or prevent that suffering. However, research with rats seems to show that they may exhibit empathy, that is recognise when another rat is suffering and act to reduce or stop that suffering. Continue reading