Last week, when I was driving to university, I passed what appeared to be a dead guinea fowl on the side of the road with a live one investigating the corpse. The guinea fowl incident reminded me of the links I’d been storing up relating to whether animals understand death and mourn when those they know die. This was a topic I found first in a BBC story and then later when it was also mentioned on WEIT. Continue reading
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
Just over a week ago a Scottish woman visitng South Africa was injured while in a Cheetah enclosure. Then another woman claimed that she had also been attacked by the same cheetahs a few years earlier. The manager of the facility then admitted there had been other minor incidents. I’ve petted a tame cheetah before and it really is a great experience because it’s the sort of animal that you admire because of it’s physical attributes. At the same time you need to realise that those same attributes make it a dangerous creature that is probably physically superior to you. Continue reading
A few weeks back I had a lecture on photography and, to practice what we learned, we were sent outside to go and take some photographs. During that time I found a rather large and imposing spider, with a suitably large and imposing web, in one of the trees in the quad. It turned out to be quite a challenge to photograph a spider as it was in an awkward position, I only had the camera on my phone which wouldn’t auto-foucs on the spider, and I was a bit nervous about getting too close. I didn’t get a picture of it that day but I didn’t stop trying.
The spider was in the same quad where I went to eat my lunch so I got into the habit of keeping an eye on it and, occasionally, trying to take it’s photograph. Eventually I learned that my phone would actually hold it’s auto focus without taking the picture if you held down the camera button, which was a tip we were taught. That let me try a couple more times to get a picture and I did have a bit more success then, although I still didn’t know what kind of spider it was. Continue reading