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Australasian Gannets are one reason to get out bird-watching this weekend. Martin Sharman/Flickr

Six extraordinary Australian birds you need to see

Here’s an activity for you this weekend: either staying at home or heading bush, count the number and type of birds you see. It’s all part of BirdLife Australia’s Challenge Count, an annual event that’s…
Jane Goodall is one of many scientists who have revealed how much there is to learn from animals about social organisation and communication. AAP/Julian Smith

If we could talk to the animals, what might they tell us about politics?

To endow animals with human emotions has long been a scientific taboo. But if we do not, we risk missing something fundamental about both animals and us. – Frans De Waal Some time ago I began reading scientific…
Zoos provide succor for species having a tough time of it in the wild. B. A. Minteer

Can zoos save the world?

Today, many zoos promote the protection of biodiversity as a significant part of their mission. As conservation “arks” for endangered species and, increasingly, as leaders in field conservation projects…
A number of studies link the abuse of animals in childhood with human abuse later in life. elizabeth tersigni

With animals, like humans, we can hurt the ones we love

When we talk about violence, there is an implicit assumption that we mean human-to-human violence. Yet behind the veneer of our civilised society, economy and culture is a massive edifice of violence of…
Our relationship with non-human animals must be understood as a question of morality. Patrick Bouquet/Flickr

Morality and our lives with animals

The traditional point of view in western intellectual thought – and one which is reflected in our own day-to–day views – is that of human exceptionalism, or anthropocentrism: the belief that humans are…
Animals in circuses are kept in anything but natural surroundings. DirkJan Ranzijn

Runaway camels? It’s time to rethink animals as entertainment

The idea of animals as spectacle – in zoos, circuses, aquaria, tests of strength and even criminal proceedings – is an old one, dating back to at least ancient Greece and Rome. Similarly, the use of animals…
Brazil’s cattle herd is the world’s second-biggest - and welfare standards are on the up. Zeloneto/Wikimedia Commons

Tighter rules mean Brazil is now kicking goals on animal welfare

While Brazil’s footballers have failed spectacularly to live up to expectations, there are other areas where the country is quietly exceeding them. Perhaps surprisingly, Brazil’s rapidly improving animal…
Looking out for each other. EPA/Zoological Society of London

Animal welfare and animal rights are very different beasts

More than 20 years ago, the university department where I was doing my PhD was fire bombed by animal rights activists. At the time, I was conducting research into animal welfare, as were many of the staff…
Your inner self. pureblacklove

The science of anatomy is undergoing a revival

Only two decades ago, when I was starting my PhD studies at the University of California in Berkeley, there was talk about the death of anatomy as a research subject. That hasn’t happened. Instead the…

Musky goat aroma fires up female brains

An aroma given off by male goats activates reproductive brain regions in their female counterparts. The study is the first…

Animal propulsion a flexible matter

The superior agility of animal movement in comparison to manmade designs is characterised by the flexibility of animal propulsors…
Pets can also provide their owners with social support, acting as a friend and confidante. Crashing Waves/flickr

Why science can’t really tell us whether pets are good for health

Links between human health and pet ownership are of widespread community interest but there’s little clarity about the issue in scientific circles. It is relatively safe to say that pets can be good for…
Winter is coming. Clara do Amaral

Alaskan frogsicles take winter in their stride

For life to persist, it must tolerate its environment. The depth of an arctic winter is formidable, and is most notably overcome by hibernation. But some reptiles and amphibians survive by allowing their…
Good veterinary practices practice good hygiene - but you’d be surprised how few of them do. The National Guard

Why the low hygiene standards between vets and pets?

We all know hygiene is paramount in hospitals, necessary to protect patients and staff alike. But while medical staff usually wear protection when conducting examinations on infectious patients and hospitals…
Is photographing dogs dressed in suspenders and stockings just another internet fad or a strange reflection on human sexuality? Sharp Daily

Dogs in suspenders. Yep, it’s a thing. And here’s why.

When I was little, maybe five or six, I got the idea to slip my spaniel’s feet into freezer bags and watch her slide around on the kitchen floor. Sure, this episode could have sparked in me a yen for further…

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