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Analysis and Comment (16)

You’re not getting any pudding. You’re not getting any pudding. Steve Parsons/PA

Who you calling an elephant? Animals have weight issues too

I run 50km per week on my treadmill and eat a calorie-restricted diet; this is something our ancestors didn’t have to do. But then they didn’t sit at a desk all day and certainly did not have access to…
A number of studies link the abuse of animals in childhood with human abuse later in life. 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. 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. 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. 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…
Rob, who allegedly made more than 20 parachute descents, receiving a Dickin Medal in 1945. Rob, who allegedly made more than 20 parachute descents, receiving a Dickin Medal in 1945.

Paratroopers and pests: the animals that helped and hindered in World War II

It’s the 70th anniversary of D-Day, and veterans and world leaders are meeting on the beaches of Normandy to commemorate the biggest seaborne invasion in military history. Memorial services are to recognise…
Looking out for each other. 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…
Pets can also provide their owners with social support, acting as a friend and confidante. 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. 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. 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? 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…
The Easter Bunny is a much loved part of our social history but is the Easter Bilby more appropriate in Australia? The Easter Bunny is a much loved part of our social history but is the Easter Bilby more appropriate in Australia? AAP/Paul Miller

Bunnies or bilbies? Why animals define Easter

This Easter it is worth asking what the Easter Bunny is all about. Indeed, there’s more to the furry character than a fondness for chocolate. Rabbits were first domesticated by monks in the south of France…
The horse meat scandal seems to be more about the taboo issue of eating our pets than actual health concerns. The horse meat scandal seems to be more about the taboo issue of eating our pets than actual health concerns. Fredrik von Erichsen/AAP

Neigh-sayers: why we won’t agree to eat a dead horse

Imagine the following scenario. You go into your local sandwich shop for lunch and order a roast beef on rye with a dash of mustard. As you bite into the sandwich you notice something is not right. The…
Our relationship with four-legged friends has brought many benefits. Our relationship with four-legged friends has brought many benefits. JDEN

Canine and able: how dogs made us human

What role have dogs played in human evolution? Woof … now there’s a question. Anthropologist Pat Shipman, in a recent issue of American Scientist, suggests dogs gave our human ancestors an advantage over…

Research Briefs (4)

Animal propulsion a flexible matter

The superior agility of animal movement in comparison to manmade designs is characterised by the flexibility of animal propulsors…