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Is there any evidence of animals wanting to die?

Is there any evidence of animals wanting to die?



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Is there any evidence of animals wanting to die? Specifically, animal communication which says "come and eat me".


Is it possible that an individual would benefit form being eaten?

In theory it is possible that such behaviour would evolve. An individual may improve the probability of its genes to be passed on by letting a related individual (which carries similar gene variants) to feed on it. When counting the fitness of an individual as being the sum of the fitness of all related individuals weighted by their coefficient of relatedness as inclusive fitness. We refer to the selection pressure that is due to a differential in inclusive fitness as kin selection. The field that study the evolution of altruistic behaviours is called social evolution and is an active field of research.

Example

For example, a male could much enhance the probability of survival of its offspring by being eaten by the mother. The type of cannibalism where one mate eat the other is called sexual cannibalism. A famous example of sexual cannibalism is the mantis prey. Note that it has been suggested that in natural conditions sexual cannibalism could be rarer than expected previously thought. Note also that the question of whether the male benefits from being eaten by the female in prey mantis is still controversial and could result from a sexual conflict.


In fact there are many cases of animals expressing a behaviour which benefit their predators, although it is controversial whether they "want" it. I mean arthropods and mammals infected with "mind-controlling" parasites. For example, an ant could become host of the liver fluke Dicrocoelium dendriticum. Then every night it would wait patiently on the top of a grass leaf to be eaten by a grazing animal, in whose liver the fluke could reproduce. When the temperature rises during the day, if still alive, the ant would return to its normal behaviour. Here you can find other examples.


Stephen Hawking: 'There is no heaven it's a fairy story'

The belief that heaven or an afterlife awaits us is a "fairy story" for people afraid of death, Stephen Hawking has said.

In a dismissal that underlines his firm rejection of religious comforts, Britain's most eminent scientist said there was nothing beyond the moment when the brain flickers for the final time.

Hawking, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 21, shares his thoughts on death, human purpose and our chance existence in an exclusive interview with the Guardian today.

The incurable illness was expected to kill Hawking within a few years of its symptoms arising, an outlook that turned the young scientist to Wagner, but ultimately led him to enjoy life more, he has said, despite the cloud hanging over his future.

"I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I'm not afraid of death, but I'm in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first," he said.

"I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark," he added.

Hawking's latest comments go beyond those laid out in his 2010 book, The Grand Design, in which he asserted that there is no need for a creator to explain the existence of the universe. The book provoked a backlash from some religious leaders, including the chief rabbi, Lord Sacks, who accused Hawking of committing an "elementary fallacy" of logic.

The 69-year-old physicist fell seriously ill after a lecture tour in the US in 2009 and was taken to Addenbrookes hospital in an episode that sparked grave concerns for his health. He has since returned to his Cambridge department as director of research.

The physicist's remarks draw a stark line between the use of God as a metaphor and the belief in an omniscient creator whose hands guide the workings of the cosmos.

In his bestselling 1988 book, A Brief History of Time, Hawking drew on the device so beloved of Einstein, when he described what it would mean for scientists to develop a "theory of everything" – a set of equations that described every particle and force in the entire universe. "It would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we should know the mind of God," he wrote.

The book sold a reported 9 million copies and propelled the physicist to instant stardom. His fame has led to guest roles in The Simpsons, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Red Dwarf. One of his greatest achievements in physics is a theory that describes how black holes emit radiation.

In the interview, Hawking rejected the notion of life beyond death and emphasised the need to fulfil our potential on Earth by making good use of our lives. In answer to a question on how we should live, he said, simply: "We should seek the greatest value of our action."

In answering another, he wrote of the beauty of science, such as the exquisite double helix of DNA in biology, or the fundamental equations of physics.

Hawking responded to questions posed by the Guardian and a reader in advance of a lecture tomorrow at the Google Zeitgeist meeting in London, in which he will address the question: "Why are we here?"

In the talk, he will argue that tiny quantum fluctuations in the very early universe became the seeds from which galaxies, stars, and ultimately human life emerged. "Science predicts that many different kinds of universe will be spontaneously created out of nothing. It is a matter of chance which we are in," he said.

Hawking suggests that with modern space-based instruments, such as the European Space Agency's Planck mission, it may be possible to spot ancient fingerprints in the light left over from the earliest moments of the universe and work out how our own place in space came to be.

His talk will focus on M-theory, a broad mathematical framework that encompasses string theory, which is regarded by many physicists as the best hope yet of developing a theory of everything.

M-theory demands a universe with 11 dimensions, including a dimension of time and the three familiar spatial dimensions. The rest are curled up too small for us to see.

Evidence in support of M-theory might also come from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at Cern, the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva.

One possibility predicted by M-theory is supersymmetry, an idea that says fundamental particles have heavy – and as yet undiscovered – twins, with curious names such as selectrons and squarks.

Confirmation of supersymmetry would be a shot in the arm for M-theory and help physicists explain how each force at work in the universe arose from one super-force at the dawn of time.

Another potential discovery at the LHC, that of the elusive Higgs boson, which is thought to give mass to elementary particles, might be less welcome to Hawking, who has a long-standing bet that the long-sought entity will never be found at the laboratory.

Hawking will join other speakers at the London event, including the chancellor, George Osborne, and the Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.


Is there any evidence of animals wanting to die? - Biology

I have been sitting at the pub this evening and a conversation started where one person stated as a fact that Homo Sapiens Sapiens are the only animal that are demonstrably aware of their own mortality. He argued that this is because Humans have the capacity to be taught about death and realize the implications for themselves at a very young age. He further argued that this had never been demonstrated in any other animal, including primates that are closest to us in the evolutionary sense.

I am by no means an expert about such issues in a biological framework and was wondering if anybody could teach me something interesting about this assertion and any relevant study that I might undertake to explore it more fully?

I thought it was an interesting question and wondered by what metrics one may try to examine any validity to the premise.

I hope it's not too boring and would welcome any elaboration.

If I have posted this in the incorrect subsection, please feel free to move it, I will not bleat.


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Re: Are animals aware of their own mortality

#2 by Deremensis » Jul 28, 2014 11:47 pm

Elephants and a few other animals are known to mourn their dead. I can't really think of any high order mammal that isn't "aware" of mortality really - most animals understand death to some extent. Domestic dogs, as an other example, are known to have trouble dealing with the loss of another dog they cared for - and it's known that one way to help such dogs is to actually allow them to see, sniff, et cetera, their dead companion, so that it clicks with them that their companion is dead.

What specific criteria are you perhaps looking for? I've not (yet) heard of any animals going through an existential crisis, so we may have a leg up on them there - but, then, the only way to tell would be to have the animals communicate by language what they're feeling. We know of "depression" like symptoms in many animals, which may be attributable to, or at least linked with, death, especially the death of a familiar companion.

Edit: I believe that elephants actually are the only animals known to have a specific death/mourning ritual . This would imply a higher level of awareness of death - in order to make a ritual of it, one would necessarily need to attribute significance to it.

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Re: Are animals aware of their own mortality

#3 by orpheus » Jul 29, 2014 1:32 am

“A way a lone a last a loved a long the”

Re: Are animals aware of their own mortality

#4 by Wimsey » Jul 29, 2014 5:35 am

I know dogs and cats mourn their dead children, and close companions. So do horses, if they know somebody they loved has died. In most cases, though, animals owned by humans are never allowed to see or smell the bodies of their dead loved ones - all they know is that someone isn`t around anymore.

We have no idea how much other species understand or what they feel about death, because we either don`t pay attention to them or control their circumstances to such an extent that all we can see is how they relate to us.

Re: Are animals aware of their own mortality

#5 by smudge » Jul 29, 2014 7:22 am

Re: Are animals aware of their own mortality

#6 by Goldenmane » Jul 29, 2014 9:51 am

One of Washoe's caretakers was pregnant and missed work for many weeks after she miscarried. Roger Fouts recounts the following situation:

"People who should be there for her and aren't are often given the cold shoulder--her way of informing them that she's miffed at them. Washoe greeted Kat [the caretaker] in just this way when she finally returned to work with the chimps. Kat made her apologies to Washoe, then decided to tell her the truth, signing "MY BABY DIED." Washoe stared at her, then looked down. She finally peered into Kat's eyes again and carefully signed "CRY", touching her cheek and drawing her finger down the path a tear would make on a human (Chimpanzees don't shed tears). Kat later remarked that one sign told her more about Washoe and her mental capabilities than all her longer, grammatically perfect sentences." [23]

Re: Are animals aware of their own mortality

#7 by Sendraks » Jul 29, 2014 10:11 am

Aren't the answers given examples of animals being aware of the mortality of others and responding accordingly? The few examples above are but a snapshot of the wealth of evidence out there that animals are acutely aware of the mortality and suffering of their fellows.

But, to what extent is an animal aware of its own mortality i.e. does it think about whether it will one day die? Animals are aware, to varying degrees, of the things in life which might cause them harm although this list isn't exhaustive. I have a dog which is terrified of heights, but very relaxed in its attitude towards speeding motor vehicles.

I have another dog which seemingly has no understanding of the concept of "dogs which are ten times his size" and is utterly fearless towards them depsite his age and infirmity. I've my doubts as to whether his doggy brain grasps that his lifespan is finite.

"One of the great tragedies of mankind is that morality has been hijacked by religion." - Arthur C Clarke

"'Science doesn't know everything' - Well science knows it doesn't know everything, otherwise it'd stop" - Dara O'Brian

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Re: Are animals aware of their own mortality

#8 by Goldenmane » Jul 29, 2014 3:34 pm

Sendraks wrote: Aren't the answers given examples of animals being aware of the mortality of others and responding accordingly? The few examples above are but a snapshot of the wealth of evidence out there that animals are acutely aware of the mortality and suffering of their fellows.

But, to what extent is an animal aware of its own mortality i.e. does it think about whether it will one day die? Animals are aware, to varying degrees, of the things in life which might cause them harm although this list isn't exhaustive. I have a dog which is terrified of heights, but very relaxed in its attitude towards speeding motor vehicles.

I have another dog which seemingly has no understanding of the concept of "dogs which are ten times his size" and is utterly fearless towards them depsite his age and infirmity. I've my doubts as to whether his doggy brain grasps that his lifespan is finite.

Nah, that's arguably simply an inability to grasp what shit is likely to result in his mortality. Not the same thing. Though maybe he's just like a teenage boy - incapable of grasping that he, too, can die.

Re: Are animals aware of their own mortality

#9 by Sendraks » Jul 29, 2014 3:50 pm

Except, if you have no grasp of mortality you are unlikely to grasp what might bring about your demise.

"One of the great tragedies of mankind is that morality has been hijacked by religion." - Arthur C Clarke

"'Science doesn't know everything' - Well science knows it doesn't know everything, otherwise it'd stop" - Dara O'Brian

Re: Are animals aware of their own mortality

#10 by scott1328 » Jul 29, 2014 6:12 pm


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Re: AW: Are animals aware of their own mortality

#11 by Scar » Jul 29, 2014 6:33 pm


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Re: Are animals aware of their own mortality

#12 by THWOTH » Jul 29, 2014 10:57 pm

Re: Are animals aware of their own mortality

#13 by DougC » Jul 29, 2014 11:40 pm

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Re: Are animals aware of their own mortality

#14 by DougC » Jul 30, 2014 12:00 am

DougC Posts: 14580 Age: 48
Country: UNITED Kingdom

Re: Are animals aware of their own mortality

#15 by orpheus » Jul 30, 2014 2:06 am

Sendraks wrote: Aren't the answers given examples of animals being aware of the mortality of others and responding accordingly? The few examples above are but a snapshot of the wealth of evidence out there that animals are acutely aware of the mortality and suffering of their fellows.

But, to what extent is an animal aware of its own mortality i.e. does it think about whether it will one day die? Animals are aware, to varying degrees, of the things in life which might cause them harm although this list isn't exhaustive. I have a dog which is terrified of heights, but very relaxed in its attitude towards speeding motor vehicles.

I have another dog which seemingly has no understanding of the concept of "dogs which are ten times his size" and is utterly fearless towards them depsite his age and infirmity. I've my doubts as to whether his doggy brain grasps that his lifespan is finite.

It's a complex issue, certainly. One thing is to be aware of other possible explanations. For example, we humans tend to be afraid of falling from a height, yet we experience nothing like that fear when riding in a car - even though we may be traveling at the same velocity. Natural selection has seen to it that we have a healthy fear of falling, but our ancestors never (or rarely) encountered dangerous high-speed horizontal motion, so we haven't developed the deep-rooted fear. Similarly, our species doesn't have much of a history with motor vehicles, so we need to be taught, as young children, to be afraid of them. It doesn't mean that we don't have an awareness of and/or fear of our own mortality.

Also, another point comes to mind: our awareness of our own mortality is not a constant. On a day-to-day, moment-to-moment level we could not function with a continual awareness of our own mortality. Much of the time we have healthy and necessary denial mechanisms in place. But their effectiveness and appropriateness changes at different stages of life (and, of course, with changing circumstances such as serious illness, the illness or death of a loved one, or other circumstances that are perceived to threaten one's stability in life).

If anyone is interested, a large part of Irvin Yalom's excellent book Existential Psychotherapy is devoted to this issue.


Conclusion

But for this present time, God has granted us the privilege of enjoying the company of our animal pets and enjoying the wonder of wild animals at zoos, aquariums, national parks, and even in nature documentaries especially God-honoring ones like the Riot and the Dance or the Answers TV series, Hike and Seek. God wants us to study his creation , including the animals (Psalms 92:5, 104:24 Proverbs 6:6–8, 30:24–28), and wants mankind to take delight in what he has made (Psalms 111:2). Enjoy your pets, care for them, and yet remember that although God values his animal creation , mankind’s value is much greater (Matthew 10:31, 1 Corinthians 9:9-10), and it is with mankind that God chooses to dwell in eternity (Revelation 21:3) and call his children (Romans 8:16 1 John 3:1–2 Revelation 21:7). And if God also chooses to include animals to be in his presence eternally for his and our pleasure, then we will get to add one more thing to our infinite list of eternal praise to God (c.f. Psalms 145:3 Romans 11:33 1 Corinthians 2:9 Revelation 4:8–11).

As stewards of God , having been given dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:28) and commanded throughout Scripture to be followers and imitators of God (Psalms 63:1 Psalms 119:2 John 10:27 Ephesians 5:1) and to do what is good (Psalms 34:14 Micah 6:8 Romans 2:10 Ephesians 4:28–29 1 Thessalonians 5:15 3 John 1:11), does this not also include doing good to the animals which God has made? Deuteronomy 25:4, Proverbs 12:10, Mark 7:28, Luke 13:15 and 14:5 obviously tell us that we are to care for our animals, whether working animals or pets. And if we are to be imitators of God , perhaps we should remember that God also cares for his animal creation . He provides water and food for them (Psalm 104:10–11, 27–28), takes pity on them (Jonah 4:11), and does not forget them (Luke 12:6). May we also follow God ’s example of loving care here as faithful stewards (1 Corinthians 4:2) of God ’s creation (Psalm 8:6–8).


“Compassion is a betrayal of nature,” Hitler exclaimed days before his suicide. “Nature itself is brutal, cruel,” people often tell us, which then becomes a justification for harming animals for any reason we wish, framing our relentless violence toward them as part of some primal, predatory, tooth-and-nail fight to the finish. Painted this way, our treatment of farmed animals is practically self defense. Yet, bred into a state of total domination and learned helplessness, farmed animals are among the most docile, submissive and passive creatures on earth. They have given up out of the gate. None of the domesticated animals raised for food have the kill instinct of carnivores, nor is human flesh a natural or desired part of their diet. But, even if farmed animals posed a serious threat to us, they exist only because we forcibly breed them into existence. If we did not artificially breed farmed animals in the first place, they would not exist and therefore would pose no threat to us. We create our own problems with animals and then blame the animal victims for those problems. We are by far the most violent perpetrators of any species on this planet. It is the height of irony that we should then characterize other species who kill, if they do, only from necessity, as ferocious and merciless.

Regarding the question of how we ought to treat nonhuman animals, philosopher Jeremy Bentham famously wrote, The question is not, “Can they reason?” nor “Can they talk?” but, “Can they suffer?” Read article...


Cancer in Naked Mole Rats

Naked mole rats live long lives, up to thirty years.12 Though cancer incidence increases with age, cancer was not observed in this species, making it an attractive model organism for cancer researchers. By studying naked mole rats, researchers hoped to discover the keys to cancer resistance if they found out what made these organisms so resistant to cancer, they could use that information in the human fight against the disease.

Ironically, cases of cancer have been recently reported in naked mole rats.1314These case reports indicate that naked mole rats are not cancer-proof, though they do not develop cancer at rates predicted by their long lifespan.

One reason for this could be a carbohydrate polymer , hyaluronic acid, which was found to be much larger in naked mole rats than in other mammals.15 Laboratory experiments with breast cancer cells showed that culturing them with hyaluronic acid caused the cells to die by apoptosis .16


Searching for Savannas

Savannas are found on all continents except Antarctica. Click for more detail.

If you wanted to visit a savanna, where would you go? Because of their warm climate requirements, savannas tend to be found closer to the equator, which marks the halfway point between the north and south hemispheres of the earth. Because this area gets direct sunlight more of the year than the north and south extremes, the temperature doesn’t change much.

The most famous savannas are those of Africa because they are full of wildlife that people want to learn about, like lions and elephants. Nearly half of Africa is covered with savannas. But savannas can also be found in South America, Asia and even Australia. However, the diversity of plants and animals are not quite as high in other regions as in the African savannas.


Is there an afterlife? The science of biocentrism can prove there is, claims Professor Robert Lanza

It’s a question pondered by philosophers, scientists and the devout since the dawn of time: is there an afterlife?

While the religious would argue that life on earth is a mere warm up for an eternity spent in heaven or hell, and many scientists would dismiss the concept for lack of proof – one expert claims he has definitive evidence to confirm once and for all that there is indeed life after death.

The answer, Professor Robert Lanza says, lies in quantum physics – specifically the theory of biocentrism. The scientist, from Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina, says the evidence lies in the idea that the concept of death is a mere figment of our consciousness.

Professor Lanza says biocentrism explains that the universe only exists because of an individual’s consciousness of it – essentially life and biology are central to reality, which in turn creates the universe the universe itself does not create life. The same applies to the concepts of space and time, which Professor Lanza describes as “simply tools of the mind”.

In a message posted on the scientist’s website, he explains that with this theory in mind, the concept of death as we know it is “cannot exist in any real sense” as there are no true boundaries by which to define it. Essentially, the idea of dying is something we have long been taught to accept, but in reality it just exists in our minds.

Professor Lanza says biocentrism is similar to the idea of parallel universes - a concept hypothesised by theoretical physicists. In much the same way as everything that could possibly happen is speculated to be occurring all at once across multiple universes, he says that once we begin to question our preconceived concepts of time and consciousness, the alternatives are huge and could alter the way we think about the world in a way not seen since the 15th century’s “flat earth” debate.

He goes on to use the so-called double-slit experiment as proof that the behaviour of a particle can be altered by a person’s perception of it. In the experiment, when scientists watch a particle pass through a multi-holed barrier, the particle acts like a bullet travelling through a single slit. When the article is not watched, however, the particle moves through the holes like a wave.

Scientists argue that the double-slit experiment proves that particles can act as two separate entities at the same time, challenging long-established ideas of time and perception.

Although the idea is rather complicated, Professor Lanza says it can be explained far more simply using colours. Essentially, the sky may be perceived as blue, but if the cells in our brain were changed to make the sky look green, was the sky every truly blue or was that just our perception?

In terms of how this affects life after death, Professor Lanza explains that, when we die, our life becomes a “perennial flower that returns to bloom in the multiverse”. He added: “Life is an adventure that transcends our ordinary linear way of thinking. When we die, we do so not in the random billiard-ball-matrix but in the inescapable-life-matrix.”


Animal cruelty and neglect FAQ

What is animal cruelty?

Animal cruelty encompasses a range of behaviors harmful to animals, from neglect to malicious killing. Most cruelty investigated by humane officers is unintentional neglect that can be resolved through education.

Intentional cruelty can run the gamut from knowingly depriving an animal of food, water, shelter, socialization or veterinary care to maliciously torturing, maiming, mutilating or killing an animal.

Why is it a concern?

All animal cruelty is a concern because it is wrong to inflict suffering on any living creature. Intentional cruelty is a particular concern because it is a sign of psychological distress and often indicates that an individual either has already been a victim of violence or might be predisposed to committing acts of violence.

Why would anyone be cruel to animals?

There can be many reasons. Animal cruelty, like any other form of violence, is often committed by a person who feels powerless, unnoticed or under the control of others. The motive may be to shock, threaten, intimidate or offend others or to demonstrate rejection of society's rules. Some who are cruel to animals copy acts they have seen or that have been done to them. Others see harming an animal as a safe way to get revenge against—or threaten— someone who cares about that animal.

Is there any evidence of a connection between animal cruelty and human violence?

Absolutely. Many studies in psychology, sociology and criminology in the past 25 years have demonstrated that violent offenders frequently have childhood and adolescent histories of serious and repeated animal cruelty [PDF]. The FBI has recognized the connection since the 1970s, when its analysis of the lives of serial killers suggested that most had killed or tortured animals as children.

Other research has shown consistent patterns of animal cruelty among perpetrators of other forms of violence, including child abuse, spousal abuse and elder abuse. In fact, the American Psychiatric Association considers animal cruelty one of the diagnostic criteria of conduct disorder.

What happens when authorities prosecute an animal cruelty case?

Depending on the severity of the case, those convicted of animal cruelty can be imprisoned. Appropriate sentencing can also include individual or family counseling, community service, placement in a diversion program and a prohibition on owning or caring for animals.

It is rarely the goal of police to imprison a child for cruelty to animals. Law enforcement officers and judges recognize that cruelty to animals is one part of a complex problem. Sometimes, the official response to animal cruelty provides a family its first opportunity to get help.

Can reports be made anonymously?

While many jurisdictions will respond to an anonymous complaint, successful prosecutions often depend on an identifiable witness who can authenticate evidence.

How many animals are victims of cruelty each year?

Because there is no national reporting requirement for animal abuse, there is no way to track the number of animal cruelty cases that are filed or that make it to court each year. The idea of creating animal abuser registries, similar to sex abuser registries, has been advocated for a long time. The nation's first such registry was established in Suffolk County, N.Y., in October 2010.

What can I do to help fight animal cruelty?

Be aware of the signs of animal cruelty and know how to report suspected cruelty to animals and sign up to be notified about actions you can take to bring animal abusers to justice.

What is criminal animal neglect?

Animal neglect situations are those in which the animal's caretaker or owner fails to provide food, water, shelter or veterinary care sufficient for survival. It can be either deliberate or unintentional, but either way, the animal suffers terribly. Extended periods of neglect can lead to seriously compromised health or even death. Animal cause control agencies nationwide report that animal neglect cases are the most common calls to which they respond.

How does it cause animal suffering?

The pain of an animal who lingers with untreated illness or wounds, or without nourishment or shelter, can be tremendous—sometimes even more so than those who are victims of directly inflicted violence, because their suffering is so prolonged. Animals who starve to death experience a myriad of painful symptoms throughout each stage of their physical deterioration. An initial loss of body fat is followed by muscle loss and atrophy and, ultimately, organ failure. In long-term starvation, degeneration of the liver, cardiac changes, anemia and skin lesions may develop.

An animal without proper shelter can also quickly succumb to extreme heat or cold. During extremely cold spells or hot periods, it is not uncommon for animal control officers to find companion animals—often chained dogs—literally frozen to the ground or dead from heat prostration because of lack of proper shelter from the elements. Often these animals perish only feet away from the homes in which their caretakers live.

Dogs who are continually chained are also neglect victims, even if it may not be illegal in that particular jurisdiction. Because dogs are social pack animals, isolating them at the end of a chain causes them anguish that can drive them to aggression, neuroses and self-mutilation behaviors. Chained dogs are also more likely to be victims of starvation, because their confinement renders them particularly helpless.

Are there other concerns?

Yes. Law enforcement officials responding to cases of animal neglect often find various forms of abusive behavior [PDF] like child neglect and/or elder abuse in the same household. This is particularly true in cases of animal hoarding, where a person takes in far too many animals than can be cared for and becomes virtually blind to their suffering. Cats are the most common animal-hoarding victims.

Because people who are insensitive to the suffering of animals are more likely to be unresponsive to the needs of dependent people in their household (and vice versa), several states have "cross-reporting" laws. Cross-reporting laws are those in which humane officers and/or veterinarians are required to report possible elder and/or child abuse. Also, there can be informal agreements between social welfare agencies where agents are encouraged to report suspected animal cruelty and neglect.

Anecdotally, in cases of severe animal neglect at a residence, mental illness and/or drug abuse may be implicated in the situation as well.

Are there laws against animal neglect?

Yes. Although many people do not recognize animal neglect as illegal animal abuse, many states have a provision specifically addressing animal neglect written into their animal cruelty laws others allow animal neglect to be prosecuted under the general cruelty statute prohibiting acts of "torture" against an animal. Thirteen states have laws limiting the continuous chaining of dogs.

Body condition scoring systems for cattle and horses have long been in place to help assess the condition of livestock, and in recent years scoring systems for dogs (ranging from ideal to emaciated) have been developed to help animal cruelty investigators and veterinarians assess cases of animal neglect.

A major shortcoming of many animal neglect laws is their failure to address all animal species. For instance, many statutes specifically apply only to dogs and cats or "companion animals" and exclude those considered "farm animals" or trapped wildlife.

Can animal neglect be prosecuted as a felony offense?

Prosecutors in some states have the option to charge an egregious case of animal neglect as a felony when the neglect was considered to have fallen under the definition of "torture," or was considered intentional (although intent has been notoriously difficult to prove in court). Still, felony convictions have been obtained in neglect cases resulting in the animals' deaths.

There are several compelling reasons for treating animal neglect as a serious crime, including the extreme suffering involved and its implications for the welfare of other animals and people who may rely upon the abuser.

Overly lenient penalties (small fines, probation or suspended sentences) that accompany misdemeanor convictions are problematic because they leave the door open for the offenders to repeat their abuse with other animals and/or people in their care.

What can I do to help stop animal neglect?

Be aware of the signs of animal neglect—including chained dogs, animal hoarding, or abandoned pets—and be willing to make a report to your local animal control agency. If your town or city does not have a local animal control, you can make a report to the sheriff or other law enforcement agency. (You may remain anonymous when filing a report.)

Some neglect cases, when the owners' lack of resources and/or knowledge is the problem, can be resolved simply by educating the owner and working with them to adjust their animal's living conditions. For example, some communities have fence-building projects for the owners of chained dogs who may not have enough money to build a fence. (This approach is usually more effective if you're well acquainted with or are on positive terms already with the person in question.)

In most cases, the education and monitoring of the neglect situation is best left to your community's law enforcement professionals.


Gnotobiotic Life

The concept of animals existing in complete isolation from microorganisms originated with Louis Pasteur [1], who also predicted that an animal's existence would be impossible without microbial life. Ten years later, George Nuttal and Hans Thuerfelder disproved Pasteur's prediction by removing microorganisms from a guinea pig [2]. Much later, James Reyniers and colleagues reared rats and chickens in gnotobiotic conditions (gnos, known bios, life i.e., “germfree”), enabling the development of germfree animal populations for research [3],[4]. Reynier's bioengineering-driven efforts to generate “pure units” of biology for experimental study resulted in technology that enabled gnotobiotic life. Thus began not only a field of scientific endeavor that would alter the face of medical and biological study but also a cultural phenomenon centered on an obsession with eliminating microorganisms from the human experience, with extremes leading to “germophobia.”

The gnotobiotic condition has often been purported to enable an animal to enjoy improved physiological health, even leading to an increased life span. Misinterpreted reports from early 20th century research propagated the misconception that animals, including humans, might thrive without microbes, producing healthier children and adults [5]. However, such generalizations are oversimplified. Although the absence of microorganisms, pathogens included, does tend to increase lifespan [6], germfree animal physiology and immunology are altered, with poorly characterized consequences. Gnotobiotic animals have reduced motility in the bowel that results in a greatly enlarged cecum, which can lead to lethal complications [7]. In addition, these animals possess smaller lymph nodes and a poorly developed immune system, including reductions in serum immunoglobulin and leukocytes. Germfree animals also exhibit reduced organ sizes, including for the heart, lungs, and liver. Certain other aspects of gnotobiotic development have not been rigorously examined. For example, gnotobiotic conditions may have unforeseen consequences on mental health due to the myriad interactions between the gut microbiome and neurophysiological health and development [8],[9].

Although animal life can survive without direct physical contact with Bacteria and Archaea, are microorganisms necessary for generating the nutritional requirements, dietary supplements, and foodstuffs required for metabolism? Indeed, early experiments in gnotobiotic systems resulted in nutrition-related deaths because microorganisms associated with these animals produced growth factors essential to the host [5]. Today, such nutritional issues have largely been solved. Animals can spend their entire lives absent of microbial flora because all required dietary components can be synthesized chemically, without the need for a biological precursor.

Despite the possibility of meeting nutritional requirements for a human germfree existence, perhaps the most substantial barrier for our species embracing a gnotobiotic lifestyle is this: who would want to live inside a bubble? Without the commensal microbes that colonize our bodies and train our immune systems, sudden exposure to pathogenic microorganisms would likely result in a disease burden that would shorten our lifespans dramatically. A bubble would be essential for maintaining gnotobiotic life in our current world, as it was for David Vetter [5]. The physiological and psychological consequences of rearing a human being to adulthood under gnotobiotic conditions are entirely unknown.


So what can be done about irresponsible exotic pet owners?

Clearly, if people are going to possess dangerous &aposwildlife&apos there needs to be rules. The fact that there weren&apost any at the start is ridiculous and not the fault of the animal-owning public. What&aposs readily observable is that the meat of the problem is that people of a specific socioeconomic status are those that end up having such animals in poor situations just as the same occurs with domesticated pets. Simply put, education, common sense, and money are essential factors in the proper maintenance of large, resource-consuming animals without exception. The purchase price of the animal is surprisingly low, but long-term care is where the real expense lies. Animals like lions and tigers are typically avoided by people with common sense, as they know how difficult and expensive these animals are, opening the door for inexperienced and ill-equipped caretakers that cannot perceive the gravity of their situations until they are forcibly shut down.

Regulations that are designed to assess financial requirements, experience, caging, and numbers of animals kept can be shaped to prevent people like this from having easy access to big cats and other high-maintenance wildlife. If you are interested in how to properly and ethically care for a pet tiger, Click Here.


Watch the video: Why are humans so different from other animals? (August 2022).