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On Cheetahs and Reading to Animals

Posted by on Sep 28, 2013 in Writing | 0 comments

For some time now, teachers have been using animals to help children’s reading skills. Studies have shown that students who struggle with or dislike reading can develop self-esteem issues. By sitting down next to a dog and reading to this patient, welcoming “friend,” all threats of being judged are put aside. The child relaxes, pats the attentive dog, and focuses on the reading. Along with the practice comes much needed self-esteem, and reading is associated with something pleasant. What is less well known is that even high achievers benefit from reading aloud to animals. One teacher likened the gifted child to a cheetah, who is built to run fast. However, certain needs must be met for the cheetah to run at top speed. They need to be healthy, they need plenty of room to run, and they need to be motivated...

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The Pig Who Sang to the Moon

Posted by on Sep 20, 2013 in Writing | 0 comments

  Pigs are placed as the fourth most intelligent creature on earth. Research has discovered that pigs also appear to have what psychologists call a theory of mind – an ability to understand that others have beliefs, desires, and intentions that are different from one’s own. It is an attractively intuitive idea that is also explicit in the “golden rule” most people learn as children: “treat others as you would like to be treated.” This type of thinking is usually thought only to exist in man and apes. Pigs it seems are masters of deceit and, according to researchers, pigs will deliberately mislead other pigs so as to gain more food. But they also show compassion. Because they are not only intelligent but also sensitive and emotional animals, they will suffer with depression when confined in the cramped spaces...

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Undercover Investigators: The Real Heroes

Posted by on Sep 12, 2013 in Writing | 0 comments

There are real life Jude Brannocks in the world. In this video an undercover investigator with The Humane Society of the United States snatches a few secretive moments to give an injured sow perhaps the only kindness she has ever known.     In preparation for The Chain, I was fortunate to speak with two other investigators. Having done undercover work as a private investigator myself, I know how difficult it can be to maintain your role in the face of unpredictable events. But for these animal welfare investigators, they must not only maintain their cover, but do it when the emotional cost runs unbearably high – as witnesses every day to the pain and fear of animals in factory farms and slaughterhouses. No one at the end of the day to offer comfort. Just get some sleep and...

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Wildlife Trafficking as Criminal Enterprise

Posted by on Sep 2, 2013 in Writing | 0 comments

Illegal wildlife trafficking is one of the world’s top criminal activities — ranked alongside drugs, arms, and human trafficking. The international crime syndicates running this trade are lining their pockets with billions of dollars, while they slaughter animals at rates never seen before, threaten lives, and even impact global security.  There is nothing a mother elephant will not do for her infant, but even she cannot protect it from bullets. About a year ago, poachers attacked a family of forest elephants in central Africa. The biologist who witnessed the attack told the NY Times that wildlife guards were completely outgunned. In the end, an elephant mother, riddled with bullets, was left to use her enormous body to shield her baby. Her sacrifice was for naught; the baby was also killed. Due to the growing demand for ivory in Asia,...

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