Topic: Animal rights
Great ape personhood is a movement to extend personhood and some legal protections to the non-human members of the Hominidae or great ape family: chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans.
Advocates include primatologists Jane Goodall and Dawn Prince-Hughes, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, philosophers Paola Cavalieri and Peter Singer, and legal scholar Steven Wise.
- "Great Ape Personhood" | 2019-07-30 | 26 Upvotes 4 Comments
The Pit of despair was a name used by American comparative psychologist Harry Harlow for a device he designed, technically called a vertical chamber apparatus, that he used in experiments on rhesus macaque monkeys at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in the 1970s. The aim of the research was to produce an animal model of clinical depression. Researcher Stephen Suomi described the device as "little more than a stainless-steel trough with sides that sloped to a rounded bottom":
A 3⁄8 in. wire mesh floor 1 in. above the bottom of the chamber allowed waste material to drop through the drain and out of holes drilled in the stainless-steel. The chamber was equipped with a food box and a water-bottle holder, and was covered with a pyramid top [removed in the accompanying photograph], designed to discourage incarcerated subjects from hanging from the upper part of the chamber.
Harlow had already placed newly born monkeys in isolation chambers for up to one year. With the "Pit of despair", he placed monkeys between three months and three years old in the chamber alone, after they had bonded with their mothers, for up to ten weeks. Within a few days, they had stopped moving about and remained huddled in a corner.
- "Pit of despair" | 2010-05-04 | 27 Upvotes 40 Comments
Roar is a 1981 American adventure comedy film written, produced, and directed by Noel Marshall. Roar's story follows Hank, a naturalist who lives on a nature preserve in Africa with lions, tigers, and other big cats. When his family visits him, they are instead confronted by the group of animals. The film stars Marshall as Hank and Tippi Hedren as his wife Madeleine, with Melanie Griffith, and Marshall's sons John and Jerry Marshall in supporting roles.
In 1969, while Hedren was filming Satan's Harvest in Mozambique, she and Marshall had occasion to observe a pride of lions move into a recently vacated house, driven by increased poaching. They decided to make a film centered around that theme, bringing rescued big cats into their homes in California and living with them. Filming began in 1976; it was finished after five years. The film was fully completed after 11 years in production.
Roar was not initially released in North America; in 1981, Noel and John Marshall privately released it internationally. It was also acquired by Filmways Pictures and Alpha Films. Despite performing well in Germany and Japan, Roar was a box office failure, grossing $2 million worldwide against a $17 million budget. In 2015, 34 years after the film's original release, it was released in theaters in the United States by Drafthouse Films. Roar's message of protection for African wildlife as well as its animal interactions were praised by critics, but its plot, story, inconsistent tone, dialogue, and editing were criticized.
The cast and crew members of Roar faced dangerous situations during filming; seventy people, including the film's stars, were injured as a result of multiple animal attacks. Flooding from a dam destroyed much of the set and equipment during its production, and the film's budget increased drastically. In 1983, Hedren founded the Roar Foundation and established the Shambala Preserve sanctuary, to house the animals appearing in the film. She also wrote a book, The Cats of Shambala (1985), about many of the film's events. The film has been described as "the most dangerous film ever made" and "the most expensive home movie ever made", and has gained a cult following.
- "Roar (1981 Film)" | 2019-11-14 | 85 Upvotes 16 Comments
During the 1950s and 1960s the Soviet space program used dogs for sub-orbital and orbital space flights to determine whether human spaceflight was feasible. In this period, the Soviet Union launched missions with passenger slots for at least 57 dogs. The number of dogs in space is smaller, as some dogs flew more than once. Most survived; the few that died were lost mostly through technical failures, according to the parameters of the test.
A notable exception is Laika, the first dog to be sent into orbit, whose death during the 3 November, 1957 Sputnik 2 mission was expected from its outset.
- "Soviet Space Dogs" | 2019-10-15 | 33 Upvotes 22 Comments
The monkey selfie copyright dispute is a series of disputes about the copyright status of selfies taken by Celebes crested macaques using equipment belonging to the British nature photographer David Slater. The disputes involve Wikimedia Commons and the blog Techdirt, which have hosted the images following their publication in newspapers in July 2011 over Slater's objections that he holds the copyright, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), who have argued that the macaque should be assigned the copyright.
Slater has argued that he has a valid copyright claim, as he engineered the situation that resulted in the pictures by travelling to Indonesia, befriending a group of wild macaques, and setting up his camera equipment in such a way that a "selfie" picture might come about. The Wikimedia Foundation's 2014 refusal to remove the pictures from its Wikimedia Commons image library was based on the understanding that copyright is held by the creator, that a non-human creator (not being a legal person) cannot hold copyright, and that the images are thus in the public domain.
Slater stated in August 2014 that, as a result of the pictures being available on Wikipedia, he had lost at least GB£10,000 (equivalent to about £11,000 in 2019) in income and his business as a wildlife photographer was being harmed. In December 2014, the United States Copyright Office stated that works created by a non-human, such as a photograph taken by a monkey, are not copyrightable. A number of legal experts in the US and UK have argued that Slater's role in the photographic process may have been sufficient to establish a valid copyright claim, though this decision would have to be made by a court.
In a separate dispute, PETA tried to use the monkey selfies to establish a legal precedent that animals should be declared copyright holders. Slater had published a book containing the photographs through self-publishing company Blurb, Inc. In September 2015, PETA filed a lawsuit against Slater and Blurb, requesting that the monkey be assigned the copyright and that PETA be appointed to administer proceeds from the photos for the endangered species' benefit. In dismissing PETA's case, the court ruled that a monkey cannot own copyright, under US law. PETA appealed, and in September 2017, both PETA and the photographer agreed to a settlement in which Slater would donate a portion of future revenues on the photographs to wildlife organizations. However, the court of appeals declined to dismiss the appeal and declined to vacate the lower court judgment. In April 2018, the appeals court affirmed that animals cannot legally hold copyrights and expressed concern that PETA's motivations had been to promote their own interests rather than to protect the legal rights of animals.
- "Monkey Selfie Copyright Dispute" | 2021-07-08 | 11 Upvotes 5 Comments
The British pet massacre was an event in 1939 in the United Kingdom where over 750,000 pets were killed in preparation for food shortages during World War II. It was referred to at the time as the September Holocaust, and later sources describe it as a "holocaust of pets". In London alone, during the first week of the Second World War around 400,000 companion animals, about 26% of all cats and dogs were killed.
No bombs were to fall on the UK mainland until April 1940.
Similar events happened in mainland Europe, for example, the killing of millions of farm animals in Denmark due to the lack of imported fodder for them.