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Time to Change How We View and Treat Animals
With Guest: Marc Bekoff, author of "Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals" and The Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons For Expanding Our Compassion Footprint."

Original Air Date: 02-19-2010

Listen to the show

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In today's episode we will talk how recent research is confirming the existence of emotions in animals, the premise that certain animals exhibit morality and my guest's, Dr. Marc Bekoff, call to all of us, to act more compassionately towards animals.
(photo courtesy of University of Chicago Press)

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This is a photo of the gorilla Binti Jua. She is pictured with her 17-month old infant, Koola. Binti Jua displayed many "human" qualities when she rescued and nurtured an injured child who fell into the Brookfield Zoo's gorilla exhibit in 1996.
(photo courtesy of primatology.net and www.med.wayne.edu)

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Polar Bears expressing affection.

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Meerkats are highly social animals. Here they are cooperating by watching each other's backs.

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Grooming by great apes is another form of cooperative behavior.

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With all the popularity of "Vampire" stories as of late, here is an example of an animal demonstrating reciprocity, meaning doing a favor or helping another for return help back. From "Wild Justice", comes the story of biologist, Gerry Wilkinson's research on Vampire Bats. The bats leave their roost each night to feed on blood that they usually drink from livestock. Some bats may fail to eat, which is dangerous, because to survive, they must feed almost each night. Some bats, will come back and share with those that have not eaten.

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Teamwork for two dogs.

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The following seven photos (including this one) are animals that Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce (co-authors) include as candidates for animals that demonstrate moral behavior. These are Bonobos, who are very social - one of the little known great apes. (See my show episode about Bonobos 4-10-2009)

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Chimpanzees.

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Elephants.

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Wolves are highly social animals. Here the leader is keeping watch while his pack is resting.

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Spotted Hyenas, also very social animals.

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Bottlenose Dolphins.

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Orca whales jumping.
(photo courtesy of Robert Pittman, U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

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Rats? Yes, rats. They are known to show empathy for one another.

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Mice.

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We commonly see the emotional connections between dogs. Often they take their social behavior cues from the emotional state of other dogs.

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Wolves have some of the most expressive faces of the canines that include dogs and foxes. Here a mother wolf has had to reprimand her young male son.

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Elephants have been seen to grieve openly for their dead. Elephants from the herd will gather around the remains of a dead elephant, touch the body with their trunks and remain for awhile.

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A dog exhibits his "play bow" that clearly communicates an invitation to play time.

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This is a fruit bat. A remarkable story related in Marc Bekoff's "Wild Justice" tells of a female bat that helped another bat who was about to give birth. It seems that the pregnant bat who was still hanging typically, upside down, did not know that the correct postion for delivering the baby, was right side up. A "midwife" bat perched in front of the mother to be, to show her the proper postition and then helped after the birth.

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Marc Bekoff's brand new book that calls us to action. As animal lovers, how can we not heed the call.

z49-guest-marcpig.jpg Marc Bekoff is Professor emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, a scholar-in-residence at the Institute of Human-Animal Connection at the University of Denver, and a faculty member of the Humane Society University (http://www.humanesocietyuniversity.org/). He is a Fellow of the Animal Behavior Society and a former Guggenheim Fellow. In 2000 Marc was awarded the Exemplar Award from the Animal Behavior Society for major long-term contributions to the field of animal behavior. Marc has published numerous professional essays and books including the award winning children's book, Animals at play: Rules of the Game. Marc and Jane Goodall cofounded Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in 2000 (http://ethologicalethics.org/) and he works closely with her Roots & Shoots programs (http://www.rootsandshoots.org/). In 2005 Marc was presented with The Bank One Faculty Community Service Award for the work he has done with children, senior citizens, and prisoners. In 2009 he was presented with the St. Francis of Assisi Award by the New Zealand Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. His homepage is http://www.literati.net/Bekoff/

Marc Bekoff's Website

To Order "The Animal Manifesto"

To Order, "Wild Justice"

Additional Resources

Marc Bekoff writes a blog about animal's emotions. Cool entries. He mentions Temple Grandin, who I interviewed on my show - episode date, 11-6-2009. She was wonderful! Did you see the HBO movie about her? It's great! Check out Dr. Marc Bekoff's blogs for the magazine, "Psychology Today".

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