Friday, March 31, 2006

Animal Crackers

You’ve all heard me wax on about Mark Morford, editorial columnist of the San Francisco Chronicle extraordinaire, whose ability to articulate superbly while always maintaining a subtext of vehement irreverence, just blows me away. And you’ve all heard me express my fascination with animal intelligence and emotional landscape—yeah, that’s right I said “emotional landscape” and I stand behind it.

Many philosophers, farmers, agri-business, and a good portion of the human population all claim that there IS no emotionalism in animals. I’ve already recommended a book or two on the topic on this site, so I’m not going to regurgitate my arguments and scientific citations which bear a good amount of proof of animal behavior that deviates widely from mere instinctual response, and suggests an emotional sensibility in animals. Like how elephants visit and revisit the bones of their dead ancestors.

The reason understanding this concept of animal emotionalism and some level of awareness of impending death, pain, or even a sort of "heartbreak," is infinitely important to mankind is so that we might consider how we use and abuse animals, and revise our assumptions that live vivisections, cruel slaughter, and cruel testing is perfectly OK because animals are merely pre-programmed instinctual product-bots, put here for our use and consumption.
(photo from
These notions seem ever more important as Canada once again heads into its despicable
baby harp seal hunt. It seems ludicrous to read how activists protesting the hunt were arrested because they got "too close" to the hunters. "Rebecca Aldworth of the HSUS told Reuters by satellite phone that angry hunters had also thrown seal flippers and carcasses at the activists." It's a lovely world sometimes. I'm not a Pamela Anderson fan, but I commend her for taking a stand against this deplorable money-making venture.

But that’s all a tad heavy-handed above, because all I really wanted to do with this post was point you to a hilarious piece that Morford wrote about his significant other’s African Grey Parrot:
My Parrot Screams Like a Girl. Morford is usually a pop-cultural or political satirist, so it is interesting to see him write with a small tinge of … well, warmth.

This little bit by Morford is both hilarious and revealing, in that, as I mentioned, he’s not a terribly sentimental guy—and yet you can see he has learned much from this bird.

Enjoy the article, let me know what you think, tell me what your personal philosophy about the “nature” of animals is. And please, if any of you out there are as horrified by this ongoing crap in Canada as I am, participate to the best of your ability in ending this wasteful and cruel slaughter


At 1:17 PM, Anonymous Meredith O. said...

Morford is dead on about parrots. Samar and I had a blue and gold macaw for three years back in San Francisco - and let me tell you, she was the most brilliant, maniacal, sadistic pet I've ever had the privelage to know.
All those ass**les out there who refuse to acknowledge the possibility that animals are sentient beings should spend a year with a macaw.


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