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animal welfare

Animal prosthetics expose greater concern for animal welfare

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Naki'o, from ReutersMy first story for Flayrah was about Oscar, the first cat to get prosthetic limbs. Only one line – it was before Newsbytes were added – but the feline Oscar remains a good role model. (Unfortunately, the human Oscar, my fellow South African, multiple gold-winning Paralympian and first amputee to compete in the able-bodied Olympics, dropped the ball in that regard.)

There are many other examples of animals with prosthetics. Perhaps the most notable would be Winter, a dolphin with a prosthetic tail. In 2011, her story was adapted into a feature film, Dolphin Tail. Moving from a cat to her demonstrates the breadth of animals that these tools and surgeries are helping.

A famous experiment in anthropomorphism and psychology

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Harlow's monkey clinging to a terrycloth dollSorry to interrupt fun stories about comics and cartoons, but the Anthropomorphic Research Project story suggests some want to know what furryness means. Let me throw in a topic sharing an abstract concept with the fandom.

Anthropomorphism is often imagined from our human point of view (attaching human characteristics to something non-human). But the concept can exist apart from ourselves, when animals see themselves in objects. The way it works for them can reveal more about us.

Harry Harlow was a psychologist who experimented with monkeys. In the 1950's and 60's, he gave his subjects "surrogate" mothers built from different objects, to see how they would behave, and learn about care-giving and companionship in social and cognitive development. PBS says about his famous experiment:

He took infant monkeys away from their real mothers, giving them instead two artificial mothers, one model made of wire and the other made of cloth. The wire model was outfitted with a bottle to feed the baby monkey. But the babies rarely stayed with the wire model longer than it took to get the necessary food. They clearly preferred cuddling with the softer cloth model, especially if they were scared. (When the cloth model had the bottle, they didn't go to the wire model at all.)

'The Jungle Gang' out in English

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The Jungle GangAnimation Xpress for 24 July reports that the four The Jungle Gang films are out, starring Bo, the bar-headed goose; Kuttu, the Slender Loris; and Bhoora, the blackbuck.

The Jungle Gang is the first Indian wildlife film series that has been made exclusively for children and young adults. The series has been created by Earthcare Films of Krishnendu Bose and financially supported by WWF-India.

Jungle Gang is a fusion of CGI and live action wildlife footage shot in some of the most iconic National Parks of India.” The films are 15 minute each. “Bo is portrayed as a Ms. Know-it-all, Kuttu as a witty joker and Bhoora as a wide-eyed kid and foodie.”

Watch: Animated trailer for The Jungle Gang Meets the Rhino

Review: 'Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy'

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 The Power of ManMatthew Scully is an unusual proponent of animal rights, coming from the Christian-favoured, U.S. Republican party. Indeed, he speaks about people automatically assuming he is on the side of hunters and pig 'farmers' when, in fact, he has been a vegetarian for over 30 years.

While Scully does support animal rights, he makes that stand from a generally religious perspective, arguing that current treatment of animals is an abuse of god-given dominion, and disagreeing with the secular reasoning of animal rights proponents like Peter Singer.

Scully's ability is shown when coming to the main thrust of his book, where he writes about animals, how they are treated and how they should be treated. He is an excellent writer (a former speechwriter for then-president George W. Bush), and a dutiful investigator, travelling to most of the places about which he writes.

Further charges laid in Krypto1701 animal abuse case

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Two more counts of animal cruelty have been added to the charges already faced by Peter Bower, known in the furry fandom as Krypto1701.

In May, Bower was charged with two counts of animal cruelty after authorities discovered that he had had sexual relations with his three-year-old shepherd-mix dog, Aurora. New evidence suggests sexual activity with a previous pet, a German shepherd named Maggie.

Rabbi sentences 'reincarnated' dog to death by stoning

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While most would ignore a stray dog or call an animal control unit, Jewish rabbis in Jerusalem sentenced a wandering dog to be stoned to death. The crime? The dog was suspected to be the reincarnated spirit of a secular lawyer who had insulted the court 20 years ago.

Update (20 Jun): The court concerned has strongly denied the original source's claims.

'Krypto1701' arrested for animal cruelty

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Peter Bower/Krypto1701Peter Bower, known in the furry fandom as Krypto1701, has been charged with animal cruelty after he allegedly had sex with a dog he adopted last month.

In mid-May, the dog warden of Richmond County, Ohio, received an e-mail tip on Bower, including links to bestiality-themed websites. Investigators found photos of Bower with multiple animals, including several dogs and possibly a horse.

Florida passes bestiality bill; awaits Gov's signature

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A long-standing issue regarding the potential legality of bestiality in Florida is expected to be put to ease soon with the governor's signature.

Animal abuse cases have been known in Florida; many may have seen a story where a blind man named Alan Yoder, known as Jayren in the furry fandom, admitted performing sex acts with his guide dog — although in that case, the lack of a specific law did not prevent him being charged with felony animal cruelty.

Senate Bill 344 (full text), which makes acts of bestiality a first class misdemeanor, passed the House Wednesday at 115-0 and awaits Governor Rick Scott's signature before becoming law. If signed, it becomes effective October 1. The Senate bill previously passed on a vote of 38-0.

Update (May 7): Noted the identity of the man sparking the case, provided by rodox_video.

Alaskan congressman refuses award from 'extreme' HSUS

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U.S. Representative Don Young of Alaska has refused an award from the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund after being recognized this week with 145 other members of Congress, according to a press release from his office.

"HSUS are hypocrites, plain and simple, and I will not join them by accepting this award," said Rep. Young, explaining his refusal. "Local animal shelters and humane societies do excellent work by caring for neglected and homeless animals, and through their spaying and neutering programs. This organization, however, has absolutely nothing to do with animal welfare. Instead they prey on the emotions of big-hearted Americans."

He elaborated on his reasons on the floor of the House:

I've been a hunter all my life. And they're against hunting. And that bothered me.

Humane Society COO and HSLF president Michael Markarian said that while HSUS "[disagrees] with [Rep. Young's] views on most animal welfare policies," they "also believe in giving credit where credit is due and recognizing positive actions."