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The rough road to animal personhood

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Max undergoing surgery.
Max undergoing surgery.
Beaks are extremely important to birds, allowing them to hold objects and feed themselves. One can easily imagine the problems that a blue and gold macaw named Max experienced, when his beak was pulled off after two fights with other birds. Human caretakers helped him eat again, and when his remaining lower beak grew too long, they regularly shortened it so it was the right size for his tongue.

In search of a long-term solution, a South African team of veterinarians, doctors and other professionals led by Prof. Gerhard Steenkamp worked together to design and attach a 3D-printed beak for Max. As has been previously covered on Flayrah, many other animals have also received prosthetics when they've needed them.

Not the Pet Shop Boys... two extreme death metal bands with animal vocalists

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This isn't new, but I haven't seen it posted for furries; so for your amusement and listening pleasure [*cough*], meet Hatebeak and Caninus.

Hatebeak is a death metal band, formed by Blake Harrison, Mark Sloan, and Waldo, a 21-year-old Congo African Grey Parrot. Hatebeak is the only band to have an "avian" vocalist... Their sound has been described as "a jackhammer being ground in a compactor." Aquarius Records magazine called Hatebeak "furious and blasting death metal". Hatebeak made their second record with Caninus, a band whose lead singer is two dogs. (Wikipedia)

Review: 'Sandeagozu', by Janann V. Jenner

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'Sandeagozu' front coverThis unique and imaginative animal fantasy, set during 1932, features five cagemates from a large New York City pet shop specializing in exotic animals, who plan to escape and set out across Depression-era America for that legendary animals’ paradise, Sandeagozu – the San Diego Zoo. Led by Sherahi (“tiger killer”), the giant pythoness, the band of odd fellows consists of her, Manu the langur, Dervish the coatimundi, Dutchess the scarlet macaw, and Junior the venomous cascabel (a South American rattlesnake).

Virtually all the reviews summarize the plot as that: five exotic animals escape from a New York City pet shop to journey across America to the San Diego Zoo. Yet Sandeagozu is not exactly that, and very much more than that. That event, the meeting of the animals in the pet shop and their decision to escape together, does not begin until page 103. Jenner first builds a leisurely but fascinating backstory, rich in detail and characterization. The reader barely notices, and does not care, that the main story has yet to begin.

Illustrated by Robert Crawford. Harper & Row, October 1986, 442 pages, $18.95; ISBN: 0-06-015633-3

If Polly Ran The Ship…

Another discovery from Further Confusion — and we wonder how we missed this before.  Black Beak the Parrot Pirate is a creation of Jennifer Sopranzi, Catherine Van Riper, and Tony Sopranzi, featuring CGI tricked-up photos of real animals as illustrations for their rousing sea adventure stories for young readers.  “In the crystal blue waters of the Southern Seas lies the home of the fierce pirate parrot Captain Black Beak. Welcome to Conure Cove, the beautiful Island home of the brave and gentle beasts and birds who live in this mystic land. These are the first seven tales of Captain Black Beak, the greatest pirate parrot to sail the seas. Long may his tales be told in stories, songs and poems.” Now the first seven short books in the series (all of them available on Amazon) have been collected into a single volume, Black Beak: Pirate Saga, which also includes some new material. You can find out more about all of this at the home page of  Black Beak Press.

image c. 2013 Black Beak Press

'Delhi Safari' to get an "American-style" release across India on October 18

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Animation Xpress, vol. 10 #371 for October 4 reports that Delhi Safari, the CGI animated feature about an angry monkey, a laid-back bear, a scheming parrot, a mother leopard, and her cute cub trekking across India to the human city of Delhi to protest the strip-mining of their forest, will release on around 300 screens across India on October 18. The Hindi-language feature has a strong Bollywood voice cast.

Animation Xpress has a long interview with Krayon Pictures’ Nishith Takia that shows its poster and new promotional art. “Our film has got screened at Annecy International Film Festival and has also won the best Animated Feature Film at FICCI FRAMES in India, has boosted our confidence in the way the film has come out.” The film has a positive School Contact program at over 3,000 schools across India because of its strong pro-ecology message.

Delhi Safari has been dubbed into English with an all-star cast (Jason Alexander, Cary Elwes, Christopher Lloyd, etc.) for an American release sometime during 2013. Its English-language trailer was shown on Flayrah last May.

Parrot Counts... To Zero

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An African Grey is numeralogically smarter than most birds--and some people. He understands a variant on the abstract concept of "none", something very difficult to teach animals.

The teaching techniques used with the parrot may prove useful for instructing learning disabled children. The full story is available here from Science Daily.


Parrots, apes, and elephants are people, too.

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Steven M. Wise, J.D., is the president of Center for the Expansion of Fundamental Rights, and teaches Animal Rights Law at Harvard, Vermont, and John Marshall Law Schools. He has written a new book: Drawing the Line, which goes beyond his previous book Rattling the Cage in that he advocates legal rights even beyond the great apes to elephants, parrots, and dolphins. (But not dogs.)

Bald parrot discovered

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A new species of parrot, known only by one bird viewed at the edge of the forest, seems to have a fully bald head, like a vulture. Scientists are trying to find the species again to study and protect. It was spotted in a piece of Brazillian rainforest slated for development.