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The Animal Guide for Curious Humans

Arts & Culture Podcasts

Concerned about the impact we humans are having on them? Then charge up those AirPods - or Bluetooth headset - and get ready for The Animal Guide for Curious Humans. Creator and host Maureen Armstrong brings animal lovers, wildlife experts and decision makers together to discuss the habits and behaviours of animals—including us—and ways we can live together harmoniously in light of ever-increasing population, resource and climate pressures. The Animal Guide for Curious Humans will educate you, entertain you, and get you thinking globally so you can act locally. Discover more about Maureen and the show on the The Animal Guide’s About page. Discover more at And be sure to tune in, like, subscribe and share; our animal friends are counting on us!




Concerned about the impact we humans are having on them? Then charge up those AirPods - or Bluetooth headset - and get ready for The Animal Guide for Curious Humans. Creator and host Maureen Armstrong brings animal lovers, wildlife experts and decision makers together to discuss the habits and behaviours of animals—including us—and ways we can live together harmoniously in light of ever-increasing population, resource and climate pressures. The Animal Guide for Curious Humans will educate you, entertain you, and get you thinking globally so you can act locally. Discover more about Maureen and the show on the The Animal Guide’s About page. Discover more at And be sure to tune in, like, subscribe and share; our animal friends are counting on us!





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Elephants - Our Majestic Friends

Today we are focussing on one of most intelligent, socially complex, and inspiring animals on the planet; elephants. While being indigenous to just two continents Africa and Asia, elephants are easily one of the most recognizable mammals on earth. While mainly living in the wild, for millennia humans have captured elephants for use as labor, for war and most significantly in recent centuries, for entertainment –circuses, zoos or in television and movies. Thankfully, we are developing a better understanding of and appreciation for these smart, thoughtful creatures, the need to protect them in the wild and to properly care for them when in captivity. Our guest today is Margaret Whittaker, Executive Director of Wild Welfare U.S., a new American branch of the international organization Wild Welfare based on the United Kingdom. Margaret has spent many years working with elephants and understanding their habits and behaviour and she shares her knowledge with us today. Links: Contact Info: Website: North Carolina Zoo: The Elephant Sanctuary of Tennessee:


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Music to Our Ears - A Look at Some Farm Animal Welfare Studies

Today we will be exploring some interesting studies relating to the welfare of farmed animals. As we have discussed before, billions of farmed animals around the world endure significant suffering and inhumane treatment to feed humans, largely in industrial farming. And yet, like other animals, cows, pigs and chickens, are sentient with clearly documented evidence of emotions, personality differences, kinship with others, etc. For those of us who consume animal products, we can make a real difference in the lives of animals by insisting upon better animal welfare in the human food system. There are many factors that need to be addressed (nutrition, health, environment, behaviour, and mental state) and much work needs to be done. And our guest today is one of the people involved. Dr. Maria Camila Ceballos Bettancourt, is an assistant professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Calgary in Alberta Canada. She has a specialization in beef cattle welfare but, as you will hear, she has been involved in a number of really interesting studies involving pigs and chickens also. She will talk about music and its impact on pigs, the positive benefits of silvopasturing on cattle and how different practices of handling chickens can have a big impact on their welfare. Links: Contact Info: U of C: Google scholar: Social Media links: X: @mariaceballosb Mastodon: @mariacceballos Instagram: @animalwelbe Academic Collaborators Mentioned: Dr. Berardo Rodriguez, Ph.D. Professor, Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia Dr. Juliana Zapata, Ph.D. Professor, Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia The late Dr. Ariel Tarazona, Professor of animal welfare and behaviour, Universidad Nacional de Colombia. MSc Victor Lima, Animal Welfare Consultant Additional Resources: Ceballos MC, Sant’Anna AC, Boivin X, Costa FO, Carvalhal MVL, Paranhos da Costa MJR (2018) Impact of good practices of handling training on beef cattle welfare and stockpeople attitudes and behaviors. Livestock Science. (216): 24-31. Ceballos MC, Sant’Anna AC, Gois KCR, Ferraudo AS, Negrao JA, Paranhos da Costa MJR (2018) Investigating the relationship between human-animal interactions, reactivity, stress response and reproductive performance in Nellore heifers. Livestock Science. (216): 65-75. Tarazona AM, Ceballos MC, Broom DM. Human Relationships with Domestic and Other Animals: One Health, One Welfare, One Biology. Animals. 2020; 10(1):43. Zapata-Cardona J, Ceballos MC, Tarazona Morales AM, Jaramillo ED, Rodríguez BJ (2023). Spectro-temporal acoustic elements of music interact in an integrated way to modulate emotional responses in pigs. Scientific Reports: 13, 2994.


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Ending Bear Bile Farming

When you think about medicine and animals, what comes to mind? For a lot of us, we first think of animal testing; clinical trials, lab mice, etc. But we don’t tend to think so much about the ingredients in our medicines and what animals they come from. Many common drugs and medicines like blood thinners, treatments for menopause and even vaccines contain pig, horse or chicken byproducts. In some countries such as several in Asia, some medicines contain products from animals that are endangered such as tigers and rhinos. Others involve extractions from live animals that can involve considerable pain to animal, damage to its health, and quite horrendous living conditions. Use of bear bile is one example of this latter category. Today, we are going to devote a lot of time to the subject thanks to our guest Dr. Mandala Hunter-Ishikawa. Mandala is a veterinarian with Animals Asia which is a charity headquartered in Hong Kong that has been working for decades to rescue and rehabilitate bears from the bear bile trade in China and Vietnam. It aims to end the bear bile trade through awareness, education and rescue efforts. Links: Video of Tuffy, a rescued Moon bear jumping for joy in water for the first time: Fear Free Pets: Social Media links:


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Caring for Zoo and Aquarium Animals

Happy July everyone! Our guest today is Dr. Heather Bacon, Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Central Lancashire in the United Kingdom. Heather has worked internationally on veterinary education and animal welfare projects for over 15 years. Her experience with and interest in animal welfare issues is so extensive it was difficult to decide on which topic to cover with her today. In the end, we decided to focus mainly on issues of the health and well-being of captive wildlife, specifically those in zoos and aquaria. Heather will talk about the five domains of animal welfare and how they underpin several frameworks around the world for treatment of zoo and aquarium animals. You may recall I did an episode on that subject almost a year ago. That episode is called Feeling Groovy – the Five Domains of Animal Welfare. If you haven’t already done so you may want to check it out. Heather also makes some compelling comments about importance of human interaction with animals, particularly for animals in zoos and aquaria. Enjoy! Links: Recommendations of books, publications: Social Media links: @UCLanvets (twitter), @AW_Vet (personal twitter), @UCLan Veterinary Medicine (facebook)


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The Cat Did What? Cat Behaviour and You

Today we are exploring the world of domestic cat behaviour. Chances are either you have a cat in your family or you know someone who does. There are around 400 million cats in households around the globe. We humans have long had a fascination with these beautiful creatures dating back to ancient Egypt. It is estimated that cats have been domestic pets for 12,000 years. And yet, in many respects, they remain a mystery to us. Our guest is going to help us deepen our understanding of cat behaviour. Nicky Trevorrow, behaviour manager in the Veterinary Department of Cats Protection, the largest UK charity for rescuing and placing cats for adoption. Nicky’s role at Cats Protection is to implement the charity’s strategy to promote feline behaviour and welfare. She is a registered veterinary nurse. She holds a BSc (Hons) degree in Animal Behaviour. She also undertook an Advanced Diploma in Companion Animal Behaviour Therapy from the Centre of Applied Pet Ethology and a Postgraduate Diploma in Companion Animal Behaviour Counselling from the University of Southampton. Nicky is a full member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors and a Registered Clinical Animal Behaviourist through the Animal Behaviour & Training Council (ABTC). The ABTC seeks to promote humane practices in animal training and behaviour therapy by setting and maintaining standards of knowledge and skills for practitioners in animal training and behaviour. We will leave links to those organizations in our show notes if you would like to learn more about them. And please check out Cats Protection’s Youtube channel for lots of great content to help you understand the cats in your life. Links: Youtube: Instagram: Facebook: Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors: Animal Behaviour and Training Council:


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Croc Docs – Protecting Wildlife from Non-native and Invasive Species

Today, we are talking about the impact of non-native and invasive wildlife when they are introduced into an environment. What effect can they have on native wildlife and the ecosystem on which they rely. Today’s guest is Paul Evans, a Science Writer and Outreach Coordinator at Croc Docs, a University of Florida team of biologists, ecological modelers, and outreach specialists conducting research in south Florida and the Caribbean. As you can tell by the name Croc Docs, this scientific group has a special focus on crocodilian (alligators and crocodiles). They are doing important research on native wildlife in south Florida as well as in the Caribbean. They are helping address the challenge of non-native species that have been introduced into the environment, usually because they were kept as pets and either escaped or were released into the wild. Some non-native species are invasive, like the speckled Caiman which is a type of crocodile indigenous to central and south America. These Caimans can have devastating effects on the environment and the native wildlife of Florida. Another highly destructive invasive species is the Argentine tegu, a type of large lizard which poses a serious threat to many native species like the American alligator, sea turtles and ground nesting birds. Paul gives us insights into how these species were introduced to the area, what the Croc Docs are doing to address the challenges they pose and he will share a little bit about what people can do to help stop the spread of these and other invasive species. Links: Website links: Social Media links: Facebook: Twitter: Youtube: Other Mentioned Links and Resources: I’ve Got 1 - App for Apple or Android: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:


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I Feel You: The Human Animal Connection

Today we are exploring the healing power of connecting with animals. You have probably heard of programs in hospitals and nursing homes where animals, typically dogs, are brought in to interact with patients. The human-animal engagement has been found to be highly beneficial for many people and can help combat depression, anxiety and loneliness. Dogs are also employed at some airports to help reduce anxiety in passengers who are afraid to fly. But human-animal interaction can also be a form of therapy for dealing with significant trauma such as PTSD. And, what is not discussed as frequently is that the benefits of the interaction can help heal animals of trauma as much as it does humans. Our guest today is Dr. Genie Joseph, the Executive Director of The Human-Animal Connection, a US non-profit organization dedicated to changing the way humanity relates to animals. Her organization brings people and therapy animals together for the benefit of both. They offer a variety of therapy programs including free therapy dog visits to veterans, Active Duty, Health Care Providers, and anyone experiencing stress in the field of Service to Others. They also provide educational classes and zoom sessions to help people deepen their connection to animals, increase empathy, and facilitate cross-species communication. One of them is the Canines Teach Compassion which s a program for high school students that combines social skills and resilience training with animal interaction. Genie is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, an author, a dog trainer and consultant on relationships between people and animals, and as you will hear a very dynamic speaker. She is the creator of The Act Resilient Method of therapy which works with therapy animals. She authored a book on the subject called The Act Resilient Method. She has presented using that method to over 4,000 Service Members and their families, and for her work, she received a Volunteer Service Award from then President Barack Obama. Her team at Tripler Army Medical Center was given a National Award for Workplace Resilience from the American Psychological Association. Her latest endeavour is her new book entitled The Human Animal Connection: Deepening Relationships with Animals and Ourselves. In this episode, Genie will discuss the benefits of connection between people and animals for both, her work with service personnel, high school students and rescue animals, her own rescue dog Sophia, and how we can all improve our interactions with our pets. And much more! Links: Website links: Social Media links: Twitter: YouTube: Instagram: Pinterest: Facebook: Other Mentioned Links: HABRI: Human Animal Bond Research Institute. The Canine Campus Connection book.


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The Great Ape Escape: Finding Refuge at the Center for Great Apes

Today’s guest is Patti Ragan, founder and president of the Center for Great Apes in southcentral Florida. The Center is a sanctuary for orangutans and chimpanzees, many of whom were in the entertainment industry. Others were personal pets or research subjects. It is currently home to 27 orangutans and 42 chimpanzees and is the only accredited sanctuary for orangutans in North America. A couple of the most well-known residents are Bubbles, a chimpanzee once owned by Michael Jackson and Sandra, an orangutan who, through a legal challenge in Argentina, is the first in the world to be legally recognized as having personhood rights. We talked about some of the legal cases that have brought around recognizing the legal rights of non-human animals in episode 14 Animals in the News so you might want to check that out and we will say more about that in future episodes. Patti gives us a great overview of orangutans and chimps as ape species and she shares stories of some of the residents at the Center. She also provides details regarding the extraordinary facility she and her team of staff and volunteers have created over the past 30 years. Further, she gives us reason to be hopeful for the day when centers such as hers are no longer required because there will no longer be captive great apes needing sanctuary. Links: Website link: Social Media links: Other Mentioned Links: Sandra’s court decision in Argentina: Tommy’s court decision in New York:


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A Life Well Lived - The Whale Sanctuary Project

We know a great deal about cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) thanks to the remarkable work of scientists all over the world. They have been studied in their natural habitat as well as in captivity. As a result, scientists have identified the significant adverse consequences cetaceans experience in captivity in aquariums and other facilities. Their captivity is usually just for the purpose of entertaining us humans and to make profit for a few people. Our guest today is world renowned neuroscientist Dr. Lori Marino. Lori is an expert in animal behaviour and intelligence, particularly marine mammals held in captivity. She is the President and co-founder of the Whale Sanctuary Project, a science-based non-profit organization working to end the exploitation of whales and dolphins and creating sanctuaries for those who have been in captivity. The Whale Sanctuary Project is currently preparing a sanctuary site in Port Hilford, Nova Scotia. Lori will explain the physical, psychological and mental harms experienced by cetaceans in captivity and the work the Whale Sanctuary Project is doing to create sanctuaries for captive cetaceans so they can live out the rest of their lives in a healthy way. If you follow the news, you may have noticed that the number of stories involving whales and dolphins have been increasing. Unfortunately, many of these stories are sad ones, like the report of almost 500 pilot whales being found dead after being beached on an island in New Zealand. Scientists are still trying to understand the cause of that tragedy. Or the many stories of whales and dolphins getting caught in ghost fishing gear left behind by the fishing industry. But there are also many wonderous stories of our interaction with whales, dolphins and porpoises. Like the group of dolphins who protected swimmers in New Zealand from a great white shark. Or the stories of humpback whales saving seals and others mammals from orcas. These animals are intelligent, complex beings with language, culture, and social skills. We know a great deal about cetaceans the order of marine mammals that includes (whales, dolphins and porpoises) thanks to the remarkable work of scientists all over the world. They have been studied in their natural habitat as well as in captivity. As a result, scientists have identified the significant adverse consequences cetaceans experience in captivity. Their captivity is usually for the sole purpose of entertaining us humans and to make some people some money. Our guest today is world renowned neuroscientist Dr. Lori Marino. Lori is an expert in animal behaviour and intelligence, particularly marine mammals held in captivity. She is the President and co-founder of the Whale Sanctuary Project, a science-based non-profit organization working to end the exploitation of whales and dolphins and creating sanctuaries for those who have been in captivity. The Whale Sanctuary Project is currently preparing a sanctuary site in Port Hilford, Nova Scotia. Lori has appeared in several films and television programs, including the 2013 documentary Blackfish about killer whale captivity, Unlocking the Cage, the 2016 documentary on the Nonhuman Rights Project, and Long Gone Wild, the 2019 documentary that picks up where Blackfish left off. Lori will explain the physical, psychological and mental harms experienced by cetaceans in captivity and will talk about the work the Whale Sanctuary Project is doing to create sanctuaries for captive cetaceans so they can live out the rest of their lives in a healthy way. Links: Website: The Whale Sanctuary Project Social Media:


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Pain in the Cat - The Feline Grimace Scale

How do we know when an animal is experiencing acute pain? As it turns out, for at least some animals like felines, a good indicator of their experience of pain can be seen in their faces. As we humans wince or grimace when we experience pain, so do cats. Our guest today is Dr. Paulo Steagall. Dr. Steagall and a team of researchers working at his laboratory at the Université de Montréal veterinary teaching hospital developed the Feline Grimace Scale (, an amazing tool for assessing acute pain in cats. This user-friendly assessment tool assists veterinary practitioners around the world in diagnosing and treating pain in cats. But it is also helpful for those with pet cats in identifying acute pain so that proper veterinary care can be sought. Dr. Steagall is a Professor of Veterinary Anesthesiology and Pain Management at the City University of Hong Kong and the Université de Montréal. He is a board-certified specialist of the American College of Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia and received his degree in veterinary medicine in his native country of Brazil. He is the head of a clinical research laboratory dedicated to improving pain management and animal welfare with cutting-edge research in pain assessment. Dr. Steagall and a team of researchers working at his laboratory at the Université de Montréal veterinary teaching hospital developed the Feline Grimace Scale (, an amazing tool for assessing acute pain in cats. Among other involvements, he is a member of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Global Pain Council, and co-chair of the WSAVA Therapeutic Guidelines Group. He has published and lectured extensively on pain management and is the author of the book “Feline Anesthesia and Pain Management”. Links: Website: Social Media: Recommendations:


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Feeling Groovy – The Five Domains of Animal Welfare

How can we tell if an animal is truly well and has quality of life? The five domains model of animal welfare is designed to help scientists, veterinarians, animal caregivers in zoos and others evaluate and monitor the welfare of animals. But the model is also useful for us in our daily lives as we make decisions that affect the non-human animal kingdom. It can assist with considering whether to partake in animal-based activities as part of travel or other entertainment like in zoos. It is also a good lens through which to evaluate the well-being of our pets and the farm animals we rely on for food.


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Monkey Business – Tails from a Primate Sanctuary

Monkeys are smart, sophisticated autonomous beings born to be wild and live in communities with their own kind. They aren’t meant to be pets or entertainers. Yet there are so many among us far from their natural habitat mainly due to the exotic pet trade and unregulated zoos. Others are acquired as subjects for scientific research and discarded after they have served their usefulness. Thankfully, some make their way to sanctuaries like the Story Book Primate Sanctuary in Ontario, Canada. This sanctuary has been in existence for more than two decades and is currently home to two dozen monkeys and lemurs. Our guest today is Daina Liepa, the Executive Director of Story Book Sanctuary and, as she says, one of the monkey poop cleaners. She will tell us about the resident monkeys, what life was like for them before they arrived at the sanctuary and what she and her team are doing to give them the best life possible now. Links: Website: or Email: Phone: 416-816-4800 Facebook: @sbfps Instagram: @storybookmonkeys Twitter: @SBFPrimateS LinkedIn: @sbfps


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Saving Mountain Gorillas

If you had to guess, how many mountain gorillas do you think remain in the wild today? For context, there are 7.9 billion humans in the world. How many mountain gorillas do you think there are? The answer: just 1,063. Until recently, there were a critically endangered species. Thanks in large part to today’s guest and her organization, the population of mountain gorillas is growing. Dr Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka is the founder and CEO of Conservation through Public Health (CTPH), an award winning NGO that protects endangered gorillas and other wildlife. CTPH is particularly active with mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in southwest Uganda. Dr. Kalema-Zikusoka is a graduate of the Royal Veterinary College at the University of London and studied a masters degree in specialized veterinary medicine from North Carolina State University. She has won several awards as has CTPH. We will provide a detailed biography in the show notes so please check those out at . Dr. Gladys and CTPH apply a one health approach to their work focussing on the interplay between humans, animals and the environment to improve conditions for all. She tells us about some of the important programs CTPH operates around Bwindi National Park to help community members and the gorillas live harmoniously. Thriving and healthy communities are extremely important to support and protect the mountain gorilla population. Links: Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka Twitter: @DoctorGladys Facebook: @DrGladysKalemaZikusoka Instagram: @gladyskalemazikusoka Wikipedia: “Walking With Gorillas” by Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka publishes October 2022: Conservation Through Public Health Twitter: @CTPHuganda Facebook: Instagram: @ctph_uganda Youtube: Wikipedia: Gorilla Conservation Coffee Twitter: @GCCoffee1 Facebook: @GorillaConservationCoffee Instagram: @gorillaconservation_coffee Youtube:


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Why Did The Chicken Cross the Road? To Cool Off!

It is estimated that around 65 billion broiler chickens are consumed by humans every year. Yet, how much do we really know about them? Today’s guest is doing fascinating and important research in animal behaviour, particularly chickens. Dr. Oluwaseun Sera Iyasere is a specialist in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Animal Physiology, at the Federal University of Agriculture in Abeokuta, Nigeria (FUNAAB). She teaches courses in several subjects including Comparative Animal Behavior, Environmental Physiology, and Animal Welfare. She has more than 45 published journal articles to her credit including several relating to heat stress on chickens. She will share with us several interesting studies regarding chicken behaviour so we can understand these important animals a little better. Social media: LinkedIn: Twitter: @os_iyas Select Publications: 1. Iyasere, O.S., Edwards, S.A., Bateson, M., Mitchell, M and Guy, J.H. (2017). Validation of an intramuscularly-implanted microchip and a surface infrared thermometer to estimate core body temperature in broiler chickens exposed to heat stress. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, 133:1-8. 2. Iyasere, O.S., Beard, A.P., Guy, J.H. and Bateson, M. (2017). Elevated levels of stress hormone, corticosterone, cause ‘pessimistic’ judgment bias in broiler chickens. Scientific Reports, 7 (1):1-12 3. Iyasere, O.S., Oyeniran, V.J., Oyawale, O., Adeniyi, D. and Uyanga, V.A. (2018). Social facilitation between commercial broilers and Nigerian indigenous chicks and its effect on their welfare. Agricultura Tropica et Subtropica, 51(4): 139-146. 4. Iyasere, O.S., Ajayi, O.D., Alade, S.O. Akinbode, V.O. (2019). Behaviour, physiology and body mass of Nigerian indigenous hens during brooding. Agricultura Tropica et Subtropica, 52(2):43-47. DOI: 5. Iyasere, O.S., Durosaro, S.O., Oke, O.E., Omotosho, T.F., Salako, M.A., Oyeniran, V.J., Oyetunji, D.E and Daramola, J.O. (2020). Behavioural responses of two breeds of domestic chicks to feed and alarm call playback. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 233: 105153


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Letting Wild Cats be Wild

On today’s episode, we are taking a look at wild cats who have found themselves in human hands. Lions, tigers, lynx, servals, and other species of wild cats can be targets for profiteers running roadside petting zoos or who are filling a demand for exotic pets. These extraordinary creatures might be bred for their cubs to create a photo opportunity at an unregulated zoo or they may be taken into homes with the expectation they can be domesticated. Neither of these environments allow them to live life as they are intended and many are neglected and abused. Some of the lucky ones find their way to a qualified sanctuary where they can live in conditions that allow them to more natural behaviour. Today’s guest is Tammy Thies, founder and executive director of The Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone, Minnesota. She has a fascinating story of moving from a career in advertising to running The Wildcat Sanctuary, a 40-acre home for over 100 captive wildcats. Animals are not bought, sold, bred or traded by the sanctuary. Each resident is given every opportunity to behave naturally in a wonderful, free-roaming environment and they receive the best vet care at the on-site animal hospital. The Wildcat Sanctuary also provides educational outreach seminars and helps lobby for legislative change to ban ownership of dangerous exotic animals as pets. Tammy shares with us the stories of some of the sanctuary’s residents, what life at the sanctuary is like, and offers suggestions for helping end the capture and exploitation of wildcats. To find out more about The Wildcat Sanctuary and how you can help support them in the great work they are doing, please visit their website and check out their social media for video footage of some of their residents. Social Media links: Facebook: Instagram: @wildcatsanctuary Tiktok: @wildcatsanctuary Recommendations of books, publications:


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Animals in the News

Today’s episode is a brief one to touch base on some current news items and to tell you about some of the great episodes we have coming up. We start with the recent heartbreaking story from Dallas, Texas where a little two year old boy was mauled by a coyote while on the front porch of his home. My thoughts and prayers go out to this little boy and his family. Several news stories have reported that neighbours in the area had been seen feeding the coyote and even petting it. In episodes 6 and 7 of The Animal Guide for Curious Humans we spoke with wildlife conflict mitigation specialist Meg Toom. She provided several helpful tips for dealing with wildlife in urban settings and explained why feeding wildlife and allowing them to become habituated to humans can be so dangerous. Coyotes are naturally elusive animals and generally avoid contact with humans. If the stories of feeding and interacting are accurate, this animal may have lost much of its natural wariness to humans that would have kept it away from the neighbourhood. And the outcome is a true tragedy. As Meg discussed, if you see wildlife in your community, please don’t try to get near them or encourage their continued presence through feeding or allowing access to food sources. Encourage them to move on through, for their sake and yours. We also wanted to acknowledge some of the incredible stories of efforts to assist animals in Ukraine. Like the story of zoo staff at the Mykolaiv Zoo in southern Ukraine who have refused to leave putting the animals in their care ahead of their own safety. You may have also heard the wonderful heartwarming story of two African lions, Simba and Mir who were rescued from a zoo in Eastern Ukraine, taken across the border to Romania and who have now found a permanent home in a sanctuary in South Africa. These are just two of the amazing stories coming out of Ukraine of human effort to protect and save non-human animals in the midst of this devastating attack. Unfortunately, there are also many tragedies occuring. Like the 15 year old boy who, while volunteering to help evacuate buffalo from an ecopark in Kharkiv came under fire and was killed. And the many animals who have been killed either by bombing or in some cases, because they have been used as target practice by Russian forces. If you can spare some change, please consider donating to one of the animal welfare organizations helping the animals and people of Ukraine. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA) are two organizations that are active in assisting. No doubt any amount you are able to donate would be much appreciated. On a lighter note, we have several incredible episodes to share in the coming weeks. We will be discussing mountain gorillas in the wild and some of the extraordinary people involved in protecting them. We will also talk about wild cats – both large and small and speak to the founder of The Wildcat Sanctuary about providing refuge for these extraordinary creatures. Other episodes will cover wild horses, monkeys and even chickens. As we transition to a new production team, we would like to give a final thanks to for their assistance in helping get the podcast started and for all their production support these past several months. Welcome to Magill Foote who is providing production assistance.


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Why we need to stop killing animals for fashion

Why is anyone still wearing fur despite the decades of protests against this practice? Unless you live in a remote community in which fur is used in the context of living responsibly off the land and as part of your culture, you don't need it for warmth. If you're wearing fur, the reason is vanity. In this episode of The Animal Guide For Curious Humans, host Maureen Amrstrong talks to Lesley Fox, Executive Director of The Furbearers, a Canadian charity that is seeking to end the commercial fur trade. The Furbearers believe that we shouldn’t be killing animals for the fashion trade. Its mission is to protect fur bearing animals through advocacy, education, and research. Lesley shares important information about fur farming and trapping practice and discusses the animals who are targeted for their fur. She shares a lot of surprising information about the trade, including some of the really terrible practices used by fur farms and how government subsidies are still being used to prop up this declining industry. A furbearer is a classification of animal whose pelt has commercial value. There are around 21 animals in this category, including mink, foxes, beaver, otters, bears, bobcats, lynx, coyote, squirrels and even skunks! This episode explores: In addition to her work with the Fur Bearers, Lesley is the co-founder of the Society for Humane Science and president and board chair for the Alberni Community and Women's Service Society (ACAWS). She is a certified Humane Education Specialist through the National Association for Humane and Environmental Education (NAHEE). She graduated with honours from the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in Public Relations, Marketing Communications and Non-Profit Management and is currently finishing her Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies at Royal Roads University. Lesley lives with her partner on Vancouver Island on the traditional territories of the Hupacasath and Tseshaht First Nations. We would love to have your thoughts and feedback on this episode. Please contact us directly at The Animal Guide, or send us a message via social media. Episode links and resources: The FurbearersTwitterInstagramFacebookShow links: Host Maureen Armstrong on LinkedInTwitterFacebookInstagramRecommendations of books, publications: The Subjugation of Canadian Wildlife: Failures of Principle and Policy Mcgill-queen's Rural, Wildland, and Resource Studies) Hardcover – April 10, 2018, by Max Foran.


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How to shop cruelty-free

More and more consumers are animal lovers, and their love of animals extends to what they buy. So more consumers are making purchasing decisions based on whether products are tested on animals. Many manufacturers have embraced cruelty free as part of their corporate culture. Others just print phrases like “Against animal testing” on their products. But what exactly does this mean? Does it mean that the product was developed without any testing on animals? Or without any testing that would now be viewed as cruel? In this episode of The Animal Guide for Curious Humans host Maureen Armstrong talks to Kim Paschen, manager of the Leaping Bunny Program, a well-established cruelty-free certification program for cosmetics, personal care and household products that guarantees products to be free of animal testing at all stages of product development. The program is operated by the Coalition for Consumer Information On Cosmetics in the US and Canada and by Cruelty Free International for products manufactured elsewhere. Kim manages the day-to-day operations of the program to ensure its integrity in addition to working with certified companies on a wide variety of promotions. Consumers face challenges when identifying cruelty-free products Since there is no universally recognized definition of ‘Not tested on animals’ or ‘Cruelty-free’, shopping cruelty free can be challenging. In some instances, manufacturers add labels or wording to their products to try to mislead consumers into thinking they are cruelty-free. Fortunately, the Leaping Bunny certification program is available to companies who want their customers to know for sure their products are cruelty free. When you see the Leaping Bunny logo on a product, you can be confident that neither the product itself nor any of its ingredients has been tested on animals. Today, more than 2200 companies are certified under the program. Kim talks about the program, the standards it uses and the organisations behind this world renowned certification program. Episode Links and resources: links: Host Maureen Armstrong on LinkedInTwitterFacebookInstagram


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Why we need legal personhood for animals

What are animals exactly? Are they just things? Are they property? Can they be persons even though they aren’t people? We share background on an important legal case on the question of whether an elephant is, in legal terms, a person for the purpose of accessing certain legal rights. This case raises so many important issues regarding the human/non-human animal relationship, the intelligence of elephants in particular, animal ethics, and pathways we need to explore to protect animals in a civilized society. The elephant is named Happy. Born in 1971 in Thailand, she was kidnapped as an infant from her herd. She along with six other elephant calves were purchased by a drive-through zoo in California. They were named for the seven dwarves from Snow White. Over the next few years, some died, some were sent to be circus performers, and two, Happy and Grumpy, went to the Bronx Zoo in 1977. Grumpy died in 2000. Since 2006, Happy has been confined to an enclosure alone. Much been learned about wildlife and elephants since Happy first arrived at the Bronx Zoo. The zoo and its parent organization, the Wildlife Conservation Society, have advanced their thinking since that time. To its credit, the zoo made a decision many years ago not to further acquire elephants. So, the situation Happy is in won’t be repeated; at least not at the Bronx Zoo. But what about Happy and the next years of her life? In October, 2018 the Nonhuman Rights Project, an American not-for-profit organization, filed what is known as a writ of habeas corpus on Happy’s behalf. They want Happy recognized as a legal person with a fundamental right to bodily liberty. They want her released to an elephant sanctuary where she could move around and socialize with other elephants. The zoo has opposed the legal action arguing that elephants are not legal persons who can exercise a right of habeas corpus. The case raises important questions about our understanding and treatment of animals, particularly intelligent species like elephants. We share some of the extraordinary skills and behaviours elephants exhibit and tell how 20 African elephants sensed the death of Lawrence Anthony, a beloved conservationist they had encountered at a reserve in South Africa and how they travelled several miles to his home to pay their respects. How can the needs of such complex creatures be met if they are confined to a small zoo enclosure? Isn’t it time we recognize these extraordinary beings as having an inherent right to quality of life? What do you think? Share your feedback on one of my social media channels with the hashtag #timeforanimalpersonhood and I'll share some of your responses in the next episode. Episode Links and resources: The Nonhuman Rights Program: HappyThe Bronx ZooElephant VoicesElephants mourn death of Lawrence AnthonyThe Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African WildShow links: Host Maureen Armstrong on LinkedInTwitterFacebookInstagram


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Overexploited fish and seafood need protection. Here’s what you can do

In this episode of The Animal Guide we explore the systems used to put aquatic life on our plates, and how we can improve the lives of aquatic animals. Our guest is Catalina Lopez from the Aquatic Life Institute. She is the Director of the Aquatic Animal Alliance (AAA), a coalition of organizations working around the globe to reduce the suffering of aquatic animals used for food. A vet from Columbia who now lives in Mexico, Catalina has worked in the farmed animal protection movement for almost five years, previously leading the Corporate Engagement team at Mercy For Animals Latin America on their work in cage-free campaigns. More than 100 companies committed to going cage-free in Mexico during that time. Catalina shares with host Maureen Armstrong the animal welfare standards created by the AAA that they are actively encouraging countries and companies around the world to adopt. This includes the AAA’s key aquatic welfare recommendations. Exploitation of aquatic life has more than doubled in 40 years Aquatic life is in dire need of protection! Catalina explains that globally, the share of fish populations that are overexploited (i.e. they are caught faster than they can reproduce to sustain their population levels) has more than doubled since the 1980s. This means the current levels of wild fish catch are unsustainable. As a result, aquaculture, which is the practice of fish and seafood farming, increased to make up for the decrease in that supply. To put this in perspective, from the 1960s to 2015, fish farming has increased 50 fold to around 100 million tons per year. And in terms of number of animals, this is around 73 to 180 billion farmed fish and around 400 billion shrimp. Notably, vessels that are registered to wealthy countries are responsible for more than 70 percent of industrial fishing. The Blue Loss Report The episode also explores the issue known as the “blue loss,” which is the term used to describe how many aquatic animals are unaccounted for in the human food chain each year. Aquaculture is often touted as the solution to overfishing, yet the Blue Loss Report from the AAA has found that up to half of all animals caught at sea are fed to carnivorous fish on farms, especially salmon and tuna. This poses serious questions about aquaculture’s animal welfare paradigm. Catalina details what needs to be done to improve aquatic animal welfare, including the psychological welfare of aquatic life. She points out that because aquatic animals are discussed as commodities, humans forget that they are live animals with certain needs and certain behaviors that we need to understand. Episode Links and resources: TwitterInstagramFacebookLinkedInBenefits of Aqua Animal Welfare for SustainabilityShow links: Host Maureen Armstrong on LinkedInTwitterFacebookInstagram