Do Emotional Support Animals Need Emotional Support?

In 2018, a peacock named Dexter spent several hours perched atop a pile of luggage while waiting for a seat on a United Airlines flight.

Dexter’s owner claimed he was an Emotional Support Animal or ESA. And there are any number of organizations providing ways to register one’s pet as an ESA.

What does the use of animals as ESAs tell us about our relationship with them? And what are the effects on an animal who is used as an ESA?

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Scholar-Advocacy Shines at Superpod 6

On July 18th, a group of nine young scholar-advocates took the stage at the San Juan Island Community Theater at Superpod 6 as part of the Second Biennial Scholar-Advocacy session.

Superpod 6 is a gathering of marine mammal experts, advocates and policy makers who convene on San Juan Island for several days to share their knowledge and ideas. This year scholar-advocates as young as 11 years old presented their original work for marine mammals and the oceans.

Here are links to these wonderful talks.

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Service and Support Dogs: Welfarism versus Rights

Do we have a right to keep dogs and other animals in service for physical and emotional support? It’s a question that came to the fore in my mind at a conference at the Institute for Human-Animal Connection at University of Denver.

My attention was particularly taken by the number of service dogs who were present.

I left the conference wondering whether many of the psychological tasks the dogs were charged with were either unnecessary at best, or actively hindering the emotional development of both dog and handler at worst.

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2017: What We Did

Here are some of the highlights you made possible this year through your tax-deductible donations.

Our latest papers explore the cognitive, emotional and social capacities of chickens and cows.

At conferences and colleges from Barcelona to British Columbia, we have been bringing the message of the plight of captive dolphins and whales to wide-ranging audiences.

We are doing an expanded version of the scholar-advocacy program for students and young professionals at Superpod 6 in 2018.

We are working with the Canadian Senate to ban the display of dolphins and whales in captivity.

And at a ground-breaking symposium we explored the psychology behind our fraught relationship with our fellow animals.

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