Tag Archives: welfare

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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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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Dolphin Welfare vs. Dolphin Rights at the American Cetacean Society Conference

Is it appropriate to keep dolphins (including belugas and killer whales) in captivity as long as you accord them certain approved standards of care? Or do dolphins have the inherent right not to be held captive by humans in the first place?

It’s a question that hovered in the air at last weekend’s meeting of the American Cetacean Society in San Diego. And at one session, it came right to the surface and took center stage.

The welfare-vs.-rights debate suffuses the whole … Continue reading Dolphin Welfare vs. Dolphin Rights at the American Cetacean Society Conference