Recognizing the Rights of Animals

Animal lovers have known for years that the creatures we interact with, both at home and in the wild, are sentient, fully aware beings deserving of the same respect and rights we accord to our human brethren. Study after study has confirmed that animals are intelligent, aware, and able to communicate with humans in their own special way. For some, communicating with animals is second nature, such as seen in this moving video of an “Animal Whisperer” calming a panther. For others, it’s a question of stopping animal abuse and cruelty, or preserving the habitats and ecosystems of a species with the same (or more) respect than we show to each other.

“This past weekend during a series of lectures I presented in Germany a number of people asked questions of the sort, “Isn’t it about time we accept that animals are sentient and that we know what they want and need, and stop bickering about whether they are conscious, feel pain, and experience many different emotions?” Of course, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard these queries, and my answer is always a resounding “Yes, we do have ample detailed scientific facts to declare that nonhuman animals are sentient beings and there are fewer and fewer skeptics. … Based on the overwhelming and universal acceptance of the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness I offer here what I call a Universal Declaration on Animal Sentience. For the purpose of this essay I am defining “sentience” as ” the ability to feel, perceive, or be conscious, or to experience subjectivity.”

Marc Bekoff, Ph.D. in Animal Emotions writing for Psychology Today

A strong and rapidly growing database on animal sentience supports the acceptance of the fact that other animals are sentient beings. We know that individuals of a wide variety of species experience emotions ranging from joy and happiness to deep sadness, grief, and PTSD, along with empathy, jealousy and resentment. There is no reason to embellish them because science is showing how fascinating they are (for example, mice, rats, and chickens display empathy) and countless other “surprises” are rapidly emerging. New York Courts just heard a landmark case regarding granting “personhood” to a chimpanzee. Sadly, the Courts did not rule in favor of the animal in this case, but the fact that they agreed to hear it at all is progress.


Meet Anna Breytenbach, the Animal Communicator

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Anna Breytenbach has dedicated her life to what she calls interspecies communication. The South African native is an animal activist, conservationist, and public speaker – but, most incredibly, she “talks to the animals” (video). She received advanced training through the Assisi International Animal Institute in California, USA and has been practicing for 15 years in South Africa, Europe and the USA with domestic and wild animals. Her conservation experience includes working with cheetahs, lions, wolves, baboons and elephants in educational and rehabilitation programs. Anna’s goal is to raise awareness and advance the relationships among humans and other species, on both the personal and spiritual levels. Anna is also the subject of a marvelous 2013 documentary movie “The Animal Communicator.”

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What do Lions Represent? From “Whispers from the Wild” by Amelia Kinkade

A sense of belonging. They belong to this earth and they know it. They came to reign supreme, and they do so with an uncompromising sense of clarity. What if you could be the king or queen of your own life and rule with absolute authority? Wouldn’t you, as the alpha lion or lioness, bring a sense of being alpha — calm, confident, and in charge — not only to yourself but to the world around you? Excerpt from the book Whispers from the Wild: Listening to Voices from the Animal Kingdom.

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Cat Tales for Mariette by Michael Brown

| review by Cheryl Shainmark

Cat Tales for Mariette: An Unexpected Friendship on the Camdeboo Plains of South Africa Cat Tales for Mariette: An Unexpected Friendship on the Camdeboo Plains of South Africa is a remarkable story of love and friendship: for people, for pets, for the wild and nature. Michael Brown, author of The Presence Process and Alchemy of the Heart has written a charming tale (or many tales) of love and loss, joy and death, and the foibles of humans and animals. He narrates the story of how he is coerced by a well-meaning local to visit one of the town’s residents who is dying of cancer in the local hospital. Michael reluctantly agrees to a one-time visit, which becomes daily.

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Qigong Master Entrances Animals, Puts them to Sleep

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Japanese Qigong Master Kanzawa Sensei manipulates qi (or chi), the subtle energy that animates all living things. Long associated with healing, meditation, feats of strength and the martial arts, Kanzawa Sensei uses his mind and talent in a different way. First televised on Stan Lee’s series, “Superhumans,” viewers watched as he put several animals to sleep, including alpaca and buffalo, using just his mind and qi energy. When asked how he was doing this, Kanzawa replied, “I exchange energy with the animals, and then they go to sleep.”

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Meet the “Elephant Whisperer” Helping the Asian Elephant

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Elephant Nature Park is an elephant rescue and rehabilitation center in the Chiang Mae province of Northern Thailand. They host a number of vibrant programs: you can visit, tour, volunteer, feed, and even sleep with the elephants! Founded by Lek Chailert, known as “The Elephant Whisperer,” ten years ago on just 250 acres, the Park now encompasses over a 1,000 acres and her humane approach has spread to nearby privately owned elephant “rides.”

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Take A Walk on the Wild Side: Encounters With Animals in Nature

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Most of us have had the experience — wonderful, heart-stopping, sometimes terrifying — of unexpectedly encountering an animal in the wild. It may be the tranquil sight of deer off in the woods, or a hawk circling in the canyons of Manhattan. It can be scary, as in some of the recent bear sightings on the East Coast, or inspire reverence for the raw beauty of the creature sighted.

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Merlian News Podcast Interviews Susan A. Deren

In this interview, Susan A. Deren talks with Merryn Jose about her personal experiences as an animal communicator, what its like to communicate with them, tips on how to talk to your own furry companions, and more. Susan is an animal communicator with over thirty years of experience working with animals. She utilizes a technique she developed, Behavioral Intuitive Assessment to assess the problem and recommend a solution. Her clients span this country and abroad. Susan’s work with animals is an extension of the intuitive work she does with humans as a psychic and medium.

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New Research Indicates Fish May Be Conscious and Feel Emotions

| by Staff

Earlier this week scientists reported new findings indicating that fish may have consciousness and feel emotions like mammals. From www.eurekalert.org we read: Researchers… have for the first time observed an increase in body temperature of between two and four degrees in zebra fish, when these are subjected to stressful situations. This phenomenon is known as emotional fever, as it is related to the emotions that animals feel in the face of an external stimulus and it has even been linked, not without some controversy, with their consciousness.

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Humane Farming Assoc. Announces Unprecedented Drop in Veal Sales

| by Staff

The Humane Farming Association (HFA) is the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization. They have been instrumental in securing the first ever felony convictions of veal industry leaders, blocking a major pig factory, and conducting the nation’s largest farm animal rescue. Recently, the HFA announced a new achievement: “It is with good reason that The New York Times declared our National Veal Boycott the most successful animal rights boycott in the United States. We are pleased to report that, again this year, HFA’s signature campaign has driven per capita veal consumption in the U.S. to an all-time low!”

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