Dr. Marc Bekoff, The Moral Lives of Animals; and Dr. Carol Gigliotti, Interactive Futures: Animal Influence Conference

November 4, 2011
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In this episode, we start by discussing the Mattel toy company’s recent foray into the promotion of animal cruelty among children, with the creation of their “Mega Rig Shark Ship” – a ship that is meant to hunt and kill sharks! You can contact Mattel and tell them to stop manufacturing and selling this “toy” product by calling 1-888-7-MATTEL or by sending them an email message here.

Next, Alison presents a short review of Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce’s book “Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals“, discussing the messages that we humans can take from reading the book and accepting and recognizing that animals do possess morality.

Dr. Carol Gigliotti, Interactive Futures: Animal Influence Conference

Our first interview is with Dr. Carol Gigliotti, who is an Associate Professor of Dynamic Media and Critical and Cultural Studies at Emily Carr University in Vancouver where she teaches Environmental Ethics, Critical Animal Studies and Digital Interactive Media courses. In this respect, she is one of the key organizers of Emily Carr University’s “Interactive Futures” conference this year, which takes place from November 17th to 19th and whose theme this year is called “Animal Influence”, spotlighting nationally and internationally recognized media artists’ work influenced by the growing wealth of knowledge on animal behavior, cognition, creativity and consciousness.

Research from such fields as biology, psychology, cognitive science, zoology and philosophy focusing on new understandings of animal life are helping to shift assumed conventions concerning animal cognition, consciousness, and agency. Of particular interest is in how investigations in animal-human relations are affecting the ways in which new media artists are considering broader understandings of other species and creating varying methodologies for experimental art and new media appropriate for these unique circumstances.

For more information on this upcoming animal-themed conference, and to register, visit www.interactivefutures.ca

Dr. Marc Bekoff, The Moral Lives of Animals

Dr. Marc Bekoff is a former Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and is a Fellow of the Animal Behavior Society and a past Guggenheim Fellow. In 2000 he was awarded the Exemplar Award from the Animal Behavior Society for major long-term contributions to the field of animal behavior. Marc is also an ambassador for Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots program, in which he works with students of all ages, senior citizens, and prisoners, and also is a member of the Ethics Committee of the Jane Goodall Institute. He and Jane co-founded the organization Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals: Citizens for Responsible Animal Behavior Studies, in the year 2000.

Marc’s main areas of research include animal behavior, cognitive ethology (which is the study of animal minds), and behavioral ecology, and he has also published more than 200 papers and 20 books on animal issues. One of his more recent books is called “Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals”, co-authored with Jessica Pierce, and we speak with him on the issue of the morality of animals, as discussed in his book. Marc will also be in Vancouver later this month for the Interactive Futures conference at Emily Carr University, speaking on some of these issues.

Here is a video of Marc speaking on animal behavior and emotions – some of the building blocks of morality:

Download this episode.

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