Can you hurt a chimp’s feelings?

Video footage claiming to show chimps ‘grieving’ has sparked new debate over the ethical treatment of animals – but we should beware of jumping to conclusions

Is it an invasion of privacy to film an animal in its burrow? Or a whale as it exhibits its penis in a courtship display? Or to use a remote camera to film a bear giving birth in its den? According to a film studies lecturer from the University of East Anglia, it could be. If an animal retreats to its burrow, it obviously doesn’t want to be seen, he claims. Unlike the inhabitants of the Big Brother house, these creatures have not given consent. These assertions are a step further along the line from a cautionary ethical approach towards taking care not to disrupt wild behaviour. Instead, Brett Mills appears to be claiming that human emotions can be assumed within animals as well.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/apr/30/chimpanzees-emotions-ethics

‘Grieving’ chimps need rigorous study

Chimpanzee images have been presented as proof they share human emotions. Be wary of such speculative observation.

 

Who could have seen, and not been moved by, the video shown this week of a group of chimpanzees apparently mourning the death of Pansy, an elderly member of their troupe? The chimps gathered around her, moving her bedding gently and apparently checking her breathing. The video accompanying a report in the journal Current Biology was offered to support the idea that chimpanzees share human emotions like grief. Last year an equally striking image had shown a group of chimpanzees watching as the body of one of their group was carried off. The chimps stood silently, their arms around each other’s shoulders, apparently consoling one other.

Full article

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/apr/29/grieving-chimps-need-more-research

 

Why are British taxpayers funding EU students at our universities when our own children are being turned away?

British universities will soon learn exactly how much their individual budgets will be reduced, following cuts to higher education.

But they already know one general consequence of these cuts. There are likely to be over 100,000 disappointed applicants this year.

On top of this startling figure, there are 46,000 disappointed applicants from last year who, despite being rejected from their first choice universities, have the necessary qualifications and are applying again.

Full article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1258508/UK-taxpayers-funding-EU-students-universities-British-children-miss-out.html

Britain’s forgotten EU students

The number of Europeans studying at UK universities has soared, yet they have not figured at all in the debate about cuts

Recently, I’ve been teaching journalism at a British university. It’s a popular course already turning students away. But now, with the requirement for universities to trim their sails and cut student numbers coinciding with a hike in applications, it is likely to be turning down an even larger number. This will add to the hordes of disappointed students we have been hearing so much about in the press recently.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/feb/09/university-funding-european-students