When the Wild Things Aren’t

Seth Victor

Here’s the situation. You have several domestic cats in a neighborhood from different houses. For one reason or another, a couple of these cats leave their homes and wander the neighborhood and breed, becoming more or less feral. This goes on for several generations. Does there come a point when these cats are no longer domestic animals, but should be considered wild?

I pose the question concerning cats because feral felines occupy a middle ground in our society’s ever complicated definitions when it comes to animals. Cats are cute and cuddly and are one of the primary “pet” animals; though probably just a juicy and tender, it’s faux pas to eat them, and even the dumbest cat is more lauded than the smartest pig. Cats are also noted for their more independent behavior. Ask a “dog person” why he likes his dog better, and you will inevitably hear some mention of loyalty and companionship that he doesn’t see in cats (though the “cat people” will vociferously disagree). But can that make cats more wild, and if so, what does that mean? When are animals wild, and can they cross or re-cross that line?

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Monkeys, Torture and Tort Law

David Cassuto

monkeyInVivo Therapeutics Corp. recently sued the Oregon Health and Science University, alleging that the rhesus monkeys InVivo purchased were defective.  Apparently, many of the monkeys — which were slated for spinal cord experiments — did not survive the surgery that was supposed to prepare them for their ordeal. InVivo had to abandon its project and is seeking damages.

There is much one could say about this but I choose to focus on the way the story was covered in the Boston Herald.  The lede states that the monkeys had to suffer in the name of medical science but that InVivo did not expect the monkeys to have to suffer more than necessary.  Hence the lawsuit. Continue reading