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Animals & Dreaming

I came across this article recently, and thought I'd share. Got in a 'discussion' with an acquaintance about animals & dreaming- whenever I get the "but what do you EAT?' question, my standard answer is 'stuff that doesn't dream, play, or care for its young, whose production doesn't strip-mine the planet' (I'm about 95% vegan, but every now & then will eat sustainable fish or shellfish... I'll need to tweak my response a little, if I eventually go that last 5% to full veganity, but for now I think that's a nice quick summary!).  The dude in question challenged the idea that chickens dream... Which is beside the point, really-- under my stated guidelines, chickens are covered by at least two other criteria!-- but anyway...

For general education of the masses, who fail to see that the differences between us & our animal cousins (in Darwin's words) is "one of degree, and not of kind," I thought I'd forward this along. I don't approve of keeping rats in labs & such, but this non-invasive study at MIT came up with some hard-science documentation of what is plainly obvious to those who pay attention: other animals (especially other mammals, with a central nervous system that closely parallels humans') are more like us than different, with awareness and thought processes very similar to ours. (DUH!)

Here's the link-- there's more out there, but this one of the best articles I've come across for debate purposes, regarding demonstrable animal thought processes.

For the record: All mammals and birds dream, with the specific amount of REM sleep they get determined by species & environment. Generally species that are more mature at birth demonstrate less dreaming, and animals born needing lots of maternal care spend more time in REM sleep (not jsut as babies, but throughout life). Horses and sheep have to lie down to dream, and may experience less dreaming-time in environments where they don't feel safe enough to do so. Most birds don't dream much, but do spend about 5% of their sleep time in a REM state. Only fish and amphibians have not been observed to have REM sleep. Just in case it ever comes up....

There are so many reasons to eat vegan (or at least MOSTLYvegan!) that this may seem minor-  but for me it's a good example of why eating pigs & cows & chickens is deeply disturbing... a little too close to cannibalism, thank you very much!

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