April 14, 2022

Making Animals Real: Helping People Understand Animal Sentience


Anyone who's lived with a cat or dog will testify to what complex, intelligent, and feeling individuals they are with their own likes, fears, distinct personalities, and capacity to love.

Yet, when it comes to the animals that society more egregiously exploits, they're often dismissed as merely objects for human use.

Well, we’ve got some heavy-hitting experts joining us for our AJA Monthly Panel next week to give us tools to help people wake up to the complexity, depth, and individuality of non-human animals...

Our panelists will teach us some of the most impactful things that we, as animal advocates, can communicate in our conversations, campaigns, and social media posts to help people wake up to the rich inner lives of non-human animals.

Did you know that rats practise random acts of kindness, elephants have been known to weep with sorrow, chickens can recognize over 100 other chickens, honeybees are capable of pessimism, and that animals from tortoises to hippos to king-crabs will risk their lives to save others? 

These experts in the fields of animal sentience and cognition will share what facts and anecdotes they’ve found to most effectively show how deeply animals think, feel, bond, and fight to live.

* You're also welcome to stay after the panel and participate in discussion/workshopping breakout groups from 8:30-9pm on Zoom.


Marc Bekoff - renowned biologist and author of 31 books in the area of animal behaviour, cognitive ethology (the study of animal minds), and compassionate conservation.

Lori Marino - neuroscientist, expert witness for the Nonhuman Rights Project and the Canadian Senate Bill S203, and featured in documentaries like "Seaspiracy" and "Blackfish". 

Jonathan Balcombe - biologist specializing in the study of animal behaviour and author of several books including the New York Times bestseller "What a Fish Knows"

Elena Contreras - veterinarian and professor of animal welfare and behaviour with expertise in chronic stress and animal welfare, veterinary ethics, and fear-free practices.