Selected Articles

‘Not dumb creatures.’ Livestock surprise scientists with their complex, emotional minds. Science 8 December, 2023. A growing field of research is challenging long-held assumptions about goats, pigs, and other farm animals. [pdf]

Suffering in Silence: Caring for research animals can take a severe mental toll. Is anyone listening? Science 10, March, 2023. Compassion fatigue will affect up to nine in ten people who work with laboratory animals at some point in their careers. But talking about it–and addressing it–has proven challenging. [pdf]

Indictment of monkey importers could disrupt U.S. drug and vaccine research. Science, 23 November, 2022. Alleged Cambodian smuggling ring poses dangers to wild cynomolgus macaques and the lab studies they’re used in. [pdf]

Can former conservation ‘pirates’ help scientists study the oceans? Science, 30 June, 2022. Sea Shepherd jettisons its militant past in favor of a new focus on research. [pdf]

Animal care panel sues own university, fearing harassment from animal rights activists. Science, 15 March, 2022. Committee members seek to stay confidential, while PETA says transparency needed for proper oversight. [pdf]

‘It absolutely wrecked me.’ How a lab came back from the pandemic. Science, 13 August, 2021. A microbiology team regroups, as institutions across the country put new emphasis on the mental health and careers of young scientists. [pdf]

USDA now only partially inspects some lab animal facilities, internal documents reveal. Science, 5 May, 2021. Critics say new policy violates federal law, but others say agency is within its rights to change its inspection procedures.

Major coronavirus variant found in pets for first time. Science, 19 March, 2021. Infected cats and dogs experience serious symptoms, but it’s unclear whether the virus is causing them.

Ice age Siberian hunters may have domesticated dogs 23,000 years ago. Science, 25 January 2021. Researchers combine ancient DNA from people and dogs to spell out story of dog domestication

Do we need a COVID-19 vaccine for pets? Science, 18 December, 2020. Cats, dogs, and other animals can get the pandemic coronavirus, but vaccine efforts are not moving at warp speed

“Saving sanctuaries.” Science,  4 December, 2020. Critics charge that sanctuaries for retired research chimpanzees are failing their animals. Can a new tool help? [pdf]

“What does the COVID-19 summer surge mean for your cats and dogs?” Science, 14 August, 2020. The latest on testing pets for COVI-19, and what, if any, risk they pose to humans.

“As labs move to reopen, safety worries abound.” Science, 15 May 2020. Scientists coming back to their laboratories in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic face enormous challenges. [pdf]

“It’s heartbreaking.” Labs are euthanizing thousands of mice in response to coronavirus pandemic. Science, 19 March, 2020. Universities mandate or encourage rodent euthanasia to save resources and protect staff.

“Ready to Retire?” Science, 6 December, 2019. A burgeoning movement to retire aging research monkeys to sanctuaries is dividing the biomedical community. [pdf]

“We took our cats on a beach vacation. Here’s what happened.” The Washington Post, 8 August, 2019. The surprising story of what happened when we brought our cast to the beach.

“Ready to Pounce.” Science, 10 May, 2019. After decades of studying dogs, researchers are finally trying to unlock the secrets of the feline mind. [pdf]

“Yes, You Should Walk Your Cat.” The New York Times, 5 December, 2018. Op-ed on the reasons everyone should try to get outside with their cats.

“Opening the Lab Door.” Science, 29 June, 2018. After a slew of victories by animal activists, scientists hope more candor will win support for animal research. [pdf]

“Are happy lab animals better for science?” Science, 9 February, 2018. Advocates are pushing to enrich the lives of rodents and fish in the lab, but critics worry about the impact on research. [pdf]

“Ancient Egyptians May Have Given Cats the Personality to Conquer the World”, Science 19 June, 2017. New study suggests Egypt may have played an important role in cat domestication after all.

“Chimps in Waiting”,  Science 16 June, 2017. Two years after the U.S. government ended all invasive research on chimpanzees, why have so few been retired? [pdf]

“Earliest evidence for dog breeding found on remote Siberian island”, Science 2 June, 2017. Study gives insight into the early days of dog domestication. [pdf]

“From Bark to Bedside” Science 12 August, 2016. Clinical trials in dogs and cats are ramping up, but will they benefit human health? [pdf]

“An Oasis for Orcas” Science 6 May, 2016. Experts clash over whether captive killer whales should be moved to sanctuaries in the sea. [pdf]

“Solving the Mysteries of Aging in Our Pets” Science, 4 December, 2015. Why do cats live longer than dogs? Why do small dogs live longer than big ones? [pdf]

“How Hurricane Katrina Turned Pets into People” BuzzFeed, 31 July, 2015. One of the most devastating storms in U.S. history forever changed our relationship with cats and dogs.

“Are Cats Really Wild Animals?” Slate, 6 July, 2015. Experts debate whether cats should qualify as domesticated.

“Dawn of the Dog” Science, 17 April, 2015. An unprecedented collaboration hopes to solve one of the greatest mysteries in domestication. [pdf]

“The Insurgent” Science, 23 January, 2015. Animal rights activist Justin Goodman uses science’s own tools to combat animal research. [pdf]

“Animal welfare accreditation called into question” Science, 29 August, 2014. Study finds more violations of animal welfare guidelines in AAALAC-accredited labs. [pdf]

“How Far Should We Go To Save Our Pets?” Slate, July 27, 2014. The rising cost of veterinary care is creating ethical dilemmas for both owners and vets.

“How The Rising Status Of Cats And Dogs Could Doom Biomedical Research” Popular Science, May 21, 2014. Scientists fear that rights for cats and dogs could spill over to mice and lab rats, compromising cures for human disease.

“The Secret Language of Dog Play” The Washington Post, May 20, 2014. In canine play, researchers see honesty and deceit, perhaps something like morality.

“Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Cats and Dogs” The Huffington Post, May 7, 2014. How many did *you* know?

“What are Cats Thinking?” Slate, April 21, 2014. Why it’s so hard to study the feline mind.

“A Brief History of Cats and Dogs” The Dodo, April 16, 2014. A timeline of significant events in dog and cat history.

“How Smart is That Doggy in the Window?” Time, April 12, 2014. Studying the canine mind can tell us a surprising amount about the evolution of our own intellect.

“Should Pets Have the Same Legal Rights as People?” Wall Street Journal, April 10, 2014. I explore the impact the rising legal status of cats and dogs is having on veterinarians and other small businesses.

“Lawsuits Seek ‘Personhood’ for Chimpanzees” Science, December 6, 2013. An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project is attempting to get judges to declare that chimpanzees are legal persons and free them from captivity. [pdf]

“Animals Among the Inmates” The Bark, Fall, 2013. A visit to the country’s only pet shelter located inside a prison.

“Are Dolphins Too Smart for Captivity?” Science, April 29, 2011.  Two groups of scientists battle over the ethics of studying—and keeping—dolphins in zoos and aquariums. Honorable Mention, The Humane Society’s Genesis Awards. [pdf]

“Dog Dealers’ Days May Be Numbered.”  Science, February 26, 2010.  Various groups are trying to shut down the pipeline of “random source” dogs and cats for biomedical research. Honorable Mention, The Humane Society’s Genesis Awards. [pdf]

“Is a Dolphin a Person?”  Science, February 26, 2010.  Some scientists and lawyers argue that dolphins are so intelligent, they should be classified as people. [pdf]

“A Cure for Euthanasia?”  Science, September 18, 2009.  A permanent birth control vaccine could reduce the global population of homeless dogs and cats, but there hasn’t been money to develop one—until now. Winner, National Press Club’s Ann Cottrell Free Animal Reporting Award; Honorable Mention, The Humane Society’s Genesis Awards. [pdf]

“A Bunch of Trouble.”  Science, November 14, 2008.  The banana is endangered and largely ignored by funding agencies, researchers, and breeders.  But things might finally be going its way. [pdf]

“The Mushroom Cloud’s Silver Lining.”  Science, September 12, 2008.  Fallout from atomic bomb testing is helping to solve crimes and address some of the most controversial questions in biology. Featured Story, The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2009; Finalist, The Wistar Institute’s Science Journalism Award. [pdf]

“Staggering Toward a Global Strategy on Alcohol Abuse.”  Science, May 16, 2008.  The World Health Organization considers giving alcohol abuse the same type of attention usually reserved for AIDS and malaria. [pdf]

“Cell Biology Meets Rolfing.”  Science, November 23, 2007.  A diverse group of researchers wants to create a new discipline from scratch by bringing together experts in fascia and deep-tissue massage. [pdf]

“This Man Wants to Green Your Lab.”  Science, October 5, 2007.  Allen Doyle and his team spread the gospel of sustainability from lab to lab, but it’s no easy task in the competitive world of research. [pdf]

“A Mouse for Every Gene.”  Science, June 30, 2006.  A global initiative to knock out every mouse gene struggles to get its act together. [pdf]

“A Cure for the Common Trial.”  Science, May 12, 2006.  A new journal aims to alleviate bias in clinical trials reporting, but some question whether it’s the remedy the field needs. [[pdf]

“’Security Breach’ Leaks NIH Grant Applications Onto Web.”  Science, October 28, 2005. One hundred and forty grant applications submitted to at least one NIH study section were recently released onto non-secure Web pages; NIH has been mum about the leaks. [pdf]

“Global Spread of Leprosy Tied to Human Migration.”  Science, May 13, 2005. Microbiologists use rare DNA differences among leprosy strains culled from various corners of the world to infer an East African or Near East origin of the disease. [pdf]

“The Burning Tobacco Question.”  Financial Times, January 6, 2005.  Scientists developing reduced-harm tobacco products increasingly rely on tobacco industry funding, but some universities and grant organizations want to forbid it.

“Science Weathers the Storms.”  Science, October 1, 2004.  Researchers at southeastern U.S. universities and institutions struggle to keep their work on track in the wake of recent hurricanes. [pdf]

“Ills from the Womb.”  U.S. News & World Report.  September 15, 2003.  Diseases blamed on lifestyle may start before birth.

“The New Street Smarts.”  U.S. News & World Report, August 18, 2003.  Intelligent technologies for cars and roads aim to curb driver error.

“Baby Pigment Peril.”  U.S. News & World Report, August 4, 2003.  Will a new drug help a serious complication or just make things worse?

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