Fish cognition and welfare
This month on the animal wellbeing platform is about animal cognition. This concept refers to a suite of mental processes of non-human animals, including perception, learning, decision-making, and memory.
Research on animal cognition has revealed that many species of animals possess complex mental abilities that were once thought to be unique to humans. For example, chimpanzees have been shown to be able to use tools, solve complex problems, and communicate with each other using a complex system of gestures and vocalisations. Birds have demonstrated the ability to use tools, recognise themselves in mirrors, and remember the location of hidden food caches.
Over the last decades, we have seen an increased interest in fish cognition and welfare. The ability to feel pain has gained interest in research, with several studies focusing on understanding pain experiences and welfare issues in fish. This Science into Practice resource of a review article by Lynne U. Sneddon explores the factors to understand pain in animals and the nature of nociception in fish. While understanding the molecular biology of pain is important, it is also crucial to consider behavioural and physiological changes after a possibly painful event in order to properly evaluate the ability to feel pain in an animal.
Self-recognition in fish has also gained interest in the last years. A recent study by Kohda et al. has found that cleaner fish recognise their own facial characteristics in photographs, and that the likely mechanism for mirror self-recognition (MSR) is associated with a mental image of the self-face.
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The Earth hour
Earth Hour is a global event that happens every year on the last Saturday of March. During the event, individuals, businesses, and governments around the world turn off their non-essential lights for one hour as a symbol of their commitment to the planet.
Earth Hour is not just about turning off lights for an hour; it is also about promoting sustainable practices and lifestyles. These practices can include: using energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances, walking or biking instead of driving, eating less meat and dairy, travelling responsibly, supporting renewable energy sources like solar and wind power, being a conscious consumer, including the 7Rs (Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Regift, Recycle) in our daily lives, and planting trees.
There are many ways to take part online or at home and show your support for the planet. You can attend an event in your country, join a local community, or expand your knowledge about our climate change, nature loss and biodiversity and other issues about our planet. Check HERE to explore more about this event and find many ways to help the planet.
Earth Hour is a powerful reminder that every individual has the power to make a difference in the fight against climate change. By taking small steps to reduce our carbon footprint and advocating for larger-scale changes, we can help create a more sustainable and livable planet for future generations.
INTERBEING is 4 interconnected platforms & a community, which continues to grow with new content every week! Another Science into Practice is available on the animal wellbeing platform, as well as new foundations, human, and planetary wellbeing content.