Making the Fur Fly

Belka and Strelka, Soviet space dogs (on graffiti, Kharkov, 2008). Image credit: V. Vizu

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Animals have been our companions and co-workers since before the dawn of civilization. We have eaten them (or products they make), and we’ve worn their skin and fur and feathers. Scientific progress has depended greatly on animal test subjects—from the development of many medicines to determining if we could survive a launch into space (the first astronaut was the dog Laika, sent up by the USSR in 1957). We’ve even directed the evolution of many animals to better suit our needs, from pocket poodles to farm cows to lab rats.

In this modern day, with the impact raising livestock and eating meat has on the environment, as well as a growing understanding of the intellectual and emotional capacity of animals, many people are rethinking our traditional relationship with all creatures great and small. Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA, argues that, thanks to new techniques, scientific discoveries still can be made “without the patter of little feet”.

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can listen to the entire episode ad-free here: Making the Fur Fly.

This StarTalk Radio Season 2 episode is available as a digital download for $1.99-$2.09.

Season 2 Complete: 40 episodes for just $27.95 – that’s over 65% off the price of downloading each episode individually. Another perfect gift for the science fan in your life, especially if that person is you!

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