Dr. David M. Pena-Guzman, author of “Can Nonhuman Animals Commit Suicide?”

by | May 15, 2019

Dr. David M. Pena-Guzman—a philosopher and assistant professor at San Francisco State University, who wrote a scholarly paper for the journal Animal Sentience, entitled “Can Nonhuman Animals Commit Suicide?”—recounts how he had no pets during his formative years, and has none now, owing at least partly to the rental restrictions of apartments in San Francisco. So, his interest in animals, in all senses, is academic. He discusses the impetus for exploring the concept of animal suicide, which ultimately yielded the ambitious, dense, heavily-sourced, meticulously foot-noted piece that runs 24 pages, including all the sources, footnotes, and references. Pena-Guzman walks—well, talks us—through some of the broader contours of the paper, including some of the criteria that’s considered necessary for suicidal behavior (reflexive subjectivity, free will, awareness of death), refers to some of the studies he cites in the piece—and the part of “The Cove” where Ric O’Barry recalls having observed the dolphin Kathy kill herself by willingly choose not to breathe—and notes other relevant phenomena. He also addresses how the equation can be altered for animals in captivity, where with some (orcas, for instance) more than others, there’s more overt evidence of self-destructive, self-injurious behavior. Pena-Guzman also fields responds to some smart, probing questions and/or comments. (https://animalstudiesrepository.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1201&context=animsent,)


ALSO: I aired the interview I recorded with Selena Schulz, who lives in Land O’ Lakes, FL, and who, over the last five years has published three books about animal shelters, fostering and pet adoption. She’s also donated more than $5000 in proceeds from the books sales to an array of shelters (mostly in Florida, but also one in New York, another in Canada), and created an organization—A Bed, A Buck, A Buddy–designed to encourage others kids (and adults, presumably) to donate to shelters and volunteer at them. What may make this string of accomplishments particularly notable is that Selena Schulz is 13 years old   (http://www.abedabuckabuddy.com,)

COMEDY CORNER: Tim Harmston’s “Seagull” (https://www.timharmston.com)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme, instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: We didn’t play “Name That Animal Tune” today.


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