Alex the African Grey Parrot: Was Alex a Genius?

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Tonight, I will attend Irene Pepperberg's reading where she will read from her new book about her friend and colleague, Alex the African grey parrot. Below is an interesting video showing some of what Alex was capable of doing, and it also provides a small glimpse into the relationship between Alex and Irene [2:06]

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Alex may have been smarter than the average African grey (or maybe not--certainly not smarter than my grey Paula!), but he demonstrated the intelligence that exists to a greater or lesser degree on all parrots and, by extension, in most if not all animals. They are not unthinking, unfeeling beings that we can use without considering how they perceive our interactions with them. The female dog in a puppy mill is suffering. The fish suffocating in the bottom of the boat is suffering. The duck seeing its mate shot dead is suffering. The horse experiencing a good currying is feeling happy. Treat animals with the consideration a thinking, feeling creature deserves. (That doesn't mean don't eat them, but it does mean killing them without causing anxiety and pain.)