On learning | Animal Scene Editor's Notes

Tuesday, October 13, 2020 Stef dela Cruz, MD 0 Comments

While just about everyone is excited that 2020 is finally here, I look on with what I can only describe as fearful caution. And no, it's not because firecrackers scare me (I hate them anyway because they do scare animals, but don't get me started).

The reason I'm dreading the New Year is that it comes with many other new things in my life: a new apartment, a new status as an unattached female, and a new lifestyle that preoccupies me with barbells and pull-ups. Just like a skittish cat, I prefer old habits that feel safe – but let's face it, there's not much progress inside one's comfort zone.

So here I am, very carefully embracing these new things I have to deal with, and celebrating how old mistakes gave me new opportunities.

apartment with black cat

Perhaps that's why most of us love the New Year: It represents new beginnings and, better yet, our capacity to learn from the past.

For instance, we now know that gender isn't black and white, even when it comes to other species in the animal kingdom, as Richard Leo Ramos writes in this issue.

We've learned through the years that while animal welfare does protect many animals from cruelty, we have to go beyond it. Roxanne Libatique shares with us why we should care enough for sentient creatures to live peaceful, happy lives.

Maxine Louise Lagman explains why bringing our companion animals to the vet for regular check-ups – even if they show no signs of illness – is prudent. I do hope this is something we don't need to learn based on past mistakes!

Sadly, we sometimes don't learn from past experiences. Harambe, a gorilla who was minding his own business, was shot to death to “protect” a child who fell into his enclosure – despite the fact that in previous incidents, gorillas tried to protect children who fell into their own enclosures. Nate Martinez writes about these gorillas and many other heroic animals who have come to the rescue of humans.

Airlines are learning that bringing animals to the cabin with us during flights isn't necessarily a big deal. Philippine Airlines now permits service and support dogs to join their humans, and Isone Alis shares the details with us.

Exotic animal enthusiasts are learning that loving animals means protecting them right where they live. For instance, the Nueva Ecija Exotic Club launched an exhibit to put a stop to the wildlife trade, as Joane Cruz writes for us in this issue.

Rich Briones learns some valuable lessons about sore hock the painful way: Her very own companion rabbit, Manjar, suffered from this skin condition. She writes about it to make sure other rabbit parents don't experience what she did.

It's also interesting that while we believe we are the most intelligent species on earth, other animals show intelligence in ways we might not be able to match. Megan Cabalcar lists ten different animals who show us they're smart in their own unique ways.

Here's to learning something new every day this 2020 about the animals we share this planet with!

*This was originally published as the editor's notes in the January 2020 issue of Animal Scene Magazine.

Stef dela CruzAbout the blogger
Stef dela Cruz is a vegan doctor and writer. She received the 2013 Award for Health Media from the Department of Health. She is the editor of The Manila Bulletin's Animal Scene Magazine. Get in touch if you want to invite her as a speaker!