Were your holidays ever as good as this kid's?? This is Matteo - and on his holidays he made some new friends. Probably the most awesome new friends ever. Check out his holiday snaps and then read on to see how Matteo and his marmot mates are connected to the biggest scientific announcement in years, and how it will affect you!
Matteo and his family have been visiting the marmots for four years now - and every year the marmots rush to greet him again. Normally very shy of humans (probably not helped by the fact that marmots are killed for their fur and to eat), these ones have welcomed Matteo into their community. He doesn't have to live in their dens with them ... but still, you would if you could, right?
Now, how is all this connected to a major scientific announcement??
Earlier this year, scientists (including the smartest man alive Stephen Hawking) met in England to
have the mother of all parties make a super important announcement. They stated their support for the idea that animals are conscious beings - that is, animals are aware of the world around them, just like humans are. (Even if you're not into science, it's a really interesting read ... apart from the last bit about "homologous subcortical brain networks". I started tuning out around there.)
The scientists agreed that animals have their own personalities, they experience emotions and feelings based on what is happening around them, and they make plans for their future. This behaviour has been found in animals as different as great apes, dolphins, magpies, and octopi. (My favourite kind of pi. Gettit? Har-har-har).
And how is all this related to Matteo and the marmots? You see, as a young kid Matteo would already be realising that animals have different personalities. He'd be learning that from his marmot mates. And if you've ever made animal friends perhaps with a cat or dog at home, you've probably seen that as well. They can be playful like Herbie the bull, worried like Autumn the rescue chicken, and can be terrified like Tommy who was exported to Indonesia for slaughter.
Whether an animal is one we share our home with, one we see on our holidays, or one who is normally regarded as "meat" - they can feel pain and can suffer. They can also experience joy and happiness, and can appreciate kindness. It's the decisions you make every day that can bring that happiness into their lives, and save them from fear. Make a start by taking one of our pledges today.