Are Dogs (and Other Animals) People?

A fascinating article featuring the work of neuroscientist Dr. George Berns appeared in "The New York Times" this week.

In noninvasive experiments, Dr. Berns used MRI to scan the brains of live dogs. His research revealed that dogs experience certain emotions, such as joy and excitement, in almost the same way as humans. In fact, the brains of both dogs and humans "light up" in the same area when exposed to certain positive stimuli like enticing food or a returning loved one. Berns postulates that other animals experience this as well.

It's these finding that have moved Berns to argue that dogs should be granted limited legal personhood status.

While the emotional lives of dogs are certainly of interest to most of us, our meat-loving culture chooses to ignore those of animals such as pigs, cows, chickens and turkeys, who experience life in much the same way as dogs and suffer miserably on today's factory farms.

Science tells us that farmed animals have rich emotional lives, form complex social structures and even have their own languages. If we're going to argue personhood for dogs, certainly farmed animals should be considered as well.

To be consistent in our compassion and respect for animals, the best choice we can make is to leave them off our plates. Visit to learn more on transitioning to a humane vegan diet.