Author Wolf Gordon Clifton

Profile photo of Wolf Gordon Clifton

Born and raised within the animal rights movement, Wolf Gordon Clifton has always felt strongly connected to other creatures and concerned for their well-being. Beginning in childhood he contributed drawings of animals for publication in Animal People News, and traveled with his parents to attend conferences and visit animal projects all over the world. During high school he began writing for the newspaper and contributing in various additional ways around the Animal People office. His first solo trip overseas, to film a promotional video for the Bali Street Dog Foundation in Indonesia, led him to create the animated film Yudisthira's Dog, retelling the story of an ancient Hindu king famed for his loyalty to a street dog. It also inspired lifelong interests in animation and world religion, which he went on to study for college at Vanderbilt University. Wolf graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and minors in Film Studies and Astronomy. In 2015, he received a Master of Arts in Museology and Graduate Certificate in Astrobiology from the University of Washington. His thesis project, the online exhibit Beyond Human: Animals, Aliens, and Artificial Intelligence, brings together animal rights, astrobiology, and AI research to explore the ethics of humans' relationships with other sentient beings, and can be viewed on the Animal People Forum. His diverse training and life experiences enable him to research and write about a wide variety of animal-related issues, in a global context and across the humanities, arts, and sciences. In his spare time, he does paleontological work for the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, and writes for the community blog Neon Observatory. Click to see author's profile.

Culture
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How should we as humans relate to our fellow sentient beings – those we coexist with now, and whom we may encounter in the future? Animal People’s online exhibit, ‘Beyond Human: Animals, Aliens, & Artificial Intelligence,’ explores what we know of non-human intelligence and the questions it raises.

Books
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According to Wayne Pacelle, president of HSUS and author of The Humane Economy, animal protection should not be seen as a sacrifice, but an opportunity. If this is so, the logical conclusion must be to promote veg alternatives to meat, eggs, and dairy, rather than animal products produced with slightly less cruelty.

Art
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Stories featuring anthropomorphic animals have been a staple of human culture for millennia, but Disney’s new animated film stands out from the herd by depicting animals not just as stand-ins for humans, but unique sentient beings with interests and value of their own.

Africa
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Egyptian writer Fatima Naoot has been sentenced to three years in prison for “insulting Islam” by criticizing the Eid al-Adha animal sacrifice. Yet there are many devout Muslims who argue against the Eid slaughter as contrary to their religion’s true values.

Animals in Research
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H.G. Wells’ 1896 novel The Island of Doctor Moreau is remembered as a powerful attack on vivisection, yet he himself would come to defend the practice later in life. How can we resolve the paradox between the strong pro-animal themes of Wells’ famous stories, and his own callousness toward animals harmed in the name of science?

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