Classroom Resources

Animal Articles

Discussing current events

When reading articles related to animals a few of the following terms might come up. As a class, create a list of new vocabulary students encounter in the articles. Scroll down to view the articles.

Domestic animal: Animals that have been selectively kept and breed by people and have adapted over many generations. Domestic animals also depend on people to provide care. This includes companion animals like dogs and cats, and farm animals like sheep, cows and pigs.

Wild animal: Animals that have not been domesticated by people– also called wildlife. These animals do not require human caretaking. This includes a very large number of species including:  bears, wolves, magpies, trout and slugs!

Captive wildlife: Wild animals that are under the care and control of people. This would include animals that are in housed in zoos, such as lions, and wild animals that are kept as pets, such as sugar gliders. 

Animal sentience: the ability to animals to feel emotions –including positive emotions such as joy, contentment, excitement and negative emotions like fear, pain, boredom and anxiety.

Animal welfare: The quality of life experienced by an animal and includes both their physical state and mental state (or how an animal feels). The welfare of animals is dependent on how they are treated by people.

Non-human animal: You might run across this word is some of the articles. This term acknowledges that people are not separate from animals – we are also animals (a type of primate!).

Humane –Demonstrating kindness, care and compassion for others and acting in a way that causes the least amount of harm. For example, the humane treatment of animals is treatment rooted in kindness, care, and respect. 

Animal Article Topics

Below are a few animal articles to use with your students. They are divided into topic categories: Learning About Animal Minds, Animal Welfare, and Living with Wildlife. To view the article, click on the article title.

Learning About Animal Minds

Swedish firm deploys crows to pick up cigarette butts (The Guardian)

  • What are the pros and cons with having crows pick up cigarette butts?
  • The article states “we can teach crows to pick up cigarette butts but we can’t teach people not to throw them on the ground.” Do you agree with this? Explain.
  • Crows are very intelligent animals. What are some other animals that are smarter than people give them credit for? Explain.
  • Are there any ethical concerns with using animals, in this case wildlife, to do work for people? Explain.

Goldfish trained to drive cars on land (CBC News)

  • What was your initial reaction to the article title?
  • Are you surprised that fish can drive? Why or why not.
  • Did your opinion of fish change after reading the article?
  • Think about how fish are commonly kept as pets – do you think these environments are adequate? Explain.

Video captures cows huddled up to keep watch of their babies during the Manitoba storm (CTV Winnipeg)

  • Did anything from this article surprise you?
  • Why did the cows huddle together? How do you think they knew to do this? Explain.
  • Can you think of other examples of animals protecting their young?

Animal Welfare

Study looks for cattle resiliency to heat and cold (Western Producer)

  • What sparked Gleise Silva, the researcher’s, interest to conduct this study?
  •  Do you agree with this research? Why or why not?
  • How do you feel after reading this article? Did anything surprise you? Explain.
  • Animals are sentient, meaning they have the ability to feel and experience emotions like joy, pleasure, pain and fear. What can people do to ensure domestic (pets and farm) animals feel comfortable?

A blast-stressed elephant and an abandoned lemur: The war within Kyiv’s zoo (Washington Post)

  • How do you feel after reading this article? Did anything surprise you? Explain.
  • How do you think the animals at the Kyiv Zoo feel? How do you think the animal caretakers feel? Explain.
  • Animals often have to live with the consequences of the actions of people, what obligations do you think people have to animals?
  • Animals are sentient, meaning they have the ability to feel and experience emotions like joy, pleasure, pain and fear. What can people do to ensure domestic (pets and farm) animals feel content and safe?

52 reptiles found hidden in man’s clothing by U.S. border agents (CTV News)

  • What was your initial reaction to the article title?
  • How do you think the reptiles felt being “ties up in small bags”?
  • Why do you think the man was smuggling the lizards and snakes?
  • What are the consequences of the exotic pet trade?
  • Are there any animals that are illegal to keep as pets in Alberta? If so, what is an example and why is it illegal? Do you agree?

Alberta SPCA has taken in more than 600 animals this winter; 10 horses found dead (Global News)

  • What are some reasons that animals might be neglected?
  • Did anything in this article surprise you?
  • Domestic animals are protected under law in Alberta. Do you think it is important for these laws, like the Animal Protection Act, to exist? Explain.

Quebec proposes law to ban pet declawing and other non-therapeutic animal surgeries: SPCA (CTV News)

  • Why might someone want to declaw their cat?
  • Do you agree with the legislation that would ban the practice of declawing pets? Why or why not.
  • What are some ways we can allow cats to scratch, but in ways that are more acceptable to people? Provide scratching posts and other forms of enrichment, play with cats so they don’t get bored, etc.

Living with Wildlife

‘Full hog’: Edmonton could become first Canadian city with permanent wild pigs if city is unprepared, expert warns (Edmonton Journal)

  • Why are wild pigs such a concern for communities like Edmonton?
  • Do you think Alberta towns and cities like Edmonton should come up with a plan to deal with the wild pigs? Explain.
  • Should the welfare of the wild pigs be taken into consideration? Explain.

Common rat poisoning continues to disrupt wildlife health (ABC Denver)

  • What are the concerns with using poison to control rat populations?
  • Why do you feel society, in general, is OK with using poison on rats but do not like when it effects other species? Do you agree? Why or why not.
  • What are some examples of animals that are considered a nuisance in your community? What are ways the people and that animals peacefully co-exist?

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