The forum is sort of on the "back of the shelf" at the moment, I don't get there too often either. My speculative paragraph about the animals was tied to a book I had read about animal language and intelligence, which I thought was interesting. The book focused on some good research targeted with Prairie Dogs. Obviously any such research is subject to debate, but it was well written. It was not to be critical, but in the context of some ideas and observations (I have watched Master Ou sing/chant to animals) it was just to be thought provoking. Although you may think it unimportant, as a language teacher, the fascinating question remains, "can we communicate with animals, and/or do they have a language?"
Your desire for a more critical analysis is natural, our minds want to know what is going on. Generally, I think we need to take a view that includes faith (subjectivity) and logic (objectivity). With any spiritual body of knowledge, the rational scientific mind will always come up against the inability to prove beyond doubt our most profound questions of the universe, that is why, I suppose, we continue to seek to expand our scientific knowledge. On the other hand, faith, based on experience, can also be questioned. It may provide answers that are comforting but not everybody agrees because the nature of mystical experience is so subjective. So here we are stuck with our own subjective experience of either an objective and/or subjective universe.
That seems to be our eternal human dilemma. I think Master Ou, as a qigong master, has his way to teach his truth based on his own mystical experience to share. He does so at great personal risk and I respect him for that. I do not claim to fully understand or be an authority for his teachings. But I do find interesting links to what he has said in many different places, from Buddhism to an occasional article on Prairie Dogs. As a practitioner of PGSG I enjoy sharing those links. I assume that everyone will do with them as they see fit. For me, life is a pretty mysterious experience and we have to live with that uncertainty.
I don't agree that studying qigong using just the measurable and objective health benefits is the only way to go either. Life is certainly more than just getting rid of the inevitable diseases we all experience. In fact I think we make a mistake to reduce subjective spiritual arts such as qigong or acupuncture, meditation, or taichi to just measurable health benefits. That is how the western mind may want to analyze and it may bring a sort of existential comfort to the mind to know there are objective benefits. But if we are practicing these techniques ultimately for spiritual growth, then what is the objective measurement? Will it only be better health, or might it be inner peace?
Given your stated position on animal communication, you might not enjoy another read, the book, "What the Dog Saw" by Malcolm Gladwell. The particular chapters of non-interest have added subtitles: "Cesar Millan and the movements of mastery", and "Troublemakers: What pit bulls can teach us about crime."