The Emotional Lives Of Animals

1090 WordsMar 26, 20165 Pages
When it comes to animals, everyone seems to have an opinion. Some love them, some hate them. Some believe that animals feel and experience authentic emotions, while others believe that they do not have the capability to do so. A lack of belief in the existence of emotions in animals is often used to justify wrongful treatment. Are some animals more aware of feelings than others? These questions and more demand answers. Animals definitely have emotions, and because of this we must rethink many of our modern practices. First, we must determine what emotions are. Are they different for every being, or felt in the same way? Merriam-Webster defines emotion as “a conscious mental reaction (as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body.” As award-winning scientist Mark Bekoff states in his book The Emotional Lives of Animals, emotions are psychological phenomena that help in behavioral management and control (6). Another word that I will use from this point on to describe the event of cognitive feelings and emotions in animals is sentience. Again Merriam-Webster states that sentience is “the capacity to feel, perceive, or experience subjectively.” Charles Darwin was the first scientist to ever study animals in a systematic way (Bekoff “The Emotional Lives” 6). In his book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, Darwin discussed the
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