Animal JoyAugust 19, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Posted in Brain and mind | 2 Comments
Tags: abuse, Animal Emotion, animals, cruelty, Daniel Bergner, ethical, ethics, gloom, humane, joy, sadness, treatment of animals
Daniel Bergner described in the Washington Post what he witnessed while watching a community of rhesus monkeys at the Yerkes Primate Research Center (operated by Emory University): “A trio of monkey children sprinted toward a tube, disappeared inside it, burst from the other end and raced around for another run-through, beserk with joy.”
Many an affectionate dog owner has seen a puppy joyously discovering the novelty of snow, and ecstatically wriggling around on it. Dogs also become excited and joyful at the prospect of a walk. You can sense their enjoyment while they are playing ‘fetch’ with their human families.
Animals can experience joy.
Animals that can experience joy can also experience its opposite. You have probably seen the resigned behavior of a dog who realizes that it is about to visit the veterinarian, or the unhappiness of a bath-hating dog who is facing an imminent bath. Animals generate mental scenarios about their near future, and have emotions in response to those scenarios.
Joy, gloom, sadness – these are the signs of higher level mental activities. They are not immediate, automatic sensory responses, like hunger, or the pain of a physical injury.
How we treat animals should be based on the emotional as well as on the physical impact of what we do.