Animal Joy

August 19, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Posted in Brain and mind | 2 Comments
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Female Rhesus macaque on Qianling Shan in the outskirts of Guiyang, photographed by Einar Fredriksen on 7 June 2009.

Female Rhesus macaque on Qianling Shan in the outskirts of Guiyang, photographed by Einar Fredriksen on 7 June 2009.

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.

"A band of rhesus macaque on the side of a road in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India. Although infamous as pests, who are quick to steal not only food, but also household items, it is not certain if the pair of jeans draped over the wall on the right is their handiwork. ", according to the photographer, Fowler&Fowler (2008).

“A band of rhesus macaque on the side of a road in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India. Although infamous as pests, who are quick to steal not only food, but also household items, it is not certain if the pair of jeans draped over the wall on the right is their handiwork.
“, according to the photographer, Fowler&Fowler (2008).

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.

Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta) in Kinnerasani Wildlife Sanctuary, Andhra Pradesh, India, photographed by J.M.Garg on 2009-02-14.

Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta) in Kinnerasani Wildlife Sanctuary, Andhra Pradesh, India, photographed by J.M.Garg on 2009-02-14.

 

 

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