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动物也有情感:哭泣的大象和嗤笑的老鼠 [美国网评]

五毛网 美国 2018年02月10日 来源:龙腾网


(译注:在英国,除了圣诞大餐外,最深入人心的大概要数那SUNDAY ROAST(星期日烤肉)了,系该国炸鱼薯条之外的传统名菜。据说起源于工业革命时代的约克。只在周日供应。)

Luckily, for their sake, things haveprogressed significantly from then and now we recognise that animals (includingour “superior” human selves in that category) can experience emotions from moresimple ones such as happiness and sadness to more complex ones such as empathy,jealousy and grief. Animal sentience is defined as the ability to feel,perceive and experience subjectively. In other words, it’s about emotions andfeelings and in some respects, having an awareness that “you are you”.


In fact, the scientific evidence foranimals being sentient is vast – so clear that three scientists read 2,500papers studying sentience in non-human animals and concluded confidently thatsentience does indeed exist.


If you saw Blue Planet II recently, forexample, you’ll have seen the footage of a pilot whale carrying around her deadcalf. For most humans, this clearly demonstrates a form of grieving,particularly given the behaviour changes in the wider family pod.

The evidence for sentience


Studies have shown that sheep are able torecognise the faces of their sheep friends even after being separated for twoyears. Elephants from strong family groups with immense memories and they crywhen they are hurt (both physically and emotionally). Capuchin monkeys knowwhen they are receiving unequal pay (grapes vs cucumber) and Macaques developindividual cultures, particularly when it comes to how one should wash apotato.


Chimpanzees like to keep the peace byredistributing bananas if someone complains that their share is unfair and evenrats have been shown to demonstrate empathy by giving up their favourite snackto save a drowning friend. They also giggle when being tickled.


Fish use tools and octopus weigh up whetherthe effort needed to gain a food reward is worth it depending on the type offood. There is also plenty of evidence on how animals have individualpersonalities and indeed how some are a glass half full type while others aremore glass half empty.


But it isn’t just from watching theirbehaviour that we can say animals are sentient. When we examine the brains ofspecies (and indeed individuals), we can draw parallels from what we know abouthuman brains and start to make assumptions.


Emotions mainly stem from a part of ourbrain called the “limbic system”. Our limbic system is relatively large andindeed humans are a very emotive species. So when we come across a brain thathas a smaller limbic system than ours, we assume it feels fewer emotions. But,and here’s the big but, when a limbic system is comparatively much bigger thanours, we don’t assume it feels more emotions than us. Most likely because wecannot imagine something that we do not feel or even know about.

The act of killing


In some marine mammals, their limbic systemis four times larger than ours is. In addition to this, some marine mammalshave spindle cells, which we originally thought were unique to humans, allowingus to make rapid decisions in complex social situations. Arguably, would theseevolve if they weren’t used for the same (or at least similar) purposes.


One potential reason why we don’t likethinking too much about animal sentience is because we like to kill animals.Some to eat and some, quite simply because we do not like them. Look at thosepoor spiders in autumn, coming in to find some shelter, only to meet their endbeing smacked by a slipper wielding human. We also turn a blind eye tosystematic cruelty on an mass scale to ensure we save some money on meat at thesupermarket. It’s far easier to pretend these animals don’t have feelings oremotions so that we can enjoy a cheap dinner without the emotion of guiltcreeping in.


So is animal sentience a big deal? Yes, itis. We need to ensure we include it everywhere to safeguard the welfare of allanimals, not just our pets. We live in a world where a lady putting a cat in abin causes immense public shaming, yet we’ll pop down to the nearest fast foodoutlet and eat meat that has lived the most abhorrent life ever withoutthinking twice. It really is time that we spent more time thinking about thethinking beings around us.



Bill Bedford
The fact that most prey species aresentient doesn’t seem to affect any other predator species other than humans.


Stephanie Holloway
I note the author is a research fellow onhuman canine interactions yet she attributes human disinterest in animalsentience to guilt about eating meat. Animals kept as pets are often subjectedto extended abuse through inappropriate management such as caging, overfeedingand underexercising, and dog keeping is a particularly good example. Yet petsare not eaten, rather they are used to satisfy human emotional need.


Gil Thorncraft
I have never doubted that animals, of whichwe are but one species, have feelings.


Jorge Tzvi toer
Absolute ,animals have a long sufferingnext to us,it’s evidence if you have pet’s at home or you are in a farm withanimals that live and interchanged relations between them.But evidently Chinado not have the some view, the dogs and cats are any valid protections fromterrible and cruelty humans.We need to look for alternative technology tocreated food without kill others Live creatures that share with us thisplanet.But evidently are humans far away from that, kill us and animals are forthem new sport’s.


A Chadwick
Re the binned cat, I’d shoot myneighbour’s, but could be jailed for doing so.
Cat owners should stop being so selfish andirresponsible. Cats shit in neighbouring gardens - highly toxic should a childor gardener touch it, terrorise birds *- ask the RSPB - and kill an estimated50 million creatures per year. Funny how owners think their cutesy wootsy pussywoosy would never do such a thing!


A few years ago, there was a privatemembers bill to legally enforce more responsibility on cat owners - as dogowners have - but the attempt was kiboshed by the massive, misguided cat ownerslobby and, instead, more punitive penalties were meted out to, say, beleagueredneighbours who tried to stop the misery.* eg, if a cat is around, parent birdswill stop feeding their young because they don’t want to draw the cat’sattention to the location of the nest, subsequently, fledglings die.