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News 148, The Sentient World of Animals

Compassion for Animals is on the Rise!

By Katherine Doyle, Coffs Harbour, Australia
(Originally in English)

On September 1, 2003, a fascinating article appeared in the Los Angeles Times entitled “A Change of Heart about Animals” by Jeremy Rifkin, who cites numerous examples of recent scientific experiments to discover whether animals have so-called human qualities such as emotions and the ability to learn. These studies have shown that, just like human beings, animals do in fact have feelings and are intelligent, sensitive creatures.

An especially interesting fact presented in the article is that fast-food chains such as McDonalds, Burger King and KFC often sponsor these studies. As the author states, “Pressured by animal rights activists and by growing public support for the humane treatment of animals, these companies have financed research into, among other things, the emotional, mental and behavioral states of our fellow creatures.”

For example, McDonalds funded a Purdue University study on the social behavior of pigs. The researchers found that pigs really crave affection and attention and that denying them the chance to play with each other can easily lead to depression. The research also found that the lack of emotional and mental interaction can cause the animals’ health to decline.

As a result of such studies, the European Union has made it illegal, beginning in 2012, to isolate pigs in stalls. The German government has also taken these findings seriously and has begun encouraging farmers to give each of their pigs twenty seconds of human interaction per day. Germany is also the first nation to guarantee animal rights in its constitution.

Other research cited in the article suggests that animals, like humans, have well developed learning abilities. For example, Koko, a 300-pound female gorilla at the Gorilla Foundation in Woodside, California, has learned sign language. She knows 1000 signs, understands several thousand English words and scores between 70 and 95 on human IQ tests!

In another amazing finding, elephants were observed standing next to a deceased relative for days and also occasionally touching it with their trunks, thus dispelling the myth that animals do not mourn for their dead.

These studies and the subsequent humane actions taken by governments around the world show that the compassion of humankind is growing to encompass the rights and welfare of animals — a positive step in the world’s evolution toward a higher level of consciousness.

For more details about the above-mentioned article please visit:


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