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John S Stuart user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 20 Aug 08, 09:00 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Gorilla's grief over dead baby

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/itn/20080819/video/vwl-gorilla-s-grief-over-dead-baby-15af341.html

So the big question - do animals feel emotions - and if so how does this impact on the way humans treat them?



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Posted: 20 Aug 08, 09:36 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Of course they do.
I've lived near animals my whole life, we had guinea pigs, dogs, cats ... Every animal we had had feelings, a small level of intelligence (ability to solve simple problems) ...

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Posted: 20 Aug 08, 09:39 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I really don't want to use a Treasure Moment term here... but our emotions are part of the programming that's in a lot of animals. I'd say ours is more evolved than that of a cat or a dog or whatever, but things that we call emotions are present in many animals.


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Posted: 20 Aug 08, 09:43 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I don't know how that question can still be asked. With all we've learned about the mourning process of animals, the protective instincts of (animal) mothers, the jealousy of males against other males or babies... there should be no question as to whether animals feel emotions. Even my cats display emotion - when one of mine passed away, the other stopped eating and wouldn't play. It took weeks for him to start behaving as he had while his buddy was still around.

I can't watch the video you posted, but I don't believe I have to in order to answer, yes. Animals feel emotion.



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Posted: 20 Aug 08, 10:15 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Another interesting question is should the zoo intervene if the gorilla gives birth again? If she's mistreated two of her own offspring then i definitely think the zoo should do all it can to protect the baby.


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Posted: 20 Aug 08, 11:04 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Don't elephants grieve if a member of their herd dies? I think with more evolved animals there is definitely emotions present. I believe dogs and cats have the ability to think and reason. I don't think they would mourn over a loss like that gorilla, but when my German shepherd died a few years ago, my other dog definitely acted a bit different.

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Posted: 20 Aug 08, 11:06 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Interesting. Well, I'm sure I feel about them! But there's something funny about it. We have always had dogs in our house, and I grew up accostumed to liking and simpathyzing with them. Now we have a dalmatian at home, very cute, still young. :op

Now, I remember watching De Sicca's Umberto D. with my father when I was a kid. It's a movie produced back in the middle of the past century. The movie tells the story of an elderly, impoverished and ill man who can't afford his rent anymore and doesn't get compassion either from his government or from other people - all the compassion and love he has comes from his dog, his best friend, he treats it like his son. So the movie is pretty much about his struggle to keep himself alive and how he grows tired of his struggle as time goes on and he sees no hope of being better-off.

I cried, and cried, and cried when I watched the movie! I mean, his relationship with the dog is so beautiful and telling, that nowadays I really can't think of people killing...dogs. I shudder at the very thought of it.

However, in other cultures, like in China, people do kill dogs and eat them! So, the most interesting question for me is not whether animals feel emotions, but WHY SOME OF US FEEL TOWARDS THEM, AND SOME DON'T?

Love for dogs is not a universal, for instance. It's not inscribed in human nature.

Now, take the example of rats.

I'm affraid of rats. I don't like them rats.

But, now, like, we had a scientific exposition and there were those rats in the cages.

There was a rat, I felt he was looking at me, with his face pressed against the glass, as if he wanted to live!

I got moved. I mean...poor rat, I thought, is it possible that he's going to suffer under these scientific experiences just like dogs suffer when we hit their tales by mistake?

So...I asked myself: Why I feel such a close relation to my dog, but not to...rats? And why, at that moment, when the rat was exposed in that particular way, I felt sorry about the rat?

What makes me become more compassionate towards a rat? I don't know!

Like them fishes...I talked about it. When you do a movie like NEMO and show fishes having emotions, it's kind of easy for a kid to develop compassion towards the fish. Isn't it? I do! I mean, Dorothy, in the movie, is so cute. Now I see them fishes and I find them cute and I don't have courage to eat them. Really. It's for real!

So...it's an interesting question, but we ultimately can't know how it feels like being a dog or cat or a rat or a fish. But we do know, however, how we feel towards them - and we feel differently according to where we are, who we are and what kind of animal are we facing!

So, it's this diversity in human emotions that interests me most!


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Posted: 20 Aug 08, 11:25 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Gah Yara, your posts are like books!

I do think animals feel emotions but I also think that their long term memory is one thing that sets them apart from humans when it comes to emotions. Soon, the gorilla will forget about what happened to her baby and be able to resume her normal activities. Just like your cat MagicalMercury, she grieved but does not have the capacity to remember things long term when it comes to emotions, I think. Animals can be trained and it seems like they remember things but they use what they've been trained on a regular basis so they aren't "able" to forget it. Grief is something that is not "used" over and over so they do forget it.


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Posted: 20 Aug 08, 12:02 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

We have a cat and I have to say that whenever I kick it clear across the room it seems to display feelings of both surprise and disappointment.

But hey! I'm no scientist.

fatty.

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Posted: 20 Aug 08, 12:26 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Mm.

My black cat is stupid, he only seems to register the emotions "I'm scared", "I'm hungry", and "I have to piss/take a dump". He shows no affection toward anyone in the house except for once in a blue moon.

Our grey cat, his sister, is in fact very lovely and always is willing to roll around and stretch out on the floor for you to pet her tummy. XD

As for grieving.. when we first got our two cats they were but little kittens, and we still had our old cat living at the house. (He was dying; He had lymphoma or something and walked round with a huge tumour on his side) For a while we had to keep the kittens and our older cat separated, but they eventually seemed to get along decently. The kittens still liked to play with his tail and jump on him, and it'd piss him off. XD

But, about four/five months later we put him down for his own good. The kittens noticed all right, the day we took him to the vet for his "shot" we let them out of the bathroom we'd temporarily kept them in, and they went running to the chair in which our cat would always sit in and he wasn't there. :( They weren't playful and didn't eat much for a week or so and oftentimes we'd noticed one kitten or the other (Or both xD) sitting in his favourite rocking chair, something they never did when he was still round. I think they must've come to see him as a Daddy Cat, pssht, but I'm a dumbass XD

That's been six years and I'm sure they've forgotten all about him now.

[/Long ass post]


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Posted: 20 Aug 08, 15:12 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

John S Stuart wrote:

Gorilla's grief over dead baby

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/itn/20080819/video/vwl-gorilla-s-grief-over-dead-baby-15af341.html

So the big question - do animals feel emotions - and if so how does this impact on the way humans treat them?


I think they do understand and feel emotions. I think animals get lonely and sad and angry and happy too. When I'm horribly upset, my cats seem to know it, so they at least understand when others are upset.


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Posted: 20 Aug 08, 15:59 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Of course animals feel emotions - I would have thought it was so obvious that it didn't need asking.

That piece of video footage was rather upsetting and I turned it off after a few seconds.

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Posted: 20 Aug 08, 17:43 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

After seeing that video, I think it's pretty difficult to argue that they don't feel emotion, even if it's just on a basic level.
I cried :(

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Posted: 20 Aug 08, 18:06 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

duh.
if we descended from early primates and homo whatever they're called, and if we have emotions, then they did too.
i bet my grandpa's dog had racist emotions against black people since he always barked at them.
ironically, his name was Negro which is black translated in Spanish.


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Posted: 20 Aug 08, 18:33 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Such a sad - but nice! - topic. Thanks to John!

Well, I don't know, but I think John was after something else: do animals feel emotions as we do and, if so, does it reflect on our behavior and feelings towards them?

Feelings, on a basic level, yes, they have, but I think that was not what John was after. Like, if fatty kicks his cat across the room (poor cat, fatty!, but coming from you I hope it's a joke! lol), it's very likely that it'll react as a sign that it's scared or in pain.

But the gorilla. Does it grieve? That's something different, because grieving is a state and implies the capacity for suffering for the loss (lost?) of a beloved one even though the object of our loss isn't there anymore - so, we mourn even if the person we love is not materially present to us, and that's why we suffer so much, I think, when the body of a beloved one, even though dead, goes away in the ashes or under the ground, because we feel then that we really lost that person for good: we're like the gorilla in this! Because we don't let the person go, if we love him/her, we just can't let her go many times, even if it's only the body, without life.

So I ask myself: is the gorilla able to grieve? That is, to feel the pain for the lost of its spring even if the corpse is not there anymore? Will the thought of having lost its descent recurr to it over and over again in the absence of the corpse?

Because, when the corpse is there, it's as if it were dying every time for the gorilla, I think, the death never goes away, it's as if it were continuously happening.

Now, if you take the corpse from it, and wait for some days, will it be able to mourn over the loss of its spring?

I don't have a clue! lol But it's interesting all the same.

It all depends on our perception too because "grieving" and "suffering" are human concepts, just like "emotion". So we inevitably project that to the other animals.

So...it hurts to see the video, yes. It's painful, at least to me. But at the same time is intriguing: it's...I mean, mourning for a dead baby, and noticing that it's dead and, well, not going to get back to life, is a very complex emotion.

It's a complex emotion I thought only human beings had.

But it seems it's not like that.

Well...great post. Sad but interesting.


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Posted: 20 Aug 08, 18:55 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Of course animals have emotion. Love, anger, depression--and yes, grief. I even believe that animals do remember longterm the feelings that they have for their young, their mates, and also their human companions. How many of you have seen news stories about dogs that have gotten lost on a vacation or whatever, and travel hundreds of miles to turn up on their owners' doorstep a year later? I have even seen a few stories where owners would move across the country, leaving their dog with another owner and miraculously the dog would appear at their new home many months down the road! If they forgot their emotions that quickly, what would be the motivation to go searching for their owner?

I also have a personal story about this. When my husband and I first married, our very first pet was a lovely calico kitten, Kally. Within the first few weeks of her living with us, my father accidentally closed her tail in our front door, hard! Kally yowled, then ran off, angry and hissing. Well that cat lived for 16 years, and she was a sweet docile cat that loved everyone. Except my father. Everytime he entered our home, Kally would run out from wherever she was, run up to my dad, hiss, and slap him! One, two, three times (always three! lol). And then run off! I can only believe that she remembered him shutting her tail in the door. And never let HIM forget either!


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Posted: 21 Aug 08, 05:22 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'm an animal and I feel emotion


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Posted: 21 Aug 08, 05:24 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Animals are just (often) furry shells.


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Posted: 21 Aug 08, 07:17 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Dan Corson VIII: I Am Sunshine wrote:

Animals are just (often) furry shells.


Not so often. I volunteer in an animal shelter and the emotions those "furry shells" display are quite varied - and recognizable.



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Posted: 21 Aug 08, 07:30 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Beyond the most basic "emotions" that they need to live, can we say that animals feel optimism pessimism, love, disappointment, empathy, or remorse? Hard to say, in that they can't communicate those feelings to us. Who knows exactly what other humans feel, never mind animals.


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