The more we see and learn, the more we have to rethink our assumptions regarding animal emotions, and the more we have to attribute real feeling, and real suffering, to non-human animals. For example, Marc Bekoff comes up with a powerful and surprising story of cross-species mourning:
I’ve written a number of essays about grief and mourning in nonhuman animals (animals) and just today I learned of a most heartwarming video of a dog named Bella deeply grieving the loss of Beavis, her beaver friend.
Here’s a brief description of Bella and Beavis’s close friendship.
“Before Beavis passed away, he and Bella were inseparable. They ate together, played together, and even shared living quarters. Beavis passed away in 2012, but the pair’s story resurfaced after a video that the owner shot of the two appeared on Reddit.
“In the heartbreaking video, Bella lies by the side of her deceased companion and appears to cling to the idea that Beavis might just sleeping. As Bella seems to realize that her friend is not coming to life, she whimpers, nuzzles, and licks her friend as if trying to say goodbye.”
If that doesn’t help change your moral calculus regarding the lives of animals, then I’m not sure what will.
Bekoff, a leading ethologist, adds his voice to discussion of the newly published “A Veterinary and Behavioral Analysis of the Killing Methods Used in the Dolphin Drive Hunts in Taiji, Japan.” His main point–everyone needs to work together, and be patient, to change the painful reality of the drive hunts:
I realize that some people want much more action and they want it now. They are frustrated by the slow progress that is being made on the egregious and thoroughly unethical and inhumane murder of these amazing sentient beings. However, this press is a very good and much needed move for continuing to raise awareness of what is happening in Taiji. Many people really do not know about it. I surely understand the passion of those who want more and want it now. How could anyone sit back and let this brutal slaughter go on as if it isn’t really happening. It is, and countless gallons of the blood of these highly sentient beings are being spilled into the waters around Japan. Shame on those who kill the dolphins and shame on people who know about and who remain indifferent to this massacre. We all need to work together to stop the blood spills.
Those who share common goals must work for the animals and not against one another. There really is strength in numbers. For example, the frustratingly slow progress made over many years on gaining protection for chimpanzees is finally paying off (see also). A strong and unified community effort is needed to help the dolphins along and to stop this bloodthirsty, bloodcurdling bloodbath.
Hard to argue with that.
Here’s more from Bekoff on animal behavior and emotions: