Animal Intelligence

In my recent post on plant ethics I said that animals were of ethical concern because we have good reasons to believe that, like us, they are capable of thinking and feeling and so are able to suffer. In this post I want to share some of those reasons and hopefully convince you, if you aren’t already convinced, that animals are far more than just unthinking, unfeeling machines. Since we are so closely related to other primates I’m going to ignore those examples and rather focus on two other animal groups, dolphins and corvids (ravens and crows). Continue reading

Rats appear to show empathy

I wrote earlier that I had become a vegetarian as I was able to recognise animal suffering and made a choice to not contribute to it. With not everyone even accepting that animals are capable of feeling pain or suffering, there’s no chance that they would even entertain the possibility of animals being able to recognise suffering in each other and acting to reduce or prevent that suffering. However, research with rats seems to show that they may exhibit empathy, that is recognise when another rat is suffering and act to reduce or stop that suffering. Continue reading