Animal Emotions

Do animals think and feel?

Caring about animal abuse has a lot to do with human psychology

Our relationships with other animals require psychological studies. Conservation psychology, conservation education, and humane education can help us further our understanding of how we relate to other animals and what we can and must do to improve these interactions for their well-being and ours. When animals lose, we lose.  Read More

A couple of months ago I

A couple of months ago I noticed that my aunt was neglecting her dog. The poor dog was basically ignored. She never walks him, plays with him or cares for him in any way. I bit my tongue for a long time but when the dog got an eye infection and she refused to bring him to a vet I couldn’t ignore this any more. I tried to speak to her in a non confrontational way by pointing out that the dog was unwell and if it carried on it could become a serious matter. Well she completely lost it, she turned what should have been a discussion into a shouting match (her at me, not me at her), her opinion was that he’s her dog and she can do what she wants with him.

That was two months ago, we haven’t spoken since. I probably being stubborn but I don’t feel I did anything wrong so I’m not going to call her. Even though she’s a close family member, I can’t abide an attitude like this. Losing a selfish, cruel person like this from my life isn’t such a bad thing for me. If I’m honest I probably care for animals more than most people.

You didn't do anything wrong!

You didn't do anything wrong! Good for you for standing up for what is right and ethical. Also, what she is doing is considered neglect and is most states it is a crime. You should contact your local SPCA or the organization Dogs Deserve Better. Animals deserve respect and care. I recently attended a conference on Affective Neuroscience during which an audience member asked the founder of Affective Neuroscience "Do animals have emotions?" And he responded that he has no doubt that they do have emotions.

Your article connects animal

Your article connects animal abuse to social issues and goes on to advocate social change.. but i think the original commenter, besides questioning the connection between animal abuse and psychology, also wants to know why animal abuse is such an important topic in society.
You believe that social change is necessary, but why? Why is so much value placed on these animals? Why do they deserve protection? Even i dont understand why protecting animals is important.

I do realize that the health of the ecosystem, including animals and their habitats, impacts the health of humans. So out of self preservation, the local habitat and animals need protection. But beyond that, why should it concern me?
I mean no offense.


I think your article is a perfect way to excuse yourself from the inhumane actions taking place just because you cant wait to go eat that pork chop! The only reason humans started eating meat was because of the lack of agriculture during winter time. Real carnivores have short intestines and excrete within hours, also they have enzymes to break down this meat because they don't have to cook it for it to be edible. We do. That being said there's no need to intentionally harm other species to obtain pleasure or whatever kind. Its called being ECO not EGO and maybe if more people got involved in making this world a better place there wouldn't be so much corruption in this world. Think about how all of the actions people are doing to make our lifestyle "easier" is going to impact generations to come. You may not see the consequences now but your children or their children will and it will be due to that selfish mindset ruled by your ego. We need to be more in tact with our spirituality and our nature.

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Marc Bekoff, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.


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