Animal Emotions

Do animals think and feel?

Cat Killed and Defaced As a Political Statement

Sometimes it's mind-blowing to figure out why some people do what they do

Every now and again stories cross my desk that make me ashamed to be a human being. This surely is one of them. Yesterday afternoon, as I was working on my new book called Rewilding our hearts, an email came in that made me ill. It was the story of the killing and defacing of a cat who lived with the family of an Arkansas democratic campaign manager. To quote from article: "Last night, Jake [Burris] and his four kids had come back to their Russellville home. As they were getting out of the car, one of his children discovered their family cat dead on the front porch. One side of the animal's head had been bashed in and an eyeball was hanging out of its socket. But there was something even more horrifying to be found on the corpse. Written across the animal's fur in black marker was the word 'LIBERAL'".

Following on the heels of the brutal beating of a sheep by a soldier (see also) I found myself sitting in shock asking over and over again, "How in the world could anyone do this?" The comments accompanying the story of the cat killing are an interesing potpouri of views but just about all express shock about this most heinous act. 

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Our relationships with other animals are challenging, frustrating, complicated, and ambiguous, and this and the sheep beating surely should make everyone reflect on how we interact with other animals and why some people do the heinous things they do to innocent beings. 

 

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

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