Animal Emotions

Do animals think and feel?

Green Mountain Oxen: Bill Lives, Lou Dies

We wouldn't kill a dog whose best friend died, and this remaining ox shouldn't be killed. Read More

Killing of Lou

I am sickened though not surprised that GMC killed Lou, in what I am sure was a PR decision to appear publicly as "mercy killers." They may be lying about how they killed him. It is just as likely they quietly butchered Lou to death. In any event, they took his life away and there is no Lou anymore. They left his partner Bill alone, and that too is a merciless act.

Adding to the sorrow and anger I feel is the fact that Ingrid Newkirk told the press she applauds the "euthanasia" of Lou. GMC must be thrilled with this approval.

There is so much wrong in the terrible story of Lou and Bill.

Very sad,

Karen Davis, PhD, President, United Poultry Concerns

We know that Lou was walking

We know that Lou was walking easily and grazing at 2 or 3 in the afternoon of what would be his last day. Given that data, the late-night timing of the so-called "euthanasia," and the absence of his body on campus, I have grave concerns about the manner of his death. While VINE's official statement will be forthcoming, I urge people to join me in demanding that the college produce a statement from a veterinarian, attesting that he or she recommended and implemented euthanasia for humane reasons and by humane methods. Otherwise, the college must explain to the students and neighbors of the college who loved Lou exactly why and how he died.

The appropriate course of action

You know, reading this and the past article regarding the slaughter of Bill and Lou I cannot help but be struck by the comparison of the Oxen to dogs as companion animals. Had these oxen been purchased with the intention to keep them as pets and university mascots, I would understand (more so), however, these animals were brought to the campus with a purpose. They were meant to serve as working animals with the intention to have them slaughtered and used as food by the student body. Regardless of what emotional attachment the students had formed, the intention to slaughter and use the animals for food has always existed.

This is how farming works, and slaughter for food is an acceptable outcome for these animals. In fact, if Lou is not being used for food I consider his death wasteful. My own family raises and slaughters cows for meat; these animals are named, loved, cared for appropriately, and then they are killed for food. The Oxen had surved their purpose and if anyone is actually concerned about sustainable practice (which is again, why they were there in the first place) this is just the next phase.

Just so I am clear:

1. These animals were not nor ever intended to be pets, the attachments the students did or did not make were of their own accord.

2. It is wasteful to NOT use these animals for food, sending perfectly edible, retired cows to live in a sancutuary, die of natural causes, and be burried or cremated would be a shame.

3. This entire debate is silly. The cows were meant to eventually be slaughtered for food, this is not cruel or unusual punishment. Stop comparing them to dogs and other companion animals, it is not the same.

4. I would be upset if someone butchered your companion cow, though I strongly doubt you own one. These were not companion cows, so stop acting as if they were. If I formed a strong attachment to my neighbors cow that was meant for slaughter, I would not be asking them to spare the cow because once again, that would be silly.

clarification needed

Just so I have this straight: your view is that the value of an individual animal, apparently any animal, is dictated exclusively by whatever its human owner intends the use of that animal to be. If a human specifies "pet" you might recognize it as unethical were that animal to be treated as a "work animal" or a "food producing" animal. Conversely, a food producing animal may be legitimately treated in a manner that might elicit your censure were it a designated "pet." So, the essence of your position is that a non-human animal has no real inherent value, only that which is assigned to it by a human animal having dominion over it.

Thank you for illustrating for all to see the arbitrariness of speciesism. Now just explain for us why such a classification scheme couldn't and shouldn't be justifiably extended to include human beings based upon their perceived utility to a smarter, more powerful, despot.

clarification needed

Just so I have this straight: your view is that the value of an individual animal, apparently any animal, is dictated exclusively by whatever its human owner intends the use of that animal to be. If a human specifies "pet" you might recognize it as unethical were that animal to be treated as a "work animal" or a "food producing" animal. Conversely, a food producing animal may be legitimately treated in a manner that might elicit your censure were it a designated "pet." So, the essence of your position is that a non-human animal has no real inherent value, only that which is assigned to it by a human animal having dominion over it.

Thank you for illustrating for all to see the arbitrariness of speciesism. Now just explain for us why such a classification scheme couldn't and shouldn't be justifiably extended to include human beings based upon their perceived utility to a smarter, more powerful, despot.

Thank you Goeff

Thank you Goeff ("clarification needed"). My thoughts exactly. The reasoning,or rationalization,is just amazing. And expressed with such arrogance and condescension.
I am grateful that persons like you are there for animals, but am becoming increasingly frightened about the lack of ethics, the spiritual depravity, and the downright cruelty these proponents of Lou and Bill's slaughter represent. And a new, receptive generation at GMC is being inculcated with the same life(death) philosophy. Where does it all go from here, I wonder?

Thank you, Goeff

Thank you, Goeff ("clarification needed"). My thoughts exactly. The reasoning,or rationalization, is just amazing. And expressed with such arrogance and condescension.

I am grateful that persons like you are there for animals, but am becoming increasingly frightened about the lack of ethics, the spiritual depravity, and the downright cruelty these proponents of Lou and Bill's slaughter represent. And a new, receptive generation at GMC is being inculcated with the same life(death) philosophy. Where does it all go from here, I wonder?

A touch of reason, please

Anonymous, while there are many slights against reason in your post that scream out for correction, I'd like to focus instead on the lone truth you stumbled upon:

"2. It is wasteful to NOT use these animals for food, sending perfectly edible, retired cows to live in a sancutuary, die of natural causes, and be burried or cremated would be a shame."

You are of course, quite right in this claim, from a purely resource-oriented angle. Without considering trivialities like right and wrong, or those pesky concepts of conscience and compassion which clearly you have no capacity for, it is wasteful to NOT use the meat from a deceased mammal for food. So when your perfectly edible, retired grandma starts outliving her usefulness, I assume you will slaughter her and feast upon her flesh rather than send her to a sanctuary where she might live out the rest of her life, die of natural causes, and be buried or cremated. Because, as you say, failing to do so would be a shame.

May you one day wake up.

I just posted, and I can't seem to find my post....

You know, reading this and the past article regarding the slaughter of Bill and Lou I cannot help but be struck by the comparison of the Oxen to dogs as companion animals. Had these oxen been purchased with the intention to keep them as pets and university mascots, I would understand (more so), however, these animals were brought to the campus with a purpose. They were meant to serve as working animals with the intention to have them slaughtered and used as food by the student body. Regardless of what emotional attachment the students had formed, the intention to slaughter and use the animals for food has always existed.

This is how farming works, and slaughter for food is an acceptable outcome for these animals. In fact, if Lou is not being used for food I consider his death wasteful. My own family raises and slaughters cows for meat; these animals are named, loved, cared for appropriately, and then they are killed for food. The Oxen had surved their purpose and if anyone is actually concerned about sustainable practice (which is again, why they were there in the first place) this is just the next phase.

Just so I am clear:

1. These animals were not nor ever intended to be pets, the attachments the students did or did not make were of their own accord.

2. It is wasteful to NOT use these animals for food, sending perfectly edible, retired cows to live in a sancutuary, die of natural causes, and be burried or cremated would be a shame.

3. This entire debate is silly. The cows were meant to eventually be slaughtered for food, this is not cruel or unusual punishment. Stop comparing them to dogs and other companion animals, it is not the same.

4. I would be upset if someone butchered your companion cow, though I strongly doubt you own one. These were not companion cows, so stop acting as if they were. If I formed a strong attachment to my neighbors cow that was meant for slaughter, I would not be asking them to spare the cow because once again, that would be silly.

This debate is not silly.

This debate is not silly. This is, literally, a life or death issue. Killing a cow IS the same as killing a dog. How could it not be? They both feel pain, they both certainly appear to enjoy their lives, they both form relationships with other animals and with humans. I see absolutely no difference. It is their life. It is not up to you or any other human to decide what should be done with THEIR lives.

GET OUT OF THE DARK AGES

Yes, Lou and Bill were working oxen at a college to teach" a hands on," animal community-based food system. One raises the animal, possibly works the animal as they did Lou and Bill. Then the slaughter and consumption from one's labor. The Sustainability Model. Fine. However, most animals are raised and do not live a 10 year life span before slaughter. Most animals raised for food are killed in a much shorter time. There is a major difference here with Lou and Bill. They became school mascots. They were a bonded pair for 10 years! Animals are sentient beings. They DO have cognition, emotions... Research has proved this and it could be seen with Lou and Bill interacting with each other, with the students. They enjoyed the touching, petting and gave back a nuzzle and more. Bonds were formed with students as well as local neigHbors. In the past 10 years, animal rights/animal welfare has evolved into more light. However, GMC is still in the Dark Ages. The worldwide public knew what was humane and right to do with Lou and Bill. Just one example of the outcry is Care 2 with 47,000 singing a petition to save them....47,000!!! Yet those in POWER at GMC chose hard-heartedness, and I must say, a classic example of ignorance, inhumane, cruel. The right course would have been to place Lou and Bill in the nearby sanctuary. There they would live out the rest of their lives with quality care and love. A just reward for the 10 years of service to GMC. They enhanced the college's image. Now Lou is gone. Gone in a sick manner. Before dawn when no one around. Lou snuck out in the dead of night to be butchered. I do not believe he was euthanized by a vet. No "go gently into that goodnight" for LOU. Common sense is he suffered agony as he died in a slaughter house. Stunned in the head, throat slit to drain blood. Hopefully he was dead before the knives came, for most are not in a slaughter house. Lastly, the minority in the college who chose this course of action, have no conscience. No empathy nor compassion. There is a name for this disorder in the DSM. Now Bill will be "disposed" of. No longer needed. It will be interesting and informative to watch this play out. But mainly sickening, heartbreaking, and arousing anger. GMC, your "sustainability' as a higher learning institution has been hacked along with Lou...to be followed by Bill.

GET OUT OF THE DARK AGES

Yes, Lou and Bill were working oxen at a college to teach" a hands on," animal community-based food system. One raises the animal, possibly works the animal as they did Lou and Bill. Then the slaughter and consumption from one's labor. The Sustainability Model. Fine. However, most animals are raised and do not live a 10 year life span before slaughter. Most animals raised for food are killed in a much shorter time. There is a major difference here with Lou and Bill. They became school mascots. They were a bonded pair for 10 years! Animals are sentient beings. They DO have cognition, emotions... Research has proved this and it could be seen with Lou and Bill interacting with each other, with the students. They enjoyed the touching, petting and gave back a nuzzle and more. Bonds were formed with students as well as local neigHbors. In the past 10 years, animal rights/animal welfare has evolved into more light. However, GMC is still in the Dark Ages. The worldwide public knew what was humane and right to do with Lou and Bill. Just one example of the outcry is Care 2 with 47,000 singing a petition to save them....47,000!!! Yet those in POWER at GMC chose hard-heartedness, and I must say, a classic example of ignorance, inhumane, cruel. The right course would have been to place Lou and Bill in the nearby sanctuary. There they would live out the rest of their lives with quality care and love. A just reward for the 10 years of service to GMC. They enhanced the college's image. Now Lou is gone. Gone in a sick manner. Before dawn when no one around. Lou snuck out in the dead of night to be butchered. I do not believe he was euthanized by a vet. No "go gently into that goodnight" for LOU. Common sense is he suffered agony as he died in a slaughter house. Stunned in the head, throat slit to drain blood. Hopefully he was dead before the knives came, for most are not in a slaughter house. Lastly, the minority in the college who chose this course of action, have no conscience. No empathy nor compassion. There is a name for this disorder in the DSM. Now Bill will be "disposed" of. No longer needed. It will be interesting and informative to watch this play out. But mainly sickening, heartbreaking, and arousing anger. GMC, your "sustainability' as a higher learning institution has been hacked along with Lou...to be followed by Bill.

GET OUT OF THE DARK AGES

Yes, Lou and Bill were working oxen at a college to teach" a hands on," animal community-based food system. One raises the animal, possibly works the animal as they did Lou and Bill. Then the slaughter and consumption from one's labor. The Sustainability Model. Fine. However, most animals are raised and do not live a 10 year life span before slaughter. Most animals raised for food are killed in a much shorter time. There is a major difference here with Lou and Bill. They became school mascots. They were a bonded pair for 10 years! Animals are sentient beings. They DO have cognition, emotions... Research has proved this and it could be seen with Lou and Bill interacting with each other, with the students. They enjoyed the touching, petting and gave back a nuzzle and more. Bonds were formed with students as well as local neigHbors. In the past 10 years, animal rights/animal welfare has evolved into more light. However, GMC is still in the Dark Ages. The worldwide public knew what was humane and right to do with Lou and Bill. Just one example of the outcry is Care 2 with 47,000 singing a petition to save them....47,000!!! Yet those in POWER at GMC chose hard-heartedness, and I must say, a classic example of ignorance, inhumane, cruel. The right course would have been to place Lou and Bill in the nearby sanctuary. There they would live out the rest of their lives with quality care and love. A just reward for the 10 years of service to GMC. They enhanced the college's image. Now Lou is gone. Gone in a sick manner. Before dawn when no one around. Lou snuck out in the dead of night to be butchered. I do not believe he was euthanized by a vet. No "go gently into that goodnight" for LOU. Common sense is he suffered agony as he died in a slaughter house. Stunned in the head, throat slit to drain blood. Hopefully he was dead before the knives came, for most are not in a slaughter house. Lastly, the minority in the college who chose this course of action, have no conscience. No empathy nor compassion. There is a name for this disorder in the DSM. Now Bill will be "disposed" of. No longer needed. It will be interesting and informative to watch this play out. But mainly sickening, heartbreaking, and arousing anger. GMC, your "sustainability' as a higher learning institution has been hacked along with Lou...to be followed by Bill.

Apologies

I apology for my comment being posted three times. i guidelines to post were not clear. Preview? Save? I tied to delete two and cannot. Sorry.

R.I.P. Lou you are now in God's arms and no human can use nor abuse you ever again

Marc Bekoff, Ph.D. as always I loved reading your words of wisdom. To bad you are not a professor there to teach the lessons of compassion, empathy, MERCY and plain common sense. This school has claimed many things,, love them don't love them,, they are mascots they are not mascots. But yet I found graduation pictures of Bill & Lou at graduations. I know of no cattle ranchers who take their cattle to their kids graduation. What a reputation this school has developed for themselves. They are lairs and nobody believes a word they say. We are sure they plan on killing Bill also. But we are NOT going away. My deepest respect for you sir.

www.thepetitionsite.com has a

www.thepetitionsite.com has a petition (I've just signed) suggesting both animals are still alive. There certainly seems to be something very wrong about this kind of activity in relation to animals.

Bill and Lou

The stance held by GMC has a cold and sinister edge to it. Unmoved by public demand for mercy they continue with their sustainability ethics and uncompromising posturing with regard to the oxen. Don't these people understand the long term damage to their reputation. This is not a "liberal" college. Plainly it upholds some very suspect, dogmatic and uncompromising practices. The public are not going to go away.... They are demanding accountability. If Lou was humanely euthanized where is the documentation? And do they propose to spirit Bill out in the middle of the night to meet the same fate. This furore will not subside until there is a compassionate resolution. Make no mistake GMC, these oxen do have a voice. And their voice will be heard. The controversy is larger than GMC and it has the attention of the world. It could be a good opportunity for GMC to show they have a heart!

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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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