Animal Emotions

Do animals think and feel?

Penguins in Love and Giving Thanks to Turkeys

New research on birds show just how emotional and smart they really are

Birds are amazing beings. New Caledonian crows make and use incredibly sophisticated tools and various jays can remember the location of hundreds of caches of food and remember which caches they've already exploited. (For more on the fascinating lives of birds see Avian Einsteins.)

Just today I received some new information about penguins and turkeys that is well worth sharing. The first story concerned a pair of wild Magellanic penguins who had a strong and enduring loving relationship for 16 years. To quote from this wonderful story, "A pair of Magellanic penguins have remained faithful to each other for 16 years, according to researchers who have been monitoring the birds and have shown they can travel up to 10,000 miles a year in their search for food and love. ... Their relationship has spanned 16 years - almost their entire breeding life - despite spending long periods apart and each of them taking solo trips totalling 200,000 miles." Please read this story about these penguins and other long-lived and loving animals and revel in what we can learn from them.

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Another very relevant video has just appeared called "You Haven't Lived Until You've Hugged a Turkey", produced by Sandra Higgins, Director of the Eden Farm Animal Sanctuary & Matilda's Promise Vegan Education Centre. Turkeys are intelligent and highly emotional beings, and of course this video is incredibly relevant right now because this week in the United States millions upon millions of these amazing birds will be unnecessarily slaughtered to celebrate Thanksgiving. On their way to slaughter they are treated in the most inhumane and reprehensible ways. This moving video will show you why turkeys should be appreciated for who they really are and why they shouldn't be inhumanely mistreated and needlessly killed as if they were merely unfeeling objects

Birds are amazing beings and big-brained or small-brained they should be appreciated and respected for who they are and for how much we can learn from them. 

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

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