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Animals Are Smart. Are Humans Holding Them Back?

Tom Regan argues that any animal that wants, prefers, believes, recalls, and expects things is an experiencing subject of life and has its own individual welfare that matters to them regardless of what we might think.

HUFFPOST: ‘Animals are smarter than we think. Sharks like jazz and bees understand the number zero. Some of the most abstract ideas for humans to grasp — mastered by nonhumans. It feels like they deserve a round of applause or something. But they’re not getting one. Seeing compassion, virtue, suffering, and struggle in animals, smart or not, puts us in a weird spot. When we recognize other moral beings with ethical claims, we feel we have to behave better, too… Learning is often placed at the center of any conversation around animal intelligence. There’s even an elite club of tool-using animals. But intelligence can be a crutch. It changes the way we treat animals. What if the way we treat animals is holding them back?…

Humans are the dominant species, evolving to have bigger and better brains than the other animals, but that’s no way to judge morality. Animal rights icon Tom Regan argues that any animal that wants, prefers, believes, recalls, and expects things is an experiencing subject of life and has its own individual welfare that matters to them regardless of what we might think… “We don’t need to cut animals’ brains out to know that they can feel it,” says Marc Bekoff, biologist, and co-founder of the Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals with Jane Goodall. This concession isn’t so easy for us humans. Let’s call it a culture of believing badly. How far each of us goes to promote this culture will vary. So will our waggle. The only difference is that we have to teach it to ourselves’. SOURCE…

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