[Paleopsych] animals and pain

Michael Christopher anonymous_animus at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 8 00:08:57 UTC 2005

>>Now, at a forthcoming conference on sentience in 
domesticated animals, an expert is to argue that what
really matters is not IQ but emotions, and that fish
can suffer as much as birds and many mammals.<<

--I think for the purposes of empathy, that's true. If
we go by IQ, then low-IQ humans are somehow less
sentient or less human. If we go by the ability to
suffer, then we have to include animals. We may
eventually be forced to confront our somewhat
compartmentalized attitudes toward animals. Most
people have no problem eating a cow, but would feel
more than a slight twinge of guilt eating a dolphin or
chimpanzee. It's similar to our attitudes toward
drugs, which are based on unthinking perceptions of
risk and social acceptability, rather than solid
information. In the case of animals and pain, we have
to ask "why are we asking the question?" Why does it
matter to us if animals, or other people, for that
matter, feel pain? The answer might give us some clues
as to where to draw the line.


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