Welcome to Compassionate Natures. This site is a collection of writings, images, stories, and other resources on the fascinating topic of non-human animal emotion.
Many would be surprised to know that humans are not alone in feeling simple and complex emotions. The implications for this are many… animal testing, animal living conditions, animal rights in general…
Although many will easily accept when someone says that an animal is happy, it is when it is stated that animals are unhappy that people begin to argue. As Marc Bekoff, a leading scientist in this area, states, many opponents of this idea are quick to say that this is simply anthropomorphism. In other words, we are simply assigning human characteristics to non-human animals, and that it is incorrect to assume animals are capable of these emotions. Bekoff makes the interesting point, however, that we are not assigning human characteristics to non-human animals, we are identifying traits shared between us and using language to convey this.
Bekoff and other scientists of this area do not simply state this idea that animals do have emotions, they are also presenting scientific data to support these claims. Many articles have been cited in the claims that animals do indeed feel emotions such as fear, joy, happiness, shame, embarrassment, resentment, jealousy, rage, anger, love, pleasure, compassion, respect, relief, disgust, sadness, despair, and grief– this is no longer a speculation made by animal lovers, it is supported with research and data.
So, what does one do with all of this information? Of course this implies that animals have emotional responses to the horrible practices of animal testing, industrial farming, the fur industry, puppy mills, etc., and that these should be halted immedietly. This is not neccessarily possible, however, and smaller steps may need to be taken at first. As Bekoff mentions, we must “increase our compassion footprint”– we must not only recognize that animals have active and emotion-filled minds, but treat them in a way that reflects this. This is especially important in our human-dominated world.
This site was made with the hopes of providing a resource to learn and share the vast amounts of information on this fascinating and greatly valuable information, with the hopes of opening people’s minds to the possibility that many animals are cognitive and emotional beings.