Submitted by Charles Knighton
Orcas are simply too large, too wide-ranging, too socially complex, and too intelligent to thrive in any-sized concrete enclosure”, […]said Animal Welfare Institute marine mammal scientist Dr. Naomi Rose.
California lawmaker plans law to end killer whale captivity’ – November 9 BarbadosAdvocate
Do animals have feelings similar to ours? To anyone who’s ever looked deeply into the eyes of a dog (especially mine), or watched mother orangutans cuddle their babies or young gorillas roughhouse like teenagers, it’s a ridiculous question. Many hardheaded scientists, however, dismiss speculation about animal consciousness as pointless anthropomorphizing; they view lesser species as furry or finny animatrons, acting out instincts and impulses installed by evolution.
In his new book, Beyond Words, marine conservationist Carl Safina thoroughly dismantles this behaviorist view of animals. Safina demonstrates that wolves, elephants and orcas display complex planning, empathy, jealously, anger—even sheer joy at being alive. People who observe animals closely know them to be individuals, with distinct personalities. Contrarians have to deeply deny the evidence to conclude that humans alone are conscious, feeling beings.
The evidence shows that elephants and apes mourn their dead, becoming listless and depressed. Dolphins can recognize their own reflections, have intricate social structures, and appear to call each other by individual names. Apes and chimps make tools, plan for the future, and display empathy and inferential reasoning. It would seem that it is only human vanity that’s led us to believe we are separate and distinct from the “extended family” of creatures on the great continuum of evolution.
If you doubt our kinship with the animal kingdom, I refer you to the news stories in the pages of local or international media. Evolution is a work in progress: We are still closer to the beasts than to the gods.