English scientists have discovered that so-called farm animals are much brighter and more aware than meat eaters would prefer to think.
One sheep who got a reward every time she recognized a human face correctly on a video screen scored a perfect 50 out of 50.
“If it was a monkey, no one would have any problems, possibly even if it was a dog,” said Keith Kendrick, a neurologist at Babraham. “They would say, ‘Yeah, yeah, that’s expected.’ But a sheep, no one really believes.”
And it’s not just sheep.
Hamlet the pig is a computer wiz. He gets a reward every time he uses a joystick designed for a chimp to move a cursor into a blue area on a computer monitor. A Jack Russell terrier couldn’t achieve such a task after a year of trying.
…chickens can be taught to run the thermostat of the chicken coop, and even the lowly cow has a surprising inner life.
Cows have been known to form lifelong friendships, and one recent study found that they actually show excitement when they’ve learned something knew “as if they’re saying, ‘Eureka, I found out how to solve the problem,’ ” said Donald Broom, a professor at the University of Cambridge.
The reporter goes on to wonder if it’s therefore wrong to eat animals, and gets the obligatory views from both sides, with pro-carnivores taking the day with the tried and true, “Huh-huh, yeah but” argument.
Insisting they are just dumb animals with no thoughts or feelings is necessary to be able to tune out the cognitive dissonance that comes from loving animals but eating them. Anyone with a backyard bird feeder knows animals have complex lives and relationships, and problem-solve better than some humans (hey squirrels, I’m talking to you).
The argument that God put animals here for people to eat is right up there with “God put women here to serve men” and “God put black people here to ride in the holds of ships and serve white people on the other shore.”