Do animals have feelings or emotions?

More than half of world population lives in cities today. In the developed world, the percentage is much higher! And the urbanization trend will continue and accelerate in future, as cities give more opportunities for a higher living standard, to an increasing number of people. It means also that contact with nature and other species will be limited to sporadic country-side visits, exceptional contact with urban smaller wildlife or vacations visits to shrinking national parks, for most urban people. It is not surprising that younger generation today may have lived their entire life without constant basic contact with natural state of things, with nature itself, with wildlife and even with domestic animals, on which we ultimately feed.

A book I recently read and I think it might bridge the gap (as a starting point before real nature exploration) and would like to recommend is “The Inner Life of Animals“, which based on life-long observations of author and practical science easy for anyone to understand, presents animals (both domestic and wild) as beings capable of human-like emotions and feelings (e.g. pain, grief, gratitude, courage, happiness, empathy, altruism, fear,…), to help people better understand the subject through empathy, starting to see animals not as simply food or at best “creatures that experience only pale imitations of our rich range of sensations”, but as evolutionary complex beings, each very special in each own way, deserving human protection and a place in an unaltered nature, which they have earned along millions of years of evolution, a peer we should respect and learn from!

Author’s hope, which I share, is that humans which evolved in a world full of species (first human like ape, Lucy, is aprox. 3 Mil years old), and “had to survive despite them and with them”, by learning to read the intentions of predator species, or of animals we eventually domesticated, can quickly recover those traits and re-start the way we see the nature, and ecosystem, and the other species before they disappear, and to be able to take daily educated decisions on what we eat, how we treat animals, what negatively impacts nature and ultimately us, what to consume, and why bond with nature needs to be kept, which will assure preservation of a natural state of planet with its biodiversity, support healthy and moral humanity evolution and will ultimately make us humans happier!

Enjoy the reading!

The Inner Life of Animals Amazon hyperlink

6 thoughts on “Do animals have feelings or emotions?

  1. Of course animals have both feelings and emotions, not all, but certainly most mammals. Take whales and dolphins for example. Their brains are much larger than humans, and they are real animals that show feelings and helping each other. Since then, most animals have difficulty expressing the mood they are on, because they do not have as many muscles in their faces as human beings have. Insects and other animals live more on inherited behaviors. Then we have the so-called pests like rats. They are smart for their size. Dogs can feel how people feel, at least their owners.

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  2. Hi, I have read some of your blog posts and I absolutely love them. This current post is certainly one I feel extremely strongly about. I am currently a field guide in South Africa and am trying to share my experiences with everyone to help educate people about animals as well as entertain. It would be greatly appreciated if you have a look at my blog and let me know what you think. Many thanks in advance.

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    • Thank you Sam! You have the job of my dream in a beautiful country, I envy you! 🙂 Your pics are amazing, I love them! Surely you need to keep adding on your blog (it can be your best business card), it is ongoing work for any blog, most important is that you are in the right place and you have the passion to do it, the rest will get better and better with experience, more pics you do, more articles you write, each time you will get better! Also listen to your customers, as you are a professional and you may need sometimes to adjust your explanations to their levels of understanding! Test what they like and make sure they will remain with a great experience, but also with a good lesson, and they will respect more wildlife and they will recommend national parks visits to their friends! Keep in touch Sam, following your blog! 🙂


      • Thank you, some very kind words. I will be posting a lot more and hope you enjoy reading what I have to tell. Thank you for the advice and I look forward to conversing with you more through the medium of blogging.

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  3. This is the second recent reference to this book I’ve seen. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. I also read an interesting book, “Intelligence in Nature,” which has a related frame of reference. Thanks for your advocacy of wildlife preservation and of national parks … particularly critical here in the U.S. as the administration works to literally dismantle the system entirely. A belated thank you for following Under Western Skies. Keep working. There are many allied with you.

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