Natalie Angier has written an article for the New York Times about animal behavoir towards death. In it, she cites the example of a gorilla named Gana who carried around her son’s corpse after he died:
“Nobody knows what emotions swept through Gana’s head and heart as she persisted in cradling and nuzzling the remains of her son. But primatologists do know this: Among nearly all species of apes and monkeys in the wild, a mother will react to the death of her infant as Gana did – by clutching the little decedent to her breast and treating it as though it were alive.”
About Death, Just Like Us or Pretty Much Unaware?
This is a great article to read through. It’s heartbreaking how little credit most humans give to their fellow animals. People feel so detached from other species and their suffering, that they miss the number of traits we have in common. With that knowledge it is easy to see what is so wrong with eating meat. Animals, both human and non-human, have the ability to suffer and feel pain. Animals stay away from things that cause them pain, which shows that they, in varying ways, appreciate their lives. All animal struggle to live in a world without suffering, and humans should do all they can to avoid placing suffering on different species.
September 6, 2008 at 5:47 pm
As Gary Francione argues, sentience is a means to an end, that end is life. It’s, therefore, nonsensical to argue that animals do not long for life.