FOR MY TWO GREAT PALS SUSIE & ZAKARIAS. REST IN PEACE.
Science has done many, many wonderful things for humans but it has done us animals few favours. Most scientists will swear black and blue that animals don't have emotions. They scoff at animal lovers for anthropomorphizing. However, what they forget is that humans are just animals too, and if they have emotions, as they clearly do, why do they assume that guinea pigs or hippos or whatever have none. They will have you believe that we are little more than automatons, pre-programmed by millennia of evolution to act the way we do. Well okay, maybe that is true to a limited extent, but it is also true of humans. I think science and scientists have to think this way to justify experimenting on fellow sentient beings. Yes that's right - guinea pigs for example.
It doesn't matter if you are a mouse in a laboratory with a human ear growing on your back or a five tonne tusker living wild in the Serengeti, you have your own unique personality. Any human who has ever taken the time to make friends with an animal will tell you that. So surely if you have your own individual personality you have the ability to feel emotions. Isn't that really what personality is all about - emotion? Joy, sadness, grief, empathy, anger, fear, love, even guilt when we know we've done something that our humans had rather we didn't do. Hate? I hesitate to mention hate because I think it's really part of fear. Animals don't hate for the sake of hatred like humans do. If an animal hates something it's because they fear whatever or whoever it is that they "hate".
Let me give you a few examples.
My male staff had been away from the family home for almost a year. He'd been traveling through Australia, Malaysia and Thailand. He had been living in England with his Mum and Dad and had yet to kidnap my female staff. His dad collected him from Heathrow airport and drove him home where he was met by his tearful mother. She was tearful because she thought she's finally got rid of him and now here he was back at home again. This meant that she's have to evict the lodger who'd taken his room twenty minutes after he'd left. Anyway the family dog Hannah, a boxer crossed with something mysterious, perhaps a kangaroo, at first didn't recognise my male staff and completely ignored him as he sat consoling his distraught mum. This was Hannah's usual mode of reacting to strangers in the house. She wasn't much of a guard dog, unless an unwanted intruder had a phobia for being utterly ignored. Then suddenly, about an hour after my male staff had walked through the door Hannah realised who it was. She ran up to my male staff whining and wiggling, her tail whacking into anything that got in the way and then running around in circles with what could only be described as slobbery grin on her face. Then she flopped down on the floor, her legs waving in the air begging for a tummy tickle. My male staff wished that all females reacted to him in such a way - even if it did take an hour.
My staff's friends Jane and Dennis have a horse called Claudia. For years Claudia lived in a nearby paddock with a another horse called Joan. The two were the best of pals, both mares, both getting on in years. They were never apart, it was as though they were attached to each other by an invisible rope. Only if one or the other went out riding with their owners were they separated. Then last week Joan became seriously ill. The vet was called and sadly said that there was no option but to put her to sleep. Joan's owners phoned Jane and Dennis to tell them the situation and they rushed to the paddock to see if there was anything they could do to help. There wasn't, but as the vet gave Joan the lethal injection Claudia, who had been standing nearby looking on with concern started to cry, a soft whinnying whimper. She was inconsolable. Tears filled her beautiful big brown eyes and she refused to be led away from the scene. It was so heartrending that soon all the humans including the vet were in tears too. Tell me that's not grief.
I was always a great believer in empathy myself before I crossed the Rainbow Bridge to Piggy Paradise. When my female staff was sad over her mum being so poorly I would waddle over, sit on her feet and gaze up at her, willing her to stop being sad, trying my best to cheer her up. I never did this when she was happy. Let's face it nobody wants to get their snout too close to human feet without good reason. It seemed to work anyway because she'd pick me up and cuddle me and soon forgot about her sadness for a while.
There are many examples of animals showing empathy. The lioness and the gemsbok calf for example. In Kenya's Samburu National Reserve a lioness found an orphaned gemsbok calf. Normally this would not end well for the gemsbok, but the predator tried to adopt the baby, keeping it with her, nuzzling it from time to time for more than a week. The calf would even be seen nibbling the lionesses ears. Both animals were hungry, the lioness had not hunted since she'd adopted the calf - unwilling to leave it, and the un-weaned calf of course had no milk. Eventually the lioness' hunger got the better of her, but she didn't eat the calf. Instead she tried her luck with a herd of adult gemsbok but was unsuccessful. Was she trying to get meat for the calf to eat? Eventually and inevitably the calf died. The lioness had done her best, but to no avail.
Karen Paolillo, hippo expert and author of the brilliant book A Hippo Love Story has witnessed hippos rescuing antelopes from the jaws of crocodiles at her Hippo Haven sanctuary in Zimbabwe.
She has seen them chase the crocodile away and then drag the injured antelope gently up the river bank to safety. Scientists may say that this just territorial behavior, but if that's all it is, why would the hippo then drag the victim to safety? Yes animals show empathy. Of course we do.
Most humans know what a guilty dog looks like. You come home to find the chocolate yule log missing from the kitchen table and two dogs who won't look you in the eye and who, if they were human would be a peculiar shade of green. This is what happened to my male staff's mad sister the Christmas before last as described in my blog "The Dog Ate The Log" 29 December 2013. Fortunately the kilo of chocolate the two consumed between them did them no harm. Guilt is one emotion that we guinea pigs definitely do not possess. We're far to smart to worry about things that we've done that perhaps weren't such a good idea. After all, if for example you happen to pee on your staff's lap you can't reverse the process and slurp up the pee through your willy by pressing a button marked reverse, so why worry. It's done and nothing can change that fact. For guinea pigs guilt is a useless emotion.
These are just a few examples of we animals showing emotions that we are not supposed to have. There are many more examples, far too many to bore you all with in this blog and I don't want you to start thinking that I am a half baked science denying flat earth, climate change is "absolute crap" merchant like our beloved Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. That would be terrible. All I'm saying is that scientists would learn a lot more useful stuff about us animals if they took time out to befriend us instead of injecting us with unspeakable things to see how quickly we keel over and die and making us perform dumb tricks for treats. Read Karen Paolillo's book. I get the feeling that she is one human who agrees with me.
I don't no mutch about syunce myself, all I no is that most of the norty stuff wot I do is cawzed by my whoremoans. I no this coz Uncal Billy's staff are always saying so wenever I try to like mount Toby. They say stuff like "Stoppit Baci, leeve Toby alone. I no it's your whoremoans but that's no eckscoose." Well if it's no eckscoose why botha menshunning it in the furst place. Of coarse its an eckscoose. I bet if they had whoremoans fludding throo their vanes like wot I have they'd be mounting everything wot mooves too and maybe even sum things wot don't.
I hayte it wen Uncle Billy's staff show peepul my baby fotos it's like so embarrassing.
Anyway, this is me with my layte Uncle Boris. He's the hooge fluffy wite thing and I'm not.