How do you know that other animals can feel pain?

How do you know that other animals can feel pain?

What a bizarre question! Haven’t you ever had a pet dog or cat? Or gone horseback riding?

I can say from extensive personal experience that if a bird or mammal is injured it will squeal/yelp, flinch or try to run away, and be outwardly distressed. Pets will also be distressed when exposed to emotional pain: dogs will grieve their owners.

My partener used to work in a chicken products factory, where the chickens were alive when they arrived. They would try to escape as they were tipped onto the conveyor belt into the factory, and would defecate with fear. They certainly suffered, regardless of the mechanism by which they feel pain.

I have heard accounts of dairy cows crying out as their calves are taken away from them. It haunts me that I might one day experience this level of suffering (as some form of karmic retribution for eating dairy) which I imagine to be worse than death.

The question is a llittle more complicated when it comes to fish and sea creatures, as they do not respond to pain in a way that we can associate with. I know that some scientists claim that lobsters do not feel pain in the same way that we do, and hence boiling lobsters alive is not cruel. But I also know that fish and lobsters will try to escape, and look distressed when they are caught.

We know that other animals feel pain in the same way that we know that other human beings feel pain. We do not need words to understand the suffering of a famine victim whose language we do not understand. Through their physical reactions, we try to infer the pain of other human beings, even though we can never ascertain it with absolute certainty.

We know how we ourselves react to situations which cause us pain. When other animals, or other humans, are subjected to these same conditions, they exhibit the same physical responses that we do. Regardless of what we might think about the alleged superiority of humans over animals in all other areas, when it comes to the ability to feel pain and suffering, other animals will forever be our equals.

KrodoNash, how do I know that you feel pain?

A massive amount of nerves in a fish are in it’s mouth and lips. Kind of like our hands and feet. Sad to think that humans find it fun and sporty to pierce their mouths with flesh and meat tearing hooks, even if they are just throwing it back. I find that disturbing and disgusting.

:astonished: This is shocking! I know quite a few people who are Pescatarians (don’t know if I spelt that remotely correctly - people who are vegetarian but eat fish) on the basis that they think fish don’t feel pain :frowning:

BigBecka, yes, it’s pretty awful. I don’t remember where I found the nerve information, but here’s a pretty good site to show your friends. Especially the FAQ section. :fish:

By their movements, by their sounds…