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Higher empathy for animals?

Discussion in 'Autism Science Discussions' started by Hazel87, Oct 9, 2017.

  1. pjcnet

    pjcnet Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I also have a lot of empathy for animals and have been a vegetarian since 1996 because we can stay healthy without meat. I don't believe in causing animals unnecessary suffering that can be avoided, sadly however nature itself is extremely cruel and there's a huge amount of suffering with survival of the fittest and the food chain. I love my cat, however all cats including big cats are born carnivores which means they need to eat meat to stay healthy and survive, this means that in nature they have to hunt and kill other animals and they therefore cause suffering. For instance a lion kills and eats the calf of a mother that has done everything to protect it and then feels grief, they also constantly live in fear of predators like lions. Many people see nature as beautiful and perfect, but the suffering in nature is something I simply I can't get my head around, in many ways it's design is evil in itself.
     
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  2. DuckRabbit

    DuckRabbit Well-Known Member

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    Has anyone seen the 2017 film 'Call Me By Your Name'? I enjoyed all aspects of this film except for the scene when the servant Anchise comes past to show Elio the still-live fish he's just caught. The fish is struggling to breathe and is opening and closing its mouth. Elio thoroughly enjoys the spectacle - popping his own mouth in delighted mimicry of the dying fish. Not a thought in his cherubic little head that a live creature is suffering before his eyes. After Anchise walks off to show the catch to Mafalda, Elio snaps back into his music transcribing and his obsession with Oliver - the fish just a momentary diversion - never to think of the fish again. It's just the natural order of things - unquestionable. This mind-set is captured well by Ernest Becker:

    "And if we say that the average man narrows down “just about right”, we have to ask who this average man is. He may avoid the psychiatric clinic, but somebody around has to pay for it. We are reminded of those Roman portrait-busts that stuff our museums: to live in this tight-lipped style as an average good citizen must have created some daily hell. Of course we are not talking only about daily pettinesses and the small sadisms that are practised on family and friends. Even if the average man lives in a kind of obliviousness of anxiety, it is because he has erected a massive wall of repressions to hide the problem of life and death. His anality may protect him, but all through history it is the “normal, average men” who, like locusts, have laid waste to the world in order to forget themselves."

    If you're going to catch and kill a fish to eat, at least don't gloat over it and mock its dying moments. The least you can do is show reverence for the animal and be grateful to it for giving up its life for your palate and stomach (not that it had a choice).

    P.S. I didn't see a "No animals were harmed in the making of this film" notice.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2018
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  3. DuckRabbit

    DuckRabbit Well-Known Member

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    I agree animals shouldn't be idealised - but at the same time animals have instincts, whereas we have bank accounts and earning capacity. Somehow I can accept animal-on-animal cruelty more than I can accept human-on-animal cruelty. That said, I avoid watching animal-on-animal violence as I feel too much for the underdog, even while appreciating that the predator probably has a nest if chicks or cubs to feed. I agree we can stay healthy without meat.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
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  4. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    I can't stand to see animals suffer and it makes me feel angry to see them abused. It's like a betrayal - domesticated animals come to us for protection, they rely on us, they are at our mercy, and then some people abuse them in ways that are cruel and unacceptable. Temple Grandin says, "nature is cruel, but we don't have to be". In nature, animals have either a neutral (not in competition), or a predator - prey relationship with each other, but with people, the relationship is different, because we farm them or keep them as pets. They develop a relationship and come to trust us. Because of this, it bothers me a lot when animals suffer at the hands of unscrupulous people.
     
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  5. clg114

    clg114 Still crazy, after all these years. Staff Member V.I.P Member

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    I am a gun guy. Most people would probably be alarmed at the amount firearms and ammunition that I own. Here in Idaho there is a big gun and hunting culture. But I do not hunt. I do not have a problem with people who hunt and consume what they kill. But I just can not kill animals. It bothers me to think about killing any living creature and it really bothers me to see people kill animals, just to be killing them. That is just sick.

    I think that feeling this way is probably a Aspie thing. My youngest son, who is a Aspie, feels the same way. My two older sons hunt and take their kids hunting. This does not bother me too much because they hunt safely and eat what they kill.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2018
  6. pjcnet

    pjcnet Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    A big cat has more right to hunt safely and even kill human beings for food than people have to hunt animals because big cats can't survive without killing, they may not see a human being as any different to any other prey and in many ways we aren't any different because all animals have an equal right to live and want to survive as much as we do, but we have a choice and can live perfectly healthy lives without killing. There's no need for humans to hunt and I'm sorry, but it shows a great lack of compassion and empathy for animals even if they are consumed. It's good that you don't hunt and perhaps there is a greater proportion of people on the autistic spectrum that show a greater empathy for animals, we are far from the only ones however, for instance I'm sure not all vegetarians and vegans, or people in animal rights groups are autistic.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2018
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  7. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    My partner was brought up in a culture where hunting is the norm and accepted, and like most young men in this area, had a gun and went out to hunt. One day, he shot a bird. The bird came down, but was still alive. It had a single shot pellet to its eye, and blood was coming out of the eye. He was so shocked, and upset by what he had done, that he never hunted again.

    "Nature is cruel, but we don't have to be." We don't need to hunt for food, people have evolved to have farms and supermarkets. If every person went out to hunt for food, then there would literally be nothing left, because there is not enough wildlife to support the massive human population. That would lead to mass extinction. Unlike wild animals who just have instinct and have no other choice, people have intelligence, and can use that intelligence to find other solutions to the problem of finding enough food and providing for their family. People have a choice.
     
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  8. Theta.G

    Theta.G Well-Known Member

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    It's interesting.
    Animals can't hide their love and some species love unconditionally. Whereas humans these days do not love unconditionally outside of family. And many of them have become adepts in faking love. Many even no longer know how.
    It's sad :(
    We could learn a lot from the animal kingdom and become more unconditional lovers but doing that solo (without a group or friends doing the same) leaves you open to getting taken advantage of. Like a piece of steak thrown in a pit of wolves... Or... i guess one could love unconditionally in this environment if they can learn how to hide it well.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2018
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  9. pjcnet

    pjcnet Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    An interesting question is did we domesticate dogs or did they domesticate us? Here is an interesting article from someone who believes the latter and it explains why:

    Opinion: We Didn’t Domesticate Dogs. They Domesticated Us.

    Edit:
    PS: Not all animal "shelters" are the best, for instance some kill healthy animals and I won't use the words "humanely euthanize" or "cull" because those are words that are often used to make people feel better about killing in this situation, the word is "kill" when you take the life of a healthy animal, it's only "humanely euthanized" if the animal was suffering and would have died anyway in my opinion. For instance sometimes dogs are killed in so called "shelters" because they don't pass behaviour tests, even though they could be retrained if given patience and love, plus the reason they may be like that is because of abuse, and sometimes even animals they simply can't re-home for sometime are killed to make room for others. What sort of "rescue" is that?
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2018
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  10. the_tortoise

    the_tortoise Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I think my empathy for human and non-human animals is identical.

    It baffles me that anyone can think a dog/cat/other creature would be better off dead than feral / living as a stray. I suspect that the vast majority of dogs/cats/other creatures would strongly disagree (would choose life without a human family, living feral or as a stray).....
     
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  11. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I think it's done for the convenience of humans not for the animals, it's expedient. In the NT dominated world. I definitely get on better with animals but could be because their empathy for me is better than human empathy for me?
     
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  12. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I think it's done for the convenience of humans not for the animals, it's expedient. In the NT dominated world. I definitely get on better with animals but could be because their empathy for me is better than human empathy for me?
     
  13. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Sorry the train to London fooled me into posting that twice. Arriving now. ;)
     
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  14. Kirsty

    Kirsty ND

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    Enjoy. I have lots of great memories of London. I didn’t do much siteseeing. Just relaxing in good company.
     
  15. Bismarck

    Bismarck Certified Hermit

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    I'm the same way. A chihuahua isn't going to kill you for eating the last grilled cheese.

    Here in Florida I wouldn't be surprised if someone was ever killed over a slightly undercooked McDonalds burger.
     
  16. tlc

    tlc The Mackinac Bridge and U.P. is my happy place.

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    This is my EXACT reasoning as to why I do great with mechanical things, but will never understand people.

    It's been like 30 years, that scene is the ONLY thing I remember about that movie. Yes it was sad.

    I used to be an animal person, at least when I was a kid, maybe till mid 20s. We had dogs, cats, parakeets, doves, lots more. The birds drove me nuts however. We also had the room for it. I rescued a baby cedar waxwing stuck in a roll of fence and nursed it all night, dug worms for it, pulled stuffing from a hole in the couch to keep it warm. Bawled when it died, bawled harder as I dug its grave the next day. Still remember the commercial and song that was playing when it gave its last oomph of energy. Had a cocker spaniel that lived from before I started kindergarten to after I graduated college, loved him dearly. When I moved in my own house I got a cat. He was fun, he loved me, I still think about him a lot. My ex sent him outside, pretty sure something in the woods got him.

    Then I got attacked by a pit bull that liked everyone there but me. One of the residents said have him sniff you and he did, then he lunged for my throat and took a chunk out of my chest.

    Then my ex started going overboard against my will. At one point it was 5 cats (2 of which peed everywhere), 2 rats, several hamsters, guinea pigs, mice. In a 1000 sq ft house with 5 people. This was far over what my body could handle. Even with inhalers, I could barely get enough breath to climb stairs or read my kid a story. Animal smells would make me sick and still do. The barking dogs in the neighborhood would grate on me. A small dog shaking violently, or a large one knocking things over with its tail, is instant stress. The cleaning, responsibilities, expense of the animals was difficult especially considering I was doing very bad financially. She just took a good thing and ruined it forever. At least she gave away the animals when she left. Now I'm allergic to cats, too bad because I like them. I love to watch animals in nature. But as for pets and farm animals, no more, I've had my fill for the rest of my life.

    I don't hate animals, and I do feel bad when I see them abused on the commercials or on the news. But I do think the pendulum is going too far. I believe animals have their place. I don't believe they should be in a restaurant, shaking hair and drool onto my food. Or in a hospital ER, to people with pet allergies that might just put them over the edge when they're already clinging to life, not to mention other diseases. Or on your lap when driving, same as putting a child on your lap when driving. Just my opinion.
     
  17. Pariah Dog

    Pariah Dog Well-Known Member

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    I would say I have a very high empathy level for animals. Animals are innocent. People are not, people have free will. People have motives. Sometimes people just deserve what's coming to them based on their actions.

    I read today about a bird species that went extinct in Hawaii in the 1980s I think it was, and that there is one known recording of it's call. It was the call of the last known mall calling for a mate that would never come. That put a black cloud over the heart which I don't get from hearing about human misfortune normally.

    That said I am a realist about animals place in the world. I love animals, but I still eat animals. Animals eat other animals, why should it be wrong for me to do it? If an animal spends its life in good living conditions and it put down quickly and humanely then I have no problem with that. I also blieve it is an absolute crime against nature the way animals are factory farmed in the USA and elsewhere and have to live in holocaust conditions. That needs to be stopped. I have not seen any political will anywhere at all to do anything about it. Not even from the parties that claim to be environmental supporters. Watching factory farm videos make me literally ill.
     
  18. RainbowAura

    RainbowAura On the outside wishing I was something

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    I definitely feel more compassion fro animals as they have no knowledge...(in the human sense) of right and wrong and don’t manipulate you in evil ways..they are just animals..helpless. Human beings are not
     
  19. pjcnet

    pjcnet Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    The difference is we don't have to eat animals, we have a choice as omnivores with the intelligence to override out instincts if we want to, also if we all became vegetarians there would be much more food to go around and it would be much better for the environment, plus a balanced vegetarian diet is usually much healthier. Beef cows are for instance awful for the environment and you would get enough food to feed many times the people if you used the same space for crops instead, they're extremely inefficient to say the least.

    I agree that it's a crime against nature the way animals are factory farmed and I believe all animals have the same right to live and be treated well as we do, but even animals that are supposed to be living in better conditions usually don't exactly get a good life, for instance people get the image of hens roaming freely around a farm house when they say "free range", but it's nothing like that, there's still thousands of them cooped up in overcrowded large pens which is only a little better than a battery farm of caged hens. The vast majority of animals kept on traditional farms are NOT kept in good living conditions and many are NOT slaughtered and killed in what most people would consider a "humane" way either. It can often go wrong unchecked and no-one usually cares less, it can commonly leave conscious animals literally being cut up alive in agonising and unimaginable pain, not that killing any healthy animal is in my opinion in the slightest bit humane in the first place even if it was painless and with the minimum of stress. The only time it's truly humane to take an animal's life is if it's in severe pain where it's going to die anyway and there's nothing more that can be done to help it, this is freeing it from it's suffering.

    If watching factory farm videos makes you literally ill, stop supporting them and become a vegetarian.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018
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  20. Anthracite

    Anthracite Active Member

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    I've always cared more about species other than H. sapiens, I despise anthrocentrism (thinking humans are better/more important/special than everything else). I am a hippie liberal though so I don't actually hate (most) humans.
     
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