Animal emotions and the unpalatable truths that we deny

Animal emotions and the unpalatable truths that we deny

Our understanding of how wild animals might suffer in captivity has been gained via groundbreaking research and studies of animals’ thoughts and feelings (animal sentience science), which has also highlighted why a wild animal’s life is better in the wild both mentally and physically.

Understanding the emotions and sentience of animals

Animals are sentient beings with the ability to feel and perceive stimuli. Elephants, tigers, pigs, dolphins, birds, and pigs all feel happiness and suffering. Any animal can experience joy and happiness or pain and anguish. And when people come into contact with these animals, they should take all reasonable measures to lessen their suffering.


Sadly, a lot of the “wildlife experiences” available to visitors nowadays fall short in this aspect. Wild animals are frequently confined in environments that damage their physical, mental, and emotional health all over the world.

The following information regarding animal emotions and the effects of the tourism industry may be startling, but it is crucial knowledge for all ethical travelers.


The significance of animals’ emotions and experiences

1. PTSD can develop in elephants performing

Elephants that are compelled to perform in amusement parks are made to act and behave in ways that they would never do in the wild. They include of bowing to spectators, standing on their hind legs, and carrying spectators or trainers on their backs.

‘Teaching’ an elephant to carry out these tasks frequently entails torturous and unpleasant techniques that frequently leave the animal traumatized. This can even cause elephants to display symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, as was mentioned in our Taken for a ride article.

Elephants learn how to traverse their physical and social environments by observing and imitating their herd mates. Nevertheless, in captivity, they are frequently entertained alone, which prevents them from developing these crucial bonds.


2. Dolphins are distressed when they are entertained

The physiology of cetaceans’ brains indicates that they have highly developed mental faculties, and bottlenose dolphins have even been taught elementary sign language, demonstrating their great intellect. Unfortunately, dolphins’ mental wellness is neglected by the facilities that capitalize on their brilliance the most.

When asked to define a dolphin, most people will likely say that it is a playful, friendly animal. It therefore comes as no surprise that according to our study, Beyond the grin, 50% of tourists who visit dolphin attractions do so for reasons related to their love of dolphins.


Anthropomorphism is the practice of imputing human traits to non-human beings, such as animals. That explains why a visitor may mistakenly believe that a caged dolphin who is’smiling’ or playing with a ball is living a happy existence.

The sad truth is that these techniques are upsetting and damaging to captive dolphins. Dolphins “beach” themselves when they slither out of the water and onto land so that tourists can take selfies with them or touch them. Beaching may be dangerous in the wild, making a situation like this uncomfortable both physically and mentally.


3. Animal performers may experience hazardously loud wildlife presentations

Let’s talk about dolphins for a second. To enhance the guest experience, several dolphin experience locations play loud music. Volumes greater than 85 dB are thought to be hazardous to humans. The volume of these programs was 94 dB on average.

In some places, the volume even reached 110 dB. This is comparable to what we could encounter at a rock concert. Whereas spectators only hear music at this volume for 15 to 30 minutes at a time, dolphins will continuously listen to it for long periods of time.

Dolphins wouldn’t be harmed by noises at this volume in the wild. To avoid their distress, they may easily dive deeper. There are no deep spaces for the animals to retreat to in places where they are kept for captive entertainment. Additionally, they remain on the surface for the most of their shows.


4. Big cats kept in captivity experience tension, worry, and terror, which only worsens as more tourists are around

Seeing large cats and their young is a very unique experience, but because to tourists’ desire to see big cats, many animals have been trapped and given birth in captivity.

Similar research came to the conclusion that the more tourists around wild tigers, the higher their levels of stress chemicals.


5. Wildlife can conceal their emotions

Humans are able to filter or manage their emotions as necessary; we make an effort not to cry in front of our boss or be tense around our kids. The idea that animals, especially wild animals, might behave similarly to us is less commonplace.

Some black bears don’t seem to mind the sound of traffic, the sight of drones, or other traces of human activity. This was taken to mean that they weren’t touched or concerned by what was happening. Further study, however, has revealed that these indications of human activity cause the bears’ heart rates to rise, which is a clear indication that they are agitated or anxious. Although humans may not always be able to recognize the behavioral indications of this discomfort, it does not follow that these sentiments are unreal.


We must defend animals since they are conscious beings

Animals are capable of a vast variety of diverse feelings and sensations. It is morally unacceptable to have them go through suffering, grief, and fear for our amusement. You can advocate for animals’ welfare by developing your awareness of their feelings.

The majority of people who visit these amusement parks or see these animal performances would be shocked to learn the hardship these creatures are going through. The public’s understanding of this issue is growing quickly, therefore it won’t be long until travel agencies selling tickets to inhumane attractions are pressured to alter their business operations.


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