28 August 2013

Pleasure and pain, happiness and misery

This Photoshop-based ad is part of an awareness campaign by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Queensland. It states that "we're all creatures great & small" (see the full ad by RSPCA - HERE).

In the Introduction of a paper published in 2010 (*) we wrote the following:

The full scientific realization that animals suffer is relatively new, and still lively debated (e.g. Singer, 1975; Regan, 1983; Hawkins, 2002; Chandroo et al., 2004; Dawkins, 2006, 2008; Bekoff, 2007). Although the concept has been at the core of some philosophies and religions for thousands of years (e.g. Buddhism; Lecso, 1988; Phelps, 2004), in strictly scientific terms the realization that animals can experience feelings including distress and pain has come much later in human history. Such a view has been around since the times of Charles Darwin and was clearly expressed by Darwin himself (1871): "the lower animals, like man, manifestly feel pleasure and pain, happiness and misery".

Bearzi G., Pierantonio N., Bonizzoni S., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Demma M. 2010. Perception of a cetacean mass stranding in Italy: the emergence of compassion. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 20:644-654.

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