Do animals suffer as we do?

Do animals suffer as we do?

Aspect; It is a complex experience with sensory and emotional components. It’s not just about how it makes us feel, it’s also about how we feel about it. So what does pain mean to animals?


We know for sure that animals feel physical pain, but we don’t know much about whether emotional pain like we do applies to animals. And if animals feel such emotional pain, how can we measure it?

As a subjective emotion, pain can be felt without physical tissue damage, and the level of sensation; It can be replaced by other emotions such as fear, memory, and stress. Pain also has different dimensions. Pain, often described in terms of intensity, also has a “character”. For example, the pain of a piercing word is quite different from the pain of a toothache, herniated disc, or labor pain. Almost all of us have experienced pain in our lives, but each person’s experience is personally unique. To understand or evaluate the suffering of others, we often rely on how the person describes the situation. However, there are many creatures that cannot communicate with us verbally and cannot give us information about their pain. For example, infants, those with learning disabilities or various mental illnesses. In these situations, people have to use a variety of factors to understand the presence of pain and its effect on the person.

We cannot say that pain is a purely bad phenomenon, because evolutionarily it performs a protective function that keeps us out of danger or causes us to heal. For example, it is the pain we feel that prevents us from continuing to walk by stepping on a broken ankle. However, if not managed effectively, it can have very serious negative consequences on our lives, such as fear, anger, anxiety or depression. And chronic pain has become a major concern for millions of people in the community.

Pain in Animals

The nature of pain is perhaps even more complex in animals. How pain is felt and the physical process behind pain are quite similar between mammals and humans. Also, there are many similar patterns of behavior caused by pain among species. For example, getting away from other people or other animals, eating less, making painful sounds, or having a fast heartbeat.

Although many things that are thought to cause pain to animals are prohibited by law in many countries, we do not fully understand how animals feel pain. In animals, some aspects and expression of the experience of pain are not the same as in humans. First, animals cannot verbalize their pain. Your dog may bark in pain and you may notice behavioral changes, but what about a pet rabbit, cat, turtle or horse? Animals depend on human observers to recognize pain and assess its severity and effects. Not understanding the soothing words that explain their recovery after surgery for a bone fracture may make animals more likely to feel the pain than we do.

The debate about animals’ capacity to feel pain and suffering intensified in the 20th century. But as we develop greater understanding of pain and the effects of pain we observe on animal lives, veterinary operations, as well as many-animal-behavioral scientists, we now know that these experiences cause pain in animals. For example, we know that animals, and indeed birds that show clinical signs of pain, prefer foods that show pain relief (analgesic) effects over foods that do not have therapeutic effects, and that animals show improvement by behavioral measures.
On the other hand, we know that there is strong evidence that not only do our dogs or cats suffer, but that sheep, cows, pigs and horses also suffer the negative effects of pain. But the identification of different types of pain is also part of the complexity of animal pain.

Behavioral disturbances have long been described as potential signs of the presence of pain in animals. However, it is worth noting that each species manifests pain-related behaviors or behavioral disturbances in different ways that are rooted in the evolutionary process. For example, dogs may become more aggressive or quiet, or they may begin to withdraw from other people or dogs. Sheep, on the other hand, look largely similar to the others. But some expressions of pain may have been preserved. A recent study reveals that some features of facial expressions are similar during severe pain in humans and other animal species.



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