Humans need to connect with animals to build a better mutual understanding.
Humans have a lot in common with wolves, coyotes, red foxes and domestic dogs. These social species and other animals live emotional lives, they can experience emotions such as joy and sadness. Marc Bekoff made that conclusion after years of studying these animals.
In his book, “The Emotional Lives of Animals,” Bekoff says that while animals can experience emotions that humans don’t understand, we can understand many of their other feelings. Observation is the key to understanding. He noted that wolves display a large number of facial expressions that they use to show others their emotional states. The wolf also uses his tail to express himself, much more than dogs and coyotes do.
Such body language revealed the sadness felt by the pack of wolves after the loss of the female, says Marc. He explained that after the death of these animals, the females lost their spirit and sense of playfulness. They no longer howled as a group, but sang alone, slowly and grieved. The way they held their head and tail when they arrived at the spot where a mountain lion killed a member of their pack says a lot about their emotional state.
- If wolves and coyotes feel emotions felt by humans, can they also become mentally restrained? As there are autistic people, there are probably animals suffering from what can be called autism in animals. There are several psychological disorders found in dogs, so there is no reason why this would not apply to their feral relatives – Bekoff concludes
The author claims that there is honor among beasts. After years of observing carnivores, including wolves, coyotes, red foxes and domestic dogs, he believes that we can say with certainty that some animals are moral beings.
If we believe that animals can experience emotions such as sadness, that they can be mentally restrained, and that they can be moral beings, then we must take certain actions that will counteract our beliefs.
He always asks people who do invasive experiments on animals and people who work on factory farms the question “Would you do this to your dog?”. Bekoff claims that some people are surprised by this question, but that it is very important to ask them.
Once we accept that animals like wolves and coyotes live emotional lives, we will be able to connect with them in a different way. We need to treat other living beings with respect, compassion, and love. We can always do more for animals, their emotions should show us what they need, so it is important that we learn to differentiate them.