Emotions Make Us Human

1380 Words6 Pages
When asked what makes a person human, it is not long before someone broaches emotions. Makes sense right? We know how to love, feel the sting of jealousy, and recognize the bitterness of sadness. But this is not what sets humans apart from animals. The most intelligent of animals have the same emotional complexity. However, one difference is that people pay to see these animals enslaved against their will for entertainment. A change needs to occur in the policy of holding non-human persons in captivity where their species suffers more often than benefits. Until the 20th century, people believed that only humans were capable of sentience, which means capable of emotions and self-awareness. Although animals were commonly thought to have some level of emotional complexity, it took a while for scientist to prove. Recently the well-being of animals have become a public concern. After all, the smartest of these animals have intelligence levels akin to some humans. These animals are known as non-human persons (Whiting 2). So far there are three groups of non-human persons: elephants, great apes, and cetaceans. These animals possess remarkable thought processes, problem solving skills, and social complexity (Gorman 3). Chimpanzees, who are our closest living relatives, have advanced hunting techniques making use of ranks, planning, cooperation, and self-made weapons. Chimps have also been known to use symbols, deception numerical sequences and sign language (Whiting 3). Cetaceans which include dolphins and whales are the smartest creatures in the Davis 2 ocean. Dolphins give each other unique names to identify themselves and herd to trap prey. Finally, elephants have excellent memory and even mourn the death of loved ones. So how come ... ... middle of paper ... ...nd integrity (Whiting 3). This case has had chimps moved to safe sanctuaries. Many places have made Killer Whale shows illegal (“Killer” 3). Even India has legally recognized non-human persons and given them basic bodily rights. To experience animals and wildlife without supporting zoos one can visit sanctuaries, go hiking, and watch documentaries (Lin 1). The overall view on animals have changed. People who don’t believe humans have any duty to animals, know that they do not deserve to be mistreated (Whiting 6). With all the changes and acts going into protecting these animals it is important to remember that every one can help. Non-human persons have emotions and physical needs that can not be met behind bars and walls. Captivity is not for the best interest of these creatures and it is time we stop exploiting them and find alternatives to zoos and marine parks.
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