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News Flash: Animals Think, Plan for the Future

Written by PETA | April 30, 2009
solarnavigator / CC

I just got a load of this scientific report and had to giggle a bit. Are scientists just now discovering that animals can think and plan for the future? According to one scientist quoted in the article, we humans should “keep our egos in check,” as animals have been noticed expressing “human abilities,” such as recognizing shapes and estimating numbers of objects.

Really, Sherlock? ‘Cause Ms. Koko the gorilla speaks fluent sign language and not only still laments the death of her mother 30 years later but also says she plans on teaching her children sign language. And what about Santino, the stone-stockpiling chimpanzee? He definitely makes plans well in advance.

I’m just sayin’, these animals make this report look a wee-bit outta date.

Written by Missy Lane

Commenting is closed.
  • carla says:

    Ryan… bottom line.. YOU have no soul and most humans I know do not have souls. How the hell do you know that Animals do not have souls or feel pain? Ignorant comment from an ignorant person.

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    I had a friend who was the guardian of a retired Seeing Eye dog by the name of “Duchess.” They were inseparable doing everything together even attending my wedding. When Duchess passed away my friend wanted to pay for flowers to be placed in the church chancel in her honor. Our pastor refused saying Duchess did not have a soul. My friend pleaded saying that the honor did not even have to be posted in the church bulletin with the other honors but the pastor still refused. We went to another church in the city spoke to that pastor and he not only allowed the flowers after the regular service he officiated at Duchess memorial service. When Hobbs my beloved feline companion of over 20 years passed away last summer I was just going to quietly mourn him but my friends asked to have a memorial service so we did. There is a lovely green area with a fountain in the center of the complex so we met there one Sunday afternoon and shared pictures and storiesI was amazed at how many pictures of Hobbs my friends had taken. The one of him and his friend Zag dressed in one of my square dance petticoats was the funniest. We drank a toast in his honor and gave away cat treats. Do I believe animals have souls? Yes I do. I believe everything living has a soul wether it has a nervous system and is able to feel pain as we understand it or not.

  • Derek, MD says:

    Karen Unless the school wishes to deal with a lawyer they will find an acceptable alternative for your dissection i.e. computer simulation rather than fail you…just ask Ohio State U of Pennsylvania Colorado U and SUNYStonybrook…not to mention the state of California. You are protected by the First Amendment to object to dissection and should be provided with an alternative. The school cannot force you to dissect and if they try call their bluff.

  • Dean Lanning says:

    I am not sure what any of you mean by soul and I do not believe in life after death but suffice it to say there is no difference between any mammal I dare say any life form in its place here. Pain anything that moves away from capture senses enough in my book to leave alone and not ride eat or cut open.

  • Jadey Alex says:

    ryan the existence of something called soul is a belief since it has not been proved… I dont really believe that we humans have a ”soul” that other living being dont have if the brain is the soul’s seat than all beings who have a brain have a ”soul”… Pain is pain and all living being with a brain feel it the same exact way just as much as they experience the desire to live… If you ever rescued a nonhuman animal you would know how much they WANT to live… I’ve saved quite few animals in my life and I remember this little squirrel holding my finger in despair just so full of this desire to live and my husband says you should have heard the little boy screaming when he found him well he didnt exactly found him the little one felt on his head litteraly on his head while he was going out of his car it was like a human baby crying… Just because we dont always experiment the same feelings it doesnt me we dont all feel pain in the same way…

  • jess says:

    Ryan I think humans are the souless ones because we are destroying everything precious. Your comment was just plain ignorant.

  • Francis says:

    Oh my! Ryan how could you be so harsh! Animals and humans and plants and insects all have souls and equally can feel pain! They all equally provide for the Earth Mother! There is nothing more that I want to do than save every animal and creature in pain. It irritates me that humans can be so cruel!

  • Phoebe says:

    Ryan souls are an abstract concept tied you your religion. If you indeed have one it just got a little darker with that post.

  • Dr. Zaius says:

    last lines George Taylor Oh my God. I’m back. I’m home. All the time it was… We finally really did it. screaming George Taylor You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah damn you! God damn you all to hell! OK! Read this! Any idiot who believes one needs a soul to feel is plain retarded! When physical harm occurs natural electrical synapses fire in the brain creating a painful sensation which any animal or man with a brain can feel no matter the “soul”. Animals may appear primitive to us because we no longer share or connection to the natural world like we did long before we evolved a thumb. We were much like these gorillas and apes and personally I don’t appreciate having another intelligent species to contend for resources with!

  • Dean Lanning says:

    Do animals have souls? Of course not. Neither do humans. Both have life and it is precious regardless of whether they find sleep in a bed or tree or ocean. Anything that flees capture has a high enough sense of self to be left alone.

  • Pat says:

    ryan May 1 2009 0222 AM You are obviously yet another religious freak. You’re comments are plain stupid that animals do not feel pain or that they are not important. In the natural world animals are more important than humans and can survive without us but we need them to survive here on earth. Why are you even on this site are you a vegan or Veggie?

  • Weezianna says:

    It’s hard to believe that there are people like Ryan who actually believe that animals don’t feel pain like we do. Sounds like he’s a hunter who enjoys killing and pretends that it’s okay to blow an animal apart with a gun or pierce its body with highpowered arrows. I always wondered what kind of sick thrill animal killers get? It must be their substitute for Viagra. Then again if you keep denying that animals feel pain or are beings created with soulsspirits just like humans you won’t have to face the fact that you are causing desperate fear and pain in the animals that you kill directly or by continuing to buy their dead flesh for consumption thus perpetuating the factory farm and slaughter house industries.

  • Saucy says:

    Ryan I would love to see you standing before your maker trembling with fear as you try to explain why you exult yourself above the true knowledge of the LOVE OF GOD. You will be humbled.

  • ryan says:

    Animals are not humans ok. Just because your cat or dog rubs against your leg doesn’t mean it loves you it just instinct for them. If they were bigger than you they would eat you! You can imagine whatever you want to make yourself happy through delusion. Animal abuse is bad but the only reason it is bad is because it promotes violent behavior in the human being which can affect how he treats other humans. Killing for food is our nature. We cannot go against nature. Almost every animal in the world is more cruel than we are remember that.

  • Cynthia says:

    Ryan one more thing what does suffering pain have to do with having a soul? Can a soulless creature not feel pain? Soul and pain are not related physiologically. Soul is a construct of the mind usually a religious or spiritual mind. Pain is not a construct it is the physiological reaction to any incursions on the physical body as well as mental pain anguish arising from many different factors prime among them being unnatural habitat separation from partners babies or group herds bevies gaggles all of which animals suffer as well as humans. All creatures with a nervous system can feel pain…that system has nothing to do with having or not having a soul. The soul is not manifest physically or otherwise so there is no relationship between pain and soul apart from that which the mind can confabulate. Disentangle religion spirituality and religiosity from the very real panic fear terror and pain felt by sentient beings be they mammals like us or nonmammals. Don’t be deterred by namecalling or criticism. Just think about it logically. Cynthia

  • Miles says:

    Its very easy for members of PETA to sit here and say they knew it all along but you have to look at the whole situation. Now people have done tests into it and figured out that animals are able to plan out situations also its not ALL animals that are able to do this as this report states it’s only apes who we’ve known for a very long time are extremely similar to humans. Yet there is also a difference between planning and learning if a gorilla can learn sign language that is amazing however we all know that animals can learn. But so far the only animals that are able to plan for the future are apes. Please don’t mistake me for some seal clubbing oil drinking south texan ivory dealer. I love PETA’s work I think it’s fantastic.

  • Christine says:

    Of course animals have souls! How arrogant and ignorant to believe otherwise! I have looked into so many rescued dogs and cats eyes and read so much pain and heartache there. I KNOW they have a soul that goes without saying. So many people commit daily atrocities uncapable of listening to their soul or even acknowledging it is there. Animals are much more capable of showing empathy than a human being as has been my experience. Scientists “discovering” that animals have feelings as I read a few years ago and now that animals plan for the future make me laugh. I have known this all along and I am sure many others have known that too. You dont have to be a scientist to find that out. What a waste of money to science. But well the good thing about it is that now people will be more willing to accept that animals actually plan for the future and have feelings. Perhaps we need men from science to confirm it so that everyone can treat animals with some more respect. In general people unfortunately tend to believe scientists more. Who knows….

  • Faith says:

    someone tell Ryan he is the one with no soul. What a jacks.

  • Bella says:

    ryan… have you ever heard the scream of an injured tortured neglected animal? If you have you would know animals have souls… the mere fact that my Cats all rescues will not leave my side if I am crying.. the most certainly have souls..Humans on the other hand I wonder.

  • Cynthia D'Errico, M.A. says:

    To Karen There are now interactive video programmes that allow students to “dissect” without ever having to skin or scallop through the insides of an animal. If your teacher doesn’t know about these programmes contact your School Board and insist that such programmes be made available at your school. To Ryan It has never been determined whether or not animals have souls but even to ask the question presupposes a religious belief that not everyone shares. Thus the question is “beggared” by its own presupposition. Beyond that to say that beings lacking souls are “not important” betrays a speciesprivilege again that is akin to fascism in its basic ideology Is God for example a fascist in preferring one species over another?. Ask yourself these questions how do you know that you have a soul? if you do have a soul is not the soul’s journey punctuated by compassion love and acceptance? And if this is so why would your soul relegate animals or any other nonhuman beings to a lesser status less deserving of those three qualities? Just something to think about. Cynthia

  • Amanda says:

    I am very confused right now? Why on Earth would someone be so selfritious as to say only human beings have souls? In saying that you are playing God? Have you ever looked into another species eyes? What did you see? I happen to see a pure soul everytime I look into the eyes of any life form. It is so sad to know that people can be that closed minded.

  • Salogma says:

    Man no kidding! Most animals I know are more “humane” than most people I’m exposed to! My dog is still grieving over the lost of my uncle. Whenever he sees someone in a wheelchair he checks to see if it’s his old owner. As always it isn’t and the poor dog cries all day.

  • Joanna says:

    Dear karen decompression is not a humane method. You can act respectfully to the dead mink and work towards better methods of animal care. You cannot undo the past.

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    Is the Koko mentioned the same Koko who was the subject of the book “Koko’s Kitten?” The photographs of Koko and her kitten are stunning. I used that book in my preschool class for a number of years and the children never tired of the story.

  • Michele says:

    Ryan how do you know animals do not have souls? That’s just something that some HUMANS have decided since apparently those who think that way are just SO superior to all other species. That is just so arrogant! You are disgraceful.

  • ryan says:

    yes but animals do not have souls like we do so I doubt they can experience pain like us. If a being is without a soul then they are not important. We humans have souls.

  • Rex's Mom says:

    Of course animals plan for the future. What about squirrles and other animals who hide food for the long winter ahead? I just watched tonight something on Animal Planet that showed an arctic fox burying part of his kill for future consumption. So what is so new about something that animals have been doing for millions of years?

  • lynda downie says:

    Cynthia what a shame your letter to the editor wasn’t printed. Very well written letter. Says alot about the people who control what’s printed in the newspaper.

  • karen says:

    okay this is totally off topic but i take anatomy and we are just about to disect minks. They are skinned. I have to do it otherwise I can’t graduate but I question the way they were killed. My anatomy teacher said decompression but I think thats still in humane but he doesn’t know for sure. I have a feeling that they were skinned alive. what sould i do?

  • Brien Comerford says:

    Fish reptiles amphibians and even many insects are also smart and form social structures.

  • Cynthia says:

    Funny you should mention this PETA. I just this week wrote a letter to my city newspaper huge circulation which wasn’t published with regard to an editorial published by a “scientist” who should know better. This is what I wrote Professor Schliefers argument shows a speciesprivilege that has lately been challenged. Animals do have the ability to reflect about the future and the past as has been shown by research open to the possibility and not limited by the underlying presupposition that only humans have recall and future projection skills. He needs to upgrade and read up on current research and refrain from ascribing to animals outdated assumptions that serve us ill and do them a grave disservice. The language of animals is more comprehensive symbolist and engaging than human language or voicesomewhat like sign language which can be learned when sufficient effort is applied. Moreover I strongly disagree that morality is concerned with what an individual ought personally to do in situations that typically involve inner conflict. Inner conflict is a byproduct of moral behaviour secondary to its prime directive which is to do that which preserves life and dignity and is just and fair to all parties. I realize that life dignity fairness are in themselves presuppositions which beg the question but one has to start somewhere. Religion as opposed to religiosity may help or hinder that decision. There is more than reason to the human experience Professor on that alone we cannot rely solely for moral behaviour. Think about it or better yet reflect on itreflection is yet another guide much wider and encompassing than reason alone and is not reasons cognate as you suggest in your final parry. Cynthia

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Don’t forget the African grey parrots N’kisi and Alex and their immense vocabulary.