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Is the death of animals sad?
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4 Dec 2011, 03:29
Winged Centaur
Post Count: 301
I am rather curious about the apparent empathy felt for dead animals, as that is not something I experience. I am trying to comprehend it. I wrote an entry about it, but I would like a broader spectrum of thoughts and answers. I won't copy the entry, but I'll pull out the important bits.

First off, I don't mean pets. Pets serve as companions. A certain, limited relationship is formed between you and the pet. I have had a pet. I have felt sadness when that pet was gone.

Additionally, this is not about animal suffering or animal cruelty. I understand not wanting animals to suffer. That is needless. I get that. No, what I don't get is when someone sees a dead animals, and they suffer negative emotions.

It is not sad when an animal dies. I will put that out there as a general statement. Let's say, the circumstance of death is unknown. Just dead. No knowledge of how or why. With that little amount of information, by default, it is not sad that the animal is dead. Whatever animal. Doesn't matter. Do you agree with that general statement, or do you feel that all animal death is sad?

Death is inevitable and on a much shorter time line for animals. There is a pony on my dad's farm. His name is Star, because of the star-shaped patch of white hair on his forehead. He was my pony for several years, then I gave him to my younger brother when I moved away. That pony is a year younger than I, meaning he is 20 now.

Star will die soon.

That does not make me sad.

Does it make you sad? If so, why?

Where do these emotions come from? I watch commercials that are obviously intended to arouse an emotional response, and I am completely indifferent. I am indifferent if they euthanize puppies and kittens. I am indifferent that horses are slaughtered and their meat exported. I am indifferent that large predators like polar bears and tigers are in danger of going extinct.

I am completely indifferent to animal death, even the sad, tragic kind. (Obviously I don't find it sad and tragic.) I don't approve of animal cruelty, but when I hear a story of a dead animal that died because of some sort of abuse, I do not feel any emotion for that animal. Do you?

Why is the same level of emotion and empathy that is given to humans given to animals? I don't see them as equal.

Do you really feel sad when you see a dead animal, or is that just a learned response? Do you really grieve for (non-pet) animal death?

I understand certain grief. A loved one dies, you feel loss. Your pet dies, you feel loss. You see a dead deer on the side of the road, there is no connection whatsoever to you, so why would you feel any sort of sadness?

Additionally, do you find this topic of discussion morbid, or does it arouse any negative emotions? If yes, why?
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5 Dec 2011, 00:53
Lovin'MyLittles
Post Count: 322
It doesn't arouse negative emotions for me. I realize people feel differently towards animals.
I see an animal on the side of the road and I do feel sad.
I feel sad that they are outside to be put in that type of predicament. I feel sad, as I wonder if they were someone's pet, and they never found their way home.
I feel sad because I wonder if they *were* in pain before they died.

I don't feel like "I wish it hadn't happened" but I feel more as if.. I wish the circumstances for *that* animal were better. I wish they had a loving home. I wish they had loving owners.. if they had that, I wish they'd found their way home.

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5 Dec 2011, 05:25
Winged Centaur
Post Count: 301
@Stephanie - Do you only feel sad for animals that might have a home, for example cats and dogs? Do you have the same reaction to dead opossums and deer? Is there a difference in the reaction, and if so why?

A question I forgot to ask: Do you have a negative emotional response when you kill an animal while driving? Or in general. I have killed many animals. Chickens, cows, goats, rabbits, squirrels, turtles (all of which I ate or put down for mercy's sake...and then most likely ate).
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5 Dec 2011, 10:45
Lady Lazarus
Post Count: 126
Tough question.

I am not an animal lover. I've had pets and I've found pretty early in pet-ownership that I wasn't the kind of person that should have pets so I've given them to other people. I'm allergic to some animals too so that helps in not really wanting to be close to animals. However, I cried my eyes out at Marley and Me. I can understand that for some people a pet is a member of the family and in that way, grief is the same for that person whether a human or pet dies. I've never experienced it myself so I couldn't comment.

I could never knowingly hurt or kill an animal. There is something inbuilt that tells me thats wrong. However, I have no issues eating slaughtered animals. I love meat. For some reason I don't 'like' to eat lamb though... because it is a baby animal. My reasoning is that it hasn't yet had a life as such. I understand how backwards this reasoning may seem. It's something that has survived from childhood.

I am against animal cruelty but I would give money to the NSPCC before the RSPCA...

@Winged Centaur: You killed the cow whilst driving? How did you not that seem coming? LOL.
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5 Dec 2011, 15:39
Winged Centaur
Post Count: 301
@Lady Lazarus - I'm sorry. My brain jumped thoughts mid paragraph. The animals I mentioned were not killed accidentally with my car. They were killed with purpose while I was growing up on a farm.
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5 Dec 2011, 14:52
Lovin'MyLittles
Post Count: 322
@Winged Centaur - I feel more sadness towards animals that we consider "pets" - cats and dogs. Dead opossums don't really bother me, unless I have to take the carcass out of my own back yard (my dogs hate them) and then I get a little disgusted ;) Not sad. For deer -- I don't feel "sad" like I do for dogs or cats, more so, I just hope they didn't suffer as their life ended.

I do feel sad that it was my fault their life ended. Thankfully I have only hit one animal in my time of driving - but I hit an opossum and she had babies. That made me feel kinda bad, I won't lie.

Chickens, nothing. Cows, nothing. Goats - eh, not really in contact with those in my area. Rabbits, a little bit - but again, they are "pet" animals. Squirrels, nada. Turtles, no.

Mostly just pets ;)
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5 Dec 2011, 15:40
Winged Centaur
Post Count: 301
@ Stephanie - Why do "pet" animals receive more sympathy from you? Is it learned or do you feel pet animals are intrinsically more worth while?
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5 Dec 2011, 15:44
Lovin'MyLittles
Post Count: 322
@Winged Centaur - I guess, I just feel, that the over population with pet animals (not so much rabbits, as they're wild, but cats & dogs namely) is the fault of humans being irresponsible owners and I guess I just feel sad and a little guilty that they're in the situation they're in, as they can't control it and they don't have the ability to change their surroundings like we can.
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5 Dec 2011, 19:17
Poetic Justice
Post Count: 229
I don't really feel SAD when I see a random dead animal (as in it won't change my overall mood for the day), but I do briefly feel sorry for it, in the same way I feel sorry when I hear about a person dying of natural causes. You know it's inevitable, but at the same time you realize how precious life is and feel bad that who/whatever has died will no longer have that gift.

Also, you have to keep in mind the circumstances. For instance, deer are graceful and very beautiful animals. So to see one dead on the side of the road (obviously disregarding the fact that you can assume how it must have died by the fact that it's there), I feel sad like I always do when something beautiful dies. I feel less sad when I see a dead opossum because they're ugly and irritating.
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4 Dec 2011, 03:57
Winged Centaur
Post Count: 301
To elaborate on my confusion, there is an article about the death of a polar bear named Knut.

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2060743,00.html

Sorry, I don't know how to link the forums. Do you read that article and feel any negative or sad emotions?

The article writes, "his sudden death on Saturday, at the tender age of 4, has sent a nation into mourning." And yes, folks really are mourning the death of this polar bear, and I find that completely bewildering.

More: "By Sunday, in a sign of Knut's superstar status, a steady stream of visitors was flocking to the zoo to pay tribute to the bear, lighting candles, leaving notes and laying flowers at his compound."

"'Knut, you were the sweetest polar bear that I ever knew why did you have to die?' wrote one mourner named Anna."

That last quote confuses me even more, although I suspect Anna is a child. Polar bears aren't sweet though! They are predators. What are your emotions towards this bear and it's death?

There was something else in that article: "Knut also became the poster bear for a slew of movements, from vegetarianism with advocates asking why a polar bear deserves such adoration but a chicken doesn't" I would ask the same question, but my answer is completely different. I would say that neither deserve adoration, and neither death is tragic.

I also don't understand vegetarians who choose that diet because they feel emotion for animals. Please explain that as well.
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4 Dec 2011, 03:57
& skull.
Post Count: 1701
i see dead animals on the road and think "oh poor thing", but i don't really get sad. i may feel sad for other people who's pets are dying/dead, but i don't feel much for the animal if i didn't know it. i more get angry at whoever did the animal cruelty, because people shouldn't torture other living things for their own amusement, but i don't really feel sad for the animal if i had no connection to it.

so, i don't really find your reaction odd. i mostly feel the same way.
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4 Dec 2011, 04:16
Winged Centaur
Post Count: 301
Do you desire for that animal you see to not be dead. Like, "I wish that hadn't happened."

I morally agree that people shouldn't torture other living things, but I don't experience any emotion to its happening, not even anger at the perpetrator. I understand that you are angry at the person. But why do you get angry? What are the motivations behind the anger? Emotions are not purely cause and effect (as suggested by a cause bringing about a wide variety of emotions or none at all).
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4 Dec 2011, 04:24
& skull.
Post Count: 1701
to your first question, no not really. i just see in passing. it's dead, and it must've been an unpleasant way to die if it weren't instant, but i don't wish it hadn't happened.

i don't know if it's anger exactly. it's more "what a bastard. imagine how they'd feel if they were being tortured".
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4 Dec 2011, 03:57
canceroustears
Post Count: 210
The commercials make me roll my eyes and I switch the channel. It makes me angry because the commercials are trying to bribe me into giving them money and trying to make me sympathize with something I don't think I should be sympathizing about.
But when I see a dead animal, like the kind you are talking about, I don't feel anything.
And I feel morbid talking about it, because it's death. Death in general makes me feel a bit morbid.
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4 Dec 2011, 04:23
Winged Centaur
Post Count: 301
@canceroustears (yo, I just realized for the first time that your username is "cancerous tears" with no space...)

I don't agree with the premise of the commercials either, nor do I enjoy looking at injuries. (Actually, I do enjoy seeing injuries in real life. The human body is fascinating in the way it heals. I find scabs especially fascinating because of their texture.)

When death is removed from the context of grief, I don't find it morbid. But when I am thinking about these things, I am considering them in a didactic sort of light, detached from my emotional self. Does it make you feel morbid because you are inclined naturally to think about your own death and/or the death of loved ones?
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4 Dec 2011, 04:27
Winged Centaur
Post Count: 301
@no one

You probably don't feel emotion about these hypothetical deaths I am asking about. But what is that gut level emotional response when you do encounter these situations? Dead animal on the side of the road, link to "sad puppy story" on facebook, dead polar bear article I linked, hunting, horses slaughtered for glue, extinction of large cats? Do you experience emotion, negative or positive (or more specific like sadness, grief, empathy, etc)? Do you experience complete indifference? Which deaths do you feel emotion for, if not all of them?
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4 Dec 2011, 05:03
canceroustears
Post Count: 210
@Winged Centaur I don't think about the death of myself or others, but I get the feeling that I shouldn't be talking about it. Where as I'm comfortable discussing death, a lot of people don't want to talk about death or the death of a person.
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4 Dec 2011, 05:14
Winged Centaur
Post Count: 301
@canceroustears - Is that a learned behavior to not talk about death? There were several subject matters that I was taught as not being "appropriate" for discussion, such as sex and death. And in a more broad sense, I was instructed not to ask "personal questions." I was never given a reason for not discussing these things, other than "it is inappropriate."

I try not to talk about human death. It is more likely to touch veins of grief or sorrow. And when I experienced loss, I didn't want to talk about it extensively.

Animal death, however, feels categorically different.
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4 Dec 2011, 05:21
canceroustears
Post Count: 210
@Winged Centaur I don't remember my parents ever teaching me that anything was off-limits. I think it's because I'm really sensitive to not wanting to piss someone off or hurt their feelings, and I've always been that way - so they never had to worry. I just know that I feel as though I'm going to hit a boundary really fast, and I stop short of asking a question that could make the conversation become awkward. I've always been a shy child also, so I was never going up and running questions out of my mouth at people.
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4 Dec 2011, 05:33
Winged Centaur
Post Count: 301
@canceroustears - I was a quiet, but curious child. I often asked questions that were direct and inappropriate, inquiring about how someone got an injury or bluntly demanding to know why someone was crying. I wasn't aware of others' sensitivities and eventually stopped asking questions and simply observed.

I have remained curious, wanting to know the why's and how's and most importantly the motivations for what we experience. Places like Bloop are a forum in which it is "safe" to ask open, honest questions and get similar responses. If someone does not wish to talk about death, they can easily avoid it.

The awareness of others' sensibilities is probably a very good one, as long as it doesn't make you too passive. That awareness is something I still struggle with in my adulthood, also known as my lack of tact. And not every subject is as obvious as human death to avoid. Or it never occurs to me to ask something in a less direct and blunt manner.
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4 Dec 2011, 05:46
kein mitleid
Post Count: 592
I think I like dogs more than people, so when dogs die, I get sad, but when people die, I'm more like, "Good, that so-and-so was an asshole anyway."

Seriously.... fuck people.
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4 Dec 2011, 05:55
Winged Centaur
Post Count: 301
@kein_mitleid - Describe the emotions you feel more in depth, please. Do you feel a positive emotion, like relief, happiness, high spirits, satisfaction, etc? Or something like vindication? And to what degree do you feel that emotion?
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4 Dec 2011, 06:11
kein mitleid
Post Count: 592
@Winged: Regarding when people die, I'm mostly indifferent. Some people, it affects me differently e.g. my grandfather whom recently died. But for the most part, I just am apathetic. Regarding dogs, I find they've got one emotion, and it's unconditional adoration. I love dogs, because their opinion of adoration never wavers, never ceases.
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4 Dec 2011, 06:23
Winged Centaur
Post Count: 301
@kein_mitleid - Do you feel an emotional connection to all dogs you encounter? Or do you just admire that trait in dogs as a whole?
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4 Dec 2011, 07:23
~Aiure
Post Count: 118
I have a lot more sympathy for animals than I do for humans. Animals are ruled only by their instincts. Humans are ruled by their instincts (whether we like it or not), BUT we're also ruled by our intellect (rather, in most cases, the lack thereof...) Many times, when one sees a dead animal, its death was caused by human intervention (for example, roadkill), and the fact that a human had a hand in its death makes me genuinely sad. The animal can't control its instincts, and was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. This can apply to humans in the same situation, yes, but we're much more in control of our fates than animals are. That being said, an animal that was killed by another animal in its natural habitat for food only makes me sad in passing, as it's simply the way of the world.

I was not raised to treat animals as equals; that's just who I am. I've always felt closer to them than people. My first dog tried to maul my hand when I was five, but I still loved her to pieces. I also cried more over the death of my last bearded dragon than I did for the deaths of all four of my grandparents combined.
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