Do animals have no emotions, asserts Willie Sherrine, chief hunters?

The head of the Hunting Federation explained, on television, that animals do not feel emotions. (© Lukas Bast / Adobe Stock))

“What is animal welfare? You know, an animal can reproduce, it can eat, and that’s it. We’ll still be limiting things. This claim comes from the chain’s collection LCPFriday, May 6, 2022 during broadcast Politics is on the table.

He is precisely the president of the National Hunting Federation, Willy Shrine Who said this? And he confirms this: “God knows that we know them, we (the hunter’s editor’s note) are animals.”

But in fact, is an animal, whether wild or domestic, content throughout its life to eat and reproduce? details.

Do animals have a conscience?

The ability to feel emotions she has a conscience.

“Whether we’re talking about a sponge or a jellyfish, I don’t know, but for most animals all you have to do is look at a report on the animals to realize that Willy Schrein’s assertion is wrong,” settles Cedric Sower, professor of ethology (the scientific study of the behavior of animal species, Editor’s note) at the University of Strasbourg, I contacted her

Many animals associated with hunting, such as deer and horses, for example, live in groups.

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However, the collective scientific experience of the National Institute of Agricultural Research (INRA) makes it clear that “structuring these groups requires social cognitive capacities”.

Through a variety of experimental protocols, it is widely believed that animals use their past social experiences and current relationships to modify their behavior and achieve their goals. This requires mastery of sophisticated means of perceiving, integrating, planning and communicating, which are presumably related to consciousness.

National Institute of Agricultural Research(INRA)

Thus, animals in their interactions raise consciousness, and therefore are far from just “eating and breeding”.

“We see this very well in elephants, great apes, or ungulates (animals whose feet end in hooves, like cows or deer, Ed),” Cedric Sauer adds.

Animals know how to get to know each other, know hierarchy, etc. “The idea of ​​morality is very present there. When an animal is injured, the rest of its group will protect it,” he says.

Other fascinating elements have been observed in birds. Clark’s Nutcrackerfor example, permanently hides seeds to prepare for winter.

“And we talk about more than 30,000 seeds a year, in 5 to 6,000 hiding places. And this little animal remembers more than 80% of places, even after more than nine months,” raves Sebastien Moreau, Director of the Youtube Channel for Ethics Bird mind. He assures us: “A man simply will not be able to do this.”

Laughing animals and frowns

“In most vertebrates, we notice a change in behavior that seems to support their state of mind. A cow that is happy to find its meadow will jump in all directions,” says Cedric Sower.

According to the professor, it is not important to see an animal playing: “Play is to appreciate what you do. The animal knows that it likes to play, so it either asks to be accompanied (human or symmetric) or it will do it alone. »

“It’s a little more complicated than that,” he says, “but it’s not entirely wrong to say that some animals smile when they’re happy.”

Monkeys, for example, laugh. “Laughter is not as loud as humans, but their mouths are open, and their faces are spread out. On the contrary, they resent when they are not satisfied.”

According to several studies, some animals may be able to laugh when the situation allows it.
According to several studies, some animals may be able to laugh when the situation allows it. (© Kletr / Adobe Stock)

Another element that allows scientists to define animals as relatively conscious: “They, like us, can be optimistic or pessimistic. If an animal encounters positive situations, it will be more inclined to discovery and curiosity. Several tests have proven this,” says Sebastien Moreau.

And this note, he carries Experiments conducted by researchers on pigswhich are animals very close to wild boars, which are naturally associated with hunting.

More than just a reaction

In the full interview with the president of the Hunting Association, Willie Shrein assures us that the animals’ behavior is “a simple reaction. Journey after fear, for example.”

However, in the various studies that have been conducted, “the animals showed very great abilities.” Cedric Sauer, for example, says that animals are aware of their own existence and that of others.

In a group of great apes, two individuals were observed hiding from the dominant male to exchange tenderness. They knew the chef wouldn’t like it, and they made arrangements so they wouldn’t have a problem.

Cedric sweatProfessor of behavioral sciences at the University of Strasbourg

We have also been able to study that animals have an awareness of equality and balance. “Take two capuchins. Give cucumbers (a food he does not like) to one of them, and grapes (a food he does not like) to the other. You will see that the first one will throw cucumbers in your face,” says the professor.

Moreover, we now know that some bird specimens are able to balance their food. “Offer many kinds of food to a jay (a type that is not protected in France and thus can be hunted, according to the editor), it will dig into all the dishes to prepare the meal it values. An unscrupulous human would only eat what was under his nose, wouldn’t he? asks the celebrity .

And then, “We remember the gorillas CocoWho has mastered sign language. It’s not just a thing.”

Are animals conscious then? “It is difficult to answer this question, because we are not in their minds, even if many elements tend to prove the validity of this hypothesis,” according to Cedric Sower.

Let’s just say they have a different intelligence than ours. Their subjective reality is not like ours. Thus, it may be difficult to perceive this in our publication as a human being”, concludes Sebastien Moreau.

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