A brief survey of human and animal capabilities.
After spending the vast majority of my life around animals, and then dedicating my adult career to them, then witnessing the horrible destruction and mayhem that humans commonly cause, I have to wonder: Are we really smarter than animals? There are some animals that are widely known to possess very high intelligence, like the dolphin (labeled the second-smartest species on Earth), and the chimpanzee, but what about other animals? Take the pig, for instance--the following is a quote from The Huffington Post by author Arin Greenwood in 2015: "Pigs like to play. They're smart. They have good long-term memories, and they can be socially manipulative with other pigs. They can tell which people are nice to them and which aren't. They're also able to distinguish between pigs they know and pigs that are strangers. Does all of this sound like it might have implications for bacon lovers? If so, that's no accident." There are also many videos on the Internet related to pig intelligence...so SHOULD we be eating them? Probably not. Other animals that we may or may not eat that are highly intelligent are octopuses, dogs, horses, ants, crows, and homing pigeons. Frans de Waal, a primatologist at Emory University who recently released a book called, "Are We Smart Enough To Know How Smart Animals Are?" says this, ""Almost every week there is a new finding regarding sophisticated animal cognition, often with compelling videos to back it up," he writes. "We hear that rats may regret their own decisions, that crows manufacture tools, that octopuses recognize human faces, and that special neurons allow monkeys to learn from each others mistakes. We speak openly about culture in animals and about their empathy and friendships. Nothing is off limits anymore, not even the rationality that was once considered humanity's trademark." In this article published by the Independent, the author Gus Lubin goes on to say, "With this breakthrough may come not only a better understanding of the world around us but also an emerging debate about animal rights." Some are lobbying for legal animal rights, which were actually granted to a captive chimpanzee named Cecilia in Argentina.
In my experience, many species of animals seem to know when a human is trying to help them, which has been demonstrated countless times in my veterinary technician career. In fact, in 15 years of poking animals with needles and IV's, restraining them for exams, anesthesia, or X-rays, and doing many other very unpleasant things to them in the name of their physical health, I was only ever bitten by one dog, and his name was, "Happy." Just yesterday I found a baby mouse in a glue trap and helped him to get free with vegetable oil and Dawn dish soap, and he didn't hurt me, and rodent's have teeth like razor blades. In my younger days, I used to protest outside of restaurants that served foi gras, or establishments that sponsored the circus, but these days I stick to posting about dead racehorses and fur farms and other such horrors on the Internet because the exhausting hours holding signs never seemed to do any good anyway. Most people ignored us, but then there were people that were mean, yelled and argued with us, insulted us, and the like, which also makes me question the inferred "intelligence" of humans. I could never understand why it offended people that we were trying to improve the quality of life of animals...I guess I never will. Then George W. Bush labeled us all eco-terrorists and put us on FBI watch lists, and we started getting arrested and tased for peacefully demonstrating, which was my limit.
Here's the bottom line: if dogs can tell if you're a good person or not and chimps have better recall and social awareness than humans, then why are we continually exploiting these animals and abusing them? Why are we destroying their habitats for things like palm oil farms? Why DON'T we, on the whole, support animal rights? I'll leave you with the words of this student researcher from Georgia State University who just found that monkeys outperform humans when it comes to cognitive flexibility: "When it comes to being willing to explore more efficient options to solving a problem, monkeys exhibit more cognitive flexibility than humans, according to a study by Georgia State University psychology researchers. 'We are a unique species and have various ways in which we are exceptionally different from every other creature on the planet,' said Julia Watzek, a graduate student in psychology at Georgia State.'But we're also sometimes really dumb.'"
I guess that explains it.