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Humans Aren’t Exceptional: Animals Have Emotions and Culture, Says BBC

A new article from BBC Earth argues that despite what many would like to believe, humans aren’t unique. Indeed, countless researchers have found that there are far more similarities between humans and other animals than previously thought.

“We once viewed ourselves as the only creatures with emotions, morality, and culture. But the more we investigate the animal kingdom, the more we discover that is simply not true. Many scientists are now convinced that all these traits, once considered the hallmarks of humanity, are also found in animals.

While the article focuses on other primates like bonobos, numerous studies have shown that other animals, including farmed animals, are complex beings with rich emotional lives like us.

Of course, each species of animal has its own unique qualities, but as the author explains, “When we say humans are unique, we mean something more than that. Throughout history humans have created a seemingly impenetrable barrier between us and other animals.

It’s this barrier that allows many people to turn a blind eye to animal suffering, judging it less important than human suffering. Nowhere is this disregard more apparent than in our relationship with farmed animals.

On modern farms, animals are treated as mere meat-producing machines, and their short lives are filled with misery and deprivation:


In the ways that matter most, humans and other animals are alike. We all have the capacity to feel joy and suffering, and we all want to live our lives in peace.

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