Playing with companion animals or watching a cute animal video on YouTube can make anyone’s day brighter, but could it also make you more empathetic?
Nicholas Epley, a professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago, thinks so.
He says, “An individual animal story lets us put ourselves in their ‘shoes.’ … You feel the pain of a mother elephant trying to rescue her baby from a well, but when you hear that 5,000 elephants are slaughtered you don't feel 5,000 pangs of pain."
In addition to giving us joy, our beloved companion animals help reduce loneliness, and can even lower our blood pressure. And you don’t necessarily need to interact with animals yourself to reap the benefits.
According to a new Los Angeles Times piece, just watching videos of cute animals could help people experience these positive effects and become more empathetic towards animals, including those who are abused and neglected on today’s factory farms.
So the next time you see a cute video of a piglet wrestling with a cat, or a sweet rescued lamb enjoying some much-needed affection, share away! It could make the world a better place!
Of course, the best thing compassionate consumers can do to protect animals is to ditch cruel animal products for good.
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