According to Phys.org, dogs are probably not as intelligent as we think they are.
Researchers at the University of Exeter and Canterbury Christ Church University compared the intelligence of dogs to that of other species considered social hunters, such as bears, wolves, and hyenas, and found that the cognitive abilities of dogs were lower than those of the other species studied. In short, the researchers conclude, dog intelligence is “not exceptional.”
But the intelligence of our companion animals should not affect how we treat them. This study won’t make us love dogs any less. Companion animals are sensitive and sweet, and they fill our lives with joy. They are truly family members and we should take care of them accordingly.
So why does intelligence matter when it comes to loving some animals and not others? Why do we downplay the intelligence of animals we use for food?
Cows have great memories and can learn and respond to their names. Pigs are considered the fifth-most intelligent animal in the world—more intelligent than dogs—and are capable of playing video games with more focus and success than chimps.
Chickens pass down knowledge from generation to generation and can recognize over 100 individual faces, not only of their fellow chickens but of humans. Fish “learn from each other, recognize other fish they’ve spent time with previously, know their place within fish social hierarchies, and remember complex spatial maps of their surroundings,” according to Vox.com.
Farmed animals are smarter than we usually give them credit for, but the truth is, intelligence shouldn’t determine whether someone is deserving of love and protection.
In all the ways that matter, farmed animals are very similar to dogs. Yet we relegate them to unimaginable cruelties: extreme confinement; brutal mutilations; and bloody, violent deaths. If we treated just one dog or cat the way the meat, dairy, and egg industries treat billions of animals, we’d be behind bars for animal abuse.
Would we ever deem it legal to shackle a dog by her hind legs and slash open her throat? Would we allow a cat to be kept for his entire life in a cage so small that he couldn’t even turn around? Would we permit killing puppies and kittens by slamming them headfirst against concrete floors? Of course we wouldn’t. But these heinous acts are completely legal to inflict on cows, pigs, and chickens in the animal agriculture industry.
Horrifyingly, no federal law protects farmed animals during their lives at factory farms. And chickens, intelligent beings who purr when petted, are not even included in the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, left with virtually no protection from abuse.
Nobody needs animal products to survive. In fact, humans thrive on a healthy plant-based diet. And not only do you spare animals immense suffering by going vegan; you also protect the environment.
The only difference between the animals you love and the animals you (currently) eat is your perception of them.
But it’s never too late to make a change. Join millions of people in switching to a humane vegan lifestyle.