Historically, the relationship between humans and animals has been marked by the arrogant assumption that our species is the only one that experiences emotion, rationality, and cognitive ability. However, things are slowly changing. More and more people are awakening to the horrors that we’ve perpetrated against animals and are making an effort to change their behavior and attitudes toward them. Animal advocacy groups such as The Nonhuman Rights Project are even arguing that primates and dolphins ought to be legally recognized as “non-human persons,” with the right to bodily liberty.
And now, ecologist and author Carl Safina, founder of The Safina Center at Stony Brook University, has set out to shatter the myth of absolute human superiority once and for all. In a twenty-minute TED Talk filmed this October, Safina set out to explore whether it is truly possible for us humans to understand what might be going on in the minds of our animal friends, and points out that we have good reason to be compassionate toward animals of all kinds … because it turns out they may not be as different from us as we have previously assumed.
As he says, “Far from being ‘that thing that makes us human’, human empathy is far from perfect. We round up empathic creatures, we kill them, and we eat them. And you might say … humans are predators, but we don’t treat our own kind too well either.” The talk is sure to leave you amazed.