Why are animals meant to experience suffering with such things as emotions, etc.?

I understand that we have dominion over animals and they are a source of nutrition and clothes for us, which is the reason they are killed.

…but why do you think God gave them emotions and reactions that causes them to feel the pain and fear of being killed along with grief at the death of other animals (an example of Elephants grieving their dead)?

Sin is the reason that the natural world and the human race itself is in a fallen state, and able to suffer. Human persons are meant to bear sufferings, in cooperation with grace, as part of their path of salvation.

The suffering of animals is very limited. They cannot sin gravely and suffer eternal damnation. But I don’t know a specific reason why God permits the suffering of animals.

You have made an assumption regarding “emotions” and “feelings” of animals. that is an anthropomorphism. We see things animals do and we project human motivations on to them. That does not make it so.

Animals have nerves that carry physical sensation, so of course they can feel physical pain. that is why we are called to treat them humanely, even in the process of slaughter.

Actually the entire notion of Anthropomorphism is incredibly arrogant. Science is daily showing that animals have a much broader range of emotions, levels of empathy, and more complex emotional life than we ever imagined. They absolutely have emotions as they have all the areas of the brain that are necessary for emotions, what they lack is higher brain functions, but they have limbic systems which are our emotional neural systems. Behaviorist who claim that animals do not have emotions, they are just learned physical stimuli, also tend to argue that humans lack free will and are also just as stimuli determined as animals are, so it is a bit dangerous to use their arguments against animals as they have also been leveled against humans.


I don’t really know the true answer to this question, but the reason why animals feel physical pain is so that they would survive longer. It is a so called defensive mechanism. For example, in order for an animal to avoid fire it is necessary for it to feel pain. Otherwise it would burn to death.

On the emotion part I’m not sure either, but I suspect that the reason you’re asking is because you feel sympathy for those animals and perhaps see some of the things that people do to them as injustice. I wouldn’t worry about that too much to be honest. You need to understand that animals are incapable of feeling either joy or suffering (mental). No matter how long an animal will live, it will experience the same amount of happiness (if you can call it that way).

Furthermore, animals are inferior to humans, thus human has a right to exploit them. It has always been like that - the stronger dominate the weaker. This is how nature works and humans are part of it.

I agree. Animals do suffer physical pain, and to a limited degree, mental pain - i.e. fear of predators, the unknown, etc.

Animals cannot look forward as humans do. Humans can imagine their own deaths, animals cannot. Without special training, animals cannot equate something outside of their immediate experience with a physical experience; for instance, Pavlov’s famous bell & dog experiments, or my own accidental training of the cats to come running at the sound of the can opener. :wink:

I wouldn’t call fear of predators a mental pain. It is simply instinct, non-volitional reaction. An animal can not choose not to fear the predator.

True - to a point. It depends if you are referring to wild or tame animals. Wild (feral) animals have no choice, tame ones do learn that certain animals are no longer predators, such as family dogs that don’t chase cats.

I have donkeys that don’t like cats. They chase all cats out of their pasture - except one. That cat, for some reason, has no fear of the donkeys and doesn’t run. He goes up to the donkeys and rubs against them. The donkeys accept him and don’t chase him. I have no clue as to why; I got the cat when he was half-grown. On the other hand, he runs and hides from the other cats. :shrug:

No, it has been scientifically proven many animals do mourn their dead, and DO have a wide variety of emotions…crows come to mind to me first, crows have VERY high intelligence, and do many things that are common with humans to do, they gather and silently mourn when another crow dies, they can use and even create ‘tools’ in order to get food, they are smart enough to recognize single human faces, and pass this on to their offspring as well, even if they dont see this human for 10 +years!..I dont think humans could even do this!

I think we have been very wrong about animals and their significance in our world in the past…the more I learn about certain animals, the more I see them having more importance than the bible tells us, or at least the interpretations we are told are correct.

I have seen things similar to your donkeys and cats (having grown up on a farm, and even today with our dogs).

Animals do know and remember everything they see, with a type of understanding of good to be near (or eat) or not-good to be near (or eat). And when some living being that was good to be near dies, their understanding is confused (pained or hurt) because they have no way of being near the living thing that now provides no living interaction that was the goodness of the nearness. They hover around the dead as if waiting for its movement in their relationship of goodness. Sadness is a real thing for humans and non-human animals, in that it is the inability to unite with what is known to be good, and the bodily movements that “move” or “happen” with frustration of desire to be united.

An animal does not reflect on the idea of its mate’s soul leaving its mate’s body, but instead is at a loss for how to enact union or nearness to the mate that is good to be near. We do the same, but in conjunction, we reflect on heaven, God, the resurrection, etc.

I witnessed this once when a hen died suddenly in the yard. The rooster & a few of the other hens hung around for a while, then the hens wandered off. The rooster stayed a while longer. I thought (even while knowing better), “How sweet. He’s mourning the hen.” Then he suddenly jumped on her and tried to mate. Maybe it was a chicken version of CPR. :rolleyes:

A friend stopped keeping chickens after one died in the pen and the other chickens rushed in and started eating it. She had a breed that were good layers but I won’t have them because they’re psychotic. I took care of them once & had to use a stick to keep the rooster from attacking me. :eek:

As I said, “good to be near (or eat)”. But there is memory and understanding of this in them.

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