Empathy and Animals
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Empathy and Animals
International News and Information about Empathy and Compassion with, by and for Animals - for more see: CultureOfEmpathy.com
Curated by Edwin Rutsch
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LA/SPCA educator uses homeless pets to build trust and compassion in youngsters

LA/SPCA educator uses homeless pets to build trust and compassion in youngsters | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
Kids are kind of inclined to connect with animals. We teach compassion, and we teach empathy. If you can empathize with an animal, you can empathize with people.

As the one-person education department, Nius, 33, is behind the SPCA's burgeoning list of in-house camps, school "show and tails" and publicity campaigns targeted at teaching children about animal welfare. Her agenda, however, is larger than that.
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Ethology of Emotional Empathy (EEE)

The Ethology of Emotions and Empathy, today. Ethology of Emotional Empathy goes even further and calls upon human beings to find a balance between soul and reason, a necessary agreement through which human beings can be really able to make changes in their life, especially in relational life, also improving a new radical awareness in the present.

In Ethology of Emotional Empathy all animals have equal opportunities and relational potentiality.
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Frans de Waal talks with Edwin about the Nature of Empathy - video

Frans de Waal talks with Edwin about the Nature of Empathy - video | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
My interview with the noted primateologist and author of Age of Empathy, Frans de Waal. I asked. "How can we build a culture of empathy?"

I think it is important in society, especially at the moment. Now that we have come out of this period where greed was so good. I think it is important to emphasize that there are alternative ways of looking at society. A society where solidarity is important and caring about others is important.

The other things, that I'm not an expert on, is education and culture of course. A cultural and educational change that emphasizes empathy more. I would also warn that empathy is not invariably positive. People think that empathy is automatically a positive characteristic. Empathy can be used for bad purposes also.
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How Kids Can Learn Empathy and Help Animals

How Kids Can Learn Empathy and Help Animals | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
Today classroom activities are not enough for children, they need to learn more. We need to teach kids more apart from mathematics and science. Children need to learn empathy to grow up into caring and responsible adults. Kids can learn empathy from animals; they often help kids to see the world from the animal’s point of view – that is, children will look at the world from the animal’s eyes.

Empathy can be thought to kids by organizing fun activities, which would include classroom activities like showing movies and making use of free programs like TeachKind from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).
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Empathy is What Really Sets Vegetarians Apart (at least Neurologically Speaking)

Empathy is What Really Sets Vegetarians Apart (at least Neurologically Speaking) | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
The hypothesis behind this study is based on the observation that Vegetarians and Vegans tend to base their decision to avoid animal products on ethical grounds.

Assuming that Vegetarians and Vegans - because of their underlying moral philosophies - show greater empathy towards animal suffering, it is very well possible that these differences in empathy extend beyond the animal domain and show up as general differences in the degree of empathy felt towards other humans also; even at a neurological level.
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Sekhmet Aurora's comment, August 5, 2011 4:13 PM
YES YES YES VERY TRUE!!! That is exactly why I became vegan, I could NOT stand for the suffering/killing of animals, especially in the bio-industry.. makes me sick to my stomach.. I don't really understand how people who have pets and love them can eat meat.. ALL animals are pets and loved and mourned, even among animals themselves..
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For Orangutans, Laughter is Contagious (and empathic)

For Orangutans, Laughter is Contagious (and empathic) | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
It may be the highest form of flattery, but imitation is among the lowest forms of empathy. But that doesn't make it meaningless. A new study has shown that orangutans imitate each other's facial expressions, the first evidence that empathy may exist in non-humans...

Overall the presence of emotional contagion in orangutans suggests empathy is deeply rooted in human nature, stretching back as far as 12 to 16 million years ago, when humans and orangutans shared a common evolutionary ancestor.
Alex Dixon (img http://bit.ly/gcaHEw)
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The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy

The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
As Bekoff and a few other sensible scientists are arguing, nonhuman animals share with us the primary emotions of fear, anger, surprise, sadness, disgust, and joy, which are hardwired into the brain. Many would additionally argue, as does Bekoff, that they also share secondary emotions, notably empathy and compassion.

The evidence for emotions in nonhuman animals is overwhelming, as any dog or cat owner knows from firsthand experience.
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The Compassionate Animal by Marc Bekoff

The Compassionate Animal by Marc Bekoff | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
It becomes clear that compassionate relationships with animals are integral to a more compassionate world.

There are two main steps we can take toward fostering these compassionate relationships. First, we must recognize that animals have active minds and deep feelings. Second, we must “mind” them as their caretakers in a human-dominated world, where their interests are continually trumped in deference to ours.

Ultimately, I believe compassion for animals will make for more compassion among people, weaving more empathy, respect, dignity, and love into all our lives. Animals and future generations of humans will surely thank us for our efforts.
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IamSalome's comment, April 27, 2011 11:25 PM
This is true. From when I was a child and tamed a guard dog because my need for a friend was as fierce as his, until today, when my cat knows exactly when and where my pain is and jumps up the warm the pain away, I greet animals as equals and they respond in kind. We share love.
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Join the Cause: Help Teach Empathy for Animals! STOP Abuse Beatings Brutality Cruelty Fighting Suffering & Torture

Join the Cause: Help Teach Empathy for Animals! STOP Abuse Beatings Brutality Cruelty Fighting Suffering & Torture | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
Let's raise awareness and hold a special day to help promote and teach Empathy and Compassion for all Animals! Stop the abuse, beatings, cruelty, fighting, neglect, suffering and torture of animals around the world. Share your personal comments, stories, photos or videos of feeling empathy and compassion for animals. Help generate ideas for how we can build a culture of empathy.

Abuse of animals, children, woman, minorities, as well as, conflicts, wars and genocide, etc. are all related and come from a deficit of empathy and compassion. Developing and promoting these values can heal the world.
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Caring for Ourselves, Caring for Our World: Are you an Animal Empath?

Caring for Ourselves, Caring for Our World: Are you an Animal Empath? | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
In Michael Stone’s lecture on caring for the caregivers and burnout, he presents some unique perspectives that help deepen our interconnectedness with compassion and loving kindness.

His discussions on burnout and compassion fatigue relate directly to animal lovers. I see this happen regularly when animal lovers want to work with animals and help rescue them succumb quite quickly to emotional exhaustion and empathy fatigue.
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Mouse Study Reveals Genetic Component Of Empathy

Mouse Study Reveals Genetic Component Of Empathy | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
The ability to empathize with others is partially determined by genes, according to new research on mice from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Oregon Health and Science University . .

In the study, a highly social strain of mice learned to associate a sound played in a specific cage with something negative simply by hearing a mouse in that cage respond with squeaks of distress. (img http://bit.ly/hjDwWZ)
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Humane Connection: Expanding Our Circle of Compassion: Giving Rights to Nature and Animals

Humane Connection: Expanding Our Circle of Compassion: Giving Rights to Nature and Animals | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
One of the concepts we at IHE often explore with our students, whether from our graduate programs, or elementary-aged children, is the circle of compassion we each have, who/what is included there, and ways to expand our circle of compassion to include others we hadn't previously considered, including, animals and the natural world. (Circle of Compassion and Alien in the Ethical Universe are examples of two of our activities that explore this concept.)
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Zero degrees of empathy: a new theory of human cruelty

Simon Baron-Cohen, expert in autism and developmental psychopathology, has always wanted to isolate and understand the factors that cause people to treat others as if they were mere objects. In this event he proposes a radical shift, turning the focus away from evil and on to the central factor, empathy. Unlike the concept of evil, he argues, empathy has real explanatory power.
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St. Francis of Assisi - A Need for a Compassionate Teaching?

St. Francis of Assisi -  A Need for a Compassionate Teaching? | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
Please do not be put off by what seems like a 'religious' post. No, it is more of a plea for compassion to a silent and seemingly indifferent Church. I can't believe that we do not have a teaching on compassion for the animals.

I hope one day that there will be a pope who will write an encyclical re compassion for animals. You might think -what's so important about that? Well, since there are over a billion Catholics in the world who look to the teaching majesterium of the Catholic Church for moral guidance, it follows that a compassionate teaching would have hopefully a great impact on how we view animals and our treatment of them.

Presently, to my knowledge, there is no official teaching (encyclical) re compassion for animals. I am told to look in the Catholic Catechism for the pitifully small reference to them.
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How Kids Can Learn Empathy And Help Animals

How Kids Can Learn Empathy And Help Animals | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
Today classroom activities are not enough for children, they need to learn more. We need to teach kids more apart from mathematics and science. Children need to learn empathy to grow up into caring and responsible adults.

Kids can learn empathy from animals; they often help kids to see the world from the animals point of view that is, children will look at the world from the animals eyes. Empathy can be thought to kids by organizing fun activities, which would include classroom activities like showing movies and making use of free programs like TeachKind from PETA .
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How Pets Teach Children Empathy and Compassion - Pet Health Center

How Pets Teach Children Empathy and Compassion - Pet Health Center | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
Animals are a great influence on kids, teaching them empathy and compassion. Learn more about the positive effects pets have on kids.

Pets and children share a deep bond, one that teaches children empathy, compassion and respect. ..

Legacy of Empathy - That legacy includes the lifelong skill of empathy – feeling the feelings of others, knowing when someone is uncomfortable, caring enough to change your behavior so that the other person becomes more comfortable.

image http://bit.ly/maL2kJ
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Animals Teach Children Empathy and Compassion

Animals Teach Children Empathy and Compassion | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
We’ve all seen it: the joy on a child’s face reflecting the happiness of a pet who is being fed or patted or played with. This simple arithmetic (my caring + your need = happiness) seems like the simplest thing in the world.

It turns out, though, that what we’re seeing is something far more important than we realize– compassion is experiential, the product of life learning.
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Were You Born Selfish?: An Interview with Frans de Waal

Were You Born Selfish?: An Interview with Frans de Waal | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
Both the good and bad in our species come from our primate background, says primatologist Frans de Waal, author of The Age of Empathy.

Richard Dawkins has declared that humans are “nicer than is good for our selfish genes.” Emory University primatologist Frans de Waal argues against this popular picture of evolution as a Hobbesian wilderness of selfishly competing individuals, where life is “nasty, brutish, and short.” De Waal focuses his research on the social behavior of primates, studying questions of culture, altruism, morality, and empathy.

Frans De Waal - Big page http://bit.ly/jn2OTe
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The Evolution of Empathy

The Evolution of Empathy | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
It is hard to imagine that empathy—a characteristic so basic to the human species that it emerges early in life, and is accompanied by strong physiological reactions - came into existence only when our lineage split off from that of the apes.

It must be far older than that. Examples of empathy in other animals would suggest a long evolutionary history to this capacity in humans. Frans de Waal
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Animal Instincts: Not What You Think They Are

Animal Instincts: Not What You Think They Are | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
Marc Bekoff explains how many different animal species show grief, friendship, gratitude, wonder, and a range of other emotions...

Many animals also display wide-ranging emotions, including joy, happiness, empathy, compassion, grief, and even resentment and embarrassment.

It’s not surprising that animals—especially, but not only, mammals—share many emotions with us because we also share brain structures, located in the limbic system, that are the seat of our emotions. In many ways, human emotions are the gifts of our animal ancestors.
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Farm Sanctuary president stresses to Wells audience the need for animal compassion

Farm Sanctuary president stresses to Wells audience the need for animal compassion | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
Animal abuse, animal neglect and in-depth discussions of where food comes from were all portions of a lecture at Wells...

“It’s about empathy; humans have it when they look into the eyes of a person and an animal. The workers in these farms aren’t looking at the animals’ faces and in their eyes; they’re looking at their bodies, and pieces of meat,” Baur said.....

On Baur’s claim that farm workers lack empathy for farm animals: “I think that there is a misconception in that 99 percent of the farms in New York state are family-owned; they are families that care about the animals and the food they produce.
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Video: Bonobos and Chimpanzees: Peaceful bonobos may have something to teach humans - Science Nation

Video: Bonobos and Chimpanzees: Peaceful bonobos may have something to teach humans  - Science Nation | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
"Chimpanzees can be very empathetic, loving but they also have this darker side. They have war, they kill each other, they beat their females. Bonobos don't really have any of that," explains Woods. "They're different because they've managed to live in a society virtually without violence. How do they do that?

Humans, for all of our intelligence and all our technology, we haven't managed to live without war, and so I think that's something very important that bonobos can teach us."
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In 1959, psychologist Russell Church conducted a study on the empathy of rats.

In 1959, psychologist Russell Church conducted a study on the empathy of rats. | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
In the study, he trained the rats to push a lever to receive their food. Then, in a twisted change, he fixed the lever to a a floor in the neighboring cage. Every time the rat would push the lever, the rat in the other cage would get an electric shock. Rats that had previously experienced shocks were very empathetic to the rat in the other cage.
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Mice Show Evidence of Empathy

Mice Show Evidence of Empathy | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
Adults become more sensitive to pain after watching other mice in pain, the first sign of empathy in non-primate mammals...

Empathy is "an evolutionary mechanism to maintain social cohesion. If you're evolving and you're in a group, you're more sensitive to the pain of other members in a group," explained James Harris at Johns Hopkins University...

Greater empathy between individuals who are familiar goes back to the early evolution of maternal care in mammals, according to de Waal. (img http://bit.ly/hjDwWZ)
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Zero degrees of empathy: a new theory of human cruelty

Putting empathy under the microscope he explores four new ideas: firstly, that we all lie somewhere on an empathy spectrum, from high to low, from six degrees to zero degrees. Secondly that, deep within the brain lies the ‘empathy circuit’. How this circuit functions determines where we lie on the empathy spectrum. Thirdly, that empathy is not only something we learn but that there are also genes associated with empathy. And fourthly, while a lack of empathy leads to mostly negative results, is it always negative?
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IamSalome's comment, April 17, 2011 6:24 PM
Girls are (mostly) born with an intuition gene, which makes empathy a natural part of their make-up.
Boys are (mostly) born without this gene, and must be taught during the earliest years of three to five years old, to feel the pain of others and understand the results of their own cruelty.
Boys who are not taught these skills, and girls who do not have their natural inclination reinforced by similar training, run the risk of poor empathy, or NO empathy.
They can be taught at a later time, but having a natural reaction and having to find a taught reaction, are two different things.
Of course, both boys and girls can be born with the genetic abnormality that produces sociopaths, or can have childhood experiences that amount to catastrophe, and this can also produce sociopaths - mainly in boys but occasionally in girls.