For the Love of All Animals

Written by Kajsa IngelssonNovember 11, 2019

If you knew that farm animals were as intelligent and loving as your children or pets, would you stop eating them?

You might not know that farm animals are super smart and loving! Pigs learn their names and can do tricks like a dog. Cows, goats, and chickens all have incredibly complex social constructs, and they have best friends just like we do.

These are all amazing, sentient beings, yet, because we think of them as commodities, they are never afforded the respect or care that they deserve. Thinking that farm animals are in some way different than our cats and dogs is a cultural construction that allows us to rationalize mass-producing and slaughtering these animals for food. However, when we take a step back and learn more real facts about these creatures, we can begin to break down our preconceptions and see farm animals as someones, not somethings.

1. Pigs

More and more, people are waking up to the fact that pigs are highly intelligent. These lovable animals are one of only a few species that can recognize themselves in a mirror. The mirror recognition test measures how self-aware an animal can be. Human children don’t pass this test until around age two! Dogs and cats have yet to pass the test.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge found that not only do pigs recognize themselves, but they also show an understanding of how mirrors work, and can use the reflections to find food.

As if that wasn’t enough to convince you that pigs are incredible intelligent, they are also known to play games (in exchange for a delicious treat).

Pigs like to play with toys, such a balls, and are prone to getting bored if they aren’t provided with enough stimulation.

2. Cows

Cows have extremely good memories. It has been found that they not only recognize faces, but they will remember faces even after a long period of time. Cows also remember where to find the best grazing spots and directions to their favorite watering hole.

Perhaps it is this great memory that makes them the ideal best friend. Cows form strong bond and friendships with other cows and will even select a “cow clique,” and hang out with only their best friends.

3. Chickens

Like pigs, chickens can learn to do puzzles and play games.

Chickens are amazing mothers and take care of their babies long before they have hatched. It has been found that they “talk” and “purr” to the eggs during incubation.

When the chicks hatch, hens are even more loving. They defend their babies from predators, show empathy for their chicks, and teach their young everything they need to know.

Baby chicks are pretty brilliant right from the beginning. They are known to show object permanence, the ability to understand an object exists, even when they can’t see it. Chicks develop this ability when they are around two days old, while it take human babies six months to learn this skill.

4. Sheep

Sheep have gained the reputation of being followers who don’t ask questions. This, however, is just not true!

One example of their amazing intelligence is that sheep are capable of recognizing all kinds of faces. They recognize sheep in their flock and are aware when these sheep are missing. They can recognize “bully” sheep, and get distressed when they come around. These sheep can even recognize the person who cares for them and the sheepdog that herds them! If the appearance of another individual is altered, the sheep have no problem still identifying who it is, and they can keep track of over 50 different sheep faces!

If you make a sheep mad, chances are they are going to remember you and that event for over two years! Talk about a grudge…

5. Goats

Finally, we have our goats. Goats never cease to make us smile with their sheer enthusiasm for life. It turns out that goats aren’t only adorable, but they are incredibly good at problem solving.

Researchers from Queen Mary University of London and the Institute of Agricultural Science in Switzerland presented goats with a puzzle, originally intended for primates, and placed food inside a box that can only be reached by solving the puzzle. The goats had to use their teeth to pull on a rope to activate a lever, and then lift the lever up with their muzzle. If they were able to do this correctly, out came a snack. When the goats were given the challenge again ten months later, they did even better!

They’re determination plus aptitude for challenges allows them to apply these problem solving skills to help them get to food other animals wouldn’t be able to reach.

Goats in Morocco, for example, are known to climb trees to reach the tastiest branches. Quite the foodie!

Be kind to all kinds, always.

If you really think about it, what’s the difference between eating a puppy or a piglet? Once we acknowledge the how amazing all animals truly are, it becomes harder to justify the ways we abuse them.

While it might be uncomfortable to challenge the idea that farm animals are food, when we know what we do about their intelligence and abilities, don’t we owe it them to share the truth?

I feel like if you can’t kill the animal yourself, you shouldn’t pay for someone else to do it behind closed doors just so that you can eat it.

Plus fam, it just aint healthy for you. All the most prominent and deadly diseases of today can be reversed with a plant-based diet.

Last but not least, we have the issue with *ehum* the current global climate crisis

Estimates vary, but animals reared for beef, milk, cheese, eggs and other consumer products create between 14.5% and 51% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. According to a recent study published by Sentient Media, a more realistic figure could be as high as 37%. The media coverage of this? Less than 5%, according to one estimate.

The single most impactful change you can make for a sustainable future is to go plantbased. So, whether it be for sustainable concerns, for caring about your health or the simple fact that we are all sentient beings with a soul, STOP EATING ANIMALS.