By In Social Media

Chickens Have Feelings Too, Scientists Say. So Where Does That Leave Cockfighting?

I’ve always been an animal lover. As a kid I cried with a mysterious intensity after my guinea pig Twinkie died, my first taste of grief and loss.

I write this now to the sound of my dachshund Thor barking in the next room at some phantom intruder, while my other dog Peanut — a derpy pandemic pup who wakes me up every morning by plopping a toy on my face — rests at my feet. Outside, my cat Boo is silently stalking a lizard. My wife and I refer to the three of them as the Goon Squad.

Animals of all sorts have enriched human lives since we organized into societies, as sources of food, beasts of burden, hunting partners and of course, as domestic companions. Konrad Lorenz, the Nobel Prize winning zoologist who spent his life studying animal behavior said that anyone who has spent time with animals and is unconvinced that they have feelings is psychologically deranged. 

I agree with him. Though the Goon Squad clearly possess a different type of emotional repertoire than I do, it is obvious that when I am in a room with them, I am not alone. As the field of ethology expands and develops, it has become clear that most animals experience an interior life much more sophisticated than we tend to think, from apes and orcas to pigs and crows. This includes animals we typically consider to be dumb, like cows and fish. 

And, yes, also chickens, those pesky descendants of dinosaurs running rampant across Hawaii, from mountainsides to shorelines and everywhere between…

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