It is estimated that dogs have been living as companions to human beings for tens of thousands of years. These wonderful beings are friendly, intelligent, and loving. Anyone who has a dog knows they are very attuned to our emotional states. Dog guardians describe the individual personalities of their dogs, and many scientists now believe that dogs do indeed have emotions.
A study using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) demonstrated that dogs seem to have emotions much like humans. The researcher, Dr. Gregory Berns, a neuroscientist at Emory University, said: “we can no longer hide from the evidence. Dogs . . . seem to have emotions just like us. And this means we must reconsider their treatment as property.” He went on to say: “The ability to experience positive emotions, like love and attachment, would mean that dogs have a level of sentience comparable to that of a human child. And this ability suggests a rethinking of how we treat dogs.”
Dr. Marc Bekoff, Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, said: “When we betray our companion’s innocence and trust, our actions are ethically indefensible and we become less than human . . . The hearts of our companion animals, like our own hearts, are fragile, so we must be gentle with them. You can never be too nice or too generous with your love for our dear and trusting companions, who are so deeply pure of heart. Indeed, by honoring our companion’s trust in us we tap into our own spirituality. These wonderful beings make us more human . . . They almost always trust us unconditionally, and it’s a malicious double-cross to betray their deep feelings of trust in our having their best interests in mind . . . It breaks my heart to know that some people can be so evil.”
Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of Dogs Never Lie About Love, says: “The idea of using a dog to do a scientific experiment is repulsive beyond telling. Dogs have been with humans at least 35,000 years. They are almost a part of our DNA. We are closer to them than to any other animal. No other animal understands us, or cares about us, or loves us, the way dogs do. And this is how we repay them? Conduct painful experiments on them? It is a puzzle to them, and it is a puzzle to me: how could we bring ourselves to do this? It is a deeply shameful practice, and I am convinced we will look upon it, in another 20 years, as a piece of barbarism we wish had never happened.”
The lives of all dogs are equal and each and every dog is capable of the same amount of suffering. Whether a dog is a mixed breed or a purebred, whether a companion animal or a stray dog on the streets, whether large or small, whether born in a home or “purpose bred” by a dealer, whether your family member or a dog being held captive in a laboratory, they all deserve our protection and our concern.
How can we look we look into the eyes of our best friends and say we don’t care about others, just like them, who are suffering in laboratories?