Animals as Pets? Do we ever really know what they are thinking?
Do we really ever know what is going on in an animal’s mind? Some people believe that they do, but when they are wrong, disastrous consequences can result. Sometimes. Many of these same people would tell you, before the fact, that the risks are worth it.
This subject has come up a number of times recently, both in my life and in the news from across the world. Just recently, a seasoned trainer at Florida’s SeaWorld was killed by a killer whale that she had worked with for years. She was very fond of the whale; there are many photos of her hugging the whale, playing, and working with the whale. She obviously loved her job, and felt strongly about the whale conservation efforts that Seaworld claims to promote. Witnesses to the mauling have said that the whale seemed angry just before the attack, and concluded that the whale was stressed by being kept in a small tank with little to do. Essentially, they theorized that the whale “lost it.” Since then, however, I’ve heard statements made by whale trainers who theorize that the whale was simply playing; that the trainer has been in the water shortly before the incident, playing with the whale. When she got out of the water, the whale might have wanted to continue to play, and grabbed her pony tail and thrashed her about without any understanding that he was causing her death. This same whale has been involved in at least two previous deaths.
So can we tell what an animal is thinking?