I've been watching a lot of rescue videos lately since, even though I hunt, I can't stand to see the sight of an animal going through pain/struggling (seems hard to believe; I hunt to eat and to protest the CAFO harvested meat industry). I'm no marine biologist, and though I understand mammals have a higher cognitive thinking than we give them credit for, but I've been wondering if animals experiencing strife actually understand that a human is helping them (with respect to their own sentience).
I've seen lots of people try to attribute human qualities to animals such as when you laugh at a dog its feelings get hurt, but I've said time and time again that the owner is just projecting their own feelings onto the animal because, unlike humans, dogs do not laugh and therefore wouldn't understand the relevance of laughter (not to mention they aren't philosophical and wouldn't understand the intricacies of why it is being laughed at, why it should matter, what it means to the person laughing, and whether or not its feelings should be hurt).
I feel the same of rescued animals; I feel that, since animals don't tend to embark on cross-species rescue missions the wild (save for instinctual drives such as paternal driven baby rescuing), that all a beached whale is experiencing is stress from being beached, and fear of being surrounded by humans, realizing its free now, and it swimming away to get away from the threat of the beach and the large group of humans.
What do you think? Do you believe that animals with higher functioning brains actually understand when they're being aided? Or do you believe that the animal is still running off pure instinct and just realizes that it's free now, paying to mind or thought to the effort enacted by its saviours?
I'm sick of this crybaby community on GaG.