Do you think struggling animals like beached Orcas actually understand when humans are helping them?

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?

paying no mind*
If you're going to cry because I have a conflicting opinion and take a defensive stance over me raising conflicting points as a personal attack on your credibility instead of as a curious person trying to figure things out, don't bother leaving your opinion.

I'm sick of this crybaby community on GaG.


Most Helpful Guy

  • I think they do. My father and I came across an injured pigeon when I was a kid and we took it in. At first, it was scared shitless of us. Then we put it in a shoebox and after a while it stopped trying to run away. I want to think it realized we meant well

    • I personally hear that and think the pigeon just realized that you guys were a food source and you didn't harm it so it stuck around and got free meals, but that's just me.

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    • Either that or it was already on the verge of death so it didn't have the energy to fight anymore. But again, I want to think that it realized we meant well

    • You do your thing.

Have an opinion?

What Girls Said 2

  • Yes, they do.
    When you realize that everything has consciousness, even celery, you cease to underestimate other beings. Whales are very intelligent.

  • i dont think they understand.


What Guys Said 3

  • I think they know. I think most people don't give animals enough credit. I think they do have emotions, especially the higher animals. They know who's trying to help them and who's trying to hurt them.

    There used to be a racoon outside my apartment who had babies and I'd feed them sometimes. They weren't tame, they were still wild. One day I was over at the dumpster for the apartment. One of the little racoons was stuck in there. About a teenager by then. They got in there all the time, but it had just been emptied so there wasn't enough trash piled up for them to climb out. So when I looked in, the racoon looked right at me. Then it stood on it's hind feet, lifting his arms toward me. It wanted me to pull it out. It not only wanted me to lift it out, but seemed to know I could do it. I'm sure it had never been lifted by it's paws like that, but it still knew.

    Then a week later the same stupid racoon got stuck in another dumpster. I knew it was the same one because it had gotten into some wet paint in the first dumpster. It still had some paint on it. Didn't learn his lesson. So I rescued it again. I swear it looked embarrassed the second time.

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    • Dogs are pack animals.

      You can beat a dog half to death and it will still love you unconditionally because it's in their nature. Dogs also evolved around humans and have a natural affinity towards humans, so dogs aren't the best example. Save a wolf instead of a dog, and the wolf will run as far away from you as fast as possible.

      The dolphin video is a bit harder to criticize. I'll have to get back to you on that one.

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    • You've made this a personal attack onto yourself when it wasn't. Stop replying to me; I don't care about your opinion.

    • Yes , it think it's "being fed" so instead of eating it , it became a game of tug of war.

  • Orcas are more emotionally developed than humans so I have reason to believe they know when they are being rescued and when they're being mistreated. Even if they don't, they are still our kin.

    • The goal of this question was not to say that any animal is lesser than man, but to reach a better understanding of this particular animal.

      Understanding or not, I'll still rescue an animal if I have the ability to.