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Animal World: Our Co-inhabitants

Dr. Jonathan Balcombe (vegan) on the Incredible Intellect and Emotional Intelligence of Animal-People, Part 2 of 2

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Dr. Balcombe has extensive knowledge about many species of us animal-people, including how we feel pain. “Vertebrate animals, animals who have backbones, which is mammals, fishes, birds, reptiles, amphibians, they all clearly have brains, minds, emotions. They have the same kind of living systems that we have, and science shows this. With respect to pain, the fact is that animals will, if they are in pain, they will seek and take pain-relieving drugs if they're given the opportunity.”

“We need to stop poisoning the planet. And we need to respect them, and treat them in ways that are compatible with the continuation of life. And most of them don't harm us. And, if we disappeared, they would do, continue to flourish, they would do fine. But the opposite is not true: If flies disappeared, we would have to go too, because they help run the planet. They’re a critical part of the ecology, the balance of life. They’re pollinators. The food we eat, it’s not just pollinated by bees, it's also pollinated by flies, and wasps, and other insects.”

When you take a moment to really appreciate the beauty of nature - right down to the smallest insect-people, there comes a sense of awe. The insect-people are truly intelligent and skilled in so many ways. “Flies and other flying insects can get around remarkably well, and they can maneuver, they can land upside down, some of them. They can fly backwards, they can hover. So, I marvel at their physical skills. I also marvel at their organization, like the ant colonies, for instance, which all have their roles. Everybody knows their place. They’re remarkably adaptive and they’re amazingly flexible, and they're very opportunistic. These are all qualities that I think we show in some ways.”

We can all work together in harmony – human beings, animal-people of the land, the sky and the water, as well as the insect-people. We each bring such unique gifts to the world. And we are all earthlings, so it would benefit all of us to take care of each other.
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