Many have fantasized animals having emotions like humans do. Personally, however, I think it’s a good thing that most animals are relatively or absolutely impassive. Imagine you’re farming a hen that starts to weep and lament like a human mother does the moment you take her eggs away. As eggs are indispensable to your diet, you’d take them regardless and over time get accustomed to her shedding tears. Then tears (human or nonhuman) would mean less to you than they do. Their weeps would be seen as part of their physiology, just like the rattling sound of a rattlesnake. In other words, their sentience would be downplayed to the point where we might grow more insensitive to others’ emotional reactions to losses, unhappiness, and pain. The fact that human emotions are one of a kind ensures that we take emotions seriously.

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