Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Must read

The New York Times has an amazing piece on elephants, society, psychological trauma, and our human responsibilites to them. If you care anything for animals (or even for humans), you need to read this piece.

Here's a teaser:
"[Elephants] have suffered, we now understand, not simply because of us, but because they are, by and large, us. If as recently as the end of the Vietnam War people were still balking at the idea that a soldier, for example, could be physically disabled by psychological harm — the idea, in other words, that the mind is not an entity apart from the body and therefore just as woundable as any limb — we now find ourselves having to make an equally profound and, for many, even more difficult leap: that a fellow creature as ostensibly unlike us in every way as an elephant is as precisely and intricately woundable as we are."


Anonymous said...

Tragic. I had no idea.


The Muser said...

Wow, SW. Thank you for linking to this piece. I also linked to it on my blog. As a former student of psychology, I've certainly studied animal behavior, and was aware of the intellect of elephants. But their social structure, emotional memory, and trauma reactions were not something I knew previously. I'm so glad the NYT did a piece on this--- so very sad, but hopefully the spread of this information will help fund additional protective mechanisms.

Anonymous said...

I read that before I saw your post on it -- "devastating" is about the only word that comes to mind. I find it even more disturbing than what's happening to sea turtles, and *that* one fills me with a despair I've never felt for anything else...thanks for linking to it. I stupidly didn't. Oh, and very belated congrats for finishing your dissertation!