End Live Export

I’d be doing a surgery such as an eye removal on a bull, kneeling inches deep in shit and urine as the ship rolled, and wonder if in the future this trade would be abolished like slavery and the world would look back in wonder and shame that it was ever considered acceptable.
Dr Lynn Simpson

Firstly as a vegan I am opposed to what is referred to as “live stock” farming in any form be it organic, small holding or factory farming. There is now no need to kill any animal for his or her meat, meat is not a natural food for human beings, it never was and never will be.

In the exploitation of animals for their meat and other derivatives there are of course many degrees of cruelty and one of the worst is the live export of animals most often to countries where there are no animal welfare laws whatsoever and where these animals are treated with appalling cruelty after spending a grueling hellish journey by sea to their destination.

If you do not have time to read this article please at least sign the petition below and scroll down to take the other recommended actions. There are a lot of actions you can take please take as many as you can.

Immediate Action  – scroll down for more actions to take to ban live export

The Australian Government is being pressured to allow Australian ponies, horses and donkeys to be sent overseas for slaughter.

“On 24 May 2017 the Australian Government Department of Agriculture confirmed that it had received a number of enquiries about exporting horses, ponies and donkeys “in large numbers for slaughter” and that it was developing regulations to facilitate the trade.”

Let’s stop this before it starts. It is shocking enough as it is with the live export of sheep and cattle without the addition of other animals.

Please sign and share petition to the Australian Parliament calling upon the Senate to prohibit the live export of ponies, horses and donkeys, once and for all.

It is time for a complete ban on the live export of all animals

As you can see by the poem above by W.H Davis live export is not new – You can read more further down concerning Davis’s  experiences on a live export ship over a century ago.

In modern times the cruelty is even worse as you can read in the link below which also includes other cruelties during the exploitation of sheep. Warning graphic images of appalling cruelty which most people will find upsetting

Sheep and Lambs
An Animal Exploitation Photo Journal and Gallery Presentation from All-Creatures.org

If you still need to ask what is wrong with live export please read the following 

Most animals who are exported live for slaughter have their throats cut while fully conscious. Millions have died at sea. Some 43 investigations have revealed that in destination countries, many animals endure routine abuse and brutal slaughter in places where laws do not protect them from cruelty

Click the link below to continue reading about the cruelty of live export and why it needs to be banned and actions you can take to help get  it stopped.


Also check out Stop Live Exports Org

Still not convinced, watch the following video Warning extremely shocking images that will break your heart

Please read the following from PETA:
Live Export: ‘Shipping’s Modern Slave Trade’

“More than 200 million animals have been crammed onto filthy cargo ships over the last 30 years, and more than 2.5 million of them have died. And of course, every single one was an individual who felt fear and pain.”

End live export, in fact end all live stock farming. Millions of sentient beings slaughtered year in and year out while living miserable lives in factory farms.

Ways you can help to bring about the end of live export.

The most simple and most effective is to change to a vegan diet. Though of course this will not have an immediate effect therefore other actions must be taken to secure an out right ban now!

Petitions to end live export

There are many petitions on-line, here is a small selection

From  Animals Australia’s website Ban Live Export be sure to click the Take Action section and sign the following petition:

PETITION to end live export cruelty

Anyone from any county may sign – please share widely

A petition from Azaaz

Senzeni Zokwana, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (South Africa): BAN Live Animal Export. Please sign and share this petition:

Help End the Hideously Cruel Live Export Industry by  sending a message to Australian High Commissioner asking him to put an end to this horrific practice today.

Help the RSPCA Australia’s campaign to end live export and send an e-mail to australia’s government officials:

Below is a list of suggested actions you can take which I have pasted from the PETA link above Live Export: ‘Shipping’s Modern Slave Trade’ . Please take as many of these actions as you can:


By taking the following actions, you can help prevent animals from suffering on live-export ships:

  • Sheep used for their fleeces are often shipped to the Middle East for slaughter once they’re no longer profitable to the cruel wool trade. Don’t subsidise the live-export industry: never buy wool, and encourage family and friends to avoid it, too.
  • Sign PETA’s petition asking Barnaby Joyce to end the live export of animals, and urge Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to take action immediately against this cruel trade.
  • Sign up for PETA Asia-Pacific’s Activist Networkso that you can stay informed about events and protests in your area.
  • Share information about the cruelty of the live-export industry on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites.
  • Write letters to your local newspaper or call in to radio stations to inform readers and listeners about what happens to animals who are shipped overseas. Check out this letter-writing guide to get started.
  • PETA can provide leaflets that explain the cruelty of live export. Post them on community message boards, include one with every bill payment, or hold your own leafleting event or protest. E-mail us to get a stash of leaflets or for more information.

Live Export and its cruelty is not a new, in the early 1900s W.H Davis in this poems Sheep and A Child’s Pet describes the hardship of live exportation.


When I was once in Baltimore
A man came up to me and cried,
“Come, I have eighteen hundred sheep,
And we will sail on Tuesday’s tide.

“If you will sail with me, young man,
I’ll pay you fifty shillings down;
These eighteen hundred sheep I take
From Baltimore to Glasgow town.”

He paid me fifty shillings down,
I sailed with eighteen hundred sheep;
We soon had cleared the harbour’s mouth,
We soon were in the salt sea deep.

The first night we were out at sea
Those sheep were quiet in their mind;
The second night they cried with fear —
They smelt no pastures in the wind.

They sniffed poor things for their green fields,
They cried so loud I could not sleep:
For fifty thousand shillings down
I would not sail again with sheep.

A Child’s Pet

When I sailed out of Baltimore,
With twice a thousand head of sheep,
They would not eat, they would not drink,
But bleated o’er the deep.

Inside the pens we crawled each day
To sort the living from the dead;
And when we reached the Mersey’s mouth
Had lost five hundred head.

Yet every night and day one sheep,
That had no fear of man or sea
Stuck through the bars its pleading face,
And it was stroked by me.

And to the sheep-men standing near,
‘You see,’ I said, ‘this one tame sheep?
It seems a child has lost her pet,
And cried herself to sleep.’

So every time we passed it by
Sailing to England’s slaughterhouse,
Eight ragged sheep-men — tramps and thieves —
Would stroke that sheep’s black nose.

The quotes below are from Davies autobiography

“We also had on this trip two thousand head of sheep, quartered on the hurricane deck. When we were six days out there came a heavy storm, and the starboard side was made clean, as far as pens and sheep were concerned, one wave bearing them all away. This happened at night, and on the following morning the sheep men were elated at having less work to do during the remainder of the voyage. The cattle, being protected on the main deck, and between decks, and their breath filling the air with warmth, make the cattleman’s lot far more comfortable than that of the sheep-men. The condition of the cattle can be seen without difficulty, but ten or fifteen sheep lying or standing in the front of a crowded pen, may be concealing the dead or dying that are lying in the background. For this reason it is every morning necessary to crawl through the pens, far back, in quest of the sick and the dead.”

Here is Davies’ account of the cattle pens during the voyage again from his autobiography

“I shall never forget the first night’s experience, when the cattle were brought to the ship in a train of cars. A large sloping gangway was erected to span the distance between ship and shore, and up this incline the poor beasts were unmercifully prodded with long poles, sharpened at the end, and used by the shore cattlemen. The terror-stricken animals were so new to the conditions, that they had no notion of what was expected of them, and almost overleaped one another in their anxiety to get away. What with the shout of savage triumph, and the curse of disappointment, and the slipping and falling of the over-goaded steers, I was strongly tempted to escape the scene. As the cattle were being driven aboard, we cattlemen, who had signed for their future charge, caught their ropes, which we were required to fasten to a strong stanchion board. Sometimes one would run up behind, and prevent himself from turning. On one of these occasions, I crossed the backs of others, that had been firmly secured, so as to force this animal to a proper position. The animal, whose back I was using for this purpose, began to heave and toss, and at last succeeding in throwing me across the back of the other, this one tossing and rearing until I was in danger of my life, only the pressure of the other beasts preventing him from crushing my limbs. Taking possession of his rope, I held it to a cattleman, who was standing waiting and ready in the alley, and he quickly fastened this refractory animal to the crossboards.”

“Up till the fourth night we had experienced no bad weather, and the cattle had been quiet and requiring little care. On this particular night my attention had been drawn several times to a big black steer, which, time after time, had persisted in lying down. At last, in pity for the poor beast, I let him rest, thinking to get him into a standing position at the last moment, when I went off duty, after calling the foreman and his men. But when that last moment came I failed in all my efforts to raise this animal, whose joints, I suppose, had become stiff after a prolonged rest. I was not therefore greatly surprised when the foreman came, after I had gone off duty, to the forecastle, with the complaint of having found a number of cattle lying down, and one, he said, in particular, which must have been lying down half of the night. ‘When I left the cattle,’ I said, ‘nothing seemed to be wrong.’ ‘Come up and see this one,’ he answered. I followed him on deck, and there I saw several cattlemen standing in front of a pen, in which I recognised the big black steer. He was now lying full length in the pen, the others having had to be removed for his convenience. ‘See this,’ said the foreman, ‘this creature should be standing. Twist his tail,’ he continued, to a cattleman, who at once obeyed. During this operation another cattleman fiercely prodded the poor creature’s side with a pitchfork, which must have gone an inch into the body. At the same time another beat the animal about the head with a wooden stake, dangerously near the eyes. The animal groaned, and its great body heaved, but it made no attempt to move its legs. ‘Wait,’ said the foreman then, ‘we will see what this will do.’ He then took out of his mouth a large chew of tobacco, and deliberately placed it on one of the animal’s eyes. My heart sickened within me, on seeing this, and I knew that I would have to be less gentle with these poor creatures to save them the worst of cruelty. In a second or two the poor beast, maddened by pain, made frantic efforts to rise, tried again and again, and after seeing its great sides panting, and hearing a number of pitiful groans, it succeeded in the attempt.”

“It was our duty to keep the cattle standing, and not to allow them to rest too long on their knees; and not [to] let them, on any account, stretch full length in the pens. One reason for this was that a kneeling steer would be overstepped by his nearest neighbour, and if the latter happened to rise, their ropes, which were so fastened as to give them very little freedom, would be tightened and crossed, bringing their heads together in such close proximity that they would make frantic efforts to escape each other’s presence. And another reason for not allowing them to lie down for any length of time was that their joints would become so stiff as to make them almost incapable of rising, though goaded by the most heartless cruelty. I used the most humane methods to attain this end, and sought to inspire terror in them by the use of a most ferocious war-cry, which often succeeded. If that failed to raise them, I struck them with a flat stick on the haunches, which they could scarcely feel, at the same time not forgetting to use my voice. Not succeeding in this, I resorted to the old remedy, which rarely fails, standing at their backs and twisting their tails. A bullock can kick in any direction. There is terrible power in his side kick, also his front kick, throwing his hind leg forward with a speed that is remarkable for such an unwieldly animal. But his back kick, when you stand back to back with him, has not the least power to cause hurt. The other watchman and myself had about an equal number of cattle under our charge, and when I was in difficulty he kindly came to my assistance, and I did likewise for him, although he seldom seemed to need other help than his own. We made our rounds about every half hour. Sometimes I found a steer in the alley; by some means or other he had cleared the head board and, still being a prisoner, stood-fastened outside the pen instead of inside. Another time we would find one standing with his tail to the head-board, instead of his head, owing to the rope getting loose, or being broken; after which he had turned himself around to see if there was any way of escape behind him. It required great care, in cases of this kind, to place them again in their original positions.”

The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp

About HW Davis

The situation is more dire nowadays and the cruelty and abuse more extreme and extensive.There are most likely few people such as Davis who made some attempt to avoid cruelty when possible. I cannot understand the mindset of any person who participates in such abuse of another living being.

The barbarous cruelty of the live export trade needs to end now consigned to history where it belongs.

Related Links

Live Animal Export Australia’s Shame

RSPCA fears for Australian ponies, horses and donkeys facing live export for slaughter

Australia’s ponies, horses and donkeys are next on the Australian Government’s live export hit list, facing a perilous journey before being slaughtered overseas for their skin and meat.

Rabbit Petitions


I don’t know what it is about rabbits but I have a soft spot for them, since adopting three rabbits all of whom had been inadequately cared for, I have got to know them as the delightful intelligent creatures they are.

Unfortunately rabbits are one of the most exploited and abused of animals, along with rodents they are the animal of choice when it comes to experiments, in the USA alone every year more than 170,000 of them are abused for research. Though they are the UK’s third favourite pet,  many rabbits end up living alone in a cramped hutch at the end of someone garden, only visited once a day or twice  a day if they are lucky to be fed and that is not always the case as many are left to die. Many rabbits live in squalid conditions in the own excrement, neglected abandoned. Still others are released into the countryside where they are eaten by predators.

Below two  petitions concerning rabbits. Please sign and share.


Petition 1

Refuse application for pet rabbit breeding shop in Crowland

This Petition is to South Holland District Council, Spalding, Lincolnshire PE11 2XE, United Kingdom asking them to refuse an application for a unit to breed pet rabbits.

“Sadly, rabbits are one of the most neglected domestic animals. Animal rescue centres are overflowing with unwanted pet rabbits which are desperate for a loving home. A new commercial rabbit breeding facility is a terrible idea.

Hundreds of thousands of rabbits face an unhappy, lonely existence in cramped accommodation, whilst being fed an inappropriate diet and suffering from a range of painful diseases.” PDSA Senior Veterinary Surgeon Sean Wensley

Selling rabbits and other small animals in pet shops encourages impulse buying. There are too many opportunities for the animals to end up in the wrong hands by being purchased for cruel reasons, or simply by people ignorant to the rabbits’ needs. A good rescue centre would do a home visit to see if the person’s home is suitable to adopt an animal.”

Please read more and sign the Petition

Petition 2


Urge Avon to Stop Paying for Cruel Tests on Animals in China

“Avon used to be a stalwart on PETA’s list of companies that never tested on animals. But in 2012, PETA exposed that some formerly cruelty-free cosmetics manufacturers, including Avon, had quietly changed their policies and were paying for tests on animals in order to sell their products in China.”

Please read more and sign and share the petition

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/772/469/168/   –  Rabbits are not the only focus of this petition. Other animals are also included who suffer terribly from cruel and unnecessary testing of cosmetics in China .

Again greed has replaced morality as former test free Avon capitalise on the Chinese market. It never ceases to amaze me how money is so corruptive, it seems many people will do anything to get more and more wealth, profit is all they care about. Avon is a highly successful business, surely they have made more than sufficient money and are now one of the foremost suppliers of cosmetics, yet still they want more even if some helpless defenceless animal has to pay the price with a life of suffering.

More ways to help rabbits.

Warning this will break your heart

Bunnies Need Your Help

This article discusses the cruel treatment meted out to rabbits and ways you can help to get it stopped.

http://www.peta2.com/blog/bunnies-need-help/  Many of you will find the graphics and videos very disturbing.

Look at this shocking picture from the article, it looks like a cannulas has been fitted in this poor little rabbit, for what reason I cannot imagine. I cannot find other pictures or more information relating to this being done to rabbits. I have never heard of a cannulas fitted to a rabbit, it is a cruel contraption which is fitted to a cow and acts as a porthole-like device that allows access to the rumen in order to perform research and analysis of the digestive system .

I wrote an article about it here: https://rantingsfromavirtualsoapbox.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/shocking-animal-abuse-agroscope-fit-cows-with-portholes-to-test-digestion/ Shocking for cows shocking for rabbits.


This is horrific in the extreme, an invasive test, a vile abuse as are all the abuses shown in the article. Makes me feel sick inside. It is Suffering unimaginable. It reminds me of the following quotation.

We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form. ~
William Ralph Inge, Outspoken Essays, 1922

Only a cruel callous mind and yes I am going to say wicked mind could have devised such a hideous contraption to insert into the body of  living feeling sentient being.


Paul Franklin Watson: Hero of Animal Rights and Environmental Activism

Below is a guest post by the animal and human rights activist and supporter of free software Luis Leonel.



PAUL FRANKLIN WATSON, the 65-year-old, silver-haired marine wildlife conservation and environmental activist, founder of the influential SEA SHEPHERD CONSERVATION SOCIETY and co-founder of GREENPEACE, is a celebrity. His job and passion is to ram whaling boats.

Paul promotes veganism and a biocentric, rather than anthropocentric, worldview. Of course, he is on Interpol’s international fugitives list, but now, France has granted him political asylum.



Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Official Website

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society on Facebook

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society on Twitter

Historic Day For The Animals And The Activism For Their Rights Worldwide

Below is a guest post by the animal and human rights activist and supporter of free software Luis Leonel.


This May 20, 2016 was an historic day for the animals and the activism for their rights worldwide.


The commemorative plaque, made with the cage’s door of the late zoo, says:

The Zoo of Paysandú was located in this site until May 20, 2016, date in that it has been transformed into the Botanical Garden “Paris London”.


Uruguayan children from public schools release doves who were also prisoners of the late zoo.doves




Please Sign a Petition to Demand St Kilda Penguin Killers be Brought to Justice


Man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn!
Robert Burns

I would like to add that man’s inhumanity to the other creatures with whom we share this world likewise makes thousands mourn. Today I was shocked and greatly saddened by the following notification in my e-mail box which I have included below along with a petition which I hope as many of you as possible will sign and share.

Please sign the petition to Demand St Kilda penguin killers be brought to justice

“Sign this petition with me, let us save these penguins from any more terror and death. We must insist that action is taken now for their protection. If you are as horrified as I am that anyone would want to inflict such horror on a small defenceless creature, and you want to help – sign this petition and pass it on…”

Please read more and sign the petition

“An unknown man brutally kicked to death a little penguin on the St. Kilda Pier in Melbourne, Australia. Two weeks later another two penguins were stomped and kicked by a group of men.

The colony of about 1,000 small blue fairy penguins living at the St. Kilda Pier are a beloved attraction for Melbourne tourists and locals alike. They have become so accustomed to the crowds of people strolling along the pier, picnicking, and fishing, that they have grown to trust humans. Sadly, this makes the penguins an even easier target for ruthless thugs.

Michael was so angry when he found out that people were jumping the fence and purposefully hurting these poor, defenseless penguins that he knew he had to take action. Will you sign his Care2 petition demanding that city officials do more to protect the penguins from these horrific attacks?

On the night of the most recent attack, a park volunteer saw a group of young men climbing on the rocks near the penguins and harassing them. The volunteer yelled at them to stop, but he wasn’t able to do much else. Needless to say, the group of men ignored him.

20 minutes later, a tourist found the volunteer and told him that two penguins were bleeding. When he arrived on the scene, he discovered to his horror that one penguin had a deep gash under its right eye and that its mate also had blood on it. Unfortunately, the volunteer didn’t have authority to move the birds for medical attention that night. He came back the next morning with help, but he couldn’t find the injured penguins.

There is still hope that these latest attack victims have survived, but the same cannot be said for the penguin kicked to death two weeks earlier.On that night, German tourists reported one man inside the penguins’ nesting area repeatedly kicking a little penguin while a large group of men cheered him on.

City officials cannot just stand by and do nothing while these horrifying acts of violence against defenseless animals continue on St. Kilda’s Pier. The area needs to be patrolled regularly by park officials, and the current fencing should be reinforced so that it keeps people out of the penguins’ nesting area.

Please sign Michael’s petition demanding that the city take serious measures to protect the penguins from further harm. The more people who speak out, the more likely it is that we’ll be able to stop these violent attacks from happening ever again.”

Please share widely

This really shocked me, the sickening brutality of harming a helpless and defenceless creature is cruelty horrifying and it turned my stomach and made me feel like crying . How can people be so cruel, what the hell is wrong with them????? What kind of person does such a thing to a defenceless animal. In addition to the unimaginable suffering of these tiny helpless penguins it is disturbing in the extreme that such vile ruthless and frankly wicked people walk among us. Yes I know there are many horrors perpetrated in the world towards both human and non human animals and many may consider that the death and injury of these penguins is insignificant. However an animal’s life is important to that animal as our lives are to us, no creature wishes to be harmed in such a way and suffering , pain and death is the same for an animal as it is for a human being. Helping to save the life of even one animal either human or non human reduces the misery and suffering in the world.

The famous quotation “Man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn!” also applies to man’s inhumanity towards his fellow creatures for the sake of perverted pleasure.Consider that no other animal behaves towards other animals in quite the same way as this cruel element of human behaviour in some people. No animal other than man kills or maims for pleasure.

Time for stiffer penalties for those who abuse and kill animals, Leonardo Da Vinci once said:

“I have from an early age abjured the use of meat , and the time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.”

I do not think that this is in the least extreme, an animal’s life is as important to the animal as our lives are to us. No one should have the right to wantonly kill any animal, to kick a helpless creature to death and get away with so doing, receiving a fine or a couple of months in prison is no deterrent at all.

Thought Provoking Quotes: All beings Hate Pains

All beings hate pains.wp.

Download larger sizes from my Flickr photostream:

This is one of a series of posts which includes a quote concerning human rights, animal rights, and the environment which will focus on anything motivating, uplifting or informative concerning these issues. Here is the first which includes an introduction:
Thought Provoking Quote

Today’s quote is from the Sutrarikga Sutratan from the Jain religion.

“Of all the world’s religions Jainism has to be foremost with regards to its compassionate and non violent approach to other living beings. The Jain Ãgamas – canonical texts based on the teachings of Mahavira who, although he was the last of 24 Tirthankaras, (enlightened beings), is recognised as the founder of Jainism, – teach great reverence for all life forms and practice strict vegetarianism, asceticism and nonviolence, Ahimsa.

From the tiniest insect unseen by the human eye to an elephant all life is sacred including the lives of plants, and all beings should be respected. The environmental awareness that we have today was long known to those who practice Jainism, as is also our rightful place in the universe, not as having dominion over the earth and its creatures but as part of an interconnected network with all beings, all of whom according to Jain belief are equal and have as much right to life as you or I or any human being. Human beings are merely a part of the natural world and are neither separate from it, above or beyond it. Jainism is a religion of love and compassion, the principle of ahimsa – non violence – is central to its philosophy and codes of conduct.”

Read More about Jainism and animals from my website think differently about sheep:

Why Animals Matter: A Religious and philosophical perspective, Jainism

Also see more quotations concerning Jainism and our relationship to animals

“The heart of Jainism is non-violence to all beings, it is a religion of compassion, universal love, it considers the welfare of all living beings, and not of man alone. One of the basic virtues of Jainism is ahimsa, non-violence. A Jain world would be free from violence or exploitation of any creature and the environment. Jainism teaches us to look upon all beings as we would upon upon our own self, thus Inflicting injury to them is inflicting injury to one’s self.”

Read more includes more quotations:
Why Animals Matter: A Religious and philosophical perspective, Jainism, Quotations

Sentient Animals: Insects

If all the insects were to disappear from the earth, within 50 years all life on earth would end. If all human beings disappeared from the earth, within 50 years all forms of life would flourish.
Jonas Salk

The brain of the ant, as Darwin says, is one of the most wonderful bits of matter in the universe. It is scarcely one- fourth the size of the head of a pin, yet it is the seat of the most astonishing wisdom and activity. If human intelligence were as great, compared with the mass of the human brain, as is the ant’s, man would be several hundred times as wise as he is now, and would then probably not fall far short of that state of erudition which the average man imagines he already represents.

Ground-wasps have been observed to use tiny stones as hammers in packing the dirt firmly over their nests a very remarkable act of intelligence…
Howard J Moore The Universal Kinship


“Buy captive creatures and set them free. Hold fast to vegetarianism and abstain from taking life.
Whenever taking a step, always watch for ants and insects. Prohibit the building of fires outside, lest insects be killed…”
Wen Ch’ang (5th century)

This is part of a series of blog posts concerning animal sentience. The series will include true stories, information and accounts which show that animals are self aware sentient beings.

Each entry will focus on one aspect of animal sentience and or one particular animal.

Here is the first post and introduction:

Crush not yonder ant as it draggeth along its grain; for it too liveth, and its life is dear to it.
A shadow there must be, and a stone upon the heart, that could wish to sorrow the heart even of an ant.
Strike not with the hand of violence the head of the feeble; for one day, like the ant, thou mayest fall under the foot thyself

When thinking of animal sentience few consider insects – yes insects are animals.

Lets begin by considering insect intelligence which although is not the only criterion to establish if a creature is sentient is often the most common one and the one which most people set store by.

Insect Intelligence

Even insects express anger, terror, jealousy, and love by their stridulation.

It has always been so difficult to find much information concerning insect intelligence, there has always been a limited amount of anecdotal evidence and certainly little scientific confirmation – at least until recently. I think this is because of all animals the study of insect intelligence has largely been ignored.

Mind you as always and in all circumstances animals do not have to justify their existence based upon the criterion of intelligence. Unfortunately however in order to gain respect as a being with the right to live life unmolested, unexploited, or in the case of insects just simply to live, evidence that a creature is intelligent helps in this regard. Proving intelligence helps to establish that a creature is sentient; perceptive, conscious and as a consequence is capable of suffering. Sadly most people require such evidence in order to consider an animals’ right to life.

To my way of thinking no animal could function without some kind of intelligence, without some cognitive thinking. No being could depend on instinct alone; intelligence, a facet of sentience of course, at some level must be present in order for a creature to function. No animal could possibly depend on his or her brain to be genetically programmed to allow the animal to adept to every contingency, some thought and intellectual consideration must take place in the mind of any animal.

I personally have no doubt that insects and other tiny creatures such as arachnids and arthropods are intelligent sentient beings.

But for those who consider otherwise an article in the Daily Mail may change your mind:

“Insects with minuscule brains may be as intelligent as much bigger animals and may even have consciousness, it was claimed today. Having a brain the size of a pinhead does not necessarily make you less bright, say researchers.

Computer simulations show that consciousness could be generated in neural circuits tiny enough to fit into an insect’s brain, according to the scientists at Queen Mary, University of London and Cambridge University.

The models suggest that counting ability could be achieved with just a few hundred nerve cells, it is claimed.

And a few thousand would be sufficient to make an animal a conscious being, rather than an automated ‘living robot’.

Extracts from article, Insects may have consciousness and could even be able to count, claim experts”

Read more:

This is a very informative article which makes the point that contrary to what many people think brain size does not indicate a creatures’ capacity for intelligence and the presence of consciousness. In other words a tiny brain does not mean an animal is not intelligent.

I firmly believe that every creature possesses a measure of intelligence, most of the creatures around us (especially insects) have existed for millions of years. We’d be very naive to believe that we are by default so superior to them.
Jon – Comment on Daily Mail article above.

Numorous studies show that insects are not automatons driven solely by instinct to act in predictable ways, rather research shows that they are in fact able to change their behaviour according to their circumstances.

More on insect intelligence from Science on msnbc. com article:

Tiny insect brains can solve big problems

Some bugs can recognize human faces, count and categorize, studies say
By Emily Sohn
Insects may have tiny brains, but they can perform some seriously impressive feats of mental gymnastics.

According to a growing number of studies, some insects can count, categorize objects, even recognize human faces — all with brains the size of pinheads.

Because we are intelligent animals with big brains, people have long assumed that big brains are smarter brains. Yet, scientists have found scant evidence to support that view…

There’s a lot of evidence, on the other hand, that overall size is irrelevant when it comes to brain power

Instead of contributing intelligence, big brains might just help support bigger bodies, which have larger muscles to coordinate and more sensory information coming in. Like computers, Chittka said, size might add storage capacity but necessarily speed or usefulness.

Extracts from Tiny insect brains can solve big problems

Read more of this fascinating article:

Well it does appear that there is some considerable evidence now more readily available for the general public concerning insect intelligence.

Clearly size of brain or anatomy in general does not mean an animal lacks intelligence, is not sentient and does not feel pain. Amazingly often anatomical size seems to be a criterion which leads people to believe that an animal is less intelligent or deserves less respect, less right to his life. Think about it tiny creatures are the most abused, many people think nothing of standing on an insect. I recall many years ago seeing a women deliberately stand on ants crawling about on the pavement. Although only in my teens and not yet a vegetarian never mind a vegan I recall feeling very shocked that someone could do such a thing, she clearly was a  person who had no regard for the right to life of all creatures no matter how tiny. Rather than being a deliberately cruel and sadistic individual she may simply have been acting in ignorance. I would like to hope that most people would act differently towards our fellow creatures no matter how tiny or indeed how intelligent or otherwise if they were better informed. Sometimes cruelly is simply a lack of awareness that such creatures are sentient.

Perhaps after reading these articles those of you who think that insects are not sentient may consider that insects are indeed intelligent thinking feeling creatures who suffer pain and like you simply wish to live.

Hopefully as our general awareness increases concerning the sentience of the creatures with whom we share this world, man will finally live in harmony with his fellow beings without exploiting, abusing or harming them in any way, no matter what their size or level of intelligence.

” I’ll not hurt thee”, says Uncle Toby, rising with the fly in his hand. “Go”, he says, opening the window to let it escape. “Why should I hurt thee? This world is surely wide enough to hold both thee and me”
Laurence Sterne

Consider the following

How is killing a fly and world peace related? – please do not skip this video

How to Humanely Handle Bugs in the House

Sentience may not depend on intelligence and I consider we should give any creature the benefit of the doubt before declaring lack of sentience, intelligence or inability to suffer.

Life is life’s greatest gift. Guard the life of another creature as you would your own because it is your own. On life’s scale of values, the smallest is no less precious to the creature who owns it than the largest.”
Lloyd Biggle Jr.


Photograph: Flower-wasp

Original imagine and licensing details

With the exception of the first and final Quotation the quotations on this webpage were gleaned from the following blog:
http://holy-lance.blogspot.co.uk/2006/08/voice-of-compassion-b-better-world.html   I usually do not cite the source of popular quotations however if I have taken a number of less usual ones from one particular website I feel it is only right to give them a mention as quotes like the ones above are not easy to find.

I will also add the following quote from the author of the above blog:

“Kind heart, gentle heart: Rescue the drowning insect; carry the snail on the pavement to safety; return the helpless worm, writhing on concrete, to the sanctuary of Mother Earth. Render help and kindness, wherever it is needed, to all life, great or small. Suffering has no boundaries, neither should compassion”