Do animals experience pain in the same way humans do?

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Do animals experience pain in the same way humans do?

Postby Justaname » Wed May 23, 2012 5:04 pm

Hi,

I was thinking, does for example, a mouse actually suffer from being killed by a cat? Or does the mouse experience his pain just as a signal for danger?

And if a human kills an animal just for nothing (not to eat) like an animal bully, does the animal feel pain?

And if so, WHY??

You may think that humans feel physical pain to mentally grow over it as an evolutionary process. But since animals don't think that way (if they actually think) i doubt the use of physical pain aside from a biological alarm.

What are your thoughts about this?
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Re: Do animals experience pain in the same way humans do?

Postby rideforever » Wed May 23, 2012 9:26 pm

This is a very interesting question. Very interesting.

Humans feel pain. Meaning that they do not 'accept' reality. They do not accept it because it clashes with concepts in their mind.

If animals conceptualise anything then the difference between their conception and reality would also be pain. So the answer is yes, because dogs for instance don't go into an thorny bush twice because after the first visit they conceptualise that it is a dangerous place. So animals have conceptualisation of reality, and so they feel pain.

Yes is the answer.

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Re: Do animals experience pain in the same way humans do?

Postby smiileyjen101 » Thu May 24, 2012 1:55 am

I would propose that there is a difference between physical pain with a physical cause that will be there until alleviated, and suffering which is the possible emotional resistance to what is - the physical pain. The intensity of the 'suffering' hurt accompanying the physical pain will depend on how much you attach to the story in the distance between the reality of the physical pain and the emotional expectation of it (eg this shouldn't be happening to me).

Physical pain in itself is a biological process of nerves and recognition of the area where something is 'wrong', out of kilter, abused or damaged. It serves to lead (hopefully) to the alleviation of the cause of the physical pain, or at the very least as a physical alarm system.

Animals have this nervous system too. So physical pain is the same.

Emotional pain, the stories we tell ourselves maybe not as much as humans as we have higher 'expectation' abilities, but animals do have and do display emotional suffering and emotional joy.
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Re: Do animals experience pain in the same way humans do?

Postby rideforever » Thu May 24, 2012 7:07 am

smiileyjen101 wrote:Physical pain in itself is a biological process of nerves and recognition of the area where something is 'wrong', out of kilter, abused or damaged. It serves to lead (hopefully) to the alleviation of the cause of the physical pain, or at the very least as a physical alarm system.
I have been thinking about this ... I don't think that pain or damage is something that is noticed by the system as being different to 'positive' things. The machine is just a machine, it has a function, there is no concept in it of good or bad ... the machine just has a 'program' and it follows the program. Feeling pain is no different from feeling satisfied, there is input, there is output.

Differentiating between good and bad are human conceptions in the mind - which is part of the program in the mind. The fact that there are 2 systems (the conceptual mind, and the body-mind organism) means that 2 different pictures can emerge, causing the pain - it also leads to a deeper possibility for being in contact with existence : awakening.
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Re: Do animals experience pain in the same way humans do?

Postby smiileyjen101 » Thu May 24, 2012 10:38 am

The biological chemicals in the brain that are released depending on whether the experience is nourishing or harmful are totally different chemicals, the system doesn't 'label' them, but it does distinguish between them. We are beginning to understand the correlation between emotions and biological responses. It's already been found that neurologically and chemically if we 'imagine' solidly enough through either empathy or fear our brains will replicate the neurological signals of pain and the release of the correlating hormones or chemicals that it would if we were having a first person experience.

The 'machine' as you call it is programmed to survive, things that create pain are things that (could) jeopardise survival. This article explains how pain works and is recognised by the brain. http://pain.about.com/od/whatischronicp ... g_pain.htm

Two things will affect pain recognition - a fault in the brain - brain injury, tumour or chemical imbalance, or a fault in the spine that inhibits the flow of information.
Consciousness, I would argue creates neither of these.

Consciousness however can alleviate or eliminate unnecessary emotional suffering, even if it is attached to physical pain.
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Re: Do animals experience pain in the same way humans do?

Postby rideforever » Thu May 24, 2012 5:21 pm

If you are eaten by a Tiger, do you feel pain ? Does a steak feel pain when it is eaten ? Or a tree ?

Is pain 'biological'; my arm doesn't feel pain without me - if you cut my arm off and the burnt it - is it feeling pain ? Signals are flying around it's neural circuit ... is it experiencing pain ?

Does a rock feel pain ? What about if you crack it in 2 pieces ? Does a rock feel pain because it is not absolute ?

I have not the slightest idea.

At a deep level pain is about not knowing who you are : you choose to be born so that you can experience, as you are born you are identified with a form; the more highly functioning the form is, the more it can sense it is not absolute and the more it feels pain.

So pain is a temporary phenomenon existing in the non-absolute section of existence. How is it possible for pain to exist ? How is it possible for creation to exist ? In other words, if all is one, how is it possible that all is not one ?

I have not the slightest idea.

But I think we can say that animals are similar to human- Woof !
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Re: Do animals experience pain in the same way humans do?

Postby Justaname » Thu May 24, 2012 6:00 pm

I personally think that animals feel pain of course. But not as humans do. I think animals feel pain like we if we smell a bad smell.

Our food is rotten, it stinks and that's a signal that i shouldn't eat it. I cut my arm. I feel pain, thats a signal: i should apply a bandage.
But why, biologically seen am i keeping the pain even if i already patched my arm up? Clearly my nerve system doesn't know i already took care of the wound and thus it keeps sending pain signals. Is my pain emotional?

If some animal is caught by a lion as a prey, amd there is no way of escaping. Wouldn't it be stupid of nature if the animal still felt pain?

I think an animal doesn't have self pity and so an animal experiences pain like we experience a bad smell. But even then, it would be unnecessary to have the nerve system working for the animal that can't escape anymore...

I'm sorry for my bad english and my possibly stupid reactions to your interesting answers. Thank you people very much for the reactions and thinking along, so far!
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Re: Do animals experience pain in the same way humans do?

Postby smiileyjen101 » Fri May 25, 2012 9:08 pm

I cut my arm. I feel pain, thats a signal: i should apply a bandage.
But why, biologically seen am i keeping the pain even if i already patched my arm up? Clearly my nerve system doesn't know i already took care of the wound and thus it keeps sending pain signals. Is my pain emotional?

Your arm is still sending signals via the cut, the break in the skin. Applying the bandage doesn't mean the skin is healed. When the skin is healed, then the system will stop sending signals to the brain.

If you bemoan and bitch and create a self pity story about the cut, that is a different layer and a totally different biological system in emotional response.

But, even if you are calm and accepting emotionally, the physical pain of the cut will still be there until it is healed.

Similarly if an animal is caught by a lion yes they likely will have emotional fear, but if they are injured from the lion's teeth or claws that physical pain will be no different to us being harmed by a lion's teeth or claws. If the animal is killed, both their emotional fear and their physical pain will stop. If they are not killed, the pain of their injuries will still be felt and like your injured arm those injuries will be felt unless their spinal cord is severed or their brain is damaged.

Even if one cannot actually feel the pain of an injury (eg from spinal cord injury), one can still have an emotional reaction through imagining and our fearful thoughts about the injury.

Why link this physical pain and emotional suffering to a judgement of difference betweens humans (who ARE animals) and other animals though? I'm just curious.
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Re: Do animals experience pain in the same way humans do?

Postby rideforever » Fri May 25, 2012 10:33 pm

Actually I said cut my arm off, and then burn it. You see then the 'physical pain' still exists, but it doesn't affect me.

What I have been trying to get at is ... you see there are many signals within you. Some are electric, some chemical, some ... well I don't know but there are different types.

Now which ones are 'pain' ? It is arbitrary, meaning that it depends on the person, the culture and the conditioning of that person. It is not to do with the mechanism of the body. The body is just the body, doing the body thang. If you cut yourself it will form a blood clot, if you eat it will digest, if laugh it sends out endorphins. It is not making any judgement that one function is good and one not. It is just doing it's thing. The body is not even trying to survive - in fact it is programmed to die ... at some point. And it is just part of a larger body called 'all life on this planet'. A chicken dies and I eat it, I die and a chicken (not the same one) eats me.

So the body is not in pain is it, it is just doing it's thing.

PAIN must be happening somewhere else. And I think it is caused because of the picture of yourself you have in your mind. So now there are 2 things : the picture of yourself in your mind, and then your self your etc... And when these 2 things are not the same there is pain.

So like if you read Grazia! every day you have this picture of all these beautiful hot women in your mind and it becomes like the ideal you ... and then you look in the mirror ... and (ok maybe not if you are Claudia Schiffer) you feel pain. Because the image in your head is not the one in the mirror.

Your culture gives you ridiculous ideas about living forever etc... and then you see greys hairs on your head and you feel pain.

So ... like I said, dogs also have pictures their head. Woof. And that's why they don't go into the thorny bush twice. And so dogs have pain same as us.

Admittedly dogs have a kind of small picture in their head, and the only thing they ever think is "where's the food" ... although they pretend to like you a lot, but that's what they are thinking. If you ever want to know what your dog is thinking, it is "where's the food ?"

But still ....
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Re: Do animals experience pain in the same way humans do?

Postby smiileyjen101 » Sat May 26, 2012 12:51 am

Actually I said cut my arm off, and then burn it.

Sorry rideforever, the quote I was responding to was not that section of your earlier post but justaname's query as quoted above my response.

In your example you talk about your arm having been cut off and burnt not being in pain. That's because it's been severed from the neural system, the spinal system and the brain. I would suggest where your arm used to attach to your body, your neural system you might still be feeling sore for some time. There are additional phenomena for amputees who may 'feel' their now gone limb being either painful or itchy as if the nerves were still there, which is kind of fascinating, but there are also those who experience 'trauma' reactions and never get over the 'loss' of their limb if they have conditioned themselves to believe having those limbs 'define' them as human beings.

While I agree our response to pain is individually and sometimes culturally and maybe even by species influenced.
The more we recognise that we won't die from it the more we absorb it and learn to live with it. When this doesn't happen it has less to do with the actual injury and more to do with the response to the injury or the circumstances surrounding it.

So let's instead of 'pain' maybe look at our response, and the variety of responses to pain, both physical and emotional.
I suggest anyone who ignores the pain of a broken ankle and continues to walk on it as if it's not broken would have some other neurological damage interrupting the signals to protect itself - and by anyone, I include animals in that too, why else would they limp.

I know of one young girl who showed and felt no sign of pain when she accidentally inflicted a serious wound on her leg, it ended up being a blessing because the lack of neurological response led to investigations that found a brain tumour growing at the top of her spinal cord and into her brain.

I know of a C2 spinal patient who could not feel anything below C2 in the neck who would cry when he heard the voice of the physiotherapist, while he was in no pain during physio the sound of the cupping on his chest scared him and he associated this 'pain' with the appearance of the physio.

Yes someone (animal including humans) with a broken ankle can still run on it if it deems it needs to eg in a fight or flight situation where adrenalin rushes through the system and to a degree anaesthetises the physical pain, adrenalin 'floods' the system and overpowers the neurological 'pulses' of the initial pain. Aron Ralston who did cut his own arm off to free himself from a fallen rock that had crushed it and walked out of the wilderness is an example - was he still in pain though... absolutely!!

My dad used to joke if someone had stubbed their toe and was screaming to 'stub the other one', then you'd forget about the first one... in reality, you'd just have two sore toes :wink: but what it was alluding to was the suffering being experienced was related to the response to the injury and the expression of that response as much as the injury.

Far be it for me to judge the 'value' of another's pain. If the most painful experience a person or animal has had has been to recognise their aging, so be it. Our response is the part we can monitor and adjust, not the experiencing of it, or rather pain in life is inevitable, unnecessary suffering is optional.

So we are 'experiencing' pain in an immediate moment, the stories we attach to that pain may increase the severity of the emotional and physical reaction. Like a fright that becomes a fear, and a fear that becomes a phobia we can increase the intensity of the experience by increasing and prolonging the attention to it as we try to make meaning from it.

'Trauma' responses are extreme responses that don't settle down and become absorbed as a 'new' reality based on the experience and this can happen for a number of reasons. Normal responses to stimuli teach us in the first instance to fear a thing, eg the prickles in the bush that the dog experienced, but we can fixate on stimuli surrounding a painful or scary situation to the degree that becomes debilitating that is not necessary - eg if the grass was wet when the dog ran into the prickly bush the dog experiencing a trauma reaction may associate wet grass with the pain, instead of the prickly bush and fear going out when the grass is wet even if there is no prickly bush in the area.

Similarly a person who has a traumatic reaction to a sign of aging, or a recognition that they don't look like someone else may be fixated on things others than the actual signs of aging (reality) eg: maybe they have regrets, maybe they fear death, maybe they are attached to how they thought their life would be rather than how it really has been. These are the opportunities to grow, or not if they are unwilling to move with life.

PS: Dogs have a far greater vocabulary and sense of their place in this world, and place in our families than you give them credit for.
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