Myth Or Reality: Suicide In Animal World
But as we belong to the human race and I imagine you already know and discover a lot about you and the persons around you each day, I am going to approach the subject talking about animals. We all have heard about cases in which men committed suicide from various reasons, most often because they found the life unbearable and they found themselves unable to see anything good in their life. There are moments in this life when we feel depressed because of various other reasons but I for one do not consider that these reasons are strong enough to determine one’s desire to end with this life. Yet, I learned along the years that I should not judge the others because there is not a single person who really knows what is going on in the mind and soul of another person.
Talking about animals, there have been voices which stated that in fact animals too are capable of committing suicide. Do you think this is true, do you envisage animals as being so conscious as to premeditate their death? This can turn out to be a real debate. If it were for one to look for the definition of suicide in the dictionary he would see that it is defined as being the “act or instance of taking one’s life intentionally and voluntarily”. Can there be any talk about such a thing when referring to animals?
Like in any debate, in this one too there are two sides of the coin, one which sustains that animals are in fact capable of committing suicide and one which states that such a thing is just ‘bla bla bla’ and they deem it as something crazy to even think about. I let you decide on which side you can position yourself.
Looking deep into this matter I discovered the fact that those who consider the humans to be some sort of animals embrace the idea of animals being able to commit suicide. Most often such a person would say “If we are able to commit suicide then animals can too”. As such the question which comes on everyone’s lips in this moment is one which tries to determine which animals are capable of ending their life voluntarily. One could make himself a list on which he could check the name of possible “suiciders” from the animal world. It sounds quite creepy if you ask me but sometimes life in itself can be pretty creepy don’t you think so?
Do you think animals get depressed and are capable of having suicidal impulses just like human beings? There have been voices which stressed over the fact that we are sometimes too busy to even pay attention to the animals around us and that at times they too can get depressed and feel sad. I heard about situations when animals stopped eating and kept waiting for their masters for hours or sometimes even days in front of the door looking somewhere in the distance and probably hoping to see the loved master. We sometimes consider ourselves superior to animals and tend to be selfish thinking only about one’s well being and as such we become too self absorbed to even attempt thinking beyond ourselves. At times the sadness and stubborn refuse to eat or drink anything we see or at times deliberately ignore in animals leads to their death. I heard about cases when animals simply placed themselves in the middle of the road as if waiting for some high speed car to hit them. Honestly I never witnessed such a thing and as such I cannot state that this is the ultimate truth. And, as animals are not able to communicate with us by means of words and as sometimes their language remains indecipherable to us, it is no wonder that some of us claim that animals are capable of committing suicide.
Can it be considered that animals have a consciousness? So far this theory hasn’t been proved and it looks like we are unable to prove it.
Some claim that sick or somehow handicapped animals are more likely to do things that guarantee them a fast end, as such putting an end to their suffering. Such is the case of whales beaching and eventually dying. Still most experts account for this by saying that it all lies in the fact that they may be injured or sick or perhaps old and therefore weakened. It is said that they may as well follow their prey to the shore or that they may be disorientated by the sounds coming from the rather huge boats circulating in the middle of the ocean.
As far as caged animals are brought into discussion it seems that as much as we suffer when being deprived of our liberty, the animals suffer too. When documenting about this subject which I consider to be pretty sensitive I managed to read all kind of stories about caged animals committing suicide or better said at times refusing to eat and drink and as such hurrying up towards an inevitable end. I will mention some of these things I read here; I honestly do not know if they are truth but as nothing is impossible who knows after all what is true and what is not true nowadays. I read about dolphins which being kept in pools found a way to end their lives, hamsters which have jumped off from the upper ledge of their cage and thus managed to injure themselves and at times even die.
Do you think all these stories are true? It all happens by accident or do these animals really commit suicide?
It may be unclear yet whether one can mention suicide or better say that feeling excluded or perhaps too depressed animals choose to engage themselves in all kind of risky activities, like jumping off a ledge or beaching or at times starvation.
Apparently the so called love birds choose to end their lives when their pair dies as they seem to get too desperate in their grief for the loved one. These birds mate for life and as such the death of their partner gets sometimes devastating proportions. It is said that these birds choose to fly at extreme heights and then simply let themselves fall in what some may consider to be the last flight to death. This happens if they are lucky enough to be free and not be kept captive in some cage. Yet, when this happens, they choose starvation as a way to end up with their “miserable” single life and loneliness.
Have you ever heard about gorillas being so depressed as to find no motivation to eat or drink anything at all? All this happened when the gorilla was separated from its female being kept in captivity. I guess that animals too can be depressed and sad as they too feel the need of being taken care of, caressed and loved. I am mentioning all these things thinking about the pets but it may as well be applied to the animals living in captivity or even to those living in the wilderness, but in their case the caressing thing comes from their fellow animals because at times it may be too dangerous to even try doing this ourselves. We would then speak about clear suicide on our behalf.
Talking about animals which apparently choose to end their lives one could also mention guinea pigs as they too seem to choose starvation when they feel depressed or they are sick or perhaps in morn for a lost mate. In all the above mentioned situations they starve to death.
Have you ever heard about fish that actually jump off the aquarium? Why do they do this? Some may say that certainly they are not smart enough to predetermine their death, yet as we are unable to speak with them we can never be sure what happens in their case.
You probably already know that when committing suicide one seems not be clearly thinking and acts under the impulse of all the negative emotions having accumulated inside him. It is a so called intense wave of emotions gaining control over a human being. It may be also considered the fraction of time characterized by extreme dementia.
Are really animals capable of feeling all these things? As I said from the very beginning of this article this subject can raise quite a debate.
You probably heard about birds flying directly into windows. As this happens you may even hear some jokes made on this subject as I heard, something that sounded like this
“Hey, you should stop cleaning those windows and let them get dirty and as such you would manage to save their lives!” Ironically enough we feel sorry for these birds ending up tragically their lives yet we envisage no possible solution for this situation and we actually do not know what happens to them and why do they choose to end like this or perhaps they accidentally fly into these windows. They may be doing this because they envisage those windows as open space or that they only see the reflection of trees in windows and this practically makes them fly into them feeling safe. I once happened to see such a thing and I have to mention here that the bird doing this was in fact in its first year of life and as such it was probably not “trained” into life and into flying. This may be a possible explanation.
You most certainly heard about lemmings which are said to commit mass suicide. This may be labeled as a misconception or as a myth. It may all have started with the Disney documentary entitled “White Wilderness” which spread the idea that lemmings are actually capable of committing suicide and that they do this by heading for a river and drowning. This happens as the region inhabited by them becomes too overcrowded. It is said that in fact they do not acknowledge the fact that it is the water they are heading and that because of their poor vision they may envisage it as some sort of pasture. It can be quite debatable. Some take this case for granted and bring it as an argument in sustaining the suicide theory in the animal kingdom, some regard this with skepticism and declare it a myth and nothing else.
More often we happen to see animals injuring themselves; it may be because they happen to be stressed or sick or perhaps badly fed and living isolated from the other animals. You must have seen at least once in your life a bird practically pulling out its feathers and probably wondered why do these birds do such things. They may feel unhappy like we sometimes feel too. It may happen in our own case to simply ill-treat ourselves and most often this happens because we feel guilty for something or perhaps too depressed, in one word unhappy.
What do I think about these animals and the idea of committing suicide? I personally think that animals possess a strong power of sacrifice and that at times they sacrifice themselves on the altar of death. It may be because they feel sad and depressed or perhaps unloved but I sincerely do not think there is one person in this world who doesn’t recognize the extreme loyalty of most animals and at times their gift and power to sacrifice their lives in order to save ours. There are numerous such examples and all you may need to do in order to find them would be to start digging for information in books or perhaps it would be easier to search it on google.
Whether animals commit or not suicide it remains a mystery, an unsolved one and perhaps it will remain so for as long as the animals surrounding us or living in the wild will not be able to provide us a verbal answer, or at least an answer which we should understand. As long as animals are incapable to use our language and as long as we certainly are unable to speak theirs then the issue of suicide in animal world is a rather debatable subject. So, let’s debate!11