Descartes famously believed that animals were living machines; he was said to beat, torture, and vivisect dogs simply to demonstrate that they had no feelings. He interpreted the sounds emerging from the dog’s mouth as mere physical reactions, just the mechanical result of air passing through a windpipe, not indicative of emotional self-expression. According to Descartes and many of his followers, animals were inferior to humans because they lacked the capacity for language. While scientific evidence as well as popular opinion about the emotive actuality and potential of animals has proven that they have inner lives, most do not speak in a language we understand. And many still suffer abuse by humans…

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