Annotations - Thanksgiving 1908

lower creatures do not suffer as we would

In his 1871 The Descent of Man, Darwin wrote that “the lower animals, like man, manifestly feel pleasure and pain, happiness and misery” (104). Freshel's use of the terms “lower creatures” and “lower animals” suggests that she sees non-human animals in a similar hierarchical relationship. They are animals and they “suffer” “like man,” but they are of a “lower” order of creation.

The “thought that the lower creatures do not suffer as we would” originates in the Cartesian comparison of animals to “automata,” though Ian J. H. Duncan argues that this idea may have been based on a misreading of Descartes and that, at the end of the nineteenth century, “it was commonly accepted by scientists that animals were sentient and this was also the commonsense view held by the community” (12). He pinpoints the development of behavioral science at the turn of the twentieth century as a reason for the change in the perception of animal sentience.