The meat industry, butchers, and hunters find any excuse to kill animals by claiming that animals have no feelings and that they are not capable of love. On the contrary, there are many examples to show that animals are capable of loving their young, their partners, and their friends. They feed their babies, clean them, wash them, play with them, pet them, protect them from danger, teach them life skills, and warn them when they are rude, just as human parents do with their kids. Apart from that parental care that seems somehow innate, animals are capable of creating love relationships that last until death do them part. When starting such relationships, animals don’t give wedding commitments to each other; it is all-natural and informal.
Birds feel love
One of the best examples of the ability of animals to love their partners can be found among birds. There are no laws, moral obligations, or written rules that govern them and condition their relationships as is the case with people. Their behavior is a virtue in itself and there are no external motivators that affect their loyalty.
One of the most beautiful love stories from the bird world comes from Croatia about the love between two storks.
Twenty-eight years ago, pensioner Stjepan Vokic found a stork with a broken wing, saved her life, and afterward the two of them spent their days together, mostly in anticipation of the new spring. In 2002, this female stork that he named Malena found the love of her life. Klepetan, as Stjepan calls him, is a male stork that migrates yearly and with Malena, they raised about 60 chicks. Every autumn, Klepetan would set off on a long journey back to Africa while Malena stayed in the village with Stjepan. The love story of Malena and Klepetan, followed by millions of people around the world, ended after 19 years when Malena passed away. Although his lover died, Klepetan still returns in the spring to the same nest. Several documentaries have been made about their love. Also, theatrical performance was made for children in which, in addition to that touching emotional connection, the ecological aspect was also pointed out, because a lot of storks perish on the way to the south and back.
Charles Darwin even wrote about a blind pelican whose pelican friends fed fish to every day even though they lived some 30 miles away. Although examples of love and affection do not differ from those in human communities, such relationships among animals are considered only instinctive reactions.
Dogs feel love
One of the saddest movies of all time is “Hachiko”, based on a true story about a dog who suffered for the rest of his life after his owner died. Mr. Parker accidentally finds a lost puppy and decides to take him home for a while. The new owner and the puppy become closer and closer over time and their relationship becomes unbreakable. Together they create a common routine that is one day interrupted by a sad event when Mr. Parker does not show up at the station where Hachiko waited for him every day. But the dog did not give up. For the next nine years, he waited for Mr. Parker in the same place at the same time, sadly without success.
There are a number of examples of dogs and cats going to their master’s grave and mourning for them for a long time and some even for life, but still, there is no movie about cows spending several days at their owner’s grave. One such case occurred in central Germany.
Bulls and cows feel love
Farmer Alfred Gruenmeyer (Coburg, Germany) was known for treating the cattle at his farm as equally as pets. He even let them roam in and out of his house. The animals obviously appreciated his kindness, because one young bull was so distressed upon realizing that his owner passed away that he walked for more than a mile to get to the farmer’s grave, breaking down the cemetery wall. It took seven days for the bull to calm down so people could take him back to pasture.
One of the best examples of an animal’s ability to love their babies is a cow’s love for her calf. Cows are able to cross miles in search of a calf that has been taken away from her too early. Desperate cows don’t eat or drink for days and they sound like they’re crying as they bellow in distress.
There is a well-known story about a Daisy cow that was sold at auction in Devon, England. She was so upset that she was separated from her calf that she jumped the fence and ran six miles to get back to her child.
Another of the most poignant stories about a cow’s love for her calf is about a cow called Emma who was so distraught when her calf was taken away that she was obsessed with finding it. She managed to escape from the farm and come to the slaughterhouse where they were about to execute her child. She made so much of a mess that the staff got scared and got out of her way. Her calf waiting in line for slaughter heard her cry and headed out to meet her. Emma was so thrilled that she kept licking him. Everyone who saw it was moved and the owner decided to spare her life and the life of the calf. Wouldn’t that be a great script for a film that would encourage many to think about how emotional cows are?
Animals love life
The documentary ‘My Octopus Teacher’ connected the dots for some viewers about the sentience and intelligence of octopuses. Through films like this, people begin to understand that non-pets can also love and have a deep connection with humans. More films about animals that people eat, like cows, pigs, and chickens, may shift the perceptions that they have about these animals and they might reconsider their choices of eating these loving creatures.
In addition to being able to feel love for partners, friends, and owners, what is common to all animals (unlike many people) is that these animals feel immeasurable love for life. They all want to live no matter how hard life has been.
Sadly, before slavery was abolished, love relationships among black people were considered a mere animal lust and animal instinct, and even when they established lifelong relationships, white people considered it only a response to instinct. Similarly, people who do not understand animals and consider them a lower species to be exploited also see in their love relationships only instinctive behavior. Despite these prejudices, there is a lot of evidence of how animals are able to show love and have complex emotional relationships.