Dr. Shalaway from the Exponent Telegram speaks on the intelligence of deer from his personal experience. What he has observed is convincing enough that deer are very intelligent animals. Some would contend they are too intelligent to be hunted. Proponents of the hunt claim that if deer were not hunted, they would overpopulate the cities. The problem could actually then be that humans are overpopulating deer land. Deer, cows, and pigs all have high levels of intelligence, and this could matter to the few who are considering a vegan diet.
Dr. Shalaway describes the learning abilities and intelligence levels of deer that are near and around his property. Many stories he had heard in his life involved a large buck “flaunting his flesh” during the entire year except when time came for the hunting season. Each and every year somewhere a buck scared of hunters tucks himself away in a bed, or a sewage tunnel to avoid becoming a game target. He also mentions when the coyote population grew in his neighborhood, deer chose the house as a place of safety over the wild woods.
Dr. Shalaway acknowledges something quite certain and extraordinary about their perception and behavior. The deer on his property sometimes do not run away even if Shalaway pretends to be holding a gun, shouting, and otherwise startling the deer. They have learned that there is no hunting on his property and will remain based on that knowledge alone. This, he claims, is obvious intelligence, as they ignore their instincts telling them to take flight, and honor the wisdom that was learned.
Although Shalaway might continue to hunt, many animal rights supporters believe they should be protected. The intelligence of deer matter to these people, so does the intelligence of cows and pigs as they are killed every day in the meat industry.
The organization known as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has already done much research into the intelligence of the cow. They report that cows are as diverse in personality and behavior as cats, dogs, and people. Many can be intelligent, while others are not so bright. Some can be bold and adventurous, while others are more reclusive and timid. In general, however, cows are fairly intelligent animals that can remember things for a long duration.
Behaviorists have made many claims to the complexity of cow society—the socially intricate system of cow interaction. They can form friendships that can last for their entire lifetime, but unfortunately, because of America’s constant consumption of meat, it might not be for a very long time. Cows, like horses, and many other mammals, have been found mourning the death of a loved one. This intelligence should not be whitewashed.
An NBC News article describes the intelligence of pigs as perhaps the smartest and cleanest domestic animals currently in existence—more so than cats and dogs, some experts claim. Pigs actually do not have sweat glands, so they roll in the mud to cool off. The mud itself can be very dirty, hence the misconception about the cleanliness of this animal. One of the first modern-era signs of the pig’s intelligence came from experiments conducted in the 90s. The swine in one study were trained to move a cursor on a monitor screen with their noses or mouth; they were instructed to distinguish between writings that they were familiar with, and markings that they were seeing for the first time. This task was learned as quickly as chimpanzees.
Thousands of animals can be saved if Americans cut back on meat one, two, maybe three days of the week. This is why the intelligence of cows, pigs, and deer matters, because life should be cherished. It is an act of gluttony when people pack down protein calories for muscle-building or pleasure, as vegetarian foods have proven to be highly palatable and sustaining.
Opinion By Lindsey Alexander