Articles and sentient animals

New Zealand now recognises all animals as sentient beings!

Discuss with a friend.. If animals are sentient beings (they can think and feel pretty much like humans can), how does this affect our attitude to:

  • animals as food
  • scientific experimentation involving animals (vivisection)
  • animals in sport and entertainment

After your discussion, read the following text and select articles as appropriate.


Select words from the drop-down menus to complete the text. When you have finished, click 'Check your answers!' for feedback.

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Studies have shown that sheep are able to recognise faces of their sheep friends even after being separated for two years. elephants from strong family groups with immense memories and they cry when they are hurt (both physically and emotionally). Capuchin monkeys know when they are receiving unequal pay ( grapes vs cucumber) and Macaques develop individual cultures, particularly when it comes to how one should wash potato.

chimpanzees like to keep the peace by redistributing bananas if someone complains that their share is unfair and even rats have been shown to demonstrate empathy by giving up their favourite snack to save drowning friend. They also giggle when being tickled.

fish use tools and octopus weigh up whether effort needed to gain food reward is worth it depending on type of food. There is also plenty of evidence on how animals have individual personalities and indeed how some are a glass half full type while others are more glass half empty.

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