When psychologist Hal Herzog‘s son Adam was young, he had a pet mouse named Willie. One day, Willie died.
“When he died, we thought it would be a good lesson for the kids in terms of understanding death to have a funeral for him. After all, you know, he was a pet.”
But a couple of days later, Hal’s wife found some mouse droppings in the kitchen and asked him to do something about it.
“She asked me to kill the mouse, and I did,” Hal recalls. “I went out, and I bought a mousetrap. I put a little dab of peanut butter on it and put it [in] the kitchen. And, the next morning I got up, and the mouse was dead.”
Why did Willie the pet mouse get a funeral, while the other mouse received an early end? This week on Hidden Brain, we explore the contradictions and quandaries embedded in our relationships with animals.
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