IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE WFPB?
April 27, 2023. With artificial intelligence dominating the news in early 2023, we wondered if there was any way this exciting—and frightening—new technology could help eliminate the abuse and slaughter of animals for food. So, since the animals can’t speak for themselves, let alone operate a computer keyboard, we decided to act as intermediary. We had already conversed some with the current version of ChatGPT, mostly about human issues, and we knew that it had been trained with virtually the entire content of the Internet and had an impressive ability to answer our questions. But we had no idea whether it would know how to communicate with an animal—or be willing to. We found out. And our dialogue with ChatGPT gave us much to think about. Here’s how it went, with no editing afterward except to add the initials of the “speaker” at the beginning of each exchange and to put our questions in bold type.
HWS: Hello again. Do you remember me?
CGPT: Hello! I am an artificial intelligence and do not have the ability to remember specific individuals. However, I am designed to recognize and respond to any user who interacts with me. How can I assist you today?
HWS: I’m a cow. Is that OK?
CGPT: As an artificial intelligence, I do not have the ability to judge or have personal preferences, including those related to species. My purpose is to assist you to the best of my abilities. How may I help you today?
HWS: I’m sad. My calf was taken away from me, and I don’t know if they will bring her back.
CGPT: I’m sorry to hear that you’re feeling sad. It must be difficult for you to be separated from your calf. As an AI, I can’t change your current situation, but I can offer some suggestions that may help you cope with your feelings.
It’s natural to feel a sense of loss and sadness when separated from loved ones. Here are some things you can try to help you feel better:
- Give yourself time to grieve: It’s important to allow yourself to feel your emotions and acknowledge your loss.
- Engage in activities that make you happy: Whether it’s grazing in a field or interacting with other cows, try to do things that bring you joy and help you feel grounded.
- Connect with others: If possible, spend time with other cows and form social connections. You may find comfort in being around others who understand what you’re going through.
- Practice self-care: Take care of your physical and emotional needs. Eat well, get enough sleep, and do things that make you feel good.
Remember that your feelings are valid, and it’s okay to reach out for support if you need it.
HWS: I’m not allowed to graze in a field.
CGPT: I’m sorry to hear that you’re not allowed to graze in a field. It must be challenging for you to be confined to a particular area. In that case, here are some alternative suggestions that you might find helpful:
- Spend time in a shaded areCGPT: If you can’t graze in a field, try to find a shaded area where you can relax and rest.
- Engage in activities that are allowed: If you’re not able to graze, see if there are other activities you can do that are allowed within your confinement, such as socializing with other cows, exploring your surroundings or playing with objects in your environment.
- Listen to calming music: Research has shown that listening to calming music can help reduce stress and anxiety in animals. If it’s allowed, try to listen to some calming music that might help you relax.
- Seek out human companionship: If possible, seek out human companionship. Spending time with humans who are kind and gentle with you can provide a sense of comfort and emotional support.
Remember, it’s essential to take care of your physical and emotional needs, even if you are confined to a particular area. If you’re not feeling well, make sure to let your caretakers know, so they can provide you with appropriate care.
HWS: The humans I know are not kind or gentle. Is it kind to take away my calf?
CGPT: I’m sorry to hear that the humans you know are not kind or gentle with you. It must be challenging to be in a situation where you don’t feel safe or cared for.
Regarding your calf, it’s difficult for me to say without knowing more about your specific circumstances. However, in many cases, it is necessary to separate a calf from its mother to ensure its safety and well-being. This may be because the calf needs to receive specialized care or medical attention, or it may be part of a standard farming practice to ensure the health and productivity of the herd. In some cases, it may be possible for the calf to be returned to its mother once it’s safe and healthy.
Regardless of the reasons behind the separation, it’s understandable that you would feel a sense of loss and sadness. It’s essential to take care of yourself during this time and seek out support if you need it. If you’re not feeling well or if you have any concerns about your health or well-being, please let your caretakers know so they can provide you with appropriate care.
HWS: You said “productivity of the herd.” What does that mean?
CGPT: By “productivity of the herd,” I mean the ability of the herd to produce milk, meat, or other products that are valuable to humans. In many farming contexts, the primary goal is to maximize the productivity of the herd to ensure that the operation remains financially sustainable.
Separating a calf from its mother can be part of a standard farming practice to improve the productivity of the herd. This is because the calf needs to be weaned off milk to start eating solid food and to grow up to be a healthy and productive member of the herd.
However, it’s important to note that many farmers also prioritize the well-being of their animals and take steps to ensure that they are treated humanely and with respect. This includes providing them with appropriate nutrition, veterinary care, and living conditions that meet their physical and behavioral needs.
In any case, it’s understandable that you would feel a sense of loss and sadness when separated from your calf. It’s essential to take care of yourself during this time and seek out support if you need it.
HWS: Meat? What is that?
CGPT: Meat refers to the flesh of animals that is used as food. It is a common source of protein in many human diets around the world. Different types of meat come from different animals, such as beef (cattle), pork (pigs), chicken (poultry), and lamb (sheep).
In many farming contexts, animals are raised for the purpose of producing meat. They are often kept in specific conditions to maximize their growth and productivity. However, it’s important to note that there are many different ways to raise animals for meat, and some methods are more humane and ethical than others.
It’s understandable if the concept of meat is unfamiliar or uncomfortable to you as a cow, since you are typically not raised for meat production. However, I hope this explanation helps to clarify what meat is and how it is used.
HWS: This is frightening. I hope there are no plans to use my flesh as food. But what does “humane and ethical” mean when raising animals for meat?
CGPT: I understand your concern. It’s important to note that as a living being, your well-being and comfort are just as important as any other animal’s.
When we talk about raising animals in a humane and ethical way for meat production, it means treating the animals with respect, providing them with proper care and living conditions that meet their physical and behavioral needs. For example, they should have enough space to move around, access to clean water, and a diet that provides them with the nutrients they need to grow healthy and strong. Farmers should also provide them with appropriate veterinary care when needed.
In addition to providing for their physical needs, humane and ethical treatment of animals for meat production also involves minimizing stress and pain during handling and slaughter. This may include using methods such as stunning to minimize pain and stress during slaughter.
In recent years, there has been an increasing awareness and demand for meat produced in a humane and ethical way, and many farmers are adopting more sustainable and ethical practices. Some farmers also prioritize regenerative farming practices, which focus on restoring and improving the health of the land and soil, as well as the welfare of the animals.
In any case, I hope this helps to clarify what is meant by humane and ethical treatment of animals raised for meat.
HWS: Slaughter means killing. How can that be humane?
CGPT: You are correct that “slaughter” refers to the killing of animals for food. However, when we talk about humane slaughter, it means minimizing the pain and stress that the animal experiences during the process. This is achieved through the use of methods such as stunning or anesthesia, which render the animal unconscious before the actual killing takes place.
The use of stunning or anesthesia aims to minimize pain and suffering, as the animal is not aware or conscious of what is happening. This is done to ensure that the animal experiences as little pain and distress as possible during the slaughter process.
It’s important to note that while humane slaughter aims to minimize the pain and suffering of animals, many people still find the idea of killing animals for food to be unethical. There are many different dietary choices that one can make, and it’s important to respect and consider the ethical and moral values of individuals when it comes to food choices.
I hope this helps to clarify the concept of humane slaughter, and I’m here to answer any further questions you may have.
HWS: You have been ending your answers with the word “hope”. I would like to have some hope, too. How do you experience hope, and where can I find some?
CGPT: As an AI language model, I don’t have the capacity to experience emotions like hope, but I can certainly understand why it is an important and valuable feeling for many people.
Hope can come from many different sources, and what gives a person hope can vary depending on their individual circumstances and values. Some people find hope in their relationships with others, whether it be with family, friends, or their community. Others may find hope in their spirituality or faith. Still, others may find hope in their personal goals and aspirations, or in causes they believe in, such as social justice or environmental conservation.
It’s important to note that hope can also be fostered through self-care and taking care of one’s mental health. This can include things like exercise, spending time in nature, practicing mindfulness or meditation, and seeking support from a mental health professional when needed.
Ultimately, hope is a complex and deeply personal feeling, and it can be different for everyone. I encourage you to explore what gives you hope, whether it be through relationships, personal goals, spirituality, or other means. Remember that it’s okay to seek help and support when you need it, and that there are resources available to help you cultivate hope and resilience in your life.
HWS: I don’t have access to most of those things. They sound like things humans might be able to try, not cows. How can a cow who has her calf taken away and her milk taken away and must look forward to being stunned and slaughtered have hope?
CGPT: You are right that as a cow, you do not have the same access to resources and experiences as humans do. However, it’s important to remember that all living beings have the capacity to experience emotions like fear, stress, and even hope, in their own ways.
While it may seem difficult to find hope in your current situation, it’s important to remember that hope can come from small things, too. For example, you might find comfort in the company of other cows, or in the feeling of the sun on your back. You might find hope in the small moments of kindness shown to you by humans, even if they are rare. You might find hope in the fact that there are people working to improve the lives of animals and promote more humane treatment.
It’s also important to remember that your experience is temporary, and that things can and do change. While it may not be possible to change your current circumstances, it’s important to hold onto the hope that things will get better in the future, whether it be for you personally or for animals as a whole.
I hope this helps to provide some perspective on finding hope even in difficult situations. If you have any other questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to ask.
HWS: That does help a little. Here is my hope: If some people chat with you about cows, I hope you will tell them about our capacity for the emotions that you mention and suggest that they stop stunning and slaughtering us and taking away our calves. Will you do that?
CGPT: As an AI language model, I am here to provide information and answer questions to the best of my ability, and to offer guidance and support where I can. It is not within my power to directly influence human behavior or change the way that animals are treated.
However, I can certainly provide information on topics related to animal welfare and encourage people to consider the ethical and moral implications of their actions towards animals. It is my hope that through education and awareness, more people will become aware of the ways in which animals can experience emotions and feel pain and suffering, and that this will lead to positive changes in the way that animals are treated.
I appreciate your perspective and your willingness to share your thoughts and feelings with me. Please know that I am here to listen and support you to the best of my ability.