If the two pigeons had seen people humans be bad to them, it would imo be a natural response to be fearful of humans.
I am not trying to diminish the idea that animals have PTSD. I think it is only natural to imagine they do and so I find the title weird - it should rather be a confirmation of what should be a normal thing to assume.
I just want to know how one could distinguish between acquired justifiable fear and PTSD.
I think the main differentiator is that PTSD leaves sort of a lasting impression on your nervous system that alters your behavior even when the threat isn't around.
For example, in my case, the aspect of my PTSD that most impacts my quality of life today is hypervigilance. I'm constantly scanning for threats, watching people's hands, looking for exits, aware of people coming and going, noticing changes in tones or language, trying to anticipate sources of conflict in social situations before they happen. I'm obsessive about keeping doors locked. I deliberately keep lights dimmed and use noise canceling headphones as much as possible to keep my environment low stimulation.
And I can't sleep until I'm completely exhausted because I don't like being impaired. Like I'll take melatonin, and fight the sleepiness until it wears off.
This isn't to mention stuff like nightmares, feelings of distrust and the tendency to self-isolate and cut people off. These aren't so much issues for me these days though. And while my description of my hypervigilance might sound pretty dire, I think it's the most under control today that it's ever been.
But back to your question, I sort of think of anxiety due to a learned/justifiable fear as something that really only comes into play when the trigger is imminent.
But TBH, I prefer to think of this stuff as existing on a continuum. Like, a "learned fear" is just a different shade of PTSD, not something where there's a super well-defined barrier. But again, IANAD, just a patient :)
I can understand many of your observations, and I would imagine that it is a spectrum. But this only makes the observation of PTSD in other species more muddy. I would imagine there could be some sort of behavioral or physiological observations, and that is what I am hoping we will have some day.
I've had two rescue animals, and they most definitely had PTSD issues (ones with people and the other with cars). Seems pretty obvious.
It starts off by describing how elephant attacks are on the rise throughout the world, which for people in regions with wild elephants is totally unprecedented, describing how in the aftermath of government sponsored cullings roving bands of young elephants in places like Uganda would target humans and other animals. It then follows a Ugandan researcher at Cambridge interested in the parallels between the trauma in elephants and trauma in communities impacted by the Ugandan civil war (particularly the Acholi, targeted by the now infamous Kony for recruitment).
"For Bradshaw, these continuities between human and elephant brains resonate far outside the field of neuroscience. ‘‘Elephants are suffering and behaving in the same ways that we recognize in ourselves as a result of violence,’’ she told me. ‘‘It is entirely congruent with what we know about humans and other mammals. Except perhaps for a few specific features, brain organization and early development of elephants and humans are extremely similar. That’s not news. What is news is when you start asking, What does this mean beyond the science? How do we respond to the fact that we are causing other species like elephants to psychologically break down? In a way, it’s not so much a cognitive or imaginative leap anymore as it is a political one.’’
‘‘I started looking again at what has happened among the Acholi and the elephants,’’ Abe told me. ‘‘I saw that it is an absolute coincidence between the two. You know we used to have villages. We still don’t have villages. There are over 200 displaced-people’s camps in present-day northern Uganda. Everybody lives now within these camps, and there are no more elders. The elders were systematically eliminated. The first batch of elimination was during Amin’s time, and that set the stage for the later destruction of northern Uganda. We are among the lucky few, because my mom and dad managed to escape. But the families there are just broken. I know many of them. Displaced people are living in our home now. My mother said let them have it. All these kids who have grown up with their parents killed — no fathers, no mothers, only children looking after them. They don’t go to schools. They have no schools, no hospitals. No infrastructure. They form these roaming, violent, destructive bands. It’s the same thing that happens with the elephants. Just like the male war orphans, they are wild, completely lost.’’
What is problematic is when decision chains get abstracted out and decisions depersonalized, and a bunch of company executives in a room decide how many chickens they need to fit per square foot of space in order to turn a profit next quarter, rather than those decisions being made by the people who take care of the chicken every day.
In that light, the psychology and social systems at play in industrial farming isn’t too different from that of prisons, internment camps, etc. Lives that are abstract numbers in profit equations to decision makers who don’t have to see up too close what those numbers really represent.
The difference is that humans are broadly capable of understanding the moral consequences of their actions, and in the west we seem to have developed the concept of showing mercy to animals (stunning and sticking rather than bleeding animals out through the neck while conscious).
While some animals have more complex proto-moral behaviour, they would not be able or willing to extend these same courtesies to us, in the reverse circumstance.
We inject a lot of assumptions about the nature of non-human animals in these discussions in what I think is an attempt to keep them as mentally distinct from ourselves as possible.
OP's dog's neurosis was likely caused by something else unless the tail was cut late into the puppy's life. I'm not advocating for cutting tails at all but I certainly don't have PTSD about my circumcision...
Or in my case, when you were non-consensually circumcised as an infant, experiencing grief/anger/etc upon truly understanding what that means.
For anyone reading, you can restore what was taken from you by applying tension to the foreskin remnant (“circumcision scar”) and slowly re-grow the lost tissue via mitosis. You can’t reclaim everything (frenulum, ridged band) but you can regrow the inner mucosa and outer foreskin.
The process is called foreskin restoration, and I encourage anyone who is interested to look into it.
Elective surgery that removes functional sexual tissue: yes.
To make it clear, do you think it’s okay to cut off a newborn girl’s clitoral hood (the analog of the male foreskin)? I would hope not.
My parents were raised catholic, but are atheists. So largely it was done for the usual pseudo-reasons: to “look like my father”, because it’s “healthier” (completely false), etc. I’m a white american so it’s a very common practice unfortunately.
The foreskin is not a vestigial organ. Violating the bodily and sexual autonomy of a child is never okay.
About 20 years ago, while an undergraduate biologist studying immunology, I worked for a short time in an animal facility studying tropical diseases in mice. This philosophical argument, and others, were discussed during our training. It didn't take long to quickly disabuse myself of any lingering doubts that this argument had any merit whatsoever, and I never did live animal work ever again after that.
Shell Shock vs PTSD:
George Carlin on euphemisms in today's language https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSp8IyaKCs0
Ironically, more recent research into veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan suggests that there may be some real neurological effects of close-range exposure to explosions, such as IEDs...