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Open Commentary


David M. Peña-Guzmán, Can nonhuman animals commit suicide?


Increasing understanding of the impressive cognitive and social capacities of nonhuman animals suggests the possibility that they may sometimes commit suicide. Such notions tend to be dismissed as “anthropomorphism.” That interpretive hazard, I argue, must be weighed against the opposite hazard of “anthropodenial” — “the a priori rejection of shared characteristics between humans and animals” (de Waal 2006). If animals do commit suicide, how often is it motivated precisely by the impact of humans on animal life?

Author Biography

Ryan Hediger, Associate Professor of English at Kent State University, teaches U.S. literature, animal studies, and ecocriticism. He has published essays on military dogs in the U.S. conflict in Vietnam, hunting and violence in Hemingway’s work, and Werner Herzog’s film Grizzly Man.