Are wild animals happier?

Christie Wilcox in Scientific American:

We, as emotional beings, place a high value on happiness and joy. Happiness is more than a feeling to us – it’s something we require and strive for. We’re so fixated on happiness that we define the pursuit of it as a right. We seek happiness not only for ourselves and our loved ones, but also for our planet and its creatures.

Sure, campaigns for Animal Liberation take this to the extreme. They believe that all animals “deserve to lead free, natural lives.” But extreme animal activists aren’t the only ones who think animal happiness is important. They’re not even the only ones that think animals have some level of right to be free. Many people are against zoos because they feel it’s wrong to keep animals in captivity. I’ve even heard arguments for hunting as an alternative to farming livestock, because at least the wild animals lived happily prior to their death, while the poor cows or chickens suffered because they are never allowed to be free. And let’s be honest: who didn’twatch Free Willy and feel, at least for a moment, that every animal we have ever put in a cage or a tank should be let go?

The core idea behind all of this is the belief that animals in nature are truly happier than animals in captivity, even than domesticated ones. But are they? I mean, really?

More here.