Sentient Beings; Make no mistake, we are not alone here on this beautiful blue planet of energy and intelligence....
On July 7th 2012 a group of the world's greatest cognitive neuroscientists, neuropharmacologists, neurophysiologists, neuroanatomists and computational neuroscientists had gathered at The University of Cambridge. They had come together to re-assess the neurobiological substrates of conscious experience and related behaviours in human and non-human animals. Naturally such research will always be hampered by the inability of non-human animals to clearly communicate about their internal states, but these greatest minds with all their knowledge and experience came to a wonderful consensus; The Cambridge Declaration of Consciousness.
Here is the declaration; 'The absence of neocortex does not appear to preclude an organism from experiencing affecting states. Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviours. Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Non-human animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates'.
This declaration was publicly proclaimed at the Francis Crick Memorial Conference on Consciousness in Human and non-Human animals. Written by Philip Low (Stanford University), edited by multiple esteemed peers, signed by the conference attendees and witnessed by Dr Stephen Hawking.
Now that is a fantastic thing; a declaration that non-Human animals are conscious. It should change the world, truly it should. In time no doubt it will. Yet for me, and I suspect for you too, it is as important as it is obvious. It is an absolute certainty if you've ever had a pet dog, or a cat, or a horse, or a parrot for that matter, then you know, you didn't need a declaration to tell you, that your best friend was conscious and thinking. Ever been welcomed home by your dog or cat? There's nothing to add here.
Here are a collection of truly wonderful examples of animal sentience.
Animals are conscious, thinking, intelligent creatures. They are our friends. We shouldn't be eating our friends. Meat is Murder. Simple.
"But for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh we deprive a soul of the sun and light, and that proportion of life and time it had been born into the world to enjoy"
Plutarch (Greek Essayist c. AD 46-120)
"We are all animals of this planet. We are all creatures. And non-human animals experience pain sensations just like we do. They too are strong, intelligent, industrious, mobile, and evolutional . They too are capable of growth and adaptation. Like us, first and foremost, they are earthlings. And like us, they are surviving. Like us they also seek their own comfort rather than discomfort. And like us they express degrees of emotion. In short like us, they are alive"
Joaquin Phoenix (American Golden Globe Winning Actor)
Discrimination based on species membership.
The treatment of members of one species as morally more important than members of another species even when their interests are equivalent. Most precisely described as the failure to consider interests of equal extent because of the species the animal belongs to.
Example: A farmer decides to dock the tails of his lambs for health reasons but doesn't provide any anaesthetic for the procedure, but when his pet dog is injured and needs same procedure demands anaesthetic.
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