Sentient Beings Quotes (10 quotes)
Animal sentience: What is really going on with the controversial Brexit amendment?
Animal consciousness , or animal awareness , is the quality or state of self-awareness within an animal, or of being aware of an external object or something within itself. The topic of animal consciousness is beset with a number of difficulties. It poses the problem of other minds in an especially severe form because animals, lacking the ability to use human language, cannot tell us about their experiences. Philosophers who consider subjective experience the essence of consciousness also generally believe, as a correlate, that the existence and nature of animal consciousness can never rigorously be known. He said that an organism is conscious "if and only if there is something that it is like to be that organism—something it is like for the organism"; and he argued that no matter how much we know about an animal's brain and behavior, we can never really put ourselves into the mind of the animal and experience its world in the way it does itself. Animal consciousness has been actively researched for over one hundred years.
To cite this article suggested : Guillaume A. They eat without pleasure, cry without pain, grow without knowing it; they desire nothing, fear nothing, know nothing. Above are the words written about animals by Nicolas Malebranche in the 17 th century and Arthur Schopenhauer two centuries later. We have come a long way since the 17 th century in terms of scientific discoveries in the field of animal behaviour. Yet, today it has been scientifically proven that there are not one but several forms of animal intelligence and sentience: animals cry out because they suffer or because they are scared, they express their welfare when they are happy or feel good. Nevertheless, when it comes to the reality of practices in farming, slaughterhouses, some zoos and circuses for instance, there are processes and premises where animals are not treated like intelligent, sentient beings that experience emotions, and places where they may be mistreated or deeply unhappy.
Beings that have no centralized nervous systems are not sentient. This includes bacteria, archaea, protists, fungi, plants and certain animals. There is the possibility that a number of animals with very simple centralized nervous systems are not sentient either, but this is an open question and cannot be settled yet. Possession of a centralized nervous system is what enables animals to have experiences, and only animals possess such systems. No other living entity has a nervous system. Looking at the anatomy of a fungus, bacteria or plant, for example, we will not find any nerves. It could be that beings other than animals possess different physical structures that fulfill the same function as a centralized nervous system.
Why it matters
Jan Hoole does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. There seems to be significant confusion about what happened in the British parliament when MPs discussed a proposed amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill to formally recognise animal sentience. But where science is concerned, animal sentience is in no doubt. Today most of us would probably also say that animals are able to feel emotion, form attachments and have distinct personalities. Yet for many decades the idea of animals feeling emotions or having personalities was dismissed by behavioural scientists.
Sadly, the EU Withdrawal Act does not include provision to transfer the principle of recognising animals as sentient beings , despite strong campaigning by animal welfare organisations. They have stated their commitment to introducing separate legislation to recognise animal sentience in formulating and implementing government policy and tougher sentencing for animal cruelty offences before the UK leaves the EU in March Currently, the Animal Welfare Act does not explicitly recognise the term animal sentience, although it does acknowledge that animals can experience suffering and pain. The response to the initial consultation was huge with Defra receiving 9, direct responses whilst also referencing 64, responses from the campaign organisation 38 degrees! However, no new legislation has yet been introduced to be debated in Parliament. As a result, today, on International Animal Rights Day, with the future of UK policy making firmly on the news agenda, Naturewatch Foundation, alongside many members of coalition group Wildlife and Countryside Link, are urging the government to keep animal sentience firmly on the policy agenda.
Animal rights campaigners, politicians and journalists are involved in an argument about whether the Government believes animals are sentient. The issue arose after a vote last week as part of the process of bringing EU legislation into UK law. Part of that process included a vote that, if passed, would have officially said that the UK recognises animals can be sentient. The Government appears concerned that the reports will damage their popularity. Campaigners are worried that the law now protects animals less than it should.