What Is Animal Sentience & Why Does it Matter?
Sentience is described as the ability to experience feelings by the Cambridge English Dictionary. It matters because it’s one more step to positive change, by our species and for other species.
Thousands of years ago our own species started to evolve differently to others. We started to farm, and grow food, then we started to farm other animals too. Fast forward to today, 2021 and the question is still being asked - do animals feel? The British government finally, recently declared that animals do feel, thus are sentient.
Yet way back in the mid 1800’s Darwin already knew what the British government have finally acknowledged.
It was the human species who then decided that animals were not sentient and didn’t feel. The arrogance of Descartes has led to hundreds of years of suffering. Stating that animals had no soul the philosopher cut up his wife’s dog while the animal was still alive, he was looking for a soul (or trying to prove the poor dog didn’t have one).
In part, due to Descartes we became more invested in something we couldn’t see, than the lives we could. We created religions and we told ourselves that animals have no soul, therefore are meat suits and robots – in one of the biggest, longest, and most destructive lies we have ever told ourselves.
Of-course animals feel, we are animals, and we feel so why are we different?
We are starting to realise now that organised religion is dated. We are outgrowing the rules we were given, in the name of a god we have never seen, and we are questioning life in other ways. We are progressing at last, there’s a wave of compassion happening, and those of us who have instinctively known all our lives that the use and abuse of other species is bad, our hearts are singing.
We only have to look at our dogs as they live their lives, ducklings in little family groups followed by a concerned mother and the many recorded accounts of farmed animals losing their babies in the farming process to know that animals have emotions.
But then there’s another issue here, cold hard cash.
To presume animals don’t feel is vital to the economy we have created.
If we knew that cows felt the loss of their calf (who she carried for 9 months) like anyone losing their baby before they should, would we happily drink their milk? If we knew that lambs desperately wanted to hold onto their short lives, would we eat their legs? If we knew that pigs were smarter than dogs – would we be so invested in a bacon sandwich? Most humans are inherently kind, but we have been told something that isn’t true.
- We have been told that the lives of some species are worth less than our own.
- We have been told that the law has to tell us that animals feel, rather than listening to our hearts and gut knowledge.
- We have been told these things because to question them would make us spend our money elsewhere. And money has become the new religion, the new god in so many ways.
That said, things are changing. And while it might only seem like a small step, the recent government nod to animal sentience is one step in a huge wave of awareness, a change of direction, a different World, a better World.
Are you in?