Animals Are Conscious: We Must Consider Their Suffering

Farmed animals are conscious.

This fact in no longer generally disputed, scientifically speaking. In 2012 a group of prominent scientists got together and made what is known as The Cambridge Declaration On Consciousness. These scientists looked at all the relevant research on animal consciousness and decided to declare that all mammals and birds are conscious as are several other species. Specifically they said:

"Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. 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."

The scientists were intentionally conservative in their claims, they could also have included fish, for whom there is compelling evidence for consciousness.

This declaration demonstrates that among scientists there is an emerging consensus that effectively all the animals humans farm and eat are conscious. Not only are they conscious, but they also experience pain, joy, empathy and many other emotions and sensations humans feel.

How do we use this knowledge?

When we’re formulating new designs, one of the things we do is try to think of ways to express the fact that many animals are conscious and have rich internal experiences. Often our designs are intended to increase awareness of the reality that animals are much more than simply food sources - they do truly experience their lives similarly to the way humans do.

We believe that by expressing these ideas and values we can influence those around us and bring about positive changes in the way animals are thought of and treated, and perhaps lead to a more honest and compassionate world both for humans and animals.

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