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The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness delivers an important and long overdue sta..
by KindMeal.my, 11 September 2014
The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness delivers an important and long overdue statement.

In the just-released Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness, witnessed by Stephen Hawking, a prominent group of scientists has declared that humans are not unique in ways that matter. Says the panel, "Non-human animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these same neurological substrates as human beings."

Of course, hundreds of studies have already demonstrated animals' logical, mathematical, linguistic, and emotional intelligence. For years we blithely believed that humans were the only species to use tools, until researchers documented that wasps were using pebbles as hammers, octopuses were carrying coconut shells as portable hiding places, crows were using sticks to dig in the ground for grubs and many other examples. The mathematical abilities of fish have proved to be on a par with those of monkeys, dolphins and bright young human children.

We know that elephants flirt with each other and gather to grieve over the loss of a loved one, that cows shed tears, and that monkeys have refused to pull a chain to access their only source of food if doing so caused another monkey, even a stranger, to experience a painful electric shock.

One of the Declaration's signatories is Irene Pepperberg, whose work with a parrot named Alex showed that birds can learn meaningful English, count and identify colors, objects and shapes. Alex could even communicate his feelings in English. Can any human speak even one word of another animal's language? No, but perhaps it's better that way, because if we could speak to them, how would we explain our systematic use and abuse of all the other species?

Can humans smell nuances of fragrance on the individual petals of a single rose and know whether insects have landed on it or human hands have touched it? No, but dogs can, and they try their best to, despite being dragged along by an impatient human anxious to get to Starbucks before work. Can humans navigate using only the sky's polarized light? No, but bees can. Can humans change the color of their skin to blend in with their surroundings or keep an aggressive rival at bay? No, but cuttlefish can.

So, animals are conscious beings, capable of understanding cause-and-effect relationships, forming abstract thoughts, solving problems, using language, making tools, exhibiting long-term memory, and showing empathy, in many cases with skills that are superior to those of humans. But more importantly, animals can comprehend when they are being abused and killed, and they feel anxiety, fear and pain, just as humans do.

Do you feel that animals are equal to human in their capacity to feel emotions? If so, choosing to eat fewer of them is a powerful way to show your empathy. Show your support for the Cambridge Declaration by choosing meat-free meals at least some of the time. KindMeal.my can set you on the right track toward more compassionate dining – http://KindMeal.my/

Sources: http://bit.ly/1qCbwjf, http://huff.to/1AuspxB « Back To Articles