Cambridge Declaration on (Animal) Consciousness (2012)



Charles Darwin was of the opinion that consciousness differs only in degree from one species to the next, and not in essence. He was of the opinion that the continuation and all-pervasive nature of evolutionary development throughout the planet did not privilege humans (as suggested by various religions), but affects all species to varying degrees. Particularly with regard to certain Judeo-Christian attitudes, humans are considered unique, and animals as physically and consciously inferior (to be used in any way to benefit humanity). Science disagrees, but the treatment of animals within Western (capitalist) society is one of extreme (and criminal) exploitation.  However, the 2012 Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness states:

‘Non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neorochemical and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviours… 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.’

Despite this scientific announcement and breakthrough, the US Federal Animal Welfare Act is deliberately written to ‘exclude’ rats, mice and fish from its protection (as millions are pointlessly used in experimentation every year). On the other hand, the European Union’s Treaty of Lisbon (2009), recognises that animals are sentient beings, and calls upon all governments to pursue policies in recognition of this fact. The incumbant Conservative government of the UK, however, has stated in recent times that it does not intend to adopt this announcement into UK Law, when the UK leaves the EU.

Reference: The New Scientist – Instant Expert – Your Conscious Mind, John Murray Learning, Pages 181-183

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