By John Rance – President of the TGA
Sentience is the capacity to feel, perceive, or experience subjectively. Eighteenth-century philosophers used the concept to distinguish the ability to think (reason) from the ability to feel (sentience). In modern Western philosophy, sentience is the ability to experience sensations (known in philosophy of mind as “qualia“). In Eastern philosophy, sentience is a metaphysical quality of all things that require respect and care.
The prevailing scientific view today is that sentience is generated by specialized neural structures and processes – neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological. In more complex organisms these take the form of the central nervous system. According to the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness (publicly proclaimed on 7 July 2012 at the Cambridge University), only those organisms within the animal kingdom that have these neural substrates are sentient. Sponges, placozoans, and mesozoans, with simple body plans and no nervous system, are the only members of the animal kingdom that possess no sentience. Source Wikipaedia.
Sentinent – self-awareness – a sense of knowing and understanding what one is experiencing. Source medical dictionary.
A goal of the animal activist/animal rightists organizations is to have certain (or all) animals declared “sentinent beings” according to the human perception of sentinence. The false logic and seemingly rational argument which follows is that they have a human type experience of life and must therefore be accorded rights like humans. This is a dangerous ploy and must be tackled and defeated.
To do so, one must go back to the irrefutable laws of nature which will, eventually, triumph over all human endeavour to live otherwise and humans will eventually learn to live symbiotically with nature, or become extinct. In nature, there are predators and preywhich keep themselves in balance. Humans are a predator and all animals are their legitimate prey.
The perception and concept of a sentinent being is a human perception. Animals don’t know that and can’t recognize it. To apply human perceptions to animals is illogical and goes against the laws of nature. Humans have the power of logic and reasoning (sometimes) and animals rely on the conditioned response learnt from their environment.
Humans earn money and pay taxes to enable them to live. Animals don’t. The tax they must pay in order to live is that they must create value for predators. In order to do that, they must be killed by humans (and other predators). The only human obligation is to use the power of logic and reasoning to do this sustainably in accordance with the laws of nature which are learnt through scientific endeavour.