Sustain Life

“The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals

as they now look upon the murder of men.”

Leonardo Da Vinci

WHAT THE COVID-19 CRISIS IS TELLING HUMANITY

The time has come for us to rethink our relationship with all life on this planet – other humans, nonhumans, and the earth, a life form in itself. What is good for nonhumans and the earth is virtually always in the best interests of humans, given the profound interconnectedness of all life. All that we do depends upon abundant plant and animal life as well as clean air and water. Each of us can have a positive impact upon these fundamentals by demonstrating and inspiring an enhanced mindfulness, beginning most basically with what we eat and how all of our daily choices and actions may be affecting animals and natural habitats. Ultimately, the survival, not only of other life forms on this planet, but also of our own, will depend upon humanity’s ability to recognize the oneness of all that exists and the importance and deeper significance of compassion for all life. (48)

ARE ANIMALS SENTIENT CREATURES AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN IF THEY ARE?

The definition of sentience is the ability to perceive or feel things. Sentient creatures have the ability to receive information from their environment and to feel and react to that information, whether they show fear, happiness or indifference.
Your dog might display his or her sentience when they react to a doorbell ringing by barking. Your dog is noisily trying to alert you to a change in your environment by barking at you. The same creature might react with happiness when you return home from a day at work. Your dog has missed you and is expressing his or her joy at your return.
Your houseplant, on the other hand, is not sentient and will not react to changes in environment in the same way. Plants react to stimuli, but this is not the same as being sentient. To be sentient, a creature must have a central nervous system and the capacity to perceive an environment and think through reactions. (43) 

ANIMALS HAVE CONSCIOUSNESS

“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.” Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness (33)

THE CHANGING CONCEPT OF ANIMALS SENTIENCE

The idea of sentience, at least in the mammals and birds, was accepted by lay people by the time of the Renaissance and before it was acknowledged by philosophers. It was not until the Enlightenment of the 18th century that philosophers started to accept the notion that animals have feelings. Towards the end of the 19th century, scientists and philosophers had developed a fairly sophisticated concept of sentience. Little consideration was given to sentience by scientists through much of the 20th century due to the inhibiting influence of Behaviourism. In the last quarter of the 20th century, there was a surge of interest in animal sentience, and animal welfare scientists quickly realised that welfare problems can be better tackled with an understanding of how animals feel. (44)

HOW WE INTRODUCE ANIMALS TO CHILDREN: A STORY OF HYPOCRISY 

How can we raise compassionate children if we teach them it’s okay to mistreat animals as long as it’s someone else doing it?
On the one hand, they are teaching their kids to love and respect animals. On the other, they are teaching their children that speciesism is okay: We shouldn’t hit cats with a stick but we can pay people to slit the throats of cows, pigs, and chickens. “We should never mistreat animals” goes the song but surely other people can and by introducing their kids to meat, dairy, eggs, the parents are saying that the mistreatment of animals is fine as long as it isn’t the child doing it. (45)

PERSPECTIVE

It takes more than 31 years
for a billion seconds to tick by.

We kill more than a billion animals
every 6 days. (32)

HUMANS SLAUGHTERED 70 (74) BILLION LAND ANIMALS IN 2014 (2016)

 (46)

HUMANS CATCH AND KILL 1-3 TRILLION SEA ANIMALS EACH YEAR

 (47)

ANIMALS EAT ALMOST 40 TIMES
WHAT THEY PRODUCE AS MEAT,
DAIRY AND EGGS

Our farmed animals consume 7.27 Gigatons of dry matter biomass annually versus the 0.19 Gigatons of meat, dairy and eggs they provide for human food intake. (31)

Animals killed for food since opening this page

  • 0 wild caught fish
  • 0 chickens
  • 0 farmed fish
  • 0 ducks
  • 0 pigs
  • 0 rabbits
  • 0 geese
  • 0 turkeys
  • 0 sheep
  • 0 goats
  • 0 cattle
  • 0 rodents
  • 0 pigeons and other birds
  • 0 buffalo
  • 0 horses
  • 0 donkeys and mules
  • 0 camels and other camelids

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