Being Vegan – Science Agrees With What We Already Know
By Paul Graham
Las Vegas Informer
This past week we learned that an international group of well-known scientists signed The Cambridge Declaration of Consciousness. This proclaims their support for the idea that animals are conscious and aware to the degree that humans are. It is a list that includes all mammals, birds and even the octopus. They no doubt could have expanded that list considerably and in many ways have stated what so many intuitively have known and in many ways seems so obvious. What is remarkable about this is the open recognition by these scientists and the increasing amount of scientific evidence showing that most animals are conscious in the way we are as humans and this is something we can no longer ignore.
To have even a part of the scientific community on board is something to celebrate. It may not be possible to get all of science to agree upon it all. It has always been that way and perhaps always will. What many scientists believed to be true years ago was discovered later on to be a modified version at best or found not to be true at all. Some have also made a religion out of science and that is not a good thing. Some people will ignore the obvious in front of them until they hear what science has to say about it. Well, science has spoken out boldly that animals are in fact conscious beings and sentient in that they have and share feelings. This must lead to an evolution of thought and action in terms of how we treat them.
The group consisted of cognitive scientists, neuropharmacologists, neurophysiologists, neuroanatomists and computational neuroscientists. They were all attending the Francis Cook Memorial Conference on Consciousness in Human and Non-Human Animals. The declaration was signed in the presence of Stephen Hawking, and included such signatures from scientific notables Christof Koch, David Edelman, Edward Boyden, Philip Low, Irene Pepperberg and a great many more. The scientists agreed that this is an evolving area of science and one that will continue to explore new areas and build and even a stronger bridge between humans and the animal kingdom. Even though the animals did not necessarily share some of the same human qualities they did share similar consciousness and feelings. I, for one, am glad that animals don’t share some of our inferior human qualities.
Frankly, most of what these scientists know and how they express it is beyond my comprehension. But what they have openly declared about animals is something that I see every moment I spend with one of my companion animals or look into the eyes of animals of every shape and size and the recognition that they know and that they feel. There is a connection there between sentient beings who just want to see this world become a place where humans and animals can live on a level playing field and co-exist in peace. A world where we can learn from one another and bring this planet to a place of healing, vitality and harmony. Too many people have a disdain for animals that they somehow think only exist for human pleasure and are somehow inferior to us. This leads to neglect, making sport of them, torture, slaughter and consuming their corpses when it is not only not necessary, but inherently wrong.
There will always be contradicting views on any subject and you can expect them to come. There is a segment of the scientific community that is influenced in a particular direction by the monetary interests that fund them. That is the sad truth of it and we have seen it evident in the propaganda machine of the meat and dairy industries over the last fifty years in particular. You can always follow the money trail and I doubt there will be great financial gain to be won by anyone through this Cambridge Declaration of Consciousness. They came out with this open declaration because of the overpowering scientific evidence and because it was the right thing to do. Now the question is what shall we do about it? We need to continue to advocate for animals and live our lives without the need for animals as food, clothing or anything else other than fellow companions on this planet. Some would feel that perhaps animals have somehow evolved to this point of understanding. Yet looking into the eyes of the animals, I know that it has been the animals who have been waiting for us as humans to evolve.
Paul Graham was born and raised in Northern California and has lived in Las Vegas since 2004. He is a top wedding officiate, a green Realtor and writer. He has a daily vegan food blog www.eatingveganinvegas.tumblr.com which is 365 days and 365 vegan meals in Las Vegas. He can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.facebook.com/EatingVeganinVegas.