I believe that animals are sentient beings.They are aware of self, make choices, can choose to act unselfishly.They obviously feel pain and fear as well as playfulness and comfort.They have, if you will, souls.There is no way to convince those who don’t believe that, short of animals learning to speak English and explaining it to them.
But it seems so obvious to me.They have relationships with us, they recognize those humans they know, play with us, work for us.They look us in the eye.Why would they do that if they didn’t recognize another Self in us?
Years ago an article in Nature magazine detailed some research into this.The author started out explaining why we need to sleep. It’s not about rest; our brains are quite active while we sleep. And sleeping makes us very vulnerable to predators and other dangers while we sleep. So, evolutionary-speaking, it must be really, really important for us to sleep. The author of this article believes this is
so our brains can re-boot from the day, process the information and filter out the dross.Sleeping is a sign of a very complicated brain, and sentience.So then, the author went on, what does that mean about animals who sleep?And dream?Can you look at a cat or dog waking from sleep, stretching, yawning, saying hello with their eyes, and not know that there is a sentient being in there?
We have relationships with animals. They become our friends. We miss them, and they miss us. It’s more than just instinct and familiarity. We invest in each other, and come to trust each other – if we are trustworthy, that is.
So where do humans get the idea that animals exist only to serve us? As if they had no purpose of their own?