Consciousness: Do Animals Have It?

Scientists have delved into this and have determined that the scope of animals with consciousness is much greater than ever assumed before.

4/23/20241 min read

I am sure this concept does not have to be explained to Jane Goddall. Of course, she proved a point for chimpanzees but this new concept goes much wider. One might wonder why this is being studied at all and it turns out that scientists want each other to expand knowledge on nature so we can help each other.

By letting others know that critters have their own version of consciousness, albeit a little different from humans, we can then see them for the living breathing beings they really are and not justify treating them badly as 'dumb' animals.

Researchers are wanting to learn more and in this process they have discovered some interesting things. Who knew that bees like to play? So it seems animals are not just all about procreation and surviving, they are so much more.

So now, not only certain vertebrates but many invertebrates too have this ability assigned to them. This includes insects, mollusks and crustaceans. As to vertebrates, we are also including reptiles, amphibians and fishes. So far, over 39 researchers have signed the declaration which was put in place April 19 in New York at a one day conference entitled: 'The Emerging Science of Animal Consciousness'.

This is about basic consciousness which is determined to be 'phenomenal consciousness' which means the creature has the ability like us to feel things like hunger or pain and even pleasure. It does not go so far as to extend to awareness of self.

We also now know that since this declaration is a reality, we have a responsibility towards ethical behaviour when it comes to caging, lab testing and other forms of animal research. I say, it is about time. It will be interesting to see how this plays out and not just for researchers.