Animal sentience

Animals clearly have an inner life, feelings, emotions, and so on. You only have to observe them. Start with a pet.

So why the great animal sentience debate? Because somewhere along the line some people started treating animals as objects whose sole purpose was to be eaten, shot at, exploited. Great factory farms became necessary to give cheap food (in the US, Soil Association estimates 99% of chickens, 90% of pigs, 78% of cows are ‘produced’ in concentrated animal feeding operations – CAFOs – animal factories). Farms in UK are gradually increasing in size to stay economically viable. Great swathes of land in the UK are managed to produce birds to be shot at, which is indeed a common sport across many countries. How long is this barbarism to continue?

Fortunately scientists have decided that animals are sentient. Thank God they’ve confirmed the bleeding obvious!

Hurrah for organisations like the Soil Association, whose ambition for animal welfare is for all farm animals to live ‘a good life’ within 10 years.

It seems that EU is moving in the right direction of recognising animal sentience, as is the UK. But this is clearly going to be a major issue in any future post-Brexit trade deal with the US, when they will want us to buy their barbarically produced cheap food as part of the deal.

The root problem is abstracting human affairs from inner values and morality, leaving the money monster in control. We really do need to reclaim our humanity, our inner compass, our conscience.

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6 thoughts on “Animal sentience

  1. Hear, hear! I don’t know that huge factory farms became necessary to give cheap food so much as to make as much money as possible. The meat produced that way has no taste and who knows how much hormone and antibiotics in it. I hope the UK doesn’t cave.

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  2. Whether post Brexit there is a trade deal with the US or not doesn’t affect what food I buy from ANY country around the world. We make personal choices, for example only buying British, preferably English, vegetables in season. Same with fruit. So I won’t buy potatoes from Israel, Beans from Morocco, carrots from Spain. I won’t buy strawberries in winter either! Regarding meat, are you saying everyone should be vegetarian, vegan even? The shooting of pheasants for sport for example is surely not in the same category as much sport shooting of wild birds in Autumn across the EU, because those pheasants have been bred for food. The wholesale butchery of everything that flies during October in France and Spain would never be interfered with by the demigods of Brussels though! Macron, Barnier and Juncker probably join in.

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    • Thanks for commenting. Yes I covered rather a lot of ground for a short post. We can make decisions on food if we know where it’s from and what’s in it. Many would like us not to have this information.
      All animals should have a ‘good life ‘, without unnecessary fear and suffering.
      Being shot at by amateurs and potentially wounded doesn’t seem within this ethic.
      Eating meat is a personal choice, it’s a question of how the animals are treated in their lives.

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  3. The days of eating food in season are a distant memory. Ratatouille was only possible many years ago when courgettes, aubergines, tomatoes etc. ripened in late summer/early autumn on our humble patch. Now the ingredients are available all year round if one is prepared to buy food with many airmiles underpining their journey to the UK. Strawberries from Spain grown under plastic (don’t get me started on plastic) are tasteless and no longer a treat. I don’t think the message is to become veggie or vegan – more to eat and choose with awareness. But I can’t go along with it being an Ok sport to shoot wild birds reared especially to be shot for sport – a sport which is no such thing. Huge sums of money are paid to take part in driven grouse shoots, the land is “cleansed” of other birds, hares and wildlife. The birds to be shot grow fit and well only to be killed. For sport? For food? And is that food actually needed by those who do the shooting and can pay to do so? I think not. More info in Mark Avery’s excellent book “Inglorious”. As for animal sentience, it’s important that this is acknowleged and respected. We’re all animals of some kind.

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  4. As we become more advanced humans we are likely to eat less/ or no meat. I think this is a step too far for the majority at the moment.
    We also have to remember that as we’ve removed top predators in many environments, we actually have to take on that role to maintain the ecosystem, eg by professionally culling deer. Better to restore the predators of course, eg wolves…

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