A person who does not believe that animals possess consciousness is one who scares me. If animals cannot truly experience "conscious" life because they do not speak, because they cannot think about thinking about their thoughts... then what about children? Babies? I remember reading somwhere that previous scientists/doctors, whoever, believed that babies and children did not have the capacity for pain and consciousness. Now we laugh at that piece of craziness. Of course babies feel pain. Of course they experience consciousness. Of course they remember people, places, objects.
My sister used to ask me about people who speak other languages, "But they think in English, right?" (I think she still has difficulty with this, haha) Who are we to believe that because a person or animal does not speak our particular language, that they must not really be speaking? I'm sure people used to believe those speaking other languages were really just talking gibberish. But now, of course, we know they just have a different language. They're speaking, we just can't understand their language. But they can, they know what they're saying, they can communicate with others that speak their language. That's not so difficult to get, right?
So, animals. Have their own language. Why is this so hard to believe? How many languages are there in this world? How many species of animals are in this world? Why would it be so hard to accept that each species has its own communication system? Its own language. Just because we can't understand what they are saying does not mean that they are not truly communicating. If you were thrown into France, with no tutor, no high school French classes to help you out, how long would it take for you to learn the language? A long time. (For me, anyway...) And though animal languages may not be as developed as ours, they have a different way of communicating. A way that would take us a while to understand because we are used to spoken words, written words, the alphabet and number system. But letters mean nothing to animals. They use body language, barks, chirps, meows, growls, squeals, scents, and a bazillion types of markings.
So when my cat looks at me while I'm drinking my soda and the bottle makes a crackling sound, I know she's not thinking, "Hey, look at that soda bottle. Wonder if she'll share." But in that mind, in whatever way she thinks, she did look up at me because the bottle made a noise and she wanted to identify it. Animals have languages, they have thoughts, they make decisions, they have memories, they feel pain, they know happiness. They have consciousness.
"They" talk about animals being programmed. About living life in a kind of darkness. Just going through the motions of being an animal. About "mimicking" consciousness. Huh? How can you mimic consciousness? I highly doubt animals have been programmed to fool us into thinking they are conscious, when *haha* they really aren't! Fooled you, huh? It all seems like bunch of excuses from people who don't want to admit that we are morally, ethically responsible for how we treat animals. If animals feel nothing in their dark, preprogrammed state of mimicking consciousness, then we can go ahead and torture them to our hearts' content, correct?
Do these people have pets? So if I go to their house, I can go ahead and kick their dogs for fun, right? B/c they don't feel "real" pain? They're just faking it, right? They don't really believe this stuff, right? Goodness.
Like I said, people who actually believe that animals do not experience life with happiness, pain, language, actual thoughts - they scare me. Just because we do not understand how animals think - or what they're thinking - that does not mean they don't have language, that they don't communicate, that they don't have conscious minds. Why is the *human* understanding the basis for all knowledge? Just because we aren't able to figure something out does not mean it cannot be there. That's putting our understanding at an almighty level! Are we really that vain??? *Wow*