The answer to Chef Dez’s question “Where do we draw the line?” is: “At the beginning of the human feeding process, by leaving animals off our plates.”
In 2012, the Cambridge Declaration of Consciousness was signed by cognitive scientists, neuropharmacologists, neurophysiologists, neuroanatomists, and computational neuroscientists. This Declaration recognizes that non-human species can think, feel, and experience life similar to how humans do, even though they differ in brain and body structures.
Specifically, “The weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Nonhuman animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates.”
Apparently, crustaceans have been around for 360 million years, i.e. long before humans dotted this planet. A 2013 study found that crabs (related to lobsters) feel pain by avoiding the dark rooms with electric shocks in subsequent tests.
All animal species can suffer pain and distress. Richard D. Ryder, who coined the term “speciecism,” wrote, “Animals scream and writhe like us; their nervous systems are similar and contain the same biochemicals that we know are associated with the experience of pain in ourselves.”
Humans need to recognize that we only entered earth roughly 300,000 years ago, whereas life on earth has existed for over 3.5 billion years. As relative newcomers to this planet, our invasion has subjugated many animal species for our gustatory and vain desires, which can now be rivalled by plant-based versions, rendering animal-based ones unnecessary.
With sheer arrogance and abusive power over non-human animal species, we are destroying the planet for everyone, including future generations of humans.
What if an alien intelligence invaded earth and exploited humans the way we are exploiting other animals – breeding and killing us for food, fashion, entertainment, and experimentation? I highly recommend the book What a Fish Knows – The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins by Jonathan Balcombe to broaden one’s awareness of other animals’ intelligence and capabilities.
Dr. Patricia Tallman, Willoughby