Animals Are Sentient Beings, not Objects

June 26, 2019
“All animals are sentient beings and we all should have at least one right --the right not to be treated as property.” ― Gary L. Francione

One thing is for sure: people are animals, but most animals aren’t people. However, all animals and living “things” are sentient beings.

We tend to think of non-human species, and many times even members of our own, as inferior. We consider them to be non-sentient beings who aren’t smart enough fend for themselves and therefore need our leadership. Therefore, the argument goes, they must be objects that anyone can claim as property, and whose lives are at our disposal.

The many governments of the world also propagate this idea and this is why there are many people out there fighting to change it.

Animals are sentient beings too

Some people even think that even objects are sentient beings. They say that an object retains the spirit, soul, energy, or however you like to call it, of their origin. Seemingly inanimate “objects” are, they say, sentient beings.

So, why would anyone doubt that the rest of animal species, many of them mammals, like us, have feelings? There are many scientific studies to back it up: all animals are sentient beings.

However, even if there were no scientific studies to prove it, would you truly believe that the furry creature you love so much and who loves you back has no feelings and is merely an object you can own? We, as animal lovers, certainly don’t think so. So, today, we’d like to tell you the story of many of those who are fighting for animal rights to be legally recognized.

Signatures are requested to stop calling animals “things”

A French Bulldog puppy lying in bed.

Several activists and organizations have been submitting petitions with thousands of signatures with the sole purpose of modifying the civil codes that still state that animals are objects.

All animals feel pain and joy and therefore deserve recognition as sentient beings. Nobody is trying to get into a debate on whether they feel love or not. We’ll leave that for another article.

The governments of the world must adapt to the social feeling of their people in this regard. Many already modified their laws to give animals their proper place on the planet: sentient beings.

In addition, the thousands of signatures are a sign that this initiative has the support of most citizens around the world. Therefore, changing such regulations would lead to a better world, with happier people, and happier animals.

Many of these sorts of initiatives began through a platform called change.org. There you can see how this change is taking place nearly everywhere in the world.

One of the arguments against this was that animals are inanimate objects, no different from a piece of furniture, so they can’t have rights. They even tried to prove they don’t have feelings and that, therefore, pets cannot be at the same level as humans. To counteract, some argued that refrigerators don’t whine after we leave home and that a TV is seldom happy when we get home.

Therefore, and keeping such simple arguments in mind, it’s clear that there’s no way we can compare animals to objects.

How do these laws benefit animals?

A stalking cat, meowing.

When all countries modify their laws in regards to the sentience of animals, then it will be a fairer place for all. Isn’t it amazing how hard it is to do right by animals and acknowledge what they really are: sentient beings capable of evoking all kinds of emotions.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult for them to communicate it in our language and we have to speak up for them. So, here it goes: animals have feelings.

A change in the law would allow the imposition of penalties for mistreatment and neglect to be greater. Then, perhaps, anyone who is thinking of harming an animal would think twice before acting on it.

In short, animals’ lives could improve through small changes in the world’s civil codes. In any case, it’s not unreasonable to ask that everyone should respect the rest of the species. Animals are no objects and they’re not at our disposal.

Those of us who love animals will always tell the world how our pets do have feelings. We’re not really interested in discussing it with Congress. All we want is to ask, kindly and respectfully, to please modify a law that was most likely written in the Middle Ages.

This change alone would greatly improve the lives of other species. Above all, it should help to decrease the cases of mistreatment and neglect. We hope that the thousands of signatures collected in such petitions will soon serve their purpose.