Sentient beings. We hear these words everywhere; on the news, in passing conversations and on social media. But what do the words “sentient being” really mean and why should we even think about them? Everyone may have their own interpretation as to what the phrase refers to, so let’s take a moment to look at the many interpretations, vegan sentient and why they affect our daily lives.
We can all agree that the very definition of the word sentient requires the ability to perceive or to “feel things.” While western philosophers have long considered sentience as the ability to experience sensations, eastern philosophies center around the concept of consciousness. Taking both of these philosophies into consideration, it is a fair assumption to say that all beings who breathe and who feel, are essentially sentient.
This has been a a major point of contention between animal rights activists, vegans and the mainstream omnivorous population. The main issue being that if we all agree that sentience relays the ability to feel and subsequently, to suffer, who has the right to cause the suffering of another sentient being?
I have seen arguments in the opinion that since humans are the more intelligent species, it is our given right to rule over and ultimately consume these lower species. I counter with the notion, maybe we are not intelligent enough to comprehend what the so-called lower species are communicating.
Studies continue to indicate higher levels of comprehension and intellect in animals. As a culture, we have been conditioned to be enamored with dogs, cats and even some birds. Why stop there? Pigs are proven to be smarter than dogs. Cows are protective over their newborns and cry when separated. Chickens can be as lovable a pet Cocker Spaniel. This conditioning leads to an unconscious sense of speciesism, or the thought that humans have greater moral rights. This translates in our everyday choices from food consumption to clothing choices.
While most people do not give their food or clothing choices a second thought on a daily basis, some people cannot stop thinking about it. Coupled with the fact there is a huge disconnect between the average population and the thought process behind what they consume, most often these thoughts lead people to become vegan or vegetarian. People go to grocery stores and purchase packaged “meats” and do not connect what they are about to eat with being a once living, breathing and sentient being not too long ago.
I invite you to explore this concept of vegan sentient and consider it during your daily life. If even one person is inclined to make the smallest of changes to their purchasing and food choices, that is one step closer to equality for all sentient beings. Every decisions counts.