Declaration of Animal Consciousness

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Last year, the Cambridge Declaration on Animal Consciousness was signed at the Francis Crick Memorial Conference on Consciousness in Human and Non-Human Animals in England. This landmark document was signed by prominent international cognitive neuroscientists, neuropharmacologists, neurophysiologists, neuroanatomists and computational neuroscientists.

The declaration proclaims in part that “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.”

• Mammalian and avian emotional networks and cognitive microcircuitries are very similar.

• Self recognition is seen in some birds.

• Pharmacological interventions with compounds that affect conscious behaviour appear to have similar effects in human and non-human animals.

• Emotional feelings arise from homologous subcortical brain networks in both human and non-human animals.