Sunday, December 13, 2015

A Group of Scientists sign declaration that animals share the same awareness with humans

I quote from the source atricle:
Recently an international group of prominent scientists have signed The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness. This declaration proclaims their support for the idea that animals are conscious and aware to the degree that humans are. The list of animals includes all mammals, birds, and even the octopus. 
The group consisted of cognitive scientists, neuropharmacologists, neurophysiologists, neuroanatomists, and computational neuroscientists. They were all attending the Francis Crick Memorial Conference on Consciousness in Human and Non-Human Animals. The declaration was signed in the presence of Stephen Hawking, and included such signatories as Christof Koch, David Edelman, Edward Boyden, Philip Low, Irene Pepperberg, and many others.
Scientists have been imposing more and stronger rules on themselves for decades as to how animals must be treated in scientific research. There are different rules for primates, farm animals, laboratory animals, and wild animals.

Once the strength of many drugs actually compounded in local pharmacies were measured in "cat units". A cat unit was the volume of a tincture just sufficient to kill an adult cat. That meant that the local drug store owner that was labeling a new batch of the medicine had to test it on cats until he found the does that just killed a cat and a lower dosage (which of course made the cat quite sick) did not kill it.  The local pharmacist had a back room with a lot of cats in cages -- there were few stray cats on the streets.

Why cats you might ask. The answer is apparently that "killing dogs got people upset".

There were actually thousands of scientific papers written using "cat units" to describe the act of natural products such as digitalis on animals and humans.

This clearly is leading to a further advance.

A major problem in running an international research program is in assuring the ethical treatment of animals involved in the research. One issue is that different countries have different laws. Another is that the Western sensibility about animal suffering -- which is evolving as it has done for decades and indeed centuries -- is not exactly equivalent to that in other cultures.

I know. as I dealt with the ethics of treatment of animals in international scientific research as an important part of my job from 1981 to 1997.

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