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News From The Nonhuman Rights Project:

8 August 2019, 6:19 pm
<p>This week in our elephant client Happy‘s case, we filed a Notice of Motion to Strike in response to an improper filing on the part of the Wildlife Conservation Society, which operates the Bronx Zoo where Happy has been imprisoned for over 40 years (the last 13 of which she has spent alone). A Motion... <a class="view-article" href="">View Article</a></p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">NhRP Responds To Improper Bronx Zoo Filing In Happy’s Case</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Nonhuman Rights Project</a>.</p>

5 August 2019, 1:40 pm
<p>Below is an essay inspired by the NhRP’s client Happy, written by longtime NhRP supporter Thalia Field and excerpted from her forthcoming book Personhood (New Directions Publishing). Thalia is an author known for her innovative fiction who has taught in the Literary Arts department at Brown University since 2000. Thank you Thalia for your support for... <a class="view-article" href="">View Article</a></p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Thalia Field: Happy/That you have the body (The Mirror Test)</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Nonhuman Rights Project</a>.</p>

4 August 2019, 3:53 pm
<p>With great sadness I acknowledge the passing of my dear friend, the great filmmaker, D A Pennebaker. I had the privilege of knowing and working with Penny and his equally talented wife, Chris Hegedus, during the years it took them to make the HBO film, Unlocking the Cage, about the work of the Nonhuman Rights... <a class="view-article" href="">View Article</a></p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">On The Passing of D A Pennebaker</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Nonhuman Rights Project</a>.</p>

17 July 2019, 6:55 pm
<p>Please join the Nonhuman Rights Project on August 10th as we rally in support of freedom for our elephant client Happy, a wild-born elephant held in captivity at the Bronx Zoo for over 40 years, the last 13 of which she has spent alone. During the rally, NhRP President Steven M. Wise and staff will... <a class="view-article" href="">View Article</a></p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Rally for Freedom for Happy on August 10th in the Bronx</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Nonhuman Rights Project</a>.</p>

13 July 2019, 8:53 pm
<p>“If only we could march under one banner, working for apes and humans alike, and with our combined intelligence and compassion—our humanity—strive to make ever more people understand. To understand that we should respect the individual ape just as we should respect the individual human; that we should recognise the right of each ape to... <a class="view-article" href="">View Article</a></p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Need for Chimpanzee Rights</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Nonhuman Rights Project</a>.</p>

10 July 2019, 4:54 pm
<p>With this decision, India takes another big step forward in the global struggle for recognition and protection of nonhuman rights  On May 31st, 2019, the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, in the case of Karnail Singh and others v State of Haryana, recognized all animals in the animal kingdom, including avian and aquatic species,... <a class="view-article" href="">View Article</a></p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Indian High Court Recognizes Nonhuman Animals As Legal Entities</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Nonhuman Rights Project</a>.</p>

25 June 2019, 10:45 pm
<p>The Nonhuman Rights Project’s habeas corpus litigation forces courts to confront and determine whether our nonhuman animal clients are legal persons, as opposed to mere legal things. This distinction has profound significance. Legal persons may possess fundamental legal rights, including the right to bodily liberty; legal things, on the other hand, have no rights at... <a class="view-article" href="">View Article</a></p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">What Is A Legal Person? Law Dictionary Corrects Decades-old Error</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Nonhuman Rights Project</a>.</p>

17 June 2019, 10:14 pm
<p>Please join the NhRP on June 27th for a special night in DC! Starting at 6.p.m., the DC Bar is hosting a free screening of Unlocking the Cage: Directed by award-winning documentarians Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker, this film follows the NhRP’s mission to transform animals from legal “things” with no rights to “persons”... <a class="view-article" href="">View Article</a></p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Film Screening and Meet & Greet in DC</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Nonhuman Rights Project</a>.</p>

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The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness*

On this day of July 7, 2012, a prominent international group of cognitive neuroscientists, neuropharmacologists, neurophysiologists, neuroanatomists and computational neuroscientists gathered at The University of Cambridge to reassess the neurobiological substrates of conscious experience and related behaviors in human and non-human animals. While comparative research on this topic is naturally hampered by the inability of non-human animals, and often humans, to clearly and readily communicate about their internal states, the following observations can be stated unequivocally:

· The field of Consciousness research is rapidly evolving. Abundant new techniques and strategies for human and non-human animal research have been developed. Consequently, more data is becoming readily available, and this calls for a periodic reevaluation of previously held preconceptions in this field. Studies of non-human animals have shown that homologous brain circuits correlated with conscious experience and perception can be selectively facilitated and disrupted to assess whether they are in fact necessary for those experiences. Moreover, in humans, new non-invasive techniques are readily available to survey the correlates of consciousness.

· The neural substrates of emotions do not appear to be confined to cortical structures. In fact, subcortical neural networks aroused during affective states in humans are also critically important for generating emotional behaviors in animals. Artificial arousal of the same brain regions generates corresponding behavior and feeling states in both humans and non-human animals. Wherever in the brain one evokes instinctual emotional behaviors in non-human animals, many of the ensuing behaviors are consistent with experienced feeling states, including those internal states that are rewarding and punishing. Deep brain stimulation of these systems in humans can also generate similar affective states. Systems associated with affect are concentrated in subcortical regions where neural homologies abound. Young human and nonhuman animals without neocortices retain these brain-mind functions. Furthermore, neural circuits supporting behavioral/electrophysiological states of attentiveness, sleep and decision making appear to have arisen in evolution as early as the invertebrate radiation, being evident in insects and cephalopod mollusks (e.g., octopus).

· Birds appear to offer, in their behavior, neurophysiology, and neuroanatomy a striking case of parallel evolution of consciousness. Evidence of near human-like levels of consciousness has been most dramatically observed in African grey parrots. Mammalian and avian emotional networks and cognitive microcircuitries appear to be far more homologous than previously thought. Moreover, certain species of birds have been found to exhibit neural sleep patterns similar to those of mammals, including REM sleep and, as was demonstrated in zebra finches, neurophysiological patterns, previously thought to require a mammalian neocortex. Magpies in particular have been shown to exhibit striking similarities to humans, great apes, dolphins, and elephants in studies of mirror self-recognition.

· In humans, the effect of certain hallucinogens appears to be associated with a disruption in cortical feedforward and feedback processing. Pharmacological interventions in non-human animals with compounds known to affect conscious behavior in humans can lead to similar perturbations in behavior in non-human animals. In humans, there is evidence to suggest that awareness is correlated with cortical activity, which does not exclude possible contributions by subcortical or early cortical processing, as in visual awareness. Evidence that human and nonhuman animal emotional feelings arise from homologous subcortical brain networks provide compelling evidence for evolutionarily shared primal affective qualia.

We declare the following: “The absence of a neocortex does not appear to preclude an organism from experiencing affective states. Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, 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.”

* The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness was written by Philip Low and edited by Jaak Panksepp, Diana Reiss, David Edelman, Bruno Van Swinderen, Philip Low and Christof Koch. The Declaration was publicly proclaimed in Cambridge, UK, on July 7, 2012, at the Francis Crick Memorial Conference on Consciousness in Human and non-Human Animals, at Churchill College, University of Cambridge, by Low, Edelman and Koch. The Declaration was signed by the conference participants that very evening, in the presence of Stephen Hawking, in the Balfour Room at the Hotel du Vin in Cambridge, UK. The signing ceremony was memorialized by CBS 60 Minutes.

The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness can be downloaded Here

News From the IEET:

  • Episode #54 - Sebo on the Moral Problem of Other Minds

    In this episode I talk to Jeff Sebo. Jeff is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, Affiliated Professor of Bioethics, Medical Ethics, and Philosophy, and Director of the Animal Studies M.A. Program at New York University.  Jeff’s research focuses on bioethics, animal ethics, and environmental ethics. He has two co-authored books Chimpanzee Rights and Food, Animals, and the Environment. We talk about something Jeff calls the ‘moral problem of other minds’, which is roughly the problem of what we should to if we aren’t sure whether another being is sentient or not.

  • EMG De l’invisibilité du changement

    Le mind uploading, ou bio-exode, sera-t-il l’exode rural du XXIème siècle ?

  • IEET’s Roland Benedikter Published Debate Article ‘Citizen Robot’

    The “overcoming of man” long announced by the western political philosophy of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries seems to have begun in practice, induced – as remains to be seen, consciously or unconsciously – by states and leaders who live in a paradox: a medieval worldview connected with the hyper-technology of tomorrow.

    Read the full article here

  • What is TRANSHUMANISM? Dr. Ferrando (NYU)

    This video is part of the mini-course in the Philosophy of “The Posthuman”, Lesson n. 2, by Dr. Francesca Ferrando (NYU)

  • What does “POSTHUMAN” mean? Dr. Ferrando (NYU)

    This video is part of the online course in the Philosophy of “The Posthuman”, Lesson n. 1, by Dr. Francesca Ferrando (NYU).

  • What Happens When We Design Babies?

    In this episode we discuss the prospect of designer babies. As genetic engineering and reproductive technologies continue to advance, parents are likely to gain unprecedented control over their offspring. We discuss some of the recent progress in germ line engineering and speculate about the degree of manipulation that might be possible in the near term. But perhaps more importantly, we discuss some of the ethical and policy implications of such advances. Will designer babies pave the way for a healthier and happier society or are we in for a more dystopian outcome?

  • John G. Messerly What Is The Point of Money?

    Wealth is necessary in order to live well, but it is not sufficient. You may have lots of money but live terribly without friends or wisdom. You may have mistaken part of a good life—sufficient wealth to live—with the whole of the good life. For money isn’t an end in itself, it is merely a means to an end.


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