Nanyuan is a Chinese professor of the old school (I presume). He lives in China and is against animal welfare laws being introduced in China. He thinks animals are vegetables. He represents all that is wrong with the attitude of a large part of Chinese society. I have to say, though, things are changing and the majority of the population are for animal welfare laws. There are almost no animal welfare laws at present in China despite the country having the second largest population of domestic cats in the world after America. There are at least 53m in China.
What does “sentient” mean? I’ll just quote the free dictionary:
Experiencing sensation or feeling.
OK professor, first watch this video about a dog that made friends with a beaver in America. This video was more or less chosen at random. There are thousands of other videos on the internet that tell a similar story. Animals experience the emotion of grief and even on that simple test they are sentient. Animals experience many other emotions.
One of the comments to the video is educational for cat owners:
I always let my pets see the body so they can have closure, too. I learned that the hard way when my cat passed away. My other cat, his constant companion, spent the rest of her life looking for him.
I don’t know about anyone else but to me it is common sense that animals are sentient. Why shouldn’t they be? Do you start with the obvious, namely, that animals are sentient based on simple observation and a basic knowledge of anatomy or do you (like the stupid professor) start on the premise that animals are vegetables. He is so obviously idiotic. He should be discredited as a professor and sent to the brick works in the south of China where he can earn 50 cents a day and sleep in a shed. Perhaps after a few years of that he’ll change his mind.
The professor has a duty to educate and he is doing the opposite as far as I am concerned.
Note 1: the beaver is enormous (200 lbs). This is his natural state. It is believed he was killed by a grass cutter. The dog is Bella. She went missing mid 2013 about one year after the video was made and has not been seen since.
Note 2: the professor is not the only person who believes animals are not sentient judging by the comments to the video. Although most visitors are sympathetic.