Many centuries passed and humanity reached the Age of Light, with the cogito ergo sum “I think therefore I am” of Descartes. His proposition became a fundamental element of Western philosophy, as it was perceived to form a foundation for all knowledge. Sadly, one of the clearest and most forceful denials of animal consciousness was developed by Rene Descartes that stated that animals are such as, machines, and deprived of any sense of consciousness, understanding, feelings or even a the sensitive soul. I other words, he denies that animals have any sentient qualities.
Descartes maintained that animals cannot reason and do not feel pain; animals are living organic creatures, but they are automata, like mechanical robots. Descartes held that only humans are conscious, have minds and souls, can learn and have language, and therefore only humans are deserving of compassion.
“Animals are like robots: they cannot reason or feel pain.” Unfortunately for animals, science adopted his view. Away from religious concepts, the modern mind organizes and develops itself to perceive only utility of the living resources around it. Animals are one of them. The modern Catholic Church also adopted the Descartes ‘perception in hopes to conciliate faith and science and enters an uncharted area very diverse from the original thought and doctrine taught by the Master Jesus.
Other philosophers such as Kant and Bentham procured the problem of animal suffering in different basis. Pope John Paul II spoke of “divine breath” also present in animals, not just humans, which restored the value and dignity of these creatures.