Thirty years ago, if you mentioned animal consciousness at a psychology conference, you’d risk getting jabbed with a Skinnerian cattle prod by some beady-eyed behaviorist. Animals were largely regarded as stimulus-response machines, devoid of inner life. Dissenters were few and far between.
Fortunately, times have changed. Animal cognition is all the rage, and, following closely behind it is the study of comparative neurobiology. Last July, a consortium of well-known neuroscientists issued “The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness in Non-Human Animals,” as public an acknowledgment as you are likely to find on behalf of science that, yes, it seems that animals do in fact possess consciousness, or at least they possess the “neurobiological substrates” necessary to “generate” consciousness.