Sentience is a capacity to have the basic experiences—called “qualia” in the Western philosophical tradition—that are fundamental to being alive: seeing, hearing, smelling, experiencing pain and pleasure and emotional attachment. This is not the same as human consciousness: when animal rights advocates talk about animals’ sentience, we don’t mean that they can engineer bridges, compose verse in iambic pentameter, draft a constitution, or perform open-heart surgery. (By the way, there is very good research to prove that some animals do experience something very close to human consciousness—the capacity to prioritize, to think in a premeditated way, and so on. But for the purposes of this particular point, let’s put that aside). When we say that animals are sentient, we mean that they participate in the most fundamental parts of lived experience, and that this makes them worthy of our reverence and care....This passage is part of an essay titled Vegan 101: The Ethics of Veganism on the J.L. Goes Vegan website. I recommend the essay, it is well written and informative and comes from the perspective of someone that began following a diet free of animal products for health reasons and slowly became aware of the larger issues that accompany the practice of ethical veganism.
Now, here is a visual (from Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary) showing you a living being who doesn't happen to be human but obviously enjoys being alive.
The video is an example of a sentient being participating in and expressing some of the most fundamental parts of lived experience. We human animals have no business interfering in the life of any sentient being, much less harming them. The most important way to diminish interference is to live your life as an ethical vegan. Please begin to do so if you haven't already.