As he unlocked the mysteries of the universe, Stephen Hawking broadened our understanding of space and time. The celebrated physicist also helped broaden our understanding of animals.

In 2012, Hawking joined a distinguished group of international scientists in endorsing the groundbreaking “Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness,” which held that animal and human consciousness are alike. The signatories included Irene Pepperberg and Philip Low, who debunked the idea that animals are walking automatons.

“There is no scientific validity to the notion that only humans are conscious,” Low said. “We are sacrificing about 70 billion animals per year, just for the meat, dairy and egg industry. These are complex brains that we are destroying.”

To honor Hawking, we hope that others will also recognize that animals are complex individuals who, like us, think, feel, and want to live in peace. To learn about ways to help animals, visit

Craig Shapiro, PETA Foundation