Does the notion that animals do not have an interest in their lives, that they have an interest only in not suffering, make any sense? I don’t think so. To say that a sentient being—any sentient being—is not harmed by death is most peculiar. Sentience is not a characteristic that has evolved to serve as an end in itself. Rather, it is a trait that allows beings to identify situations that are harmful and that threaten survival. Sentience is a means to the end of continued existence. Sentient beings, by virtue of their being sentient, have an interest in remaining alive; that is, they prefer, want or desire to remain alive. Therefore, to say that a sentient being is not harmed by death denies that the being has the very interest that sentience serves to perpetuate. It would be analogous to saying that a being with eyes does not have an interest in continuing to see or is not harmed by being made blind. The Jains of India expressed it well long ago: “All beings are fond of life, like pleasure, hate pain, shun destruction, like life, long to live. To all life is dear.”
more from Gary Francione at The Point here.