Lama Chuck Stanford, Rime Buddhist Center & Monastery: From the Buddhist perspective all sentient beings (beings with a consciousness) are subject to the laws of karma and rebirth. This is true of all beings from humans and animals right down the food chain to the smallest insect. Therefore, animals would indeed have a subtle continuum of consciousness that is reborn. However, animals are ruled by instinct, and those who are carnivorous inflict terrible suffering on one another and therefore continue to generate negative karma for themselves. So it is very difficult, if not impossible, for many animals to advance along the spiritual path.