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Fish Sentience Denial: Muddying The Waters, Lynne U. Sneddon, Javier Lopez-Luna, David C.C. Wolfenden, Matthew C. Leach, Ana M. Valentim, Peter J. Steenbergen, Nabila Bardine, Amanda D. Currie, Donald M. Broom, Culum Brown Sep 2019

Fish Sentience Denial: Muddying The Waters, Lynne U. Sneddon, Javier Lopez-Luna, David C.C. Wolfenden, Matthew C. Leach, Ana M. Valentim, Peter J. Steenbergen, Nabila Bardine, Amanda D. Currie, Donald M. Broom, Culum Brown

Lynne Sneddon, PhD

Recent empirical studies have reported evidence that many aquatic species, including fish, cephalopods and crustaceans, have the capacity for nociception and pain, and that their welfare should be taken into consideration. Some sceptics, rejecting the precautionary principle, have denied that any study demonstrates pain or other aspects of sentience in fish. This target article discusses some of the scientific shortcomings of these critiques through a detailed analysis of a study exploring nociception and analgesia in larval zebrafish.


Ample Evidence For Fish Sentience And Pain, Lynne U. Sneddon, David C.C. Wolfenden, Matthew C. Leach, Ana M. Valentim, Peter J. Steenbergen, Nabila Bardine, Donald M. Broom, Culum Brown Sep 2019

Ample Evidence For Fish Sentience And Pain, Lynne U. Sneddon, David C.C. Wolfenden, Matthew C. Leach, Ana M. Valentim, Peter J. Steenbergen, Nabila Bardine, Donald M. Broom, Culum Brown

Lynne Sneddon, PhD

The majority of commentaries are supportive of our position on the scepticism that muddies the waters surrounding fish pain and sentience. There is substantial empirical evidence for pain in fish. Animals’ experience of pain cannot be compared to artificial intelligence (AI) because AI can only mimic responses to nociceptive input on the basis of human observations and programming. Accepting that fish are sentient would not be detrimental to the industries reliant on fish. A more proactive discussion between scientists and stakeholders is needed to improve fish welfare for the benefit of all.


Anthropomorphic Denial Of Fish Pain, Lynne U. Sneddon, Matthew C. Leach Sep 2019

Anthropomorphic Denial Of Fish Pain, Lynne U. Sneddon, Matthew C. Leach

Lynne Sneddon, PhD

Key (2016) affirms that we do not know how the fish brain processes pain but denies — because fish lack a human-like cortex — that fish can feel pain. He affirms that birds, like fish, have a singly-laminated cortex and that the structure of the bird brain is quite different from that of the human brain, yet he does not deny that birds can feel pain. In this commentary we describe how Key cites studies that substantiate mammalian pain but discounts the same kind of data as evidence of fish pain. We suggest that Key's interpretations are illogical, do not reflect ...


Raising Consciousness About Chicken Consciousness, Bernard Rollin Sep 2019

Raising Consciousness About Chicken Consciousness, Bernard Rollin

Bernard Rollin, PhD

The topics explored by Marino are definitive, and should work well to lay to rest forever the widespread belief that chickens have no personality, are unintelligent, or in any other way lack a mental life.


Far More To Sheep Than Meets The Casual Eye, Bernard Rollin Sep 2019

Far More To Sheep Than Meets The Casual Eye, Bernard Rollin

Bernard Rollin, PhD

Marino & Merskin’s survey of the cognitive and social capacities of sheep is an eye-opener about the individuality and emotionality of this most maligned of all farm animals. My own eyes had already been opened by an adopted orphaned lamb, so much more like a dog as a companion animal than the mindless robot I had been conditioned to expect. I am morally certain that Marino & Merskin’s survey will have a similar effect on readers open to changing their minds.


Raising The Moral Consciousness Of Science, Bernard Rollin Sep 2019

Raising The Moral Consciousness Of Science, Bernard Rollin

Bernard Rollin, PhD

Precaution on behalf of sentient animals should not be tempered by the questionable principle of the amorality of science.


Unity Of Consciousness In Animals, Bernard E. Rollin Sep 2019

Unity Of Consciousness In Animals, Bernard E. Rollin

Bernard Rollin, PhD

Both Descartes the rationalist and Hume the empiricist, polar opposites philosophically, denied the unity and continuity of animal mind. Kant pointed out that the presence of retrievable memories entails unity of consciousness. Rowlands now argues that animals too have unity of consciousness.


Thinking About Thinking Chickens, Lori Marino Sep 2019

Thinking About Thinking Chickens, Lori Marino

Lori Marino, PhD

This response focuses on three major conceptual threads that run through the peer commentary on my target article: (1) how the use of chickens influences our views of them, (2) whether education is effective, and (3) what components of chicken psychology are most relevant to understanding who chickens are.



“I Am Not An Animal”, Lori Marino Sep 2019

“I Am Not An Animal”, Lori Marino

Lori Marino, PhD

The answer to Chapman & Huffman’s question — “Why do we want to think humans are different?” — lies in the work of Ernest Becker and the social psychology literature known as Terror Management Theory, according to which our deep anxiety about animality and death can drive our need to feel superior to the other animals.


Octopus Minds Must Lead To Octopus Ethics, Barbara J. King, Lori Marino Sep 2019

Octopus Minds Must Lead To Octopus Ethics, Barbara J. King, Lori Marino

Lori Marino, PhD

Mather argues convincingly for the existence of minds in octopuses based largely on laboratory experiments. Many of these experiments are highly invasive and involve mutilation and death. Moreover, octopuses are now being hailed as a “new model” for biological research and are being enthusiastically bred in captivity, both for research and for food. We argue that the compelling evidence for mind in octopuses must be accompanied by intense scrutiny of the ethics that shape how we treat them and that the intrinsic value of their individual lives must be recognized.


The Inconvenient Truth About Thinking Chickens, Lori Marino Sep 2019

The Inconvenient Truth About Thinking Chickens, Lori Marino

Lori Marino, PhD

Original Abstract: Domestic chickens are members of an order, Aves, which has been the focus of a revolution in our understanding of neuroanatomical, cognitive, and social complexity. Some birds are now known to be on a par with many mammals in their intelligence, emotional sophistication, and social interaction. Yet views of chickens have largely remained unrevised in light of this new evidence. In this paper, I examine the data on cognition, emotions, personality, and sociality in chickens, exploring such areas as self-awareness, cognitive bias, social learning and self-control, and comparing their abilities with other birds and other vertebrates, particularly mammals ...


Intelligence, Complexity, And Individuality In Sheep, Lori Marino, Debra Merskin Sep 2019

Intelligence, Complexity, And Individuality In Sheep, Lori Marino, Debra Merskin

Lori Marino, PhD

Domestic sheep (Ovis aries) are among the earliest animals domesticated for human use. They are consumed worldwide as mutton, hogget, and lamb, kept as wool and milk producers, and used extensively in scientific research. The popular stereotype is that sheep are docile, passive, unintelligent, and timid, but a review of the research on their behavior, affect, cognition, and personality reveals that they are complex, individualistic, and social.


Debunking Human Prejudice And Blindness, Peter J. Li Sep 2019

Debunking Human Prejudice And Blindness, Peter J. Li

Peter J. Li, PhD

Human prejudice and blindness to animal suffering are shocking. Despite their differences in culture, politics, and religious beliefs, humans have one thing in common. They see nonhuman animals as inferior and have since time immemorial assumed a dominant position in an asymmetrical human-animal relationship. When it comes to human-animal relations, there is no “clash of civilizations.” Human prejudice and blindness are predicated on “common sense assumptions” about the natural world and nonhuman animals in particular. Marino & Merskin’s review is part of the growing effort to debunk the assumptions that have shaped human actions so as to end the injustice ...


The Precautionary Principle: A Cautionary Note, Robert C. Jones Sep 2019

The Precautionary Principle: A Cautionary Note, Robert C. Jones

Robert C. Jones, PhD

The precautionary principle regarding animal sentience is often used in decision-making about human actions that may cause harm to nonhuman animals. Birch (2017) develops an account of the precautionary principle requiring two pragmatic rules for its implementation. I support Birch's proposal but offer a cautionary note about relying on precautionary principles if one's ultimate goal is to emancipate animals from human domination.


Fish Sentience Denial: Muddy Moral Water, Robert C. Jones Sep 2019

Fish Sentience Denial: Muddy Moral Water, Robert C. Jones

Robert C. Jones, PhD

Sneddon et al. (2018) authoritatively summarize the compelling and overwhelming evidence for fish sentience, while methodically dismantling one rather emblematic research paper (Diggles et al. 2017) intended to discount solid evidence of fish sentience (Lopez-Luna et al. 2017a, 2017b, 2017c, & 2017d). I explore the larger practical moral contexts within which these debates take place and argue that denials of animal sentience are really moral canards.


Animal Pain And The Social Role Of Science, Leslie Irvine Sep 2019

Animal Pain And The Social Role Of Science, Leslie Irvine

Leslie Irvine, PhD

Assuming that all animals are sentient would mean ending their use in most scientific research. This does not necessarily imply an unscientific or anti-scientific stance. Examining the social role of science reveals its considerable investment in preserving the status quo, including the continued use of animal subjects. From this perspective, the use of animal subjects is a custom that science could move beyond, rather than a methodological requirement that it must defend.


What Is In An Octopus's Mind?, Jennifer Mather Aug 2019

What Is In An Octopus's Mind?, Jennifer Mather

Jennifer Mather, PhD

It is difficult to imagine what an animal as different from us as the octopus ‘thinks’, but we can make some progress. In the Umwelt or perceptual world of an octopus, what the lateralized monocular eyes perceive is not color but the plane of polarization of light. Information is processed by a bilateral brain but manipulation is done by a radially symmetrical set of eight arms. Octopuses do not self-monitor by vision. Their skin pattern system, used for excellent camouflage, is open loop. The output of the motor system of the eight arms is organized at several levels — brain, intrabrachial ...


A Risk Assessment And Phylogenetic Approach, Culum Brown Aug 2019

A Risk Assessment And Phylogenetic Approach, Culum Brown

Culum Brown, PhD

The precautionary principal is often invoked when talking about the evidence of sentience in animals, largely because we can never be certain what any animal is thinking or feeling. Birch (2017) offers a preliminary framework for the use of the precautionary principal for animal sentience combining an epistemic rule with a decision rule. I extend this framework by adding an evolutionary phylogentic approach which spreads the burden of proof across broad taxonomic groups and a risk assessment component which magnifies the likely impact by the number of animals involved.


Ample Evidence For Fish Sentience And Pain, Lynne U. Sneddon, David C.C. Wolfenden, Matthew C. Leach, Ana M. Valentim, Peter J. Steenbergen, Nabila Bardine, Donald M. Broom, Culum Brown Aug 2019

Ample Evidence For Fish Sentience And Pain, Lynne U. Sneddon, David C.C. Wolfenden, Matthew C. Leach, Ana M. Valentim, Peter J. Steenbergen, Nabila Bardine, Donald M. Broom, Culum Brown

Culum Brown, PhD

The majority of commentaries are supportive of our position on the scepticism that muddies the waters surrounding fish pain and sentience. There is substantial empirical evidence for pain in fish. Animals’ experience of pain cannot be compared to artificial intelligence (AI) because AI can only mimic responses to nociceptive input on the basis of human observations and programming. Accepting that fish are sentient would not be detrimental to the industries reliant on fish. A more proactive discussion between scientists and stakeholders is needed to improve fish welfare for the benefit of all.


Fish Sentience Denial: Muddying The Waters, Lynne U. Sneddon, Javier Lopez-Luna, David C.C. Wolfenden, Matthew C. Leach, Ana M. Valentim, Peter J. Steenbergen, Nabila Bardine, Amanda D. Currie, Donald M. Broom, Culum Brown Aug 2019

Fish Sentience Denial: Muddying The Waters, Lynne U. Sneddon, Javier Lopez-Luna, David C.C. Wolfenden, Matthew C. Leach, Ana M. Valentim, Peter J. Steenbergen, Nabila Bardine, Amanda D. Currie, Donald M. Broom, Culum Brown

Culum Brown, PhD

Recent empirical studies have reported evidence that many aquatic species, including fish, cephalopods and crustaceans, have the capacity for nociception and pain, and that their welfare should be taken into consideration. Some sceptics, rejecting the precautionary principle, have denied that any study demonstrates pain or other aspects of sentience in fish. This target article discusses some of the scientific shortcomings of these critiques through a detailed analysis of a study exploring nociception and analgesia in larval zebrafish.


Fishes Are Gaining Academic Respect, Jonathan Balcombe Jul 2019

Fishes Are Gaining Academic Respect, Jonathan Balcombe

Jonathan Balcombe, PhD

I respond to five commentaries on my 2016 book What a Fish Knows. The commentaries express more harmony than dissent about my interpretation of fishes as cognitive, aware individuals deserving better treatment by humankind.


Chicken Of The Sea, Jonathan Balcombe Jul 2019

Chicken Of The Sea, Jonathan Balcombe

Jonathan Balcombe, PhD

Marino summarizes research showing that chickens perform cognitively and emotionally at a higher level than previously assumed. Here, I describe capacities of teleost fishes that parallel those of chickens, including the ability to recognize human faces, perspective-taking, and referential communication. Research on chickens and on fishes reveals an emerging trend in cognitive ethology: abilities once thought limited to a scant few highly intelligent non-humans may actually occur broadly across taxa.


What Sets Us Apart Could Be Our Salvation, Anne Fawcett, Paul Mcgreevy Jul 2019

What Sets Us Apart Could Be Our Salvation, Anne Fawcett, Paul Mcgreevy

Paul McGreevy, PhD

We agree with Chapman & Huffman that human capacities are often assumed to be unique — or attempts are made to demonstrate uniqueness scientifically — in order to justify the exploitation of animals and ecosystems. To extend the argument that human exceptionalism is against our interests, we recommend adopting the One Welfare framework, according to which animal welfare, environmental sustainability and human wellbeing are inseparably linked. Let us distinguish ourselves from other animals by resisting our short- and mid-term Darwinian inclinations, consuming less, reproducing less, and striving for a much longer-term biological fitness for us all.


Becoming The Good Shepherds, Eze Paez Jun 2019

Becoming The Good Shepherds, Eze Paez

Animal Sentience

It is very important that we clarify what we owe to nonhuman animals. To that end, we need a better understanding of animal cognition and emotion. Marino & Merskin’s target article is a welcome contribution to this project. Sheep, like most other animals, are sentient beings with interests of their own. It is wrong to discriminate against them based on species-membership or cognitive sophistication. We are morally required not to harm them, and to help them have the best possible lives, just as we would be in the case of human beings with similar interests. We must become the good ...


Humans May Be Unique And Superior — And That Is Irrelevant, Eze Paez Jan 2019

Humans May Be Unique And Superior — And That Is Irrelevant, Eze Paez

Animal Sentience

Chapman & Huffman argue that, because humans are neither unique nor superior to the other animals, cruelty to animals is not justified. Though I agree with their conclusion, I do not think their argument works. Many human beings do have some capacities that animals do not have and are greater in some respects, in the sense of having superior abilities. It is a better argument to deny that any of that is morally relevant. Sentience suffices for moral consideration, and for deriving a moral duty not to harm other animals and to assist them when they are in need.


Across The Great Divide, Debra Merskin Jan 2019

Across The Great Divide, Debra Merskin

Animal Sentience

Chapman & Huffman’s target article calls for a reevaluation of claims of human uniqueness and superiority. It also adds to the literature on how species differences, as Darwin noted, are more of degree than kind. The threats to environmental health and species survival are a consequence of excluding nonhuman animals from moral concern and consideration. The theory of intersectionality should include speciesism in the array of discriminatory practices.


Positive Sentience Is Underrated, Teya Brooks Pribac Jan 2019

Positive Sentience Is Underrated, Teya Brooks Pribac

Animal Sentience

My commentary focuses on two aspects of ovine (well-)being considered in the review: the developmental context and (un)fulfilled potentialities.


Why Cod Don't Like To Sunbathe: Quantity And Quality In The Animal Kingdom, Christoph Jung Jan 2019

Why Cod Don't Like To Sunbathe: Quantity And Quality In The Animal Kingdom, Christoph Jung

Animal Sentience

The difference between a cod and a lizard is not just a quantitative one. The recognition of qualitative differences between species does not imply a moral ranking. Our species’ special abilities to shape the earth mean we have a special responsibility for ensuring a liveable future for all organisms, human and non-human.


Our Brains Make Us Out To Be Unique In Ways We Are Not, Matthew J. Criscione, Julian Paul Keenan Jan 2019

Our Brains Make Us Out To Be Unique In Ways We Are Not, Matthew J. Criscione, Julian Paul Keenan

Animal Sentience

Humans have long viewed themselves in a favorable light. This bias is consistent with a general pattern of self-enhancement. Neural systems in the medial prefrontal cortex underlie this way of thinking, which, even when false, may be beneficial for survival. It is hence not surprising that we often disregard contrary evidence in believing ourselves superior.


Animal Sentience Is Not Enough To Motivate Conservation, Irene M. Pepperberg Jan 2019

Animal Sentience Is Not Enough To Motivate Conservation, Irene M. Pepperberg

Animal Sentience

Chapman & Huffman suggest that humans’ views of their own superiority are a source of their callousness toward the environment. I do not disagree but point to a number of other issues that must be addressed for conservation efforts to succeed.