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Full-Text Articles in Life Sciences

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 ...


Canine Dystocia In 50 Uk First-Opinion Emergency Care Veterinary Practices: Clinical Management And Outcomes, Dan G. O'Neill, Aoife M. O'Sullivan, Erin A. Manson, David B. Church, Paul Mcgreevy, Amanda K. Boag, Dave C. Brodbelt Mar 2019

Canine Dystocia In 50 Uk First-Opinion Emergency Care Veterinary Practices: Clinical Management And Outcomes, Dan G. O'Neill, Aoife M. O'Sullivan, Erin A. Manson, David B. Church, Paul Mcgreevy, Amanda K. Boag, Dave C. Brodbelt

Natology

Canine dystocia is a relatively common veterinary presentation. First opinion emergency care clinical data from 50 Vets Now clinics across the UK were used to explore dystocia management and outcomes in bitches. Caesarean section (CS) was performed on 341/701 (48.6 per cent (95 per cent CI 44.9 to 52.4)) of dystocia cases. The bulldog (OR 7.60, 95 per cent CI 1.51 to 38.26, P=0.014), Border terrier (OR 4.89, 95 per cent CI 0.92 to 25.97, P=0.063) and golden retriever (OR 4.07, 95 per cent CI ...


A Behavior-Analytic Approach To Understanding Octopus “Mind”, Lindsay R. Mehrkam Jan 2019

A Behavior-Analytic Approach To Understanding Octopus “Mind”, Lindsay R. Mehrkam

Animal Sentience

Mather makes a convincing case for octopus sentience based on a lot of evidence of their complex learning capabilities. It should follow from Mather’s findings that these intelligent invertebrates are worthy of welfare considerations, just as vertebrate species with similar capabilities are. I provide a complementary environment-behavior analysis of how we might understand the world of the octopus more straightforwardly, borrowing from Mather’s examples, to show how to promote opportunities for complex learning and species-typical behaviors in the octopus.


Humans Have Always Been Unique!, William C. Mcgrew Jan 2019

Humans Have Always Been Unique!, William C. Mcgrew

Animal Sentience

Arguments about human uniqueness apply not only to extant species but also to extinct ones, that is, the hominin predecessors of anatomically modern Homo sapiens. Thus, unique and superior are doubly relative terms, in past and present. The scope for empirical comparison faces a spectrum of difficulty, from material (e.g., artefacts) to non-material (e.g., concepts) phenomena.


Taking Darwinism Seriously, Carsta Simon Jan 2019

Taking Darwinism Seriously, Carsta Simon

Animal Sentience

Chapman & Huffman propose that dropping the categorical distinction between human and nonhuman animals may reduce the atrocious acts of humans towards nonhuman animals, but will it? Taking Darwinism seriously means accepting physical and behavioral continuity across species, including the capacity to feel pain.


What Is Good For An Octopus?, Heather Browning Jan 2019

What Is Good For An Octopus?, Heather Browning

Animal Sentience

Mather (2019) has brought together the current empirical research in support of the claim that octopuses possess minds; and the weight of the evidence does appear to support octopus sentience. Being sentient means an organism has welfare concerns, a subjective experience of life that can go well or poorly. Protecting welfare requires knowing what conditions will have a positive or negative impact. Understanding what is in the mind of an octopus will give us valuable insight into what is good for an octopus.


The Octopus: A Beautiful (But Disorganized) “Mind”, Jon Mallatt Jan 2019

The Octopus: A Beautiful (But Disorganized) “Mind”, Jon Mallatt

Animal Sentience

Mather (2019) presents convincing evidence that octopuses have minds, but in the first 85% of the target article, the evidence does not come through very clearly because it is hidden by other information and by problems with the paper’s organization. I propose ways to build a tighter argument in the author’s Response to the Commentaries.


The ‘Thing’ From This World, Sergio M. Pellis Jan 2019

The ‘Thing’ From This World, Sergio M. Pellis

Animal Sentience

Science progresses by making contrasts, and the living world is a gold mine of contrasts. Often disciplines become victims by focusing on too narrow a slice of that diversity, leading to a myopic view of how nature works. The relationships between the brain and behavior have been intensively studied in vertebrates, especially mammals, and we have become complacent in our assumptions about how behavior is constructed. As the target article by Mather (2019) shows, the relationship between the brain and behavior in octopuses forces us to reevaluate some of those assumptions.


Are Octopuses Special? Mind, Sociality And Life History, Phyllis C. Lee Jan 2019

Are Octopuses Special? Mind, Sociality And Life History, Phyllis C. Lee

Animal Sentience

Understanding the Umwelt or being-ness of an octopus is a fascinating problem. Mather’s review provides us with significant insights into the ways of living of non-humans that exploit a perceptual and physical world we can only guess at. Octopus “distributed minds” call into question our primate-based understandings of the importance of sociality and the pace of life in the evolution of complex perceptual and behavioural abilities.


Are Our Ideas About Octopus Life Too Anthropomorphic To Help?, Kenneth J. Aitken Jan 2019

Are Our Ideas About Octopus Life Too Anthropomorphic To Help?, Kenneth J. Aitken

Animal Sentience

Our understanding of the evolution and ontogeny of the octopus and its behavioral repertoire in its natural habitat remains rudimentary at best. There are many parallels, but also just as many differences from our models of human biology and ontogeny, making anthropocentric generalizations of limited use in explanation.


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

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

Animal Sentience

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 Perfecting Of The Octopus, Ila France Porcher Jan 2019

The Perfecting Of The Octopus, Ila France Porcher

Animal Sentience

Cephalopods split away from the phylogenetic tree about half a billion years ago, and octopus evolution has been accelerated by an extremely low survival rate. This helps explain why this unusual animal presents qualities found in no other. It has a radially organized nervous system with a processing centre for each of its eight tentacles. Yet, although this might suggest that each tentacle has its own centre of consciousness, it remains just one animal, with one mouth to feed, and one life to lose, and it behaves as if it is centrally controlled. Its capacity for a range of intelligent ...


The Ingenuity Of Cephalopods, Angel Guerra Jan 2019

The Ingenuity Of Cephalopods, Angel Guerra

Animal Sentience

I present a brief overview of the richness of cephalopod behavioral, neural and cognitive traits.


Can A Mirror Capture The Self?, Cynthia Willett Jan 2019

Can A Mirror Capture The Self?, Cynthia Willett

Animal Sentience

Is the mirror a reliable indicator of self-awareness for any species, whether sheep or human? Taking a cue from feminist, phenomenological, and cross-cultural philosophy, a relational self rather than a reflective one might better capture what is at stake for the lives of social animals and for science.


Social Cognition In Sheep: Welfare Implications, Keith M. Kendrick Jan 2019

Social Cognition In Sheep: Welfare Implications, Keith M. Kendrick

Animal Sentience

More research has been carried out on social cognition in sheep than in other farm animal species. Although this has often been featured widely in the media, there is still limited public awareness of it. Marino & Merskin’s review is therefore both important and timely. In my commentary, I focus primarily on what has been established about the complexity of sheep social cognition, at the level of both brain and behavior, and on some of these findings for sheep welfare.


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.


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

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

Animal Sentience

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.


Sacrificial Lambs, Clive Phillips Jan 2019

Sacrificial Lambs, Clive Phillips

Animal Sentience

Sheep evolved from the mouflon as mountain animals, able to escape predation by leaping between rock ledges. Their defense was their agility. Humans brought them to the plains, where the agility was less useful, but their lack of aggression, speed or weaponry against predators made them a prime target to become one of man’s meat providers. A perfect animal in many ways, with extraordinary perceptive powers and some remarkable cognitive skills, they are often treated with complete disregard for their welfare. Yet sheep themselves won’t tell us this, for a sheep that alerted others to its weakness really ...


Casting A Sheep’S Eye On Science, David M. Peña-Guzmán Jan 2019

Casting A Sheep’S Eye On Science, David M. Peña-Guzmán

Animal Sentience

Marino & Merskin review evidence that sheep are not just passive and reactive creatures. They have personalities that vary from individual to individual and endure over time. It follows that we must rethink what it means to study them scientifically.


Applied Cognition Research To Improve Sheep Welfare, Kristina Horback Jan 2019

Applied Cognition Research To Improve Sheep Welfare, Kristina Horback

Animal Sentience

If a change is going to occur in the care and management of domestic sheep, there needs to be a collaborative effort across many disciplines. This review by Marino & Merskin of the literature on cognitive processing in domestic sheep is limited by the inherent bias of the authors, including the impracticable goal of eliminating sheep production. Animal welfare concerns about the management of commercial sheep are valid; however, in order to make a difference, we need to develop an application for this knowledge about cognitive abilities in sheep.


The Importance Of Research Applicability, Krista Mclennan Jan 2019

The Importance Of Research Applicability, Krista Mclennan

Animal Sentience

Marino & Merskin’s (2019) review contains key information about the complexity of sheep and their intelligence level, but lacks practical application. The key to making any long-term changes to sheep welfare at an industry level is by generating research that is practically relevant to the sector. The practical application of research should be considered at the design stage and in consultation with producers. Additionally, thought needs to be given to how the practical application of the research will be transferred to those people directly involved in animal care (e.g., producers, stockpersons, etc.). Focusing on the practical relevance and application ...


The Problem Is Not Discourses Of Production; It Is Production Itself, Sean Hermanson Jan 2019

The Problem Is Not Discourses Of Production; It Is Production Itself, Sean Hermanson

Animal Sentience

The mistreatment of sheep is not because of fables, stereotypes, unconscious cultural paradigms, our collective consciousness, anthropocentricism, human arrogance, or our drive to dominate. Nonetheless, protections for sheep used in research and agriculture ought to be strengthened.


Mobilizing Heads And Hearts For Wildlife Conservation, Valérie A. M. Schoof, Simon L'Allier Jan 2019

Mobilizing Heads And Hearts For Wildlife Conservation, Valérie A. M. Schoof, Simon L'Allier

Animal Sentience

Highlighting the shared evolutionary relationships between humans and animals — and recognizing that all species, including humans, are unique in their own way — may facilitate caring for and conserving animals by tapping into a human emotion: empathy.


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.


Taking Exception To Human Exceptionalism, Carrie P. Freeman Jan 2019

Taking Exception To Human Exceptionalism, Carrie P. Freeman

Animal Sentience

Chapman & Huffman refute common claims used to justify human species distinctions, and they critique the animal cruelty that has resulted from this privileged status. I raise related questions for further study of the roots of human exceptionalism and about whether aspiring to be more like our fellow animals might be part of the solution.


Phooey On Comparisons, Gwen J. Broude Jan 2019

Phooey On Comparisons, Gwen J. Broude

Animal Sentience

Chapman & Huffman reject the notion that human beings are very different from other animals. The goal is to undermine the claim that human uniqueness and even superiority are reason enough to treat other animals badly. But evaluating human uniqueness for this purpose only plays into the hands of those who exploit invidious comparisons between us and other animals to justify mistreatment of the rest of the animal kingdom. What human uniqueness we may discover would still be no justification for how we behave toward other animals. We should also ask ourselves whether any human-centric criterion can be justification for determining ...


Anthropocentrism: Practical Remedies Needed, Helen Kopnina Jan 2019

Anthropocentrism: Practical Remedies Needed, Helen Kopnina

Animal Sentience

It is true that one of the harmful consequences of creating categories where one group is unique and superior to others is that it justifies discriminating against the inferior groups. And outright abuse of nonhuman animals is indeed morally unjustifiable. But what is to be done about it?


More Evidence Of Complex Cognition In Nonhuman Species, Lesley J. Rogers Jan 2019

More Evidence Of Complex Cognition In Nonhuman Species, Lesley J. Rogers

Animal Sentience

Chapman & Huffman have highlighted observations of animals performing, in nature, complex behaviour once thought to be unique to humans. Just as relevant to their argument are examples of cognition shown by domesticated species tested in controlled conditions. These strengthen the case for human/nonhuman similarities in behaviour and cognition. Recent research has brought to our attention the ability of nonhuman species to perform many tasks previously considered to be the hallmark of humans. Even though different species may use different ways of solving these tasks, the very fact that they can do it undermines the notion of human superiority.


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.


Mirror Neurons And Humanity’S Dark Side, Gisela Kaplan Jan 2019

Mirror Neurons And Humanity’S Dark Side, Gisela Kaplan

Animal Sentience

The last two decades have revealed brain mechanisms in birds and primates showing that, contrary to earlier prejudices, some birds can do things (cognitive and affective) on par with or even better than great apes and humans. The old dichotomies are breaking down; but the dark side is that these insights come at a time in the Anthropocene when humans have caused and continue to cause mass extinctions.