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Humans May Be Unique And Superior — And That Is Irrelevant, Eze Paez 2019 University of Minho

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 2019 Animal Studies Repository

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.


White-Nose Syndrome And Immune Responses In A Resistant Bat Species (Eptesicus Fuscus), Keslie Skye Naffa 2019 Missouri State University - Springfield

White-Nose Syndrome And Immune Responses In A Resistant Bat Species (Eptesicus Fuscus), Keslie Skye Naffa

MSU Graduate Theses

White-nose syndrome (WNS) has had a large negative impact on bat populations across eastern North America since its arrival in 2006. Bats affected by WNS appear to die of starvation, possibly due to the increased arousals during hibernation when there is no food present to replace the energy used to arouse. During hibernation, the bat’s immune system should be suppressed. However, once a bat of a susceptible species is exposed to the fungus that causes WNS, Psuedogymnoascus destructans (Pd), the immune system seems to respond, potentially causing an elevation in metabolic rate, which may cause the bat to arouse ...


Activity Budgets And Behavior Of Captive Black-Handed Spider Monkeys (Ateles Geoffroyi) At The Central Florida Zoo And Botanical Gardens, Stephanie Hargrave 2019 University of Central Florida

Activity Budgets And Behavior Of Captive Black-Handed Spider Monkeys (Ateles Geoffroyi) At The Central Florida Zoo And Botanical Gardens, Stephanie Hargrave

Honors Undergraduate Theses

Establishing baseline activity budgets for zoo-housed captive animals can be important in tracking behavior changes that may indicate medical or other concerns, as well as assessing overall welfare and the need for implementation of interventions such as increased amounts of enrichment. This study sought to calculate activity budgets for the current spider monkeys residing at the Central Florida Zoo, a father-daughter pair of Ateles geoffroyi. Having a baseline activity budget is also valuable because major changes in behavior may accompany the upcoming introduction of new individuals to this particular group of spider monkeys. BORIS behavior coding software was used to ...


Reflections On Sheep Rearing, Joyce D'Silva 2019 Compassion in World Farming, UK

Reflections On Sheep Rearing, Joyce D'Silva

Animal Sentience

Sheep rearing has an incredibly long history. Sometimes this alone can give credibility and status to a human practice. In the twenty-first century, it may be time to reassess our treatment of sheep and their place in nature. “Just because we’ve always done it” no longer has validity by itself. There are many other human practices which used to be accepted widely in certain societies and which we now may find abhorrent. With sheep intelligence now rightly regarded as an acceptable area of research within the academic community, it is a good time to reflect on our treatment of ...


Positive Sentience Is Underrated, Teya Brooks Pribac 2019 Association for Respectful Cohabitation

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 2019 Petwatch

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.


Distribution And Habitat Use Of Benthic Fishes In The Lower Kanawha River, West Virginia, Nathaniel V. Owens 2019 West Virginia University

Distribution And Habitat Use Of Benthic Fishes In The Lower Kanawha River, West Virginia, Nathaniel V. Owens

Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports

The Kanawha River in West Virginia is a historically diverse system in terms of ichthyofauna although, like many other large rivers, it has been subjected to a suite of anthropomorphic perturbations. These include this system being modified to allow the passage of commercial vessels for industry thus altering flow regimes, increased sedimentation, water depth, and channelization, and decreased interactions with its floodplain. Additionally, the fishes of this system have suffered from deleterious historical water quality issues caused by intensive timber operations, mining, and industrial waste. Post Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act water ...


Trade-Offs Shape Carotenoid-Based Color Variation In Redheaded Pine Sawfly (Neodiprion Lecontei) Larvae, Maranda Gaines 2019 University of Kentucky

Trade-Offs Shape Carotenoid-Based Color Variation In Redheaded Pine Sawfly (Neodiprion Lecontei) Larvae, Maranda Gaines

Lewis Honors College Capstone Collection

Carotenoids serve various ecological roles in animals including coloration, immune responses, and vision. Carotenoid-derived coloration is greatly emphasized in the literature, particularly relating to mate choice and aposematic warning. However, the trade-offs between the color and non-color functions of carotenoids are not thoroughly explored. In the redheaded pine sawfly (Neodiprion lecontei), some larval populations have yellow pigmentation, using carotenoids derived from their diets for aposematic warning coloration. Other larval populations are white in color, having genetically lost the ability to produce the yellow pigment. Because carotenoids are essential to life functions in both the yellow and white populations, we aim ...


Spatiotemporal Variability In Winter Severity: Consequences For White-Tailed Deer Populations And Habitat Sustainability, Grace Parikh 2019 Michigan Technological University

Spatiotemporal Variability In Winter Severity: Consequences For White-Tailed Deer Populations And Habitat Sustainability, Grace Parikh

Dissertations, Master's Theses and Master's Reports

Winter in the northern Great Lakes presents a suite of challenging conditions for animals, in terms of limited food availability and increased energetic cost of locomotion and thermoregulation. Variable winter severity is liable to cause interannual fluctuations in habitat viability and use by animals, in addition to modulating physiological responses in animals to conserve energy. For example, white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) congregate at high densities under eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) or northern white-cedar (Thuja occidentalis) stands, which provide forage, thermal cover, reduced snow depth, and enhanced vigilance. However, a suite of climatic, edaphic, and management changes, in addition to novel ...


Expression Of Alternative Oxidase In The Copepod T. Californicus When Exposed To Environmental Stressors, Carly Tward 2019 Wilfrid Laurier University

Expression Of Alternative Oxidase In The Copepod T. Californicus When Exposed To Environmental Stressors, Carly Tward

Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive)

In addition to the typical electron transport system in animal mitochondria responsible for oxidative phosphorylation, some species possess an alternative oxidase (AOX) pathway, which causes electrons to bypass proton pumping complexes. Although AOX appears to be energetically wasteful, studies have revealed its wide taxonomic distribution, and indicate it plays a role in environmental stress tolerance. AOX discovery in animals is recent, and further research into its expression, regulation, and physiological role has been impeded by the lack of an experimental model organism. DNA database searches using bioinformatics revealed an AOX sequence present in the arthropod Tigriopus californicus. Multiple sequence alignments ...


Humans Have Always Been Unique!, William C. McGrew 2019 School of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of St Andrews

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.


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

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 Cognition: Quantity Has A Quality Of Its Own, Ivaylo Borislavov Iotchev, Kauê Machado Costa 2019 Department of Ethology Eötvös Loránd University

Animal Cognition: Quantity Has A Quality Of Its Own, Ivaylo Borislavov Iotchev, Kauê Machado Costa

Animal Sentience

Chapman & Huffman’s moral analysis fails to prove that the exploitation of animals or the environment is causally connected to beliefs about human capacities. Their exposition of the philosophical interpretations of animal cognition ignores historical context and confounds different levels of analysis. Their analysis of the scientific literature, from which they conclude that humans should not be considered as different from other animals, does not take into account many recent psychological and neuroscientific developments and rests upon a flawed understanding of the relationship between gradual and categorical differences, misrepresenting the two as mutually exclusive concepts.


Taking Darwinism Seriously, Carsta Simon 2019 University of Agder

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.


Debunking Human Prejudice And Blindness, Peter J. Li 2019 University of Houston-Downtown

Debunking Human Prejudice And Blindness, Peter J. Li

Animal Sentience

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 ...


Novel Habitat Causes A Shift To Diurnal Activity In A Nocturnal Species, J. Sean Doody, Colin R. McHenry, David Rhind, Simon Clulow 2019 University of South Florida St. Petersburg

Novel Habitat Causes A Shift To Diurnal Activity In A Nocturnal Species, J. Sean Doody, Colin R. Mchenry, David Rhind, Simon Clulow

Faculty Publications

Plastic responses may allow individuals to survive and reproduce in novel environments, and can facilitate the establishment of viable populations. But can novel environments reveal plasticity by causing a shift in a behavior as fundamental and conspicuous as daily activity? We studied daily activity times near the invasion front of the cane toad (Rhinella marina), an invasive species that has colonized much of northern Australia. Cane toads in Australia are nocturnal, probably because diurnal activity would subject them to intolerably hot and dry conditions in the tropical savannah during the dry season. Our study can demonstrate, however, that upon reaching ...


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

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 2019 University of New England,Armidale,Australia

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.


Of Course, Humans Are Not Unique!, Bernard Wallner 2019 University of Vienna

Of Course, Humans Are Not Unique!, Bernard Wallner

Animal Sentience

This commentary focuses on the question of the uniqueness of humans in comparison to other species and on the false assumption that single arguments support logical conclusions. Comparative analysis of genetic data in humans and nonhuman primates regarding the dopaminergic system of the subcortical mesolimbic reward system highlights homologous traits shared and modified by the process of evolution. Such an analytical approach is more relevant than claims of uniqueness.


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