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WellBeing International

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Full-Text Articles in Life Sciences

Cats And Wildlife: An Animal Welfare Perspective., John Hadidian Aug 2021

Cats And Wildlife: An Animal Welfare Perspective., John Hadidian

Management - General

While there is no question that outdoors cats have an impact on wildlife, the extent and significance of this impact is the subject of considerable debate. The controversy surrounding outdoor cats can be traced back at least a century, with contemporary claims of threats to global biodiversity bringing animal welfare and conservation interests directly into opposition, largely over the means of managing conflicts. The irony in this is that cat defenders and cat detractors generally agree that it is in the best interests of cats that they should be shielded from the vagaries of outdoor life. While there are practical ...


Heeding The Call Of Covid-19, David Wiebers, Valery Feigin Jan 2021

Heeding The Call Of Covid-19, David Wiebers, Valery Feigin

Animal Sentience

We are grateful to all of our commentators. They have provided a wide range of valuable perspectives and insights from many fields, revealing a broad interest in the subject matter. Nearly all the commentaries have helped to affirm, refine, expand, amplify, deepen, interpret, elaborate, or apply the messages in the target article. Some have offered critiques and suggestions that help us address certain issues in greater detail, including several points concerning industrialized farming and the wildlife trade. Overall, there is great awareness and strong consensus among commentators that any solution for preventing future pandemics and other related health crises must ...


Extending Animal Welfare Science To Include Wild Animals, Walter Veit, Heather Browning Jan 2021

Extending Animal Welfare Science To Include Wild Animals, Walter Veit, Heather Browning

Animal Sentience

Ng’s (2016) target article built on his earlier work advocating a science of welfare biology (Ng 1995). Although there were problems with the models proposed in Ng’s original paper regarding the balance of pleasure and suffering for wild animals, his call for a science of wild animal welfare was a sound one. This does not require a new discipline but just an extension of the existing frameworks and methods of animal welfare science to include wild animals.


Intensive Animal Farming Conditions Are A Major Threat To Global Health, Cynthia Schuck-Paim Aug 2020

Intensive Animal Farming Conditions Are A Major Threat To Global Health, Cynthia Schuck-Paim

Animal Sentience

Wiebers & Feigin accurately propose that reducing the risks posed by infectious disease outbreaks and other global health challenges will depend critically on transitioning away from intensive animal farming practices. Creating the right incentive structure for this transition to happen is one of the great challenges in the years to come, but a much-needed step to ensure the health and well-being of current and future generations.


Consider The Agent In The Arthropod, Nicolas Delon, Peter Cook, Gordon Bauer, Heidi Harley Jul 2020

Consider The Agent In The Arthropod, Nicolas Delon, Peter Cook, Gordon Bauer, Heidi Harley

Animal Sentience

Whether or not arthropods are sentient, they can have moral standing. Appeals to sentience are not necessary and retard progress in human treatment of other species, including invertebrates. Other increasingly well-documented aspects of invertebrate minds are pertinent to their welfare. Even if arthropods are not sentient, they can be agents whose goals—and therefore interests—can be frustrated. This kind of agency is sufficient for moral status and requires that we consider their welfare.


Do Beetles Have Experiences? How Can We Tell?, Matt Cartmill Jul 2020

Do Beetles Have Experiences? How Can We Tell?, Matt Cartmill

Animal Sentience

We attribute consciousness to other humans because their anatomy and behavior resembles our own and their verbal descriptions of subjective experiences correspond to ours. Nonhuman mammals have somewhat humanlike behavior and anatomy, but without the verbal descriptions. Their sentience is therefore open to Cartesian doubt. Robot "minds" lack humanlike behavior and anatomy, and so their sentience is generally discounted no matter what sentences they generate. Invertebrates lack both neurological similarity and language. Although it may be safest in making moral judgments to assume that some invertebrates are sentient, cogent reasons for thinking so must await an objective causal explanation for ...


Spineless And Sentient: A Challenge For Moral Comparison, Patrick Forber, Robert C. Jones Jul 2020

Spineless And Sentient: A Challenge For Moral Comparison, Patrick Forber, Robert C. Jones

Animal Sentience

We agree with Mikhalevich & Powell but take issue with their criteria for attributing sentience. This problem is connected with difficult issues concerning moral comparisons and evaluating moral decisions when interspecific moral interests conflict.


Avoiding Anthropocentrism In Evolutionarily Inclusive Ethics, Simon Fitzpatrick Jul 2020

Avoiding Anthropocentrism In Evolutionarily Inclusive Ethics, Simon Fitzpatrick

Animal Sentience

Mikhalevich & Powell are to be commended for challenging the “invertebrate dogma” that invertebrates are unworthy of ethical concern. However, developing an evolutionarily inclusive ethics requires facing some of the more radical implications of rejecting hierarchical scala naturae and human-centered conceptions of the biological world. In particular, we need to question the anthropocentric assumptions that still linger in discussions like these.


Zones Of Precaution, Jonathan Birch Jul 2020

Zones Of Precaution, Jonathan Birch

Animal Sentience

My commentary focusses on Mikhalevich & Powell’s criticisms of the Animal Sentience Precautionary Principle. I emphasize the pragmatic nature of my rationale for proposing that, rather than extending the scope of animal welfare protection on a species-by-species basis, we should be willing to protect entire Linnaean orders on the basis of evidence from a single species.


Brain Complexity, Sentience And Welfare, Donald M. Broom Jul 2020

Brain Complexity, Sentience And Welfare, Donald M. Broom

Animal Sentience

Neither sentience nor moral standing is confined to animals with large or human-like brains. Invertebrates deserve moral consideration. Definition of terms clarifies the relationship between sentience and welfare. All animals have welfare but humans give more protection to sentient animals. Humans should be less human-centred.


Invertebrate Cognition, Sentience And Biology, Georges Chapouthier Jul 2020

Invertebrate Cognition, Sentience And Biology, Georges Chapouthier

Animal Sentience

All animal species have adapted for survival and no species is superior overall. For cognitive capacities and sentience, invertebrates such as the octopus, although quite unlike vertebrates, can achieve similar performance levels. So can other invertebrates with small brains; hence they too, as sentient beings, deserve moral consideration from humans. How are we to identify these species? Only though a detailed analysis of their behavior. The decision, which is a moral judgment, depends on biological knowledge that still needs to be acquired.


Convergent Evolution Of Sentience?, Culum Brown Prof. Jul 2020

Convergent Evolution Of Sentience?, Culum Brown Prof.

Animal Sentience

Mikhalevich & Powell make a compelling case that some invertebrates may be sentient and that our moral obligations in the context of welfare should hence extend to them. Although the case is similar to that made for fishes, there is one obvious difference in that examples of invertebrate sentience probably arose independently from vertebrate sentience. We have unequivocal proof that complex cognition arose multiple times over evolutionary history. Given that cognition is our best tool for indirectly quantifying sentience, it seems highly likely that this multiple polygenesis may also have occurred for sentience. In acknowledging this, we must accept that the ...


Minds, Morality And Midgies, Brian Key, Deborah Brown Jul 2020

Minds, Morality And Midgies, Brian Key, Deborah Brown

Animal Sentience

Mikhalevich & Powell argue that the exclusion of the vast majority of arthropods from moral standing is unwarranted, particularly given the purported evidence for cognition and sentience in these organisms. The implied association between consciousness and moral standing is questionable and their assumption that rich forms of cognition and flexible behavior are dependent on phenomenal consciousness needs to be reconsidered in light of current neuroscientific evidence. We conclude by proposing a neural algorithmic approach for deciphering whether organisms are capable of subjective experience.


Sequential Analysis Of Livestock Herding Dog And Sheep Interactions, Jonathan Early, Jessica Alders, Elizabeth R. Arnott, Claire M. Wade, Paul Mcgreevy Feb 2020

Sequential Analysis Of Livestock Herding Dog And Sheep Interactions, Jonathan Early, Jessica Alders, Elizabeth R. Arnott, Claire M. Wade, Paul Mcgreevy

Interactive Behavior Collection

Livestock herding dogs are crucial contributors to Australian agriculture. However, there is a dearth of empirical studies of the behavioural interactions between dog and livestock during herding. A statistical approach that may reveal cause and effect in such interactions is lag sequential analysis. Using 48 video recordings of livestock herding dogs and sheep in a yard trial competition, event-based (time between behaviours is irrelevant) and time-based (time between behaviours is defined) lag sequential analyses identified several significant behavioural interactions (adjusted residuals greater than 2.58; the maximum likelihood-ratio chi-squared statistic for all eight contingency tables identified all sequences as highly ...


Sea Wrack Delivery And Accumulation On Islands: Factors That Mediate Marine Nutrient Permeability, Sara B. Wickham, Nancy Shackelford, Chris T. Darimont, Wiebe Nijland, Luba Y. Reshitnyk, John D. Reynolds, Brian M. Starzomski Feb 2020

Sea Wrack Delivery And Accumulation On Islands: Factors That Mediate Marine Nutrient Permeability, Sara B. Wickham, Nancy Shackelford, Chris T. Darimont, Wiebe Nijland, Luba Y. Reshitnyk, John D. Reynolds, Brian M. Starzomski

Biogeography and Ecological Opportunity Collection

Sea wrack provides an important vector of marine-derived nutrients to many terrestrial environments. However, little is known about the processes that facilitate wrack transport, deposition, and accumulation on islands. Three broad factors can affect the stock of wrack along shorelines: the amount of potential donor habitat nearby, climatic events that dislodge seaweeds and transfer them ashore, and physical characteristics of shorelines that retain wrack at a site. To determine when, where, and how wrack accumulates on island shorelines, we surveyed 455 sites across 101 islands in coastal British Columbia, Canada. At each site, we recorded wrack biomass, species composition, and ...


Social Referencing In The Domestic Horse, Anne Schrimpf, Marie-Sophie Single, Christian Nawroth Jan 2020

Social Referencing In The Domestic Horse, Anne Schrimpf, Marie-Sophie Single, Christian Nawroth

Recognition Collection

Dogs and cats use human emotional information directed to an unfamiliar situation to guide their behavior, known as social referencing. It is not clear whether other domestic species show similar socio-cognitive abilities in interacting with humans. We investigated whether horses (n = 46) use human emotional information to adjust their behavior to a novel object and whether the behavior of horses differed depending on breed type. Horses were randomly assigned to one of two groups: an experimenter positioned in the middle of a test arena directed gaze and voice towards the novel object with either (a) a positive or (b) a ...


Musical Dogs: A Review Of The Influence Of Auditory Enrichment On Canine Health And Behavior, Abigail Lindig, Paul Mcgreevy, Angela Crean Jan 2020

Musical Dogs: A Review Of The Influence Of Auditory Enrichment On Canine Health And Behavior, Abigail Lindig, Paul Mcgreevy, Angela Crean

Stress Collection

Music therapy yields many positive health outcomes in humans, but the effects of music on the health and welfare of nonhuman animals vary greatly with the type of music played, the ethology of the species, and the personality and learning history of individual animals. One context in which music therapy may be used to enhance animal welfare is to alleviate stress in domestic environments. Here, we review studies of the effects of music exposure on dogs as a case study for the implementation of music therapy in veterinary medicine. Nine reports of experimental testing for the therapeutic effects of music ...


Social Learning In Solitary Juvenile Sharks, Catarina Vila Pouca, Dennis Heinrich, Charlie Huveneers, Culum Brown Jan 2020

Social Learning In Solitary Juvenile Sharks, Catarina Vila Pouca, Dennis Heinrich, Charlie Huveneers, Culum Brown

Social Behavior Collection

Social learning can be a shortcut for acquiring locally adaptive information. Animals that live in social groups have better access to social information, but gregarious and nonsocial species are also frequently exposed to social cues. Thus, social learning might simply reflect an animal's general ability to learn rather than an adaptation to social living. Here, we investigated social learning and the effect of frequency of social exposure in nonsocial, juvenile Port Jackson sharks, Heterodontus portusjacksoni. We compared (1) Individual Learners, (2) Sham-Observers, paired with a naïve shark, and (3) Observers, paired with a trained demonstrator, in a novel foraging ...


Can Human Neurological Tests Of Consciousness Be Applied To Octopus?, Benedetta Cecconi, Jitka Annen, Steven Laureys Jan 2020

Can Human Neurological Tests Of Consciousness Be Applied To Octopus?, Benedetta Cecconi, Jitka Annen, Steven Laureys

Animal Sentience

If the anatomy, physiology and behaviour of a species differ substantially from our own, can we infer that the species is unconscious? In the daily clinical care of patients with disorders of consciousness we face many similar challenges: our current approach with these patients - a combination of behavioural and brain imaging-based assessments - might also be a viable route to investigating octopus consciousness.


Comparative Cognition And Nonhuman Individuality, Catia Correia Caeiro Jan 2020

Comparative Cognition And Nonhuman Individuality, Catia Correia Caeiro

Animal Sentience

Commentators Washington (2019) and Tiffin (2019) point out that the individual vs. collective dichotomy is much more complex than what is considered in the target article. This commentary will focus on why individuals are more important than collectives. Species differences in cognition and emotional processes and individuals’ feelings and experiences need to be taken into account.


Asian Elephant Rescue, Rehabilitation And Rewilding, Liv Baker, Rebecca Winkler Jan 2020

Asian Elephant Rescue, Rehabilitation And Rewilding, Liv Baker, Rebecca Winkler

Animal Sentience

Thailand has fewer than 10,000 elephants left. More of them are living in captivity to serve the tourist industry under grim conditions than are living free in what is left of their wild habitat. Conservation efforts need to be focused on all surviving members of the species, captive and free, but they need to take into account the inextricable entanglement of human and nonhuman animal lives in Thailand today. There is an opportunity for rescuing, rehabilitating and reintroducing captive elephants to the wild with the help of the traditional expertise of a mahout culture that has been elephant-keeping for ...


Anthropology And Conservation, Nicolas Lainé Jan 2020

Anthropology And Conservation, Nicolas Lainé

Animal Sentience

Baker & Winkler make a welcome contribution to elephant conservation in Thailand in advocating a role for joint human/elephant labor and local expertise in rewilding. Their argument would benefit, however, if it drew more upon the local ethnographic evidence. Ethnocentric notions such as “welfare” and “wellbeing” may not fit into the local perception of pachyderms.


Animal Welfare Science And “A Life Worth Living” For Wild And Captive Elephants, Lindsay R. Mehrkam, Otto Fad Jan 2020

Animal Welfare Science And “A Life Worth Living” For Wild And Captive Elephants, Lindsay R. Mehrkam, Otto Fad

Animal Sentience

Baker & Winkler (2020) propose restoring elephants to a state of “wildness” and a “life worth living” by reintroducing captive elephants to the hands of indigenous mahout cultures and practices. To evaluate this proposal, we must define operationally a number of critical concepts in a species-centric, individualistic way, avoiding human-centric opinions and romanticized notions of the wild. Animal welfare science can help create greater synergy between ex-situ zoological institutions and in-situ elephant conservation, and welfare efforts that respect and value the cultures of both species.


Protecting Nature, Freeing Beings, Eileen Crist Jan 2020

Protecting Nature, Freeing Beings, Eileen Crist

Animal Sentience

Large-scale protection of nature is needed to address the ecological crisis. Big animals are connected with this mandate: They are threatened worldwide; they play important ecological roles; and the vast areas they require support a host of lifeforms. But visionary conservation is not only a pragmatic necessity. It is an ethical imperative, for comprehensive nature protection and restoration that supports the good life for all. The story of Asian elephants is part of this bigger story. We must find compassionate ways to free captive elephants and restore a world in which they, and countless others, may live free and flourish.


Rewilding Elephants: A Solution Or A Potential Problem?, Sagarika Phalke Jan 2020

Rewilding Elephants: A Solution Or A Potential Problem?, Sagarika Phalke

Animal Sentience

Baker & Winkler (B&W) provide a comprehensive and systematic review of Thailand’s captive tourist elephants. They propose rewilding as a solution to improving the welfare of captive tourist elephants. They also advocate this method for restoring degraded forests, elephant conservation and preserving traditional elephant-keeping practices and knowledge. This commentary argues that rewilding might exacerbate negative human-elephant interactions and impede conservation efforts. While further research is required for rewilding to be considered a viable and practical solution, B&W’s focus on documenting traditional knowledge which can directly contribute to the welfare of captive elephants remains important.


Compassionate Conservation And Elephant Personhood, Arian D. Wallach, Sujeewa Jasinghe, Sudarshani Fernando, Jessica Bell Rizzolo Jan 2020

Compassionate Conservation And Elephant Personhood, Arian D. Wallach, Sujeewa Jasinghe, Sudarshani Fernando, Jessica Bell Rizzolo

Animal Sentience

Baker and Winkler (2020) advocate a rehabilitation program that would end the oppression of elephants — not by severing human-elephant relations, but by enabling human-bonded elephants to live a full life. We consider this program within a compassionate conservation framework, which recognises all sentient beings as persons. From this vantage point, we gaze further into the future to ask what direction just human-elephant relations could take: What could emerge from a human-elephant relation once elephants are no longer enslaved and requiring rescue? We envisage a future — beyond captivity and rewilding — of elephant sovereignty.


Rewilding And Domestication: Clarifying Terminology, Catia Correia-Caeiro Jan 2020

Rewilding And Domestication: Clarifying Terminology, Catia Correia-Caeiro

Animal Sentience

Baker & Winkler (B&W) describe the state of Asian elephant conservation, raising unique issues, and proposing a direction based on rewilding. The long history and socio-biology of elephants and humans has some parallels with the domestication of dogs (and other species). However, markers of domestication seem absent from elephants. The proper use of terms such as “wild” and “domestic” is crucial in defining the best conservation strategies, and, more important, in attending to the welfare needs of individuals, which can differ between wild and domestic animals. B&W’s target article represents an important starting point for discussion around elephant ...


Rewilding And Mixed-Community Collaboration In Conservation, Liv Baker Jan 2020

Rewilding And Mixed-Community Collaboration In Conservation, Liv Baker

Animal Sentience

Rewilding is a psychological and sociocultural event for nonhuman animals that goes beyond the traditional framework of ecology. Elephants need to be seen as political agents in a collaboration. Our commentators shed light on the hierarchical assumptions and politics involved. Mixed-community collaboration can create dynamic and sustainable conservation interventions that are crucial to reconceptualizing the human-elephant relationship beyond the concept of labor. The profound effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have laid bare the fundamental vulnerabilities of the elephant tourism industry. Moreover, how well an elephant has been buffered by the fallout of the pandemic is dependent on the specific relations ...


Improving Invertebrate Welfare, Heather Browning, Walter Veit Jan 2020

Improving Invertebrate Welfare, Heather Browning, Walter Veit

Animal Sentience

Mikhalevich & Powell (2020) argue that it is wrong, both scientifically and morally, to dismiss the evidence for sentience in invertebrates. They do not offer any examples, however, of how their welfare should be considered or improved. We draw on animal welfare science to suggest some ways that would not be excessively demanding.


No Room For Speciesism In Welfare Considerations, Jennifer Vonk Jan 2020

No Room For Speciesism In Welfare Considerations, Jennifer Vonk

Animal Sentience

Speciesism should play no role in determining welfare outcomes. Cognition may vary within species as well as between species, but broad classifications such as invertebrates are functionally meaningless in this context. Cognition should relate to welfare only to the extent that it relates to the capacity to suffer or to experience pleasure.