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WellBeing International

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Full-Text Articles in Life Sciences

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 ...


Impact Of Uk Sport Fishing On Fish Welfare And Conservation, Tim Q. Holmes Jan 2020

Impact Of Uk Sport Fishing On Fish Welfare And Conservation, Tim Q. Holmes

Animal Sentience

Sport fishing or angling is the capture of fish for recreation or competition, i.e., for entertainment. Contrary to the claims of Key (2016), there is good evidence that fish feel pain and have the capacity for self-awareness (Sneddon et al., 2018; Woodruff, 2017). Wild fish experience a variety of adverse conditions in nature that can harm their welfare, but this does not justify humans intentionally inflicting such conditions on fish solely for our pleasure. This commentary summarises the many ways fish suffer harm to their welfare as a result of sport fishing. There are also discussions on associated activities ...


Preserving Nature For The Benefit Of All Sentient Individuals, Eze Paez Jan 2020

Preserving Nature For The Benefit Of All Sentient Individuals, Eze Paez

Animal Sentience

I agree with Treves et al.’s proposal for a preservation ethics based on the principle that nonhuman well-being is a matter of justice and compassion. In this commentary, I advance two objections. First, only sentient beings, rather than all life, belong in the moral community. Second, given that nature is probably harmful overall for sentient individuals, preserving it for the benefit of future human and nonhuman generations requires us to modify it as far as practicable.


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.


Problems With Basing Insect Ethics On Individuals’ Welfare, Susana Monsó, Antonio J. Osuna-Mascaró Jan 2020

Problems With Basing Insect Ethics On Individuals’ Welfare, Susana Monsó, Antonio J. Osuna-Mascaró

Animal Sentience

In their target article, Mikhalevich & Powell (M&P) argue that we should extend moral protection to arthropods. In this commentary, we show that there are some unforeseen obstacles to applying the sort of individualistic welfare-based ethics that M&P have in mind to certain arthropods, namely, insects. These obstacles have to do with the fact that there are often many more individuals involved in our dealings with insects than our ethical theories anticipate, and also with the fact that, in some sense, some insects count as more than an individual and, in another sense, they sometimes count as less than ...


The Wholeness Of Nature, Marthe Kiley-Worthington Jan 2020

The Wholeness Of Nature, Marthe Kiley-Worthington

Animal Sentience

The target article outlines various positions on conservation and preservation but ignores practical considerations of management since there is no wild habitat left. Population controls, either human or nonhuman mammals, are not discussed. The suggestions for legal changes are vague and will require much more thinking about how to integrate animal welfare with wildlife conservation concerns. “Freedoms” as outlined in the human bill of rights might help with decision making for improving animal welfare. Other commentators have made anthropocentric judgements concerning animal welfare, ignoring the importance of developing other ways of seeing and understanding the “multiplicity within unity,” combining empirical ...


Of Elephants And Men, Helen Kopnina Jan 2020

Of Elephants And Men, Helen Kopnina

Animal Sentience

Baker & Winkler’s target article is well-researched and thought-provoking, but I do have four points of contention: (1) The proposal to entrust elephants to traditional mahout culture has restricted elephants’ freedom of movement and reproduction and (ab)used them. (2) The concept of “indigenous” simultaneously reifies and denigrates the “noble savages”, privileging only human indigenous groups, ignoring nonhuman indigenes. (3) Most lifestyles have been globalized under consumer-economic and anthropocentric worldviews. (4) The fact that people (including mahouts) are part of nature does not mean they are benevolent, any more than cities, monocultures, or roads are.


Rewilding Or Reviewing: Conservation And The Elephant-Based Tourism Industry, Ingrid Suter Jan 2020

Rewilding Or Reviewing: Conservation And The Elephant-Based Tourism Industry, Ingrid Suter

Animal Sentience

Baker & Winkler (2020) provide a detailed examination of elephants in captivity, from an historical perspective to modern-day concerns. Concerns include the poor level of mahout skills and subsequent captive elephant welfare issues in the Thai elephant tourism industry. Rewilding is proposed as a method of rehabilitation and a way to include mahouts in the conservation process. This commentary argues that the tourism industry is making positive changes and mahout skills can be utilised successfully without the arduous task of rewilding. Animal rights groups and the transfer of misinformation surrounding captive elephant welfare are also examined, as these typically fail to ...


Practicalities Of Re-Wilding, William C. Mcgrew Jan 2020

Practicalities Of Re-Wilding, William C. Mcgrew

Animal Sentience

Re-wilding large-brained, intelligent mammals dependent on social learning to acquire survival skills is challenging. Each reintroduced species has different needs, but basic questions relating to essential aspects of successful release such as subsistence remain the same. Here I pose 12 ecologically and ethologically based questions that should be addressed (if not already done).


Innovative, Yes: But Is It Rewilding?, Daniel T. Blumstein, Kate E. Lynch Jan 2020

Innovative, Yes: But Is It Rewilding?, Daniel T. Blumstein, Kate E. Lynch

Animal Sentience

Baker & Winkler’s extremely stimulating proposal clearly illustrates conflicting priorities in biodiversity conservation and management that are exacerbated when human cultural resources and animal welfare are a part of the solution. We suggest that the discussion can benefit from an even more explicit unpacking of the conflicting values associated with the proposal.


Rethinking Rewilding Through Multispecies Justice, Danielle Celermajer Jan 2020

Rethinking Rewilding Through Multispecies Justice, Danielle Celermajer

Animal Sentience

Baker & Winkler’s argument that some humans, especially some Indigenous peoples, neither conceive of themselves as ontologically distinct from nature, nor do they organize their lives as such, is an important one. However, one needs to understand how colonialism and global capitalism have drawn Indigenous peoples and animals into new political economies. The new situation and the constrained opportunities available may have introduced a range of injustices or forms of violence that did not previously exist. This commentary proposes how a multispecies justice lens might assist in evaluating the most just arrangement for all parties, human and non-human.


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 ...


Challenging Our Conception Of Wildness, Elodie Massiot Jan 2020

Challenging Our Conception Of Wildness, Elodie Massiot

Animal Sentience

Baker & Winkler (2020) point out the entanglement among free-living elephants, captive elephants, and humans in the elephant tourism industry. Where all living beings – captive and free-living – are more or less affected by human presence or activity, the binary notion of wild and captive, and in situ and ex situ conservation, becomes inadequate. B&W challenge our concept of wildness – and hence of rewilding – and our level of intervention in this wildness of which we are a component.


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.