76 found
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  1. Perspectival pluralism for animal welfare.Walter Veit & Heather Browning - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (1):1-14.
    Animal welfare has a long history of disregard. While in recent decades the study of animal welfare has become a scientific discipline of its own, the difficulty of measuring animal welfare can still be vastly underestimated. There are three primary theories, or perspectives, on animal welfare - biological functioning, natural living and affective state. These come with their own diverse methods of measurement, each providing a limited perspective on an aspect of welfare. This paper describes a perspectival pluralist account of (...)
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  2. Animal Sentience.Heather Browning & Jonathan Birch - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (5):e12822.
    ‘Sentience’ sometimes refers to the capacity for any type of subjective experience, and sometimes to the capacity to have subjective experiences with a positive or negative valence, such as pain or pleasure. We review recent controversies regarding sentience in fish and invertebrates and consider the deep methodological challenge posed by these cases. We then present two ways of responding to the challenge. In a policy-making context, precautionary thinking can help us treat animals appropriately despite continuing uncertainty about their sentience. In (...)
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  3. The sentience shift in animal research.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2022 - The New Bioethics 28 (4):299-314.
    One of the primary concerns in animal research is ensuring the welfare of laboratory animals. Modern views on animal welfare emphasize the role of animal sentience, i.e. the capacity to experience subjective states such as pleasure or suffering, as a central component of welfare. The increasing official recognition of animal sentience has had large effects on laboratory animal research. The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness (Low et al., University of Cambridge, 2012) marked an official scientific recognition of the presence of sentience (...)
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  4. The Measurement Problem of Consciousness.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2020 - Philosophical Topics 48 (1):85-108.
    This paper addresses what we consider to be the most pressing challenge for the emerging science of consciousness: the measurement problem of consciousness. That is, by what methods can we determine the presence of and properties of consciousness? Most methods are currently developed through evaluation of the presence of consciousness in humans and here we argue that there are particular problems in application of these methods to nonhuman cases—what we call the indicator validity problem and the extrapolation problem. The first (...)
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  5. Review of the Evidence of Sentience in Cephalopod Molluscs and Decapod Crustaceans.Jonathan Birch, Charlotte Burn, Alexandra Schnell, Heather Browning & Andrew Crump - manuscript
    Sentience is the capacity to have feelings, such as feelings of pain, pleasure, hunger, thirst, warmth, joy, comfort and excitement. It is not simply the capacity to feel pain, but feelings of pain, distress or harm, broadly understood, have a special significance for animal welfare law. Drawing on over 300 scientific studies, we evaluate the evidence of sentience in two groups of invertebrate animals: the cephalopod molluscs or, for short, cephalopods (including octopods, squid and cuttlefish) and the decapod crustaceans or, (...)
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  6. Phenomenology Applied to Animal Health and Suffering.Walter Veit & Heather Browning - 2021 - In Susi Ferrarello (ed.), Phenomenology of Bioethics: Technoethics and Lived Experience. Springer. pp. 73-88.
    What is it like to be a bat? What is it like to be sick? These two questions are much closer to one another than has hitherto been acknowledged. Indeed, both raise a number of related, albeit very complex, philosophical problems. In recent years, the phenomenology of health and disease has become a major topic in bioethics and the philosophy of medicine, owing much to the work of Havi Carel (2007, 2011, 2018). Surprisingly little attention, however, has been given to (...)
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  7. If I Could Talk to the Animals: Measuring Subjective Animal Welfare.Heather Browning - 2019 - Dissertation, Australian National University
    Animal welfare is a concept that plays a role within both our moral deliberations and the relevant areas of science. The study of animal welfare has impacts on decisions made by legislators, producers and consumers with regards to housing and treatment of animals. Our ethical deliberations in these domains need to consider our impact on animals, and the study of animal welfare provides the information that allows us to make informed decisions. This thesis focusses on taking a philosophical perspective to (...)
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  8. Neural Organoids and the Precautionary Principle.Jonathan Birch & Heather Browning - 2021 - American Journal of Bioethics 21 (1):56-58.
    Human neural organoid research is advancing rapidly. As Greely notes in the target article, this progress presents an “onrushing ethical dilemma.” We can’t rule out the possibility that suff...
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  9. Life, mind, agency: Why Markov blankets fail the test of evolution.Walter Veit & Heather Browning - 2022 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 45:e214.
    There has been much criticism of the idea that Friston's free-energy principle can unite the life and mind sciences. Here, we argue that perhaps the greatest problem for the totalizing ambitions of its proponents is a failure to recognize the importance of evolutionary dynamics and to provide a convincing adaptive story relating free-energy minimization to organismal fitness.
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  10. Confined Freedom and Free Confinement: The Ethics of Captivity in Life of Pi.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2020 - In Adam T. Bogar & Rebeka Sara Szigethy (eds.), Critical Insights: Life of Pi. Ipswich, MA: Salem Press. pp. 119-134.
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  11. Evolutionary biology meets consciousness: essay review of Simona Ginsburg and Eva Jablonka’s The Evolution of the Sensitive Soul.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (1):1-11.
    In this essay, we discuss Simona Ginsburg and Eva Jablonka’s The Evolution of the Sensitive Soul from an interdisciplinary perspective. Constituting perhaps the longest treatise on the evolution of consciousness, Ginsburg and Jablonka unite their expertise in neuroscience and biology to develop a beautifully Darwinian account of the dawning of subjective experience. Though it would be impossible to cover all its content in a short book review, here we provide a critical evaluation of their two key ideas—the role of Unlimited (...)
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  12. Evaluating Tradeoffs between Autonomy and Wellbeing in Supported Decision Making.Julian Savulescu, Heather Browning, Brian D. Earp & Walter Veit - 2021 - American Journal of Bioethics 21 (11):21-24.
    A core challenge for contemporary bioethics is how to address the tension between respecting an individual’s autonomy and promoting their wellbeing when these ideals seem to come into conflict (Not...
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  13. Petition to Include Cephalopods as “Animals” Deserving of Humane Treatment under the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.New England Anti-Vivisection Society, American Anti-Vivisection Society, The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, The Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society Legislative Fund, Jennifer Jacquet, Becca Franks, Judit Pungor, Jennifer Mather, Peter Godfrey-Smith, Lori Marino, Greg Barord, Carl Safina, Heather Browning & Walter Veit - forthcoming - Harvard Law School Animal Law and Policy Clinic:1–30.
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  14.  15
    Positive Wild Animal Welfare.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2023 - Biology and Philosophy 38 (2):1-19.
    With increasing attention given to wild animal welfare and ethics, it has become common to depict animals in the wild as existing in a state dominated by suffering. This assumption is now taken on board by many and frames much of the current discussion; but needs a more critical assessment, both theoretically and empirically. In this paper, we challenge the primary lines of evidence employed in support of wild animal suffering, to provide an alternative picture in which wild animals may (...)
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  15.  14
    Pathological complexity and the evolution of sex differences.Walter Veit & Heather Browning - 2022 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 45:e149.
    Benenson et al. provide a compelling case for treating greater investment into self-protection among females as an adaptive strategy. Here, we wish to expand their proposed adaptive explanation by placing it squarely in modern state-based and behavioural life-history theory, drawing on Veit'spathological complexityframework. This allows us to make sense of alternative “lifestyle” strategies, rather than pathologizing them.
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  16. More Than Zombies: Considering the Animal Subject in De-Extinction.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2022 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 25 (2):121-124.
    Katz (2022) provides a range of arguments drawn from the environmental philosophy literature to criticize the conceptualisation and practice of de-extinction. The discussion is almost completely de...
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  17. Ethics of Mixed Martial Arts.Walter Veit & Heather Browning - 2021 - In Jason Holt & Marc Ramsay (eds.), The Philosophy of Mixed Martial Arts: Squaring the Octagon. Routledge. pp. 134-149.
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  18. The natural behavior debate: Two conceptions of animal welfare.Heather Browning - 2019 - Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science:1–13.
    The performance of natural behavior is commonly used as a criterion in the determination of animal welfare. This is still true, despite many authors having demonstrated that it is not a necessary component of welfare –some natural behaviors may decrease welfare, while some unnatural behaviors increase it. Here I analyze why this idea persists, and what effects it may have. I argue that the disagreement underlying this debate on natural behavior is not one about which conditions affect welfare, but a (...)
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  19.  22
    Hominin life history, pathological complexity, and the evolution of anxiety.Walter Veit & Heather Browning - 2023 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 46:e79.
    In order to address why the number of patients suffering from anxiety and depression are seemingly exploding in Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic (WEIRD) countries, it is sensible to look at the evolution of human fearfulness responses. Here, we draw on Veit's pathological complexity framework to advance Grossmann's goal of re-characterizing human fearfulness as an adaptive trait.
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  20. Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Mammoths? De-extinction and Animal Welfare.Heather Browning - 2018 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 31 (6):785-803.
    De-extinction is the process through which extinct species can be brought back into existence. Although these projects have the potential to cause great harm to animal welfare, discussion on issues surrounding de-extinction have focussed primarily on other issues. In this paper, I examine the potential types of welfare harm that can arise through de-extinction programs, including problems with cloning, captive rearing and re-introduction. I argue that welfare harm should be an important consideration when making decisions on de-extinction projects. Though most (...)
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  21.  17
    Welfare comparisons within and across species.Heather Browning - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (2):529-551.
    One of the biggest problems in applications of animal welfare science is our ability to make comparisons between different individuals, both within and across species. Although welfare science provides methods for measuring the welfare of individual animals, there’s no established method for comparing measures between individuals. In this paper I diagnose this problem as one of underdetermination—there are multiple conclusions given the data, arising from two sources of variation that we cannot distinguish: variation in the underlying target variable (welfare experience) (...)
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  22.  5
    The Measurability of Subjective Animal Welfare.Heather Browning - 2022 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 29 (3-4):150-179.
    One of the most challenging questions surrounding subjective animal welfare is whether these states are measurable: that is, is subjective welfare an appropriately quantifiable target for scientific enquiry and ethical and deliberative calculation? The availability of several different types of measurement scale raises important questions regarding whether subjective experience has the right properties to be meaningfully represented on the types of scale required for different applications. This methodological question has so far received scant attention in the animal welfare literature. In (...)
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  23.  22
    Flesh Without Blood: The Public Health Benefits of Lab‐Grown Meat.Jonny Anomaly, Heather Browning, Diana Fleischman & Walter Veit - 2024 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 21 (1):167-175.
    Synthetic meat made from animal cells will transform how we eat. It will reduce suffering by eliminating the need to raise and slaughter animals. But it will also have big public health benefits if it becomes widely consumed. In this paper, we discuss how “clean meat” can reduce the risks associated with intensive animal farming, including antibiotic resistance, environmental pollution, and zoonotic viral diseases like influenza and coronavirus. Since the most common objection to clean meat is that some people find (...)
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  24. No Room at the Zoo: Management Euthanasia and Animal Welfare.Heather Browning - 2018 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 31 (4):483-498.
    The practice of ‘management euthanasia’, in which zoos kill otherwise healthy surplus animals, is a controversial one. The debate over the permissibility of the practice tends to divide along two different views in animal ethics—animal rights and animal welfare. Traditionally, those arguments against the practice have come from the animal rights camp, who see it as a violation of the rights of the animal involved. Arguments in favour come from the animal welfare perspective, who argue that as the animal does (...)
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  25.  86
    Extending animal welfare science to include wild animals.Walter Veit & Heather Browning - forthcoming - Animal Sentience:1-4.
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  26. How Should We Study Animal Consciousness Scientifically?Jonathan Birch, Donald M. Broom, Heather Browning, Andrew Crump, Simona Ginsburg, Marta Halina, David Harrison, Eva Jablonka, Andrew Y. Lee, François Kammerer, Colin Klein, Victor Lamme, Matthias Michel, Françoise Wemelsfelder & Oryan Zacks - 2022 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 29 (3-4):8-28.
    This editorial introduces the Journal of Consciousness Studies special issue on "Animal Consciousness". The 15 contributors and co-editors answer the question "How should we study animal consciousness scientifically?" in 500 words or fewer.
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  27. Utilitarian Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic for Non-Pandemic Diseases.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2021 - American Journal of Bioethics 21 (12):39-42.
    The COVID-19 pandemic has created a unique set of challenges for national governments regarding how to deal with a major international pandemic of almost unprecedented scope. As the pandemic consti...
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  28. The natural behavior debate: Two conceptions of animal welfare.Heather Browning - 2020 - Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 23 (3):325-337.
    The performance of natural behavior is commonly used as a criterion in the determination of animal welfare. This is still true, despite many authors having demonstrated that it is not a necessary component of welfare – some natural behaviors may decrease welfare, while some unnatural behaviors increase it. Here I analyze why this idea persists, and what effects it may have. I argue that the disagreement underlying this debate on natural behavior is not one about which conditions affect welfare, but (...)
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  29. Assessing Measures of Animal Welfare.Heather Browning - forthcoming - Preprint.
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  30. Flesh Without Blood: The public health argument for synthetic meat.Jonathan Anomaly, Diana Fleischman, Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2023 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 20 (3).
  31.  81
    Why Socio-Political Beliefs Trump Individual Morality: An Evolutionary Perspective.Walter Veit & Heather Browning - 2020 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 11 (4):290-292.
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  32.  64
    What should we do about sheep? The role of intelligence in welfare considerations.Heather Browning - 2019 - Animal Sentience 25 (23).
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  33. Freedom and animal welfare.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2021 - Animals 4 (11):1148.
    The keeping of captive animals in zoos and aquariums has long been controversial. Many take freedom to be a crucial part of animal welfare and, on these grounds, criticise all forms of animal captivity as harmful to animal welfare, regardless of their provisions. Here, we analyse what it might mean for freedom to matter to welfare, distinguishing between the role of freedom as an intrinsic good, valued for its own sake and an instrumental good, its value arising from the increased (...)
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  34.  83
    Developmental Programming, Evolution, and Animal Welfare: A Case for Evolutionary Veterinary Science.Walter Veit & Heather Browning - 2021 - Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 1.
    The conditions animals experience during the early developmental stages of their lives can have critical ongoing effects on their future health, welfare, and proper development. In this paper we draw on evolutionary theory to improve our understanding of the processes of developmental programming, particularly Predictive Adaptive Responses (PAR) that serve to match offspring phenotype with predicted future environmental conditions. When these predictions fail, a mismatch occurs between offspring phenotype and the environment, which can have long-lasting health and welfare effects. Examples (...)
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  35.  20
    Defending Sentientism.Walter Veit & Heather Browning - 2023 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 14 (2):168-170.
    The last decade has seen an explosion of interest in the possibility of suffering in nonhumans, including animals only very distantly related to us, as well as artificial intelligence systems. Much...
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  36.  58
    What is good for an octopus?Heather Browning - 2019 - Animal Sentience 26 (7).
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  37.  73
    Improving invertebrate welfare.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2020 - Animal Sentience 29 (4).
    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.
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  38. Does utilitarianism need a rethink? Review of Louis Narens and Brian Skyrms' The Pursuit of Happiness.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - forthcoming - Tandf: Journal of Economic Methodology:1-5.
  39.  99
    Assessing Measures of Animal Welfare.Heather Browning - manuscript
    When making decisions about action to improve animal lives, it is important that we have accurate estimates of how much animals are suffering under different conditions. The current frameworks for making comparative estimates of suffering all fall along the lines of multiplying numbers of animals used by length of life and amount of suffering experienced. However, the numbers used to quantify suffering are usually generated through unreliable and subjective processes which make them unlikely to be correct. In this paper, I (...)
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  40. Why are We Here? Evangelion and the Desperate Search for Meaning in Life.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2022 - In Christian Cotton & Andrew M. Winters (eds.), Neon Genesis Evangelion and Philosophy. Open Universe. pp. 3-12.
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  41. On the Relevance of Experimental Philosophy to Neuroethics.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2022 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 13 (1):55-57.
  42. Has the Socio-Political Role of Neuroethics Been Neglected?Walter Veit & Heather Browning - 2022 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 13 (1):23-25.
    Alongside the rapid global advances in neuroscientific research, neuroethics has been one of the fastest growing sub-fields within bioethics. With this rapid expansion, bioethicists struggle to kee...
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  43. Anecdotes can be evidence too.Heather Browning - 2017 - Animal Sentience 2 (16):13.
    Birch’s criterion for the precautionary principle imposes a high evidential standard that many cases will fail to meet. Reliable, relevant anecdotal evidence suggestive of animal sentience should also fall within the scope of the precautionary principle. This would minimize potential suffering (as happened in the case of cephalopods) while further evidence is gathered.
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  44.  84
    Is Humane Slaughter Possible?Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2020 - Animals 10 (5):799.
    One of the biggest ethical issues in animal agriculture is that of the welfare of animals at the end of their lives, during the process of slaughter. Much work in animal welfare science is focussed on finding humane ways to transport and slaughter animals, to minimise the harm done during this process. In this paper, we take a philosophical look at what it means to perform slaughter humanely, beyond simply reducing pain and suffering during the slaughter process. In particular, we (...)
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  45.  5
    Regulating Possibly Sentient Human Cerebral Organoids.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2023 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 14 (2):197-199.
    Due to their contested ethical and legal status, human cerebral organoids (HCOs) have become the subject of one of the most rapidly expanding debates in the recent bioethics literature. There is no...
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  46.  4
    The scaffolded evolution of human communication.Walter Veit & Heather Browning - 2023 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 46:e17.
    Heintz & Scott-Phillips provide a useful synthesis for constructing a bridge between work by both cognitive scientists and evolutionary biologists studying the diversity of human communication. Here, we aim to strengthen their bridge from the side of evolutionary biology, to argue that we can best understand ostensive communication as a scaffold for more complex forms of intentional expressions.
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  47.  72
    Studying Introspection in Animals and AIs.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2023 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 30 (9):63-74.
    The study of introspection has, up until now, been predominantly human-centric, with regrettably little attention devoted to the question of whether introspection might exist in non-humans, such as animals and artificial intelligence (AI), and what distinct forms it might take. In their target article, Kammerer and Frankish (this issue) aim to address this oversight by offering a non-anthropocentric framework for understanding introspection that could be used to address these questions. However, their discussions on introspection in animals and AIs were quite (...)
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  48. What is good for an octopus?Heather Browning - 2019 - Animal Sentience 4 (26).
    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 (...)
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  49.  97
    Developing a Metric of Usable Space for Zoo Exhibits.Heather Browning & Terry L. Maple - 2019 - Frontiers in Psychology 10:791.
    The size of animal exhibits has important effects on their lives and welfare. However, most references to exhibit size only consider floor space and height dimensions, without considering the space afforded by usable features within the exhibit. In this paper, we develop two possible methods for measuring the usable space of zoo exhibits and apply these to a sample exhibit. Having a metric for usable space in place will provide a better reflection of the quality of different exhibits, and enhance (...)
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  50.  98
    What should we do about sheep? The role of intelligence in welfare considerations.Heather Browning - 2019 - Animal Sentience 4 (25):23.
    Marino & Merskin (2019) demonstrate that sheep are more cognitively complex than typically thought. We should be cautious in interpreting the implications of these results for welfare considerations to avoid perpetuating mistaken beliefs about the moral value of intelligence as opposed to sentience. There are, however, still important ways in which this work can help improve sheeps’ lives.
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