Commentary Type

Invited Commentary


Assuming an animal to be sentient in the absence of conclusive evidence to the contrary is an extreme position, hence it should not and could not be the default assumption. Birch explains how the precautionary principle may be used to substantiate decisions to give the animal the benefit of doubt. Although I am reluctant to accept all of his points, Birch has provided an excellent argument for the use of the precautionary principle for the detection of animal sentience. I agree that more research is needed to refine and understand this relationship.

Author Biography

Jay R. Stauffer, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Ichthyology, Penn State University Honorary Research Associate, South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, Grahamstown, SA, does research on endangered fishes, the systematics, zoogeography and behavior of freshwater fish, and the impact of introduced fishes.