Author Website


Commentary Type

Invited Commentary


The precautionary principal is often invoked when talking about the evidence of sentience in animals, largely because we can never be certain what any animal is thinking or feeling. Birch (2017) offers a preliminary framework for the use of the precautionary principal for animal sentience combining an epistemic rule with a decision rule. I extend this framework by adding an evolutionary phylogentic approach which spreads the burden of proof across broad taxonomic groups and a risk assessment component which magnifies the likely impact by the number of animals involved.

Author Biography

Culum Brown studies behavioural ecology of fishes with a special interest in cognition, personality and laterality. He is Associate Professor of vertebrate evolution at Macquarie University, Co-Editor of the volume Fish Cognition and Behavior, and Editor of the Journal of Fish Biology. https://thefishlab.com