Commentary Type

Invited Commentary


I offer four ways to reinforce Birch’s precautionary principle so it can be used effectively and practically in deciding which animals to cover by legislation for humane treatment: (1) add one more credible indicator of sentience to the BAR rule; (2) use phylogenetic classification, not the outdated Linnaean classification, to test which animal clades have sentience; (3) disentangle the pain of suffering from sentience; and (4) reconsider the sentient status of decapods and insects to remove potential inconsistencies in the proposed framework.

Author Biography

Jon M. Mallatt is Clinical Associate Professor in the WWAMI Medical Education Program of the University of Washington at the University of Idaho. His research is on the origin of the major animal groups, especially vertebrates, as well as the evolutionary origin of consciousness.