Commentary Type

Invited Commentary


Lynne U. Sneddon, Javier Lopez-Luna, David C.C. Wolfenden, Matthew C. Leach, Ana M. Valentim, Peter J. Steenbergen, Nabila Bardine, Amanda D. Currie, Donald M. Broom, and Culum Brown, Fish sentience denial: Muddying the waters


I focus on the possibility of sentience in zebrafish larvae. The evidence here prompts two intuitive reactions that are difficult to reconcile: the reaction that larvae, if sentient, should be protected in some way, and the reaction that larvae, if capable of nociception, should be used as replacements for adults. Both reactions are reasonable, but they can be reconciled only by constructing a framework for assigning degrees of protection in proportion to degrees of sentience.

Author Biography

Jonathan Birch is Assistant Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science, specializing in the philosophy of biology. His book The Philosophy of Social Evolution was published by Oxford University Press in 2017. Website