Author Website


Commentary Type

Invited Commentary


Andrew N. Rowan, Joyce M. D'Silva, Ian J.H. Duncan, and Nicholas Palmer, Animal sentience: history, science, and politics


I contrast my picture of the relationship between the science and policy of animal sentience with that of Marian Stamp Dawkins, who thinks “the science of animal sentience and the politics of animal welfare should be kept separate” because they involve irreconcilably different standards of evidence. On my alternative picture, (i) the science of animal sentience, like any other empirical science, delivers evidence but not certainty; (ii) this evidence allows us to make better practical decisions, both within and outside science and (iii) the quality standards we apply to the evidence should be high in all contexts, including the formulation of public policy.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Author Biography

Jonathan Birch, Associate Professor, LSE, is the Principal Investigator on the Foundations of Animal Sentience project, a five-year Horizon 2020 project investigating animal sentience. Website