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Commentary Type

Invited Commentary


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


Rowan et al’s article provides an overview of developments in the science of animal sentience and its links to animal welfare policy, especially regarding farm animals. But changing ideas of animal sentience and welfare are also important for managing wild and other free-living animals. We ask how the welfare of these animals differs from that of farmed animals, especially how the ability to make autonomous choices may matter. We suggest that more research into wild animal welfare is needed to make informed policy decisions, for example, about using animals in rewilding projects and choosing between policies of culling and fertility control.

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

Clare Palmer, Abell Professor of Liberal Arts and Professor of Philosophy at Texas A&M University, USA, with research interests in animal ethics and environmental ethics. Author of books including Animal Ethics in Context (2010) and with Peter Sandøe and Sandra Corr, Companion Animal Ethics (2015) Website

Peter Sandøe, Professor of bioethics, University of Copenhagen, does research on ethical issues related to animals, veterinary practice, biotechnology and food production. He is committed to interdisciplinary work combining perspectives from natural science, social sciences and philosophy. Website