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Animals 2012, 2(4), 628-639; doi:10.3390/ani2040628

Animal Sentience: Where Are We and Where Are We Heading?

World Society for the Protection of Animals, 222 Grays Inn Road, London WC1X 8HB, UK
Received: 16 October 2012 / Revised: 12 November 2012 / Accepted: 12 November 2012 / Published: 14 November 2012
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Simple Summary: Animal sentience refers to the ability of animals to experience pleasurable states such as joy, and aversive states such as pain and fear (Broom, D.M. Dis. Aquat. Org. 2007, 75, 99–108). The science of animal sentience underpins the entire animal welfare movement. Demonstrating objectively what animals are capable of is key to achieving a positive change in attitudes and actions towards animals, and a real, sustainable difference for animal welfare. This paper briefly summarises understanding of animal sentience through the ages. There follows a review of the current state of animal sentience, and concluding thoughts on its future in regards to animal welfare.

Abstract

The science of animal sentience underpins the entire animal welfare movement. Demonstrating objectively what animals are capable of is key to achieving a positive change in attitudes and actions towards animals, and a real, sustainable difference for animal welfare. This paper briefly summarises understanding and acceptance of animal sentience through the ages. Although not an exhaustive history, it highlights some of the leading figures whose opinions and work have most affected perspectives of animal sentience. There follows a review of the current state of animal sentience, what is known, and what the main limitations have been for the development of the study of sentience. The paper concludes with some thoughts for the future of the science, and where it should be going in order to most benefit animal welfare.
Keywords: advocacy; animal welfare; anthropomorphism; cognition; consciousness; sentience advocacy; animal welfare; anthropomorphism; cognition; consciousness; sentience
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Proctor, H. Animal Sentience: Where Are We and Where Are We Heading? Animals 2012, 2, 628-639.

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