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
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.