Document Detail

Aquatic animals, cognitive ethology, and ethics: questions about sentience and other troubling issues that lurk in turbid water.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17578248     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
In this general, strongly pro-animal, and somewhat utopian and personal essay, I argue that we owe aquatic animals respect and moral consideration just as we owe respect and moral consideration to all other animal beings, regardless of the taxonomic group to which they belong. In many ways it is more difficult to convince some people of our ethical obligations to numerous aquatic animals because we do not identify or empathize with them as we do with animals with whom we are more familiar or to whom we are more closely related, including those species (usually terrestrial) to whom we refer as charismatic megafauna. Many of my examples come from animals that are more well studied but they can be used as models for aquatic animals. I follow Darwinian notions of evolutionary continuity to argue that if we feel pain, then so too do many other animals, including those that live in aquatic environs. Recent scientific data ('science sense') show clearly that many aquatic organisms, much to some people's surprise, likely suffer at our hands and feel their own sorts of pain. Throughout I discuss how cognitive ethology (the study of animal minds) is the unifying science for understanding the subjective, emotional, empathic, and moral lives of animals because it is essential to know what animals do, think, and feel as they go about their daily routines. Lastly, I argue that when we are uncertain if we are inflicting pain due to our incessant, annoying, and frequently unnecessary intrusions into the lives of other animals as we go about 'redecorating nature' (removing animals or moving them from place to place), we should err on the side of the animals and stop engaging in activities that cause pain and suffering.
Marc Bekoff
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Editorial    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Diseases of aquatic organisms     Volume:  75     ISSN:  0177-5103     ISO Abbreviation:  Dis. Aquat. Org.     Publication Date:  2007 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2007-06-20     Completed Date:  2007-11-13     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8807037     Medline TA:  Dis Aquat Organ     Country:  Germany    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  87-98     Citation Subset:  IM    
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309-0334, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Animal Welfare* / ethics,  trends
Aquaculture* / ethics
Bioethical Issues
Ethology* / ethics,  trends
Species Specificity
Reg. No./Substance:

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