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Animal sentience and the precautionary principle

Birch, Jonathan (2017) Animal sentience and the precautionary principle. Animal Sentience, 2 (16). ISSN 2377-7478

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Abstract

In debates about animal sentience, the precautionary principle is often invoked. The idea is that when the evidence of sentience is inconclusive, we should “give the animal the benefit of the doubt” or “err on the side of caution” in formulating animal protection legislation. Yet there remains confusion as to whether it is appropriate to apply the precautionary principle in this context, and, if so, what “applying the precautionary principle” means in practice regarding the burden of proof for animal sentience. Here I construct a version of the precautionary principle tailored to the question of animal sentience together with a practical framework for implementing it. I explain and defend the key features of this framework, argue that it is well-aligned current practice in animal welfare science, and consider and reject a number of influential counterarguments to the use of precautionary reasoning in this area

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://animalstudiesrepository.org/
Additional Information: © 2017 The Author © CC BY-NC 4.0
Divisions: Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BD Speculative Philosophy
Sets: Departments > Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2017 10:16
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2019 20:54
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/84099

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