In a world increasingly concerned with climate change, food security, and other human issues, the welfare of non-human animals is in danger of being overlooked and side-lined. Using the latest scientific research on animal consciousness and emotions, Marian Stamp Dawkins argues that if animal welfare is to be taken seriously by world opinion, it needs a complete rethink. She asks important questions such as: are we justified in projecting human emotions on to animals? What can science tell us about their quality of life? She concludes that we need to place less emphasis on the conscious experience of suffering in animals, and more emphasis on the practical importance of animal welfare to human health and human well-being. This requires a long, hard look at some of the cherished ideas we hold about animal emotions, and what we can and cannot know about the conscious experiences of other animals.
1: Animal welfare, food security and climate change
2: Seduced by words
3: The trouble with anthropomorphism
4: Why consciousness is harder than you think
5: Consciousness unexplained
6: Emotional turmoil
7: Animal welfare without consciousness
8: The two pillars of animal welfare
9: What animals want
10: Animal welfare for a small planet
Notes and references
Marian Stamp Dawkins was born in Hereford, England and has been fascinated by animal behaviour all her life. She read Zoology at the University of Oxford and studied with Niko Tinbergen, the Nobel Laureate and one of the 'founding fathers' of ethology, the study of animal behaviour. In 1998 she became Professor of Animal Behaviour at Oxford. Her research now centred increasingly on large scale commercial studies (broiler chickens, ducks and laying hens) as a bridge between academic research and the wider world of commercial farming.