Woodford, Peter and Carter, Alecia (2019) Science, social critique, and the need for ethics. Animal Sentience 25(34)
Lori Marino and Debra Merskin, Intelligence, complexity, and individuality in sheep
Marino & Merskin’s target article on the cognitive and psychological capacities of sheep commendably aims to use science to critique human practice. However, the article fails to make specific recommendations about how human-sheep relations should change going forward. We also underscore two problematic assumptions highlighted by other commentators: (1) that cognitive complexity is important to the case for the moral status of non-human animals and (2) that the way humans use and treat animals is caused by our conception of animals’ capacities. Scientists should engage more with philosophy and ethical theory to articulate the implications of animal capacities for human treatment of animals.