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Heather Browning
London School of Economics
  1. Ethics of Mixed Martial Arts.Walter Veit & Heather Browning - forthcoming - In J. Holt & M. Ramsay (eds.), The Philosophy of Mixed Martial Arts: Squaring the Octagon. London: Routledge. pp. 134-149.
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  2. How Should We Study Animal Consciousness Scientifically?Jonathan Birch, Donald M. Broom, Heather Browning, Andrew Crump, Simona Ginsburg, Marta Halina, David Harrison, Eva Jablonka, Andrew Y. Lee, François Kammerer, Colin Klein, Victor Lamme, Matthias Michel, Françoise Wemelsfelder & Oryan Zacks - 2022 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 29 (3-4):8-28.
    This editorial introduces the Journal of Consciousness Studies special issue on "Animal Consciousness". The 15 contributors and co-editors answer the question "How should we study animal consciousness scientifically?" in 500 words or fewer.
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  3. The Natural Behavior Debate: Two Conceptions of Animal Welfare.Heather Browning - 2020 - Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 23 (3):325-337.
    The performance of natural behavior is commonly used as a criterion in the determination of animal welfare. This is still true, despite many authors having demonstrated that it is not a necessary component of welfare – some natural behaviors may decrease welfare, while some unnatural behaviors increase it. Here I analyze why this idea persists, and what effects it may have. I argue that the disagreement underlying this debate on natural behavior is not one about which conditions affect welfare, but (...)
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  4. If I Could Talk to the Animals: Measuring Subjective Animal Welfare.Heather Browning - 2019 - Dissertation, Australian National University
    Animal welfare is a concept that plays a role within both our moral deliberations and the relevant areas of science. The study of animal welfare has impacts on decisions made by legislators, producers and consumers with regards to housing and treatment of animals. Our ethical deliberations in these domains need to consider our impact on animals, and the study of animal welfare provides the information that allows us to make informed decisions. This thesis focusses on taking a philosophical perspective to (...)
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  5. Improving Invertebrate Welfare.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2020 - Animal Sentience 29 (4).
    Mikhalevich & Powell (2020) argue that it is wrong, both scientifically and morally, to dismiss the evidence for sentience in invertebrates. They do not offer any examples, however, of how their welfare should be considered or improved. We draw on animal welfare science to suggest some ways that would not be excessively demanding.
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  6. Phenomenology Applied to Animal Health and Suffering.Walter Veit & Heather Browning - 2021 - In Susi Ferrarello (ed.), Phenomenology of Bioethics: Technoethics and Lived Experience. Springer. pp. 73-88.
    What is it like to be a bat? What is it like to be sick? These two questions are much closer to one another than has hitherto been acknowledged. Indeed, both raise a number of related, albeit very complex, philosophical problems. In recent years, the phenomenology of health and disease has become a major topic in bioethics and the philosophy of medicine, owing much to the work of Havi Carel (2007, 2011, 2018). Surprisingly little attention, however, has been given to (...)
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  7. Freedom and Animal Welfare.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2021 - Animals 4 (11):1148.
    The keeping of captive animals in zoos and aquariums has long been controversial. Many take freedom to be a crucial part of animal welfare and, on these grounds, criticise all forms of animal captivity as harmful to animal welfare, regardless of their provisions. Here, we analyse what it might mean for freedom to matter to welfare, distinguishing between the role of freedom as an intrinsic good, valued for its own sake and an instrumental good, its value arising from the increased (...)
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  8. Confined Freedom and Free Confinement: The Ethics of Captivity in Life of Pi.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2020 - In Ádám T. Bogár & Rebeka Sára Szigethy (eds.), Critical Insights: Life of Pi. Salem Press. pp. 119-134.
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  9. The Natural Behavior Debate: Two Conceptions of Animal Welfare.Heather Browning - 2019 - Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science:1–13.
    The performance of natural behavior is commonly used as a criterion in the determination of animal welfare. This is still true, despite many authors having demonstrated that it is not a necessary component of welfare –some natural behaviors may decrease welfare, while some unnatural behaviors increase it. Here I analyze why this idea persists, and what effects it may have. I argue that the disagreement underlying this debate on natural behavior is not one about which conditions affect welfare, but a (...)
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  10.  91
    The Measurement Problem of Consciousness.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2020 - Philosophical Topics 48 (1):85-108.
    This paper addresses what we consider to be the most pressing challenge for the emerging science of consciousness: the measurement problem of consciousness. That is, by what methods can we determine the presence of and properties of consciousness? Most methods are currently developed through evaluation of the presence of consciousness in humans and here we argue that there are particular problems in application of these methods to nonhuman cases—what we call the indicator validity problem and the extrapolation problem. The first (...)
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  11. Assessing Measures of Animal Welfare.Heather Browning - manuscript
    When making decisions about action to improve animal lives, it is important that we have accurate estimates of how much animals are suffering under different conditions. The current frameworks for making comparative estimates of suffering all fall along the lines of multiplying numbers of animals used by length of life and amount of suffering experienced. However, the numbers used to quantify suffering are usually generated through unreliable and subjective processes which make them unlikely to be correct. In this paper, I (...)
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  12.  50
    Animal Sentience.Heather Browning & Jonathan Birch - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (5):e12822.
    ‘Sentience’ sometimes refers to the capacity for any type of subjective experience, and sometimes to the capacity to have subjective experiences with a positive or negative valence, such as pain or pleasure. We review recent controversies regarding sentience in fish and invertebrates and consider the deep methodological challenge posed by these cases. We then present two ways of responding to the challenge. In a policy-making context, precautionary thinking can help us treat animals appropriately despite continuing uncertainty about their sentience. In (...)
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  13. Won’T Somebody Please Think of the Mammoths? De-Extinction and Animal Welfare.Heather Browning - 2018 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 31 (6):785-803.
    De-extinction is the process through which extinct species can be brought back into existence. Although these projects have the potential to cause great harm to animal welfare, discussion on issues surrounding de-extinction have focussed primarily on other issues. In this paper, I examine the potential types of welfare harm that can arise through de-extinction programs, including problems with cloning, captive rearing and re-introduction. I argue that welfare harm should be an important consideration when making decisions on de-extinction projects. Though most (...)
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  14. What Should We Do About Sheep? The Role of Intelligence in Welfare Considerations.Heather Browning - 2019 - Animal Sentience 4 (25):23.
    Marino & Merskin (2019) demonstrate that sheep are more cognitively complex than typically thought. We should be cautious in interpreting the implications of these results for welfare considerations to avoid perpetuating mistaken beliefs about the moral value of intelligence as opposed to sentience. There are, however, still important ways in which this work can help improve sheeps’ lives.
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  15.  43
    Evaluating Tradeoffs Between Autonomy and Wellbeing in Supported Decision Making.Julian Savulescu, Heather Browning, Brian D. Earp & Walter Veit - 2021 - American Journal of Bioethics 21 (11):21-24.
    A core challenge for contemporary bioethics is how to address the tension between respecting an individual’s autonomy and promoting their wellbeing when these ideals seem to come into conflict (Not...
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  16.  89
    Neural Organoids and the Precautionary Principle.Jonathan Birch & Heather Browning - 2021 - American Journal of Bioethics 21 (1):56-58.
    Human neural organoid research is advancing rapidly. As Greely notes in the target article, this progress presents an “onrushing ethical dilemma.” We can’t rule out the possibility that suff...
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  17. Is Humane Slaughter Possible?Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2020 - Animals 10 (5):799.
    One of the biggest ethical issues in animal agriculture is that of the welfare of animals at the end of their lives, during the process of slaughter. Much work in animal welfare science is focussed on finding humane ways to transport and slaughter animals, to minimise the harm done during this process. In this paper, we take a philosophical look at what it means to perform slaughter humanely, beyond simply reducing pain and suffering during the slaughter process. In particular, we (...)
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  18.  29
    Perspectival Pluralism for Animal Welfare.Walter Veit & Heather Browning - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (1):1-14.
    Animal welfare has a long history of disregard. While in recent decades the study of animal welfare has become a scientific discipline of its own, the difficulty of measuring animal welfare can still be vastly underestimated. There are three primary theories, or perspectives, on animal welfare - biological functioning, natural living and affective state. These come with their own diverse methods of measurement, each providing a limited perspective on an aspect of welfare. This paper describes a perspectival pluralist account of (...)
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  19.  29
    Petition to Include Cephalopods as “Animals” Deserving of Humane Treatment Under the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.New England Anti-Vivisection Society, American Anti-Vivisection Society, The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, The Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society Legislative Fund, Jennifer Jacquet, Becca Franks, Judit Pungor, Jennifer Mather, Peter Godfrey-Smith, Lori Marino, Greg Barord, Carl Safina, Heather Browning & Walter Veit - forthcoming - Harvard Law School Animal Law and Policy Clinic:1–30.
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  20. Anecdotes Can Be Evidence Too.Heather Browning - 2017 - Animal Sentience 2 (16):13.
    Birch’s criterion for the precautionary principle imposes a high evidential standard that many cases will fail to meet. Reliable, relevant anecdotal evidence suggestive of animal sentience should also fall within the scope of the precautionary principle. This would minimize potential suffering (as happened in the case of cephalopods) while further evidence is gathered.
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  21. Review of the Evidence of Sentience in Cephalopod Molluscs and Decapod Crustaceans.Jonathan Birch, Charlotte Burn, Alexandra Schnell, Heather Browning & Andrew Crump - manuscript
    Sentience is the capacity to have feelings, such as feelings of pain, pleasure, hunger, thirst, warmth, joy, comfort and excitement. It is not simply the capacity to feel pain, but feelings of pain, distress or harm, broadly understood, have a special significance for animal welfare law. Drawing on over 300 scientific studies, we evaluate the evidence of sentience in two groups of invertebrate animals: the cephalopod molluscs or, for short, cephalopods (including octopods, squid and cuttlefish) and the decapod crustaceans or, (...)
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  22. No Room at the Zoo: Management Euthanasia and Animal Welfare.Heather Browning - 2018 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 31 (4):483-498.
    The practice of ‘management euthanasia’, in which zoos kill otherwise healthy surplus animals, is a controversial one. The debate over the permissibility of the practice tends to divide along two different views in animal ethics—animal rights and animal welfare. Traditionally, those arguments against the practice have come from the animal rights camp, who see it as a violation of the rights of the animal involved. Arguments in favour come from the animal welfare perspective, who argue that as the animal does (...)
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  23.  46
    Evolutionary Biology Meets Consciousness: Essay Review of Simona Ginsburg and Eva Jablonka’s The Evolution of the Sensitive Soul.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (1):1-11.
    In this essay, we discuss Simona Ginsburg and Eva Jablonka’s The Evolution of the Sensitive Soul from an interdisciplinary perspective. Constituting perhaps the longest treatise on the evolution of consciousness, Ginsburg and Jablonka unite their expertise in neuroscience and biology to develop a beautifully Darwinian account of the dawning of subjective experience. Though it would be impossible to cover all its content in a short book review, here we provide a critical evaluation of their two key ideas—the role of Unlimited (...)
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  24.  27
    What is Good for an Octopus?Heather Browning - 2019 - Animal Sentience 26 (7).
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  25.  37
    Extending Animal Welfare Science to Include Wild Animals.Walter Veit & Heather Browning - forthcoming - Animal Sentience:1-4.
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  26. What is Good for an Octopus?Heather Browning - 2019 - Animal Sentience 4 (26).
    Mather (2019) has brought together the current empirical research in support of the claim that octopuses possess minds; and the weight of the evidence does appear to support octopus sentience. Being sentient means an organism has welfare concerns, a subjective experience of life that can go well or poorly. Protecting welfare requires knowing what conditions will have a positive or negative impact. Understanding what is in the mind of an octopus will give us valuable insight into what is good for (...)
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  27.  34
    What Should We Do About Sheep? The Role of Intelligence in Welfare Considerations.Heather Browning - 2019 - Animal Sentience 25 (23).
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  28.  60
    Developing a Metric of Usable Space for Zoo Exhibits.Heather Browning & Terry L. Maple - 2019 - Frontiers in Psychology 10:791.
    The size of animal exhibits has important effects on their lives and welfare. However, most references to exhibit size only consider floor space and height dimensions, without considering the space afforded by usable features within the exhibit. In this paper, we develop two possible methods for measuring the usable space of zoo exhibits and apply these to a sample exhibit. Having a metric for usable space in place will provide a better reflection of the quality of different exhibits, and enhance (...)
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  29.  5
    The Measurability of Subjective Animal Welfare.Heather Browning - 2022 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 29 (3-4):150-179.
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  30. Assessing Measures of Animal Welfare.Heather Browning - forthcoming - Preprint.
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  31.  65
    A Multi-Sensory Enrichment Program for Ring-Tailed Lemurs (Lemur Catta) at Auckland Zoo, Including a Novel Feeding Device.Heather Browning & Lisa Moro - forthcoming - Proceedings of the 1st Australasian Regional Environmental Enrichment Conference.
    In modern zoos, enrichment programs have become a standard part of animal care routines. Although 'higher' primates usually receive complex enrichment programs, encompassing many types of enrichment, these are less common for prosimians. These animals often largely receive food-based enrichment, as was previously the case at Auckland Zoo, where the ring-tailed lemur enrichment schedule contained only three different items, all food-related. Lemurs tend to be considered less curious and quick to learn than other primates, as well as being less manually (...)
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  32. Flesh Without Blood: The Public Health Argument for Synthetic Meat.Jonathan Anomaly, Diana Fleischman, Heather Browning & Walter Veit - manuscript
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  33.  18
    Does Utilitarianism Need a Rethink? Review of Louis Narens and Brian Skyrms' The Pursuit of Happiness.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - forthcoming - Journal of Economic Methodology:1-5.
    Philosophers have typically shown high confidence in their evaluations of Utilitarianism, whether as an endorsement or a disparagement. Rarely, however, has much effort been spent on investigating...
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  34.  68
    Does Utilitarianism Need a Rethink? Review of Louis Narens and Brian Skyrms' The Pursuit of Happiness.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - forthcoming - Tandf: Journal of Economic Methodology:1-5.
  35.  28
    The Problem of Interspecies Welfare Comparisons (Preprint).Heather Browning - manuscript
    One of the biggest problems in applications of animal welfare science is our ability to make comparisons between different individuals, particularly different species. Although welfare science provides methods for measuring the welfare of individual animals, there’s no established method for comparing measures between individuals. This problem occurs because of the underdetermination of the conclusions given the data, arising from two sources of variation that we cannot distinguish – variation in the underlying target variable (welfare experience) and in the relationship of (...)
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  36.  18
    Book Review of Jenny Gray: Zoo Ethics: The Challenges of Compassionate Conservation. [REVIEW]Heather Browning - 2018 - Quarterly Review of Biology 92 (2):149.
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  37.  12
    More Than Zombies: Considering the Animal Subject in De-Extinction.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2022 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 25 (2):121-124.
  38.  55
    Utilitarian Lessons From the COVID-19 Pandemic for Non-Pandemic Diseases.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2021 - American Journal of Bioethics 21 (12):39-42.
    The COVID-19 pandemic has created a unique set of challenges for national governments regarding how to deal with a major international pandemic of almost unprecedented scope. As the pandemic consti...
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  39.  6
    The Sentience Shift in Animal Research.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - forthcoming - The New Bioethics:1-16.
    One of the primary concerns in animal research is ensuring the welfare of laboratory animals. Modern views on animal welfare emphasize the role of animal sentience, i.e. the capacity to experience...
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  40.  30
    Why Socio-Political Beliefs Trump Individual Morality: An Evolutionary Perspective.Walter Veit & Heather Browning - 2020 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 11 (4):290-292.
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