Kristin Andrews, York University/Université – « Welfare and Animal Culture » (online | en ligne)

Kristin Andrews, York University/Université, « Welfare and Animal Culture »

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Individuals who live according to social norms are phenomenologically responsive to norm violations, and there is empirical evidence that some nonhuman animals, including chimpanzees, orangutans, monkeys, and dolphins, have social norms (Andrews 2020a, 2020b). Cultural species are good candidates for having social norms, and there is empirical evidence that many nonhuman animals are cultural, including mammals, birds, fish, and insects (see Whiten 2017 for a review). These two premises suggest that a wide range of nonhuman animals may be phenomenologically responsive to social practices, and violations of these practices, or the inability to engage in them, may lead to emotional harm and suffering. The bourgeoning research on culture and social norms in animals has implications for welfare considerations. For example, if the rodents and fish used in the lab experience responsiveness to appropriate and inappropriate behavior, then best practices for welfare should include guidelines for housing these animals in a way that respects their social and cultural needs as well as their physiological ones.  Furthermore, welfare with regard to conservation efforts should include preserving not just an animal’s biological material and their environments, but also their cultures. Individuals who have social norms can be harmed in more ways than individuals whose negative and positive affect is limited to tissue damage. The growing recognition that many species are cultural species has ethical consequences that should be integrated into welfare practice.

Andrews, K. 2020a forthcoming. Naïve normativity: The social foundation of moral cognition. Journal of the American Philosophical Association.

Andrews, K. 2020b forthcoming. The Animal Mind: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Animal Cognition, edition 2. Routledge.

Whiten, A. 2017. A second inheritance system: the extension of biology through culture. Interface Focus 7: 20160142.