Invertebrate sentience: a review of the behavioral evidence
A Sentience Article from All-Creatures.org

FROM AnimalEthics.org
June 2021

Invertebrates are harmed in human activities across many varied sectors and industries: crustaceans, insects, and mollusks are killed and eaten; cuttlefish are killed and their ink is extracted for use in cooking; cochineals are killed for dye production; and silkworms are boiled alive for silk production.

Ants

Invertebrates are animals who do not possess or develop a spinal column, including insects, mollusks, and corals. Although the exact number of invertebrate species that exist on Earth is not known, estimates repeatedly find them to comprise 95% of all animal species and greater than 99.9% of all individual animals. Because of the enormous number of invertebrates, if invertebrates matter morally, they are also of enormous moral importance.

Invertebrates matter morally if they are sentient. Sentience is the ability to have subjective experience. It is sometimes described using the related words consciousness or phenomenal consciousness. If invertebrates are sentient, this would mean they have the ability to experience pain and pleasure, features that would warrant them inclusion in our moral circle. Since what happens to them matters to them, sentient animals have states of welfare, and so can be helped or harmed by events that increase or decrease that welfare.

Unfortunately, the situation of invertebrates is grave. Invertebrates are harmed in human activities across many varied sectors and industries: crustaceans, insects, and mollusks are killed and eaten; cuttlefish are killed and their ink is extracted for use in cooking; cochineals are killed for dye production; and silkworms are boiled alive for silk production.3 Many are also killed by insecticides. Beyond this, invertebrates in the wild face constant threat of disease, starvation, changes in their environments, and other sources of harm. Were an invertebrate in any of these situations replaced with an animal we attribute sentience to, such as other humans or large mammals, it would appear self-evident that these experiences would cause a great deal of suffering....

 

Please read the ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE (PDF)


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