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Animal Welfare - Book Reviews

Volume 32 -2023






One Welfare in Practice: The Role of the Veterinarian

Edited by T Stephens (2021). Published by CRC Press, Park Square, Milton Park, Abington, Oxon OX14 4RN, UK. 371 pages Paperback (ISBN: 9780367904067). Price: £42.99.


One Welfare in Practice: The Role of the Veterinarian forms part of a series of books published by CRC One Health One Welfare which explore interconnections between human well-being, animal health and welfare and the environment. It is edited by Dr Tanya Stephens who is a small animal practitioner, wildlife researcher and fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons living and working in Australia. The book consists of 14 chapters each offering a slightly different perspective on the key role that veterinarians can play in promoting one welfare. Chapters fall into three broad categories including veterinary roles in: (i) environmental issues; (ii) humane applications of population control measures; and (iii) promoting animal welfare. Most of the authors are from universities or research institutions in Australia or New Zealand but the focus is on One Welfare globally.

The first chapters relate to the role of veterinarians in environmental issues. This was the area that I was least familiar with and one that did not feature in the veterinarian curriculum when I attended vet school twenty years ago. A helpful starting point in this field was the overview of the Vet Sustain group (https://vetsustain.org/) which aims to promote the role of veterinarians in aligning animal, human and environmental well-being. The chapter included a summary of their six sustainability goals as well as several case studies, including the ‘3Rs goals of antibiotic stewardship’ plus key links and further reading. Other chapters include discussions of the partnership between one health and welfare, consideration of climate change as an animal welfare problem as well as animal welfare aspects of land clearing.

The next group of chapters relate to humane applications of population control measures included tuberculosis control in New Zealand, rabies control in Indonesia as well as vertebrate ‘pest’ control which is an area of particular interest for UFAW (https://www.ufaw.org.uk/rodent-welfare/rodent-welfare). The focus of the chapter on kangaroos in the vertebrate ‘pest’ animals chapter was specific to Australia, but the general message of a holistic approach involving a range of different communities often with different aims, attitudes and perceptions apply generally to the complexity of ‘pest’ animal management in any species and geographical area.

The final group of chapters relate to the veterinarian’s role in promoting animal welfare including chapters on laboratory animals, fish, cattle and working animals as well as transport and nutritional security. Of particular interest to me was the chapter on laboratory animals. Dr Alexandra Whittaker of the University of Adelaide outlines the roles that lab animal veterinarians can play in promoting one health and welfare and provides a general introduction to this role of a laboratory animal veterinarian as well as ethical issues associated with this work. The chapter ends with a case study on research into novel methods of vertebrate pest control which links nicely with other chapters in the book.

Overall, I would recommend this book to those with an interest in One Welfare. Although the focus is on the role of the veterinarian, it is clear throughout the book that vets cannot work in isolation and that solutions can only be found by communities and professions coming together and working towards shared goals. This book is likely to be of interest to all of us with an interest in animal, human and environmental health and well-being. It is likely to be of particular interest to veterinary students and recent graduates as it highlights the breadth of potentially diverse roles that veterinarians can have in promoting one health and welfare.

Claire Richardson

Wild Animal Ethics: The Moral and Political Problem of Wild Animal Suffering

K Johannsen (2021). Published by Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 3 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN, UK. 112 pages Hardback/Paperback/ebook (ISBN: 9780367275709). Price (hardback) £130, (paperback) £36.99, (ebook) £33.29.



This is a slim volume of just 100 printed pages, but it delivers a big punch. The author does not shy away from the notion that this is a very personal assessment of wild animal suffering (WAS) and one that not everyone will agree with. His arguments however are well considered, referenced and, above all, written in a style that makes them accessible to all readers irrespective of their background in either philosophy, ethics, or animal welfare.

The basic premise of this book is that many animal species, especially those that reproduce with large litters with high mortality rates (r-strategists), have short lives in which they fail to flourish and die in often protracted and painful ways. The natural world is not a good place for most animals and most human interventions to reduce WAS focus on the larger iconic predator species (K-strategists). The author’s argument is that the scale of r-strategist suffering is such that humans have a moral duty to intervene. He argues against large-scale ecological destruction to reduce WAS and instead reasons that the preferred major intervention should be genetic modification, utilising CRISPR gene editing, to change dietary and reproductive strategies in both r- and K- strategists. It is a relief that the author acknowledges that “significant research and testing would need to be conducted before beneficent gene drives could be conducted responsibly”, recognising the potential for significant ecological damage – and potentially increased WAS. The positive arguments for gene editing are well made, but many readers may feel that human interventions would be better focused on reducing both direct and indirect anthropogenic impacts on WAS, which are considerable, rather than by ‘playing God.’ The author’s counter-argument is that such interventions are not enough and are too limited in vision to significantly reduce WAS.

There is much in this book that anyone interested in WAS will agree with, alongside ideas that many readers will find thought-provoking and potentially challenging. Ultimately, engaging with the subject matter and considering the arguments can only help develop a better understanding of the ways to alleviate WAS and that alone is reason enough to thoroughly recommend this text.

Elizabeth Mullineaux

The Mind of a Bee

Published by Princeton University Press, 41 William Street, Princeton, NJ 08540, USA. 304 pages Hardback (ISBN: 978-0691180472). Price £20.47.


Content warnings: Mental health issues and suicide
So far in my relatively short career, I have researched the behaviour and welfare of rhesus macaques, pigs, and laying hens. However, my first taste of animal behaviour was as an undergraduate in a honeybee laboratory, training bees to respond to odours for sugar rewards. I was therefore delighted to be asked to review this book and to be given a chance to catch up on the latest in bee research.

The book starts with an overarching introduction in which the author gives a basic overview of bees, followed by a handy roadmap of the chapters and an explanation of the use of historical literature and biographical details of the scientists he cites (more on that later). Chittka ends by promising to take the reader on a “journey into the minds of bees.”

The following ten chapters (chapters 2–11) deal with bee sensory processing, instinct behaviours, communication, cognition, brain physiology, personality, and consciousness. Each chapter is further broken down into bitesize chunks of information which have been succinctly summarised and are easy to follow. A range of brilliant figures support each chapter and when dealing with the particulars of, for example, spatial cognition experiments and detailed brain anatomy, these are very welcome aides. Throughout, Chittka does an excellent job of combining historic and contemporary research to build an overall picture of the current state of knowledge for each theme, as well as identifying where the gaps remain. There is much to glean from this book on the basics of behaviour, the rules of learning, and comparative brain anatomy, to name but a few.

Complicated topics are dealt with in the book and, in my opinion, some clearer definitions of these would have been useful. The chapter covering personality for instance would have benefitted from a brief overview of what is considered as personality in different fields. Indeed, this would also have helped when issues such as culture, emotion and consciousness were discussed. Although the intricacies of these concepts are contentious and debated, more formal definitions in the text would have guided the reader to the specific meaning with which Chittka was aligning his views and evidence.

The final chapter (12), “What our knowledge of bees’ minds means for their conservation”, is written as an Afterword and is therefore very short. I was a little disappointed as this is the section which deals with the moral implications of our reliance on bees for agriculture, our duty to protect wild bees, and the ethical issues in using bees for research. As an animal welfare scientist, I was left wanting to know more about how the author sees the future of the more invasive laboratory studies. Maybe in the next book!

Aside from the breakdown of the science of bees, there are three things I appreciated in Chittka’s writing: 1) His acknowledgement of the ideas and contributions made by students and postdoctoral researchers; 2) providing historical context to the science, and 3) highlighting the personal struggles of the scientists as individuals. To expand on points two and three: Throughout the book, Chittka weaves in the history of the scholars whose science he discusses and the social context in which they performed their work. In doing so he highlights the crucial but much-forgotten experiments of African American ethologist Charles Turner and the challenging conditions under which Karl von Frisch conducted work as a scholar with Jewish heritage in Nazi Germany. Chittka also shines a light on the mental health issues faced by academics. He tells the stories of Frederick C Kenyon and Martin Hammer, decades apart, both of whom made huge contributions to their fields but struggled to find permanent employment, and who ultimately ended up confined to an asylum (Kenyon) and suspected to have taken their own life (Hammer). These stories, in my view, hold equal importance as the scientific contributions Kenyon and Hammer made. They are a reminder of the extreme pressure academics find themselves under and a prompt for us all to challenge the conditions which cause such losses.

Overall, the book is broad enough to be accessible to a lay audience whilst providing sufficient detail to be engaging for academics. Though I found myself wanting more in-depth explanations in certain parts (and had to remind myself it was not written to be a textbook), it still provides a springboard for anyone who wishes to further expand their knowledge. I would enthusiastically recommend this book as an entertaining and enlightening read.

Helen Gray
Newcastle University, UK

BSAVA Manual of Practical Veterinary Welfare

Edited by M Rendle and J Hinde-Megarity (2022). Published by BSAVA, Waterwells Business Park, Quedgely, Gloucs GL2 2AB, UK. 264 pages Hardback (ISBN: 978-1-910443-78-1). Price £90.00 (£58.50 for BSAVA members).


This new manual joins the series of very well-respected manuals on a huge range of subjects from BSAVA. The manuals form the basis of practical issues in many veterinary practices so it is good to see one specifically on welfare.

The first chapter from James Yeates is a masterly introduction to the concepts of ethics, welfare and the accompanying methodologies of the Five Freedoms and now the Five Domains. As to be expected from James it takes a logical thought process through what vets and nurses ought to consider as they go about their daily tasks.

The second chapter introduces the concept of ethograms and gives examples of different published and validated recording systems. It then introduces the concept of nursing models and processes referring to the sister BSAVA textbook and moves on to individual care plans. I’m sure these are processes many nurses carry out subconsciously but it is helpful to have them set out. A discussion of enrichment and euthanasia follows and the chapter culminates in some excellent examples of assessment forms.

Chapter 3 sets out the basics of animal behaviour science. A very clear exposition of how animals are motivated and learn includes a number of practical examples from a variety of species. The reader may question why such a long discourse (thirty pages) is necessary in a manual on practical welfare but an understanding of the basic science of behaviour is so important that I think it is a well justified inclusion and it is a very readable explanation. Surely without an understanding of pure science any attempt at practice is doomed to fail?

Next there is a chapter on enrichment that covers a wide range of species. There is a good explanation of why enrichment is so important to captive animal welfare. There are some great examples for the more frequently seen species and particularly for smaller commonly kept mammals where the real-world deficit is probably greatest. The chapter closes with a brief mention of rescue animals whose previous experiences and environment will affect their outlook on enrichment and especially when those animals have been imported from the streets of other countries. It is a shame that only the US-based Fear Free scheme is mentioned as opposed to the UK-based schemes such as Cat Friendly Clinic and Dog Friendly Clinic.

The chapter on nutrition starts with the scientific background and includes a brief discussion of food types including raw food diets. Then follows some tables of food types for herbivores showing what is suitable for which species. That forms an excellent quick reference guide that will be essential reading for practitioners. There follows a section on nutritional disease that inevitably starts with obesity and highlights the incidence and consequences. Some expansion of the section detailing potential action plans for obese patients would have been helpful. The effect of habituation through food of wild species is discussed at some length setting out the consequences of provision of food by humans ranging from violent encounters with animals seeking food, eg bears, to the inevitable road traffic collision consequences for urban foxes.

Chapter 6 provides some excellent examples of training techniques for a wide variety of species and links well with the earlier chapter on the theory of learning and training. Some of the practical examples of training programmes, such as muzzle training, could easily be translated into practice leaflets for clients to help them achieve the desired end result. The examples are perhaps a little heavy on zoo species that most practitioners will never encounter, but they provide a fascinating insight into modern zoo management.

The next chapter introduces the concept of the ‘welfare bank account’ and uses it to illustrate how practices can build the bank balance. Some common sense examples of allowing animals, particularly juveniles, to habituate to car journeys, restraint harnesses and carriers follow. The chapter moves on to discuss management of appointments, separation of species (especially prey from predators) and the layout of consulting rooms, eg allowing cats raised shelves upon which to perch and the use of appropriate pheromones. The authors go on to discuss puppy consultations and then hospitalisation at some length. The importance of low stress handling is emphasised together with discussion of trigger stacking and the excellent ladder of aggression. There follows a section on clinical and surgical procedures highlighting the effects of stress on the process from pre-surgery, surgical technique through to recovery and hospitalisation. This chapter probably has more realistic practical advice than much of the rest of the manual.

Chapter 8 deals with the difficult subject of end-of-life care. It starts with the decision-making process that leads to euthanasia and emphasises that quality of life (QoL) is the most important factor to consider. A simple evaluation tool for owners to complete to illustrate how QoL is, or is not, deteriorating is provided that will help practitioners to lead clients to make the best decision for their pet. It goes on to discuss the bereavement process to help practitioners understand client reactions and indicates where support can be found, particularly for clients with physical and mental health issues. They remind us that post-euthanasia gasping and twitching is the norm for us but not for clients so preparing them is important. The authors also remind us that animals bonded to the euthanased animal may also need our care and advice. The chapter concludes with a very emotive client impact statement that should remind us that pets are ‘not just an animal.’

The penultimate chapter deals with the concept of One Health. There is a wide-ranging discussion of zoonoses, the companion animal-human bond, obesity and antimicrobial resistance. The use of animals for animal-assisted interventions is highlighted with the challenges when aged, infirm or immunosuppressed people are concerned. There is no doubt that our relationship with animals and the environment is critical to our futures.

The final chapter deals with the mental health and welfare of the practice team. Undoubtedly this is one of the major issues in practice today and there is much advice on management techniques and relationships within practice. Clearly, the fourteen pages can only cover a superficial exposition but the further reading and reference list is extensive.

In summary, this is an excellent manual for all those in practice. For the new graduate or just-qualified nurse it should be compulsory reading as there is so much good basic practical advice. And, for those already established in practice, it is a really useful reminder of those things that got forgotten in the daily melee of veterinary work.

Chris Laurence
Chippenham, UK

Interacting with Animals: Understanding their Behaviour and Welfare

By P Le Neindre and B Deputte (translated from French by David Lindsay, Éditions Quae) (2022). Published by CABI, Wallingford, Oxon OX10 8DE, UK. 120 pages Paperback, Hardback, Kindle versions (ISBN: 978-18000622395). Price: £32.13 (paperback), £95.00 (hardback), £30.55 (kindle).


This book presents many ideas and much useful information. In the Introduction, the authors point out that books and papers about animal behaviour and welfare often ignore early writers and focus on publications in the last ten years. The authors choose to cite the first statements of an idea when explaining relationships between humans and non-humans. They also emphasise that the term animal refers to diverse organisms, from sponges to chimpanzees and humans, and argue that it is not helpful to consider some animals as inferior and some as superior when all are specialised in different ways. They conflict with many recent writers about sentience when they say that animals have an ability to feel. This may be a mis-translation of French in that all animals have some sensory ability and some degree of nervous system function but the capacity to have feelings, i.e. sentience, is currently considered to be limited to vertebrates, cephalopods and decapod crustaceans.

The authors do not subscribe to the view that Homo sapiens was especially created through evolution for God’s purpose but consider that, like other animal species, humans emerged by chance. They argue in Chapter 1 that it is wrong to think of non-human animals as mere mechanisms or automata when they are organisms with intrinsic value that are “room-mates” for humans in the world and are deserving of human care and respect. The complex behaviour in many non-human animals was described by Le Roy in 1768 as involving cognition and memory in social and non-social situations. While some writers have assumed that humans are very different from other animals, other authors writing more than a hundred years ago described more similarities than differences and gave examples of sophisticated functioning. In more recent times, observations of behaviour have been of particular importance as evidence for close similarities across animal species, including humans. Examples quoted from the authors’ own work show that farm animals are intellectually sophisticated. It is suggested that it is erroneous to use different words for the same abilities in humans and other species. Aggressiveness, awareness, expectations, fear, pain, suffering and pleasure are not limited to humans and Chapter 2 discusses sensory abilities, many of which are much better in other species than in humans.

Chapter 3 of the book usefully describes social groups and social behaviour. The suggestion that bats in caves may be just a crowd rather than a socially organised group would not apply to the reciprocal altruism that occurs in groups of vampire bats (Desmodontinae). However, the discussion of social behaviour emphasises that tolerance of other group members is frequent and adaptive during many activities, for example, feeding, drinking and migrating. The use of cognitive ability in the everyday life of many species is helpfully explained in Chapter 4 with examples such as those of episodic memory and planning for the future in several mammal and bird species. A mustelid mammal, the grey-headed marten (Eira barbara), hides green fruits and then recovers and consumes them when they are ripe while a predatory bird, the black kite (Milvus migrans) will move flaming sticks from a fire in order to use them to flush and catch prey. How such abilities and adaptiveness of various non-human species are utilised in adapting to co-existing with humans is the subject of Chapters 5 and 6. Domestication is described as a two-way process with humans and the other species involved both adapting. The responsibilities of humans using other animals are emphasised and welfare is discussed in relation to having an understanding of the needs of members of each species. This approach would be supported by most animal welfare scientists but the definition of bienêtre suggested does not make sense in English. As stated by the authors, the concept of welfare must include the positive and the negative. Good treatment (bien traitance) of such animals by humans is important but is not in itself welfare because welfare is a characteristic of the individual and good treatment may or may not lead to good welfare. The authors conclude that the use of scientific information, including that following detailed behaviour observation, is vital for assessing welfare.

Donald M Broom
Professor Emeritus, Cambridge University, UK

Treated Like Animals: Improving the Lives of the Creatures we Own, Eat and Use

By A Simmons (2023). Published by Pelagic Publishing, 20-22 Wenlock Road, London N1 7GU, UK. 272 pages Hardback (ISBN: 978-1784273415). Price £17.26.



Certain books are as famous for their far-reaching effects as for their contents. In 1964, for example, Ruth Harrison’s Animal Machines informed the British public about the conditions of intensively farmed animals; the outcry led directly to the publication of the influential Brambell Report and focused the attention of the UK Government on a new scientific field, the study of animal welfare. Animal Machines was not an academic textbook. It expressed a particular point of view and, as well as raising awareness about the conditions and treatment of animals, it cleverly also appealed to readers concerned about nutrition, food safety and the aesthetics of the countryside.

Treated Like Animals, written by Alick Simmons, is a recent volume that aims to educate and inform the non-specialist public. As illustrated by its subtitle, Improving the Lives of the Creatures We Own, Eat and Use, the purpose of Simmons’ book is to enlighten readers about the many uses of non-human animals (types of ‘exploitation’, to use Simmons’ terminology) and how readers can (if they choose) act to improve animals’ lives.

As an author, Simmons is well-informed and well-qualified to write about animals. He is a veterinarian of over 30 years’ experience and the UK Government’s former Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer, as well as a naturalist. Accordingly, the book is well-written and full of relevant facts, clearly and truthfully describing a wide range of animal-related practices (many of which readers will find unpalatable). Like Animal Machines, it is not an academic book or one aimed at specialists, and its target audience, readers who know little about animal production (or wildlife management or the use of animals in research) will learn much about these practices. It also educates its readership about important concepts in animal welfare, such as behavioural needs, comparative cognition, sentience and the capacity to suffer, as well as lots about the behavioural biology of various species of animals. This is all explained (for the most part) in a logical and accessible way, within a fairly compact volume. There is also some information on important historical milestones like the publication of Animal Machines, the subsequent formation of the Brambell Committee and production of the crucially influential Brambell Report, and the resultant Five Freedoms and more recent Five Domains animal welfare frameworks.

The book is written from Simmons’ own ethical stance, and he refers to this and the choices he makes as a result frequently. This doesn’t include being a vegetarian, although he describes himself as being “… picky about where my meat comes from and avoid(ing) certain types altogether” and it does include fishing. He believes, according to the Preface, “… that limited and highly specific forms of animal exploitation can be justified” – such as types of animal production that are good for the environment, interventions to protect threatened species and research on human diseases using animals. Later in the book it becomes apparent that the author supports many forms of exploitation – including the consumption of a rather wide range of animal products. Some readers (including those who choose to forego eating meat or adopt a vegan lifestyle as part of their own ethical framework) will certainly find this doesn’t go far enough. He describes veganism as “too rigid” a stance that ignores the benefits of animal use and fails to take into account differences between the best and worst types of use. He also includes advice, such as cautioning against ‘evangelising’ about dietary choices: “Especially at social events. By all means explain, but don’t think you have to convert the world. No one wants a sermon at a party.” Of course, one person’s evangelising is another’s way of sharing important information and some will find this ‘advice’ patronising, preferring to be more vocal – even at parties.

While it is not as fully referenced as an academic textbook, the endnotes provide reference sources to substantiate a lot of the factual information – and these comprise a mixture of scientific journal articles, textbooks, legislation and government reports (i.e. what the academic reader would consider reliable references) as well as, for example, media articles and opinion polls.

Chapter 1 defines what Simmons means by exploitation and also serves as an extended introduction to the rest of the book. In it, he explains why he prefers the term ‘exploitation’ to differentiating practices into those that are benign (‘animal use’) and those that are detrimental to animals (‘abuse’). This is because the terms are subjective and vary between individuals: one person’s use is another’s abuse. Exploitation, in this book, includes everything from the best to the worst impact on animals, from the most minimally interactive (such as observing conserved wildlife) to more significant interventions like eating the meat of animals or wearing their skins, and covers very common interactions that many people are unaware of (because they are hidden from sight) or choose to ignore, like the use of rodenticide poisons for pest control and the killing of one species of animal to facilitate the conservation of another.

Chapter 2 considers why all animals are not treated and regarded in the same way, and the differences in protection and care between closely related species. As it points out, there are odd and anomalous gaps in legislation and differences in the scope of coverage and level of detail between laws that relate to animals – strikingly, between laboratory and wild animals, for example. Some of these oddities are related to societal and cultural norms and our perceptions of the value of different species of animals.

Chapters 3 to 5 are about the main farmed species – grazing animals (cattle and sheep), pigs, poultry and a brief mention of turkeys, ducks and farmed fish. Each chapter describes how the animals are farmed and the impacts on their welfare of aspects including extreme selection for growth or milk/egg production, disease, mutilations like castration and tail-docking, transport and slaughter. Chapter 6 evaluates wildlife and wildlife management, Chapter 7 conservation, Chapter 8 the uses of animals in sport, Chapter 9 pets and Chapter 10 research. In each, the factual and legislative context is explained in a logical and easy-to-understand way.

Chapter 11 is described as ‘A Personal Ethical Framework’ although it doesn’t constitute a framework in the usual sense. In it, the author discusses ethics and morals (and elsewhere in the book he describes the ethical theory of utilitarianism, classifying his own position on animal use as utilitarian). It includes a table listing animal species and groups and his own decisions in relation to these, such as the types of meat he will/will not eat (that the reader may or may not find useful), as well as tips for putting into practice making changes to one’s diet.

Chapter 12, entitled ‘Making Sense of It All’, advocates, among other things, more consistency in our relationship with animals. In it are a number of suggestions, based on the contents of previous chapters, for ways in which our exploitation of animals could be changed. It calls for greater transparency and openness in the use of animals (citing examples of organisations that demonstrate good practice in these respects) and the increased involvement of citizens (including, but not limited to, consumers of animal products) in campaigning for change. It recommends wider involvement of laypersons in making decisions in all areas of animal exploitation. It also suggests – with some justification – that it would be very helpful to stop dividing animals into arbitrary categories, such as ‘farmed’, ‘companion’, and ‘research’ animals, instead concentrating on their experiences and needs. As an example, it makes no difference to a rat whether it is a pet, a lab animal or a ‘pest’, yet its experiences and the rules governing its treatment are currently completely different. While many of Simmons’ ideas and suggestions seem sensible and logical, and will resonate with his readers, others – such as buying more expensive animal products or rearing one’s own chickens – simply will not be available for many, including people living on low incomes or in gardenless apartments.

The book has some limitations. My uncorrected, advance reading copy had a few anomalies and errors, which I would expect to have been corrected in the published version. The glossary and list of abbreviations is helpful but not exhaustive, meaning that some looking-up of technical terms will be needed. It is also slightly out-of-date in its reference to certain legislation since, at around the same time that the book was completed in the spring of 2022, the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act 2022 formally recognised cephalopod molluscs and decapod crustaceans (as well as all vertebrate non-human animals) as sentient in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The book does refer to the ‘upcoming’ Animal Sentience Bill, both in relation to the omission of invertebrates from the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the fact that, as the UK has left the European Union, the Lisbon Treaty recognising animals as sentient no longer applies. In terms of geographical remit, the book is very much UK-centric in its references to practices and legislation (although some chapters make reference to other countries). Therefore, readers outside the UK may find it less relevant and interesting.

There is also an unexplained omission of one large category of animal-keeping. Curiously, even though most other uses of and interactions with animals are discussed quite fully, there is virtually no mention of the welfare of animals kept in zoos and wildlife parks, a widespread and controversial practice that (despite some education and conservation benefits) many find unacceptable. Why isn’t zoo animal welfare included? The many species of animals kept in zoos are the subject of large amounts of published research, so it’s not clear why they have been omitted.

Simmons’ stance on sentience is rather conservative. He supports the presumption that (most) mammals are sentient but is more reticent about other animal groups: “While there is consensus that most mammals are sentient, or at least they are given the benefit of the doubt, the extent to which the same view is applied to other groups… such as birds, fish, and reptiles remains the subject of vigorous debate.” Many would contend it is highly likely that sentience extends far beyond mammals to birds, fish and reptiles. Indeed, the new Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act formally recognises that cephalopod molluscs – such as octopus and squid – and decapod crustaceans, including lobster and crab, are sentient.

So, could 2023’s Treated Like Animals have a similarly far-reaching impact to that of 1964’s Animal Machines? Recently, I asked a group of postgraduate students whether a contemporary book could have such an influence. They suggested that – in an age of abundant media and social media channels – it was unlikely. However, the impact of Alick Simmons’ book remains to be seen; it will educate and inform its readers, and education (along with calls to action) has the potential effect change. Perhaps in sixty years we’ll look back on Treated Like Animals as helping to initiate a new era of openness, transparency and citizen engagement in all forms of the exploitation of animals.

Moira Harris
Shrewsbury, UK

Being Your Cat: What’s Really Going on in Your Feline’s Mind

By C Haddon and D Mills (2023). Published by Octopus Publishing Group, Carmelite House, London EC4Y 0DZ, UK. 256 pages Paperback (ISBN: 9781788404051). Price £14.99.

This book arrives at a time when cat texts – on their behaviour, what their body language looks like and even how to play with them – are blossoming. As research on cat behaviour, cognition, welfare and their relationship with people is advancing at speed, the cat-related publication boom comes as no surprise, and a book that translates such science into an easily digestible read, as Celia Haddon and Prof. Daniel Mills do, is always a welcome addition. The authorship combination of best-selling author of popular entertaining cat books (Haddon) and scholarly professor (in veterinary medicine; Mills) brings differing angles to the same topic, creating a combined writing style that is easy to read but underpinned with science. For example, you will find anecdotes of Celia’s life including living with pet mice as a child but also an introduction to the early philosophers’ views of emotionality in animals, including cats.

Perhaps the most compelling aspect of the book is the viewpoint from which it is written. Throughout the book “you” does indeed refer to the reader, but not the reader as their self but as if they were a cat. By putting the reader into the mind and body of a cat, the experience of understanding why a cat thinks and behaves the way it does is greatly enhanced.

The Introduction primes this situation by introducing the umwelt, and specifically, the cat’s umwelt – the world as experienced by the cat – its self world. This sets the scene for the following five chapters where you are taken through what it feels like to exist in a feline body, from kitten to adult and how your senses differ from that of humans.

Chapters 6 focuses on communication through sound, body language, and touch while Chapter 7 is dedicated entirely to scent communication. A full understanding of chemical communication, including both odours and pheromones, is one I find learners can sometimes struggle with, perhaps because it differs so much from our own human-centred communication.
However, keeping the reader in the cat’s umwelt and introducing some humorous analogies help, for example, considering ‘Nosebook’ for cats (a play on Facebook) and ‘peemail’ (a play on email) are clever and entertaining ways to help learners remember the functionality of chemicals they cannot naturally detect.

Chapters 8 and 9 focus on emotion and cognition – building upon the sensory processing to build up a picture of how the cat sees and feels about the world. In some parts, the science is presented in a manner where you are introduced to the researcher and some of their background (eg Jaak Panksepp) while in others, the science remains more anonymous, and I found myself looking through the endnotes at the back of the book to familiarise myself with
the relevant references. This created a bit of a to-ing and fro-ing and I think I would have preferred the references for each chapter to have been more easily accessible at the end of each chapter.

Chapter 10 takes a different turn and suddenly you have to think of yourself as a rescue cat and while the information within the chapter was captivating and important, I didn’t feel it flowed on naturally from Chapter 9.At this point the book starts to feel a little more informative with practical information (rather than theoretical). Statistics are provided, expert voices are quoted and references are more heavily peppered with reports, websites and personal communications. It feels that a natural section break could have been useful at this point in the book.

Chapter 11 follows suit with what it would be like to be a pet cat and I swithered in my mind which would have been best to come first – pet or rescue, particularly since the title of the book is Being Your Cat. The final chapter focuses on key components to a cat’s welfare – choice and control. This felt a nice introduction to what a cat needs to live a life worth living and references lead the reader to some practical tools to help put this in place.

The book concludes with a couple of Appendices, the first being a list of useful websites and the second a series of answers to “why do cats…” type questions. I think many will find these interesting since they arm the reader with the answers to questions most people ask when they find out you work with cats for a living!

Sarah Ellis
Head of Cat Mental Wellbeing and Behaviour, International Cat Care, UK

Moral Awareness and Animal Welfare 

D Lamb (2022). Published by Ethics International Press Ltd, Carlton House, Bradford BD1 4NS, UK. 376 pages. Hardback (ISBN: 978-1-80441-024-0). Price £79.99.

As philosophers working in both animal welfare science and animal ethics, we were happy for the chance to review this book. Despite the importance of animal welfare science for animal ethics, few philosophers and ethicists have made the effort to closely engage with this branch of science, and Lamb’s book provides an opportunity for people interested in bringing ethics and animal welfare science closer together. The book is accessibly written and though it is intended for a broad audience, it mostly targets animal welfare researchers who have less familiarity with the philosophical and animal ethics literature.

This is an expansive book covering an eclectic range of subject matter, and the author often detours from the core topics of his book. He freely admits to pursuing his lines of thought wherever they may lead, giving rise to frequent digressions and side topics; all relevant in some way or another to the broader subject at hand, but not arranged in a systematic manner. The discussion includes a lot of examples from different contexts, such as keeping animals in zoos, eating dogs, use of electric shock training aids, pedigree dog breeding, and the development and application of welfare legislation, showing that Lamb has thought a lot about these issues and their application.

The book is highly opinionated, and most readers will find much to both agree and disagree with. He covers a range of controversial topics, such as the role of anthropomorphism and anti-anthropomorphism in the animal sciences, the relevance of autonomy to moral consideration, the possession of concepts and use of language by animals, the role of animal aesthetics, the importance of caring relationships with animals, and the harms of killing animals. However, the primary focus is on two separate but related topics – the relevance of consciousness to moral status, and the scientific investigation of consciousness.

In his discussion on animal ethics, he surveys prominent ethical theories, arguing against the common idea that moral concern for animals should rest on the possession of empirically detectable properties such as sentience, rationality, or personhood. While we agree that use of such properties requires careful justification, this is not the same as a rejection of them entirely. For instance, he pushes back on the commonly held idea that sentience is an appropriate criterion for moral consideration, taking it to be ‘arbitrary’; though most who support this position would not agree with this characterisation, having principled reasons for adopting the stance. However, his point that too much focus on empirical capacities may undermine our direct relationships with animals is a sound one.

He is clearly and obviously anti-utilitarian, and this background influences his arguments throughout, in which opposing viewpoints are often presented uncharitably. The role of utilitarian thinkers such as Bentham and Singer who were hugely influential in expanding moral consideration to animals, is unfortunately downplayed. Some of the discussion of pleasures and pains are shallow, with little reference to the current science of affect. There is a strong emphasis on the role of moral intuition in determining the best ethical principles, with a commitment to ‘universal values’ and, in particular, he seems to be drawn to a ‘virtue ethics’ approach for exploring the different context-dependent features that should guide moral decision-making. However, it is unclear how strongly we should rely on our moral emotions – after all, they did not evolve to care impartially for other animals (or for that matter, even other humans) and they have been frequently used to justify many kinds of harms. At times, readers who do not share his background intuitions may struggle to keep up with the direction of the discussion and despite taking up a large part of the book, we suspect that the arguments will not convince many who (like ourselves) already fall broadly within the utilitarian tradition.

He is critical of the view he attributes to animal welfare studies – that the empirical study of animal welfare can replace ethical discussion – providing a characterisation of welfare scientists as attempting to pursue an objective or value-free investigation into animal suffering based on narrow cost-benefit calculations. However, we disagree somewhat with this characterisation of what welfare scientists are trying to do. Rather than attempting to make ethical claims about how welfare should matter morally, we see welfare science as taking it as a starting point that welfare does matter in some way or another, and then working to find how to improve it for a range of animals living in different conditions. The investigation of what is good or bad for animal welfare leaves open what is to be done with this information. Similarly for questions of commensurability of interests – identifying or measuring the suffering of different beings does not require any commitment to the different ethical weights that might be placed upon them.

We do not see that his claim that this scientific output needs to be situated within further philosophical and ethical discussion would be one that is controversial to many. While he is right to recognise that science is not and cannot be as ‘value free’ as is often claimed, this is not the same as requiring scientists to also be ethicists. The fact that scientists choose to focus on the assessment of suffering does not have to imply that they think this is all that matters morally – rather it may be all that is within their scope to investigate. Most animal welfare scientists care greatly about and want their research to benefit animals, but that doesn’t mean that animal welfare isn’t a natural phenomenon that can’t be studied independently of this. Regardless of what one thinks about this, the questions regarding the interplay between science and ethics are important issues for any welfare scientist to think through for themselves, and this book provides many thought-provoking ideas to guide reflection.

He is also highly (and, we think, overly) sceptical of the science of animal consciousness, referring to attempts to make inferences about animal mental states as “philosophical nonsense.” Instead, he seems to prefer a form of direct ‘recognition’ of the sentience of other creatures, overlooking the fact that what seems from a first-person point of view to be a form of direct perception is almost certainly the result of complex unconscious inference, based on a range of cues interpreted through learning and previous experience. Even very simple perception is likely to involve a lot of construction and prediction by the brain. While access to another’s feelings or emotions may feel immediate to most, this is not evidence that it is not the result of many unconscious inferences based on behavioural and bodily cues. Indeed, the reported difficulties by some neurodivergent people with making such interpretations suggests that there is an underlying process most are simply unconscious of. The use of reasonable inference and background theory to support the scientific study of animal consciousness is left unexplored. Instead, it is taken as given that we as humans are able to immediately and accurately identify other conscious beings.

However, though we disagree with his take on the study of animal consciousness in general we did agree with his discussion on the use of ‘critical anthropomorphism: “a method of critically using human experiences to recognise elements of an animal’s mental states” (p. 162), carefully using relevant similarities based in evolutionary theory to ground inferences in order to avoid both over-attributing human-like mental states to animals, but also being needlessly sceptical about the possession of some mental states by animals. He is correct to note that in some parts of animal welfare science, scepticism about our ability to objectively study animal minds hampers progress on understanding animal feelings and for this reason these are considerations that welfare scientists and ethicists should be paying attention to.

Despite some of the disagreements described above, we were impressed by the range of topics covered by this book. There is discussion of many issues in animal ethics that will provide a lot of food for thought for people working (or living) with animals. The ethical debates are presented in a simple and accessible manner and could in principle be read by anyone, so long as they keep in mind that the author is providing this survey with a distinct point of view and should thus be read with a critical eye. The book raises many thought-provoking questions, and we believe it would make for a worthwhile library addition for those interested in the ethical questions that lie alongside the scientific study of animal welfare.

Heather Browning1 and Walter Veit2
1Department of Philosophy, University of Southampton, UK
2Department of Philosophy, University of Bristol, UK

Nonhuman Primate Welfare: From History, Science, and Ethics to Practice

Edited by LM Robinson and A Weiss (2023). Published by Springer Nature, Gewerbestrasse 11, Cham 6330, Switzerland. 684 pages Hardback (ISBN: 978-3030827076). Price £139.99

This is a very comprehensive book about the welfare of non-human primates covering a broad range of topics and edited by Lauren M Robinson and Alexander Weiss.

The book is broken down into five sections:

• History of non-human primates in captivity and primate welfare in different settings;
• Assessing non-human primate welfare;
• Non-human primate housing and husbandry;
• Individual differences, application, and improvement of non-human primate welfare; and
• Biomedical research, ethics and legislations surrounding non-human primate welfare.
Within each section the editors have invited contributions from a range of backgrounds and views with the majority focused on laboratory or zoo primates. There are a few chapters on primates kept as pets and entertainers and primates housed in sanctuaries. The majority of the chapters are well-written and engaging with just the occasional chapter that seemed out of place in its section or the book.

As this is a comprehensive book, we each reviewed a separate section (as reviewers we have experience in laboratory primates, zoo primates, colony management and primate welfare). Within the first four sections we found chapters that stood out to us as reviewers as being particularly useful for primate welfare in a range of settings.

Part 1 covers the history of primates in captivity and an overview of primate welfare of primates in laboratory, zoo and pet/entertainment settings as well as an update on primate welfare in South America. The chapter on ‘Using Primates in Captivity: Research, Conservation, and Education’ (Mark J Prescott) stands out as being particularly useful. This covers a range of research settings including the use of primates in biomedical research, studies at zoos and fieldwork with wild primates and provides a good set of guidelines for the use of primates in research that will be useful to anyone planning studies involving primates.

Part 2 provides a range of tools for assessing primate welfare whilst making it clear there is no one tool that covers all aspects of welfare. These tools include assessing behaviour, cognitive bias tests, physiological measures and questionnaires. Of these, the chapter on assessing behaviour (Corrine K Lutz and Kate C Baker) provides an overview of the different types of behaviour to assess and suggests some potential interventions for abnormal behaviours. This chapter will be relevant for a wide range of settings and gives a good introduction for students of primate welfare.

Part 3 gives a comprehensive overview of the challenges of housing primates in captivity. It is good to see a chapter on breeding colony management (James C Ha and Adrienne F Sussman) since there are unique challenges associated with breeding primates in groups within biomedical research compared with pair housing/small groups in laboratories. The chapters covering housing and husbandry in biomedical research (Kristine Coleman et al.) and zoos (HL Farmer et al.) give a useful overview of the challenges of meeting the needs of primates in captivity.

Part 4 has chapters on personality, social relationships, enrichment and training and their application to primate welfare. The enrichment chapters will be useful for animal care staff. The chapter on sociality (Beisner et al.) reviews the importance of social relationships and gives an important overview of the costs and benefits of sociality which is important for anyone who is housing primates in social groups. There is also a useful chapter on the research benefits of improving welfare in captive primates (Steven J Schapiro and Jann Hau) which will help laboratory primate care staff argue for improvements to primate welfare in their institutions.

Part 5 feels like a miscellaneous collection compared to the other sections and includes the arguments for and against using primates in research, an example of a specific primate model, ethical frameworks and an overview of different regulations around the world.

Overall, we think this book will appeal to a wide range of people who work with and study primates although the cost of the book may be a barrier to some.

Giulia Ciminelli, David Massey, Kate Stupples and Claire Witham

The Cat: Behaviour and Welfare

O Braastad, A McBride and RC Newberry (2022). Published by CABI, Nosworthy Way, Wallingford OX10 8DE, UK. 209 pages Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-78-924231-7). Price £35.00.



I felt honoured during the last months of 2022 to be invited by UFAW to review the book, The Cat: Behaviour and Welfare from the well-respected scientists and authors Bjarne Braastad, Anne McBride and Ruth Newberry. The time (too long, unfortunately) it took to write the review was partly due to Brexit and the fact that books just do not travel as easily anymore from the UK to Europe. Another reason was that, despite the kind efforts of UFAW and CABI to supply me with a digital copy while awaiting arrival of the shipment, I paused my reading to receive the paper copy. Holding the book physically, I could leaf back and forth without swiping, clicking, Ctrl-F-ing or any other digital action, adding to my reading and reviewing enjoyment!

“Another book about cats, really?”, you may think. And you would be right, were it not for the fact that the book by Braastad and colleagues does more than simply offer up a comprehensive overview of what is already written in other books. True, this book does supply classic chapters such as the ones on the origin of cats, cat communication and problem behaviours in cats. However, it gives an update on those topics where possible, and also approaches cats from more contemporary angles, like cat personality (an aspect that is quickly gaining momentum in animal welfare science) and particularly the individual variation that must be considered alongside breed variation, the relationship between people and cats (including COVID and the lessons learned there), and how cats contribute to human health. I found that many chapters had nice surprises of content I was not expecting. The book in its entirety is a comprehensive combination of scientific knowledge, anecdotal information, and practical advice for cat owners, although the authors state that the book is also useful for others interested in the lives of cats and in caring for them (and I would agree).

Personally, as a scientist interested in cat behaviour and welfare and as a cat aficionado, I can only applaud more books that divulge knowledge about keeping and caring for cats, if they are as enjoyable to read and scientifically sound as this one. The content is, as the authors promised in their preface, apt for those who do not yet know much about cats, but also allows for deepening of knowledge for those who do. The text reads fluently, and the content is captivating. As a scientist, I did at first get a bit annoyed with the many personal anecdotes that are dispersed throughout the book, until I remembered that anecdotes are a cornerstone of how scientific research develops. As soon as that sunk in, I dove into every anecdote, thinking more about it and what it could mean. Also, the reader may wonder why there are several text-boxes devoted to national legislation and good practice guidelines (mostly from Norway and the occasional one from the UK). This no doubt reflects the nationality of certain authors and their familiarity with the information available in their country, but it did feel somewhat selective, since progressive legislation and good practices exist in other countries, too. Finally, I appreciated the supplemental audio and video content that is offered throughout the book via QR codes. Unfortunately, scanning those in my edition of the paper version, resulted in “404 – page not found” error messages, a problem I was able to circumvent by accessing the web page directly through a Google search: https://www.cabi.org/products-and-services/about-cabi-books/open-resources/the-cat-behaviour-and-welfare/. The digital edition of the book did not have these QR code issues.

The book contains 14 chapters and, appropriately, the first starts with the origin of the cat, dispersal of the cat, and a brief discussion on the genetic relatedness of cat breeds. The next chapter discusses cat reproduction and the development of kittens, both physically and behaviourally. It provides ample advice for breeders and new owners to ensure a kitten has the best chance at a good physical and mental (cognitive and emotional) development. It also highlights the importance of ID marking and vaccination. I particularly appreciate the part that discusses the fact that a new cat owner should have sufficient knowledge (of the correct kind) to care for a cat and that it is a breeder’s responsibility to ensure that this is the case.

Chapter 3 discusses the factors contributing to the individual characteristics of cats, such as genetic make-up, age, gender, and breed. Some interesting Norwegian master theses studies are discussed containing information that would otherwise be unavailable to a non-Norwegian-speaking audience. What I do tend to miss at times is a more careful interpretation of certain results or additional information regarding the studies, allowing the non-lay audience to better evaluate the impact of the results. But this will be of no importance to the main audience (cat owners) and the information provided is sufficiently clear and always useful.

Chapters 4, 5 and 6 discuss some aspects of cat behaviour, respectively, communication, social behaviour and one of the hallmarks of being a cat, i.e. predation. These chapters also provide a large knowledge base and a comprehensive overview. In the communication chapter, the presentation of acoustic communication caught my eye. Cat communication in general is not always easy to observe and interpret correctly. To interpret miaowing, the authors refer to the system described by Mildred Moelk who interprets calls according to where the emphasis on ‘miaow’ is placed. Audio fragments are supplemented to distinguish the different calls. It is a useful framework, although I can imagine that some readers will confuse ‘Miaaao’ with ‘Miaooww’ still with respect to their meaning, assuming that operant conditioning will shape the way an individual cat vocalises to its owner. In the chapter on social behaviour of cats, I appreciated the inclusion of advice for multi-cat households, as this often artificial situation (getting another cat is more often than not the choice of the owner, not of the resident cat) can lead to severe welfare problems for both resident and newcomer cats.

My favourite chapter was perhaps chapter 7 on the cat’s ability to navigate. Rarely is this topic discussed in much depth and getting an insight into the existing scientific research was a real treat for me. I assume the same will be true for many cat owners who often wonder about their freely roaming cat. It is seamlessly followed by advice on what to do when you lose your cat (spoiler alert: the preventive measure of ID tagging your cat is emphasised too), whether you should take your cat on holiday with you, and the best practices should you decide to do so. However, since we return to the latter topic in chapter 9, perhaps it would have been better to have moved and integrated the information into there, to avoid unnecessary confusion for the cat owner wishing to make an informed decision about holidays and their cats.

Chapter 8, explaining motivation, behavioural needs and emotions is an important precursor to chapter 9, about cat welfare. It is good to see that we have moved away from animal welfare as only involving the avoidance of negative emotional states in animals and have expanded the concept to also procure positive emotional states in animals. The fact that animal welfare is about the state of the animal as experienced by the animal, and not about what we as humans think is good for animals, cannot be emphasised enough. On a less theoretical note, this chapter also addresses the issue of homeless cats, environmental choices for cats, and another touch upon what to do when you go on holiday (with an extension on requirements for cat boarding and cat shelters).

Chapter 10 addresses learning and training in cats, which is important in its own right, but also has relevance as a background for chapter 11 on behavioural problems. For some cat owners, learning theory can create confusion (especially the difference between positive/negative reinforcement/punishment), but this chapter provides an accessible overview of the key points. Chapter 11 helps the owner distinguish who the behaviour is a problem for (which can sometimes indicate the urgency with which it should be addressed or, instead, the owner should be educated about natural cat behaviour). Both preventative and curative actions are discussed, with the most important advice given being that owners should not hesitate to contact a veterinarian and/or a qualified behaviourist when they wish to address unwanted behaviour in their cat. Unfortunately, professionalisation of the animal behaviour counselling field is still problematic in many countries and the quality of advice cannot always be relied upon. Therefore, it is still useful that the reader is provided with an overview of the most common behavioural problems, the emotions driving them, and a starting point of how to go about addressing them. Such information will also be helpful when speaking to a professional.

Chapters 12 and 13, titled ‘People and Cats’ and ‘The Cat’s Contribution to Human Health’, respectively, deal with the human-cat bond and the benefits thereof. The first chapter focuses on the complexity of the relationship, how cat-keeping is changing over time and place, and which factors play a role (not least the aspect of financial means). Attention is also being paid to the lessons learned from the COVID pandemic. Given the concepts of One welfare and One Health, both chapters represent a welcome addition to a contemporary book about cat-keeping and caring.

Chapter 14 is a concluding chapter that provides an informative summary about raising and keeping cats that function well in a society of people. And here I would like to conclude as well, by applauding the authors for having written a book that is not only meant to inform cat owners about cat behaviour and welfare but also seeks to help them take good care of their cat. As someone who sees “where things go wrong with cats” or at least “where we could do better” on almost a daily basis, I appreciate that the text also continuously emphasises the responsibility owners have towards the cat they have acquired. In my opinion, this book is an important contribution to a much-needed shift in the attitude of people towards cats specifically and animals in general, from a culture of ownership and anthropocentrism to a culture of care. I hope it can get translated into a few different languages in future…

Christel Palmyre Henri Moons

Making a Stand for Animals 

O Horta (2022). Published by Routledge, 3 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN, UK. 192 pages Paperback, hardback, ebook (ISBN: 9781032259758). Price £17.99 (paperback), £104.00 (hardback), £14.39 (ebook).

Making a Stand for Animals is Oscar Horta’s own English translation of his 2017 book Un Paso Adelante en Defensa de los Animales. In the book Horta describes himself as “an animal activist and moral philosopher”, and clearly both roles have played a part in the writing of the book. Horta the activist aims to encourage, and indeed provoke, the reader – who is addressed throughout in the second person as “you” – to take up the concerns he describes, helping to bring about a radical change in the way non-human sentient animals (which I shall refer to simply as “animals”) are treated by us. Horta the moral philosopher, on the other hand, presents philosophical arguments supported by more than 40 thought experiments to try to underpin the need for change.

A strong feature about the book, and something that distinguishes it from most others in the field, is that it is accessible to readers without expertise in philosophy. The main text is free of technical jargon. References appear in extensive sets of endnotes, placed at the end of each chapter, which can be skipped by readers who just want to proceed with the argument.

In his introduction Horta sets out his two main aims. These are, first, to present the powerful reasons why we must challenge widespread human lack of concern about animals, and second, to bring about large-scale behavioural change in the ways in which animals are treated. According to Horta the latter is by far the most difficult of the two tasks, and therefore more than half of the book is dedicated to it.

Seven substantive chapters follow. In the first, Horta presents what he sees as the idea underlying all forms of bad treatment of animals. This idea he describes as “speciesism”, a term coined by the activist Richard Ryder in 1970 and subsequently popularised by the philosopher Peter Singer. He defines speciesism as “discrimination against those who don’t belong to a certain species.” Most simply, this takes the form of discrimination by humans against animals as such, but as commonly it involves discriminatory human practices privileging animals of certain species over others – e.g. favouring dogs as against pigs or rats.

The main argument Horta presents against speciesism is known as “the argument from marginal cases.” In short, since it is always wrong to discriminate against other humans, whoever they are, to defend our differential treatment of animals we need to come up with a relevant difference between humans and animals. However, all of the plausible candidates here, such as rationality, language use etc, are such that there are humans (the marginal cases) that do not possess them. Therefore, our differential treatment of animals cannot be defended.

In Chapter 2, Horta focuses on the central, morally relevant property shared by humans and animals: both groups are sentient, which means that they can feel, and thus suffer. The main task for Horta is to prevent suffering. Strangely enough, he doesn’t really discuss the other side of the coin, which is to promote positive experiences. This means he doesn’t tackle the dilemmas that arise when efforts to enable positive experiences risk causing suffering (e.g. when cats are allowed to roam while also causing suffering to other animals or risking accidents themselves).

Horta also believes that the human killing of animals is wrong. He argues that killing denies animals future positive experiences, and that since humans typically care about this, when it comes to humans, they should also care about it when it comes to animals. Finally, Horta tries to delineate the group of animals which are sentient. This, he argues, includes all vertebrates and many invertebrates. Although it is difficult to draw a precise boundary based on the level of development of the nervous system and the complexity of behaviour shown by an animal, Horta recommends a precautionary approach on to which, for example, most insects will fall into the sentient category.

Chapter 3 presents an overview of the ways in which animals are exploited by humans. The focus here is on the activities “most people take part in.” Two main groups of activities are discussed: animals used for entertainment and animals used in the production of food and clothing. The latter involves by far the largest number of animals. Oddly, in this chapter Horta does not discuss animals kept as companions, even though these probably vastly outnumber the animals used for entertainment. The conditions facing animals on farms, and during transport and slaughter, are painted in very dark colours indeed. The word “terrible” is used frequently. Many people familiar with the conditions in which farm animals are kept will agree with Horta that there is a lot to criticise here, but I fear that the very one-sided and exaggerated picture he presents will backfire. For example, it is stated that calves are raised in veal crates without mentioning that this form of production has been banned in the EU since 2007. Examples of pigs and cattle that die horrible deaths at slaughterhouses due to inefficient stunning are presented as if they are common, which I am sure they are not – at least, in the EU, where animal slaughter is inspected by government-appointed inspectors. The chapter also contains simple falsehoods, probably based on hearsay (e.g. on p. 57 it is stated that “castration makes animals grow faster”). I think Horta could have made a much more trustworthy and efficient case regarding the problems facing farm animals without using hyperbole and by carefully consulting the relevant veterinary and animal science literature.

In Chapter 4, Horta begins his discussion of what should be done about the problems described in the previous chapter. His key proposal is that we should adopt a vegan lifestyle, understood in a very broad sense. Veganism, according to Horta, “is not simply a way of eating” where all animal products are avoided. It involves, more generally, not “participating in practices that make animals suffer or die.” Examples of activities avoided by the vegan, as Horta understands that outlook, include attending circuses (with animals) or going hunting or fishing. However, Horta does not discuss other potential avoidances that may be more burdensome. What about the control of rats and other so-called “pest animals” which pose a genuine risk to human health and livelihood? I personally think that we may kill rats that invade our houses, but should do so in the most humane way possible, and that we should do what is possible to prevent them from getting in. However, asking us not to kill them when they have got into the house seems to be an extreme requirement. On this issue Horta is largely silent. (Admittedly, the issue of killing animals in self-defence is briefly mentioned in a subsequent chapter). Nor does he ask whether the vegan lifestyle would require us not to have companion dogs and cats. Here, cats are an extremely interesting example, since they are strict carnivores and need to be fed animal products to avoid health problems.

In Chapter 5, Horta delves further into the question of how we are to live in a way that avoids speciesism. Two interesting discussions from this chapter are worth mentioning here. The first asks whether it is acceptable to eat animals raised in good conditions and subsequently killed in a painless manner. Here, Horta argues at great length that such a form of production is unrealistic, but he also says that it would in any case be unacceptable. His argument is that we would never accept a use of fellow humans that involved their being killed – e.g. for the harvesting of their organs – however well the individuals were treated prior to their being killed. This leads on to the second interesting discussion, which asks whether it is acceptable to kill animals if they live good lives and wouldn’t have existed but for our use of them – something that may be true of some luxury beef cattle that are raised and killed painlessly on the pasture where they live. Famously, practices meeting these two conditions (good lives and painless killing) were accepted by Peter Singer, whom Horta otherwise seems largely to follow. However, Horta rejects them, citing the argument just mentioned – that most people would not accept such a practice involving human beings. Here, an obvious rejoinder is that there may be a relevant difference between humans and typical farm animal species, e.g. in their ability to make long-term plans and fear for the future, in light of which the different treatment of animals need not be deemed to be an expression of speciesism. It would have been interesting to see Horta, the philosopher, discuss this, but clearly Horta, the activist, with a clear vegan agenda, had the upper hand.

In Chapter 6, Horta addresses some issues not yet raised in previous chapters. First, he looks, very briefly, at the idea that our ownership of dogs as companion animals is not bad for the affected animals. The idea is dismissed in the following way: “… the overall situation of dogs really is terrible. Some enjoy happy lives, but they are minority. Many of them are abandoned and die, suffering a lot in the process, often not long after birth. Others are raised in puppy mills which are similar to factory farms. Others are kept in appalling conditions, tied all their life to a short rope, enjoying no company, locked down in tiny places, sometimes suffering from hunger or being beaten up every now and then” (p. 138). Interestingly, there are no references to back up these claims which, in the view of the present reviewer, who works a lot with epidemiological and questionnaire data on companion dogs in the Global North, are clearly hyperbolical. Companion dogs have many welfare problems, and many of these are serious, but to claim that only a minority live good lives is clearly an extreme exaggeration. Moreover, it would have been of great interest to see Horta, the philosopher, engaging in discussion along the following lines: it is known that a significant number of children suffer severe welfare problems, but should we for that reason recommend that humans stop having them so that humans die out thereby stopping the childhood suffering once and for all? If the answer to that question is negative, Horta’s rejection of the practice of having companion dogs is bound to seem problematic.

Another issue raised in Chapter 6 is wild animal suffering. Here, in his previous research Horta has made an important contribution: while most of those concerned about wild animal welfare focus on so-called anthropogenic effects – that is, harm caused by human activities – Horta argues that there is reason to intervene to prevent, or at any rate alleviate, the suffering of wild animals irrespective of whether it was brought about by us. His argument is that since most people think there is an obligation for people in the rich countries to fight diseases and other serious problems facing people in poor countries irrespective of whether these problems are caused by the rich countries, parallel reasoning should lead us to conclude that we have a similar obligation when it comes to wild animals. According to Horta, for example, mass vaccination of wild animals for the sake of their welfare, similar to the vaccination of foxes against rabies to protect human health and welfare already taking place, is desirable. It should be undertaken on behalf of, and for, wild animals. Denial of this would be an expression of speciesism. Following this Horta launches a head-on attack on mainstream conservation biology. For example, he sees the killing of invasive species such as ruddy ducks in Europe and feral horses in North America as indefensible. The argument is that “something is being done to animals that would never be done to humans, a clear instance of speciesism in action” (p. 147).

Towards its end, in Chapter 6 and the concluding Chapter 7, the book takes on a lofty and moralistic tone replete with them-and-us rhetoric of the kind exhibited in the following appeals: “Many people feel pushed to accept speciesist views simply because other people do too. But we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be pulled along by what the majority happens to think, as this bias leads us to do. Rather, we should think for ourselves and make our own decisions” (p. 156). “… we have the opportunity to put ourselves on the right side of history. We can do this by abandoning the attitudes resulting from the prejudices and moral myopia of our time” (p. 167). “It’s in our hands to leave as our legacy a better world for sentient beings, both for those who live now and for those who will exist in the future. There’s a lot we can do for them. We can start today.” This could turn off some readers, and it certainly turned me off. However, more importantly, it may serve to discourage some important discussions about how to make progress when it comes to our moral obligations to animals.

I imagine that many of Animal Welfare’s readers are animal welfare scientists. They would naturally share quite a few of Horta’s concerns about preventing the animal suffering caused directly or indirectly by human practices. However, their perspective will typically differ from Horta’s in at least two respects. First, they will expect careful documentation of the actual welfare consequences for the animals are of the various ways in which they are bred, kept and handled. Here, there is of course a risk of myopia – failure to see the big picture of human exploitation of animals. But, as indicated above, Horta’s cavalier approach suffers from the opposite problem of grandstanding and hyperbole. Second, animal welfare scientists will very probably prioritise efforts to make a difference for the vast number animals that will be around for the foreseeable future, despite Horta’s appeals for radical change.

In my view, this book would have been a much better one if Horta had risked discussing the possible, but small, steps we could take to move away from speciesism. In the world there are already strong organisations, like PETA, which share Horta’s vegan vision but still engage in efforts to reform practices in animal production in a more humane direction. Strong philosophical voices, like that of Peter Singer, also endorse piecemeal approaches to some of the challenges of our time while still upholding a radical vision not that different from Horta’s. It would have been great to see a balanced discussion of these more pragmatic approaches. Again, Horta might have dared to discuss more openly the difficult issues raised by the practice of killing animals with the aim of improving overall welfare. The likely outcome of this would, of course, have been that Horta the philosopher would not have been able to deliver the simple messages preferred by Horta the animal activist, but still the result would have been a better book, in my view (full disclosure: I am more of a philosopher than an activist).

Can I recommend Horta’s book to my colleagues working in animal welfare science? I think that for many of them reading it would be a culture shock, and that it may well confirm many of their prejudices about both philosophers and animal activists. However, if they can see through this, they should be able enjoy and learn from grappling with the many simple, yet challenging arguments, mostly based on thought experiments, that Horta presents in the book. So, my advice would be to take a deep breath; be ready to live with the absence, or at best the selective use, of scientific evidence; and mobilise a playful and open mind; and then you are likely to have a good time with this book, and to learn from it.

Peter Sandøe
University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Zoo Studies: Living Collections, Their Animals and Visitors

PA Rees (2023). Published by Cambridge University Press, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 8EA, UK. 476 pages Paperback (ISBN: 978-1108566049). Price £39.99.



Zoo Studies: Living Collections, Their Animals and Visitors is proclaimed by the author to be an attempt to discuss the breadth of research carried out on zoo animals themselves and the zoological industry more generally, drawing the reader to a host of different topics that are highly relevant within the zoo world. It is written by Dr Paul Rees, who is a zoo scientist previously from the University of Salford. Rees is extensively published in this field and the book refers to much of his previous work with elephants.

As is its aim, the book is multifaceted, covering a range of appropriate topics. Whilst the book cannot possibly cover all of these areas in detail, it gives a good overall introduction to the topics which would be of relevance to those interested in zoos and/or the study of zoo animals. This is no mean feat given the breadth and depth of knowledge now available in this growing sector. Chapters cover a suite of subject matter, including organisation and management of zoos; the animals themselves – caring for animals at an individual level, considering their welfare, enrichment and training of animals; animal management at a broader level including in situ and ex situ population management and animal health and nutrition; humans in zoos – including who attends zoos and why they attend zoos, visitor behaviour in zoos and their impacts on animals; and finally wider consideration of zoos including ethics, the contribution of zoos to zoology and the future of zoos. Although all of the topics are relevant, the order of delivery jumps about and seemingly doesn’t follow a particularly logical order. Some topics, such as research, and human-animal interactions, crop up in multiple places. The contents page is very detailed though so I would recommend readers utilise that to identify topics of interest and use this as a reference book rather than attempting to read cover-to-cover.

As the author states, the research included ranges from historic to present day, however it would be an almost impossible task to be exhaustive, and so the chapters provide a good starting point for further investigation. That being said, there are some areas where more information would have provided a more thorough review of the topic, and perhaps be more representative of the wealth of work undertaken by modern zoos (either directly or through collaboration with other individuals or establishments). In these areas I would suggest the reader undertakes wider reading of the topic. Some areas of note include the first chapter, ‘zoos and research’ and chapter 3, ‘zoos and education.’ One of the concluding sentences in the first chapter suggests that most zoo research focuses on animals, which I would suggest is an oversimplification of the vast range of research undertaken by and within zoological collections worldwide in the present day. The section on ‘accessibility in zoos’ ideally needed to cover the range of work zoos do for all persons. Accessibility within zoos is a growing topic, and I would urge readers to familiarise themselves with the wealth of work currently being carried out by zoos to support this. The chapter on ethics in zoos would have benefited from the inclusion of information from (or at least reference to) Jenny Gray’s book entitled Zoo Ethics: The Challenges of Compassionate Conservation and the chapter on animal training could have been readily supplemented by Zoo Animal Learning and Training, edited by Vicky Melfi, Nicole Dorey and Samantha J Ward. There is brief mention of the Five Domains, but no reference to the most recent iteration of the Five Domains model published by Mellor and colleagues in 2020 (available at: https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/10/10/1870). As this is so integral to the work of zoos, it is a shame it was not included. Finally, it is prudent to note that whilst the four missions of modern zoos, namely conservation, education, research and recreation were covered within the chapters these were not explicitly labelled as modern zoo missions. Whilst these may change in the future, it is likely they will be added to rather than replaced.

In conclusion, I would recommend this book to those interested in zoos/the work of zoos/animals in zoos, but predominantly as a book that introduces relevant topics/areas for consideration and offers direction for areas to further investigate, rather than as a sole provider of information on the complexities of modern zoos. Whilst literature is cited throughout, there is a growing body of research which can complement this work. Chapter one is a very useful place to support wider exploration of the literature, as Rees concisely summarises the range of different places zoo research is widely published, including naming currently popular zoo journals, and also a number of other journals which frequently publish zoo-themed research.

Ellen Williams
Harpers Adams University, UK

Routledge Handbook of Animal Welfare, First Edition

Edited by A Knight, C Phillip and P Sparks (2022). Published by Routledge, Milton Park, Abingdon OX14 4SB, UK. 534 pages Hardback (ISBN: 9781032022062). Price: £210.00.


The Routledge Handbook of Animal Welfare is an ambitious book project. On the one hand it covers a broader range of issues, species and situations than any previous animal welfare textbook. On the other, it goes further in challenging status quo than is common in books of this type. The book has seven sections with a total of 36 chapters, written by an international team
of authors representing a large set of disciplines. Unavoidably, a review of a book of this dimension will only scratch the surface, and it is impossible to do justice to individual chapters, but I will nevertheless attempt to give an overview of the content.

The book starts with the section, ‘Part I: Animal welfare fundamentals’, consisting of three chapters. The first, ‘The moral status of animals: biological foundations’ is arguably more about the moral status of animals than its biological foundation, whereas the second chapter ‘Animal welfare concepts’ gives an overview of the different approaches to animal welfare. The third
chapter ‘Animal welfare assessment’ gives an introduction to the concept of animal welfare as well as how to measure it.

‘Part II, Animal farming, transportation, and killing’ is the largest section, with nine chapters. It starts with a chapter that reflects critically on contemporary animal farming, its problems and the need for change. This is followed by chapters on specific types of animal farming (poultry, pigs, cattle, sheep and goats, non- and semi-domesticated terrestrial species, fish) and two final chapters on ‘Transportation’ and ‘Slaughter, euthanasia, and depopulation.’

‘Part III, Animal use for other purposes’, covers different cases of where animals are directly used to serve human interests other than in the context of farming, starting with ‘Scientific and educational animal use’. ‘Animals in entertainment’ is about animal use in tourism, circuses, sport (including combat, hunting, fishing, horse and dog racing, rodeo) and
film/television. There is some overlap with ‘Hunting, fishing, and whaling’, a chapter which while generally comprehensive gives disproportionate attention to whaling. The biggest part of fishing has its own chapter, ‘Commercial fisheries.’ There is also a chapter on ‘Zoos and aquaria.’

The title of Part IV, ‘Species-specific concerns’, is somewhat misleading as it is no more species-specific than the section on farming, and a more appropriate title would be something like ‘Animals kept as companions and for interaction.’ The chapters on ‘Canines and felines’, ‘Equines’, ‘Non-domesticated terrestrial species’ and ‘Companion fish’ are about animals kept as family members or at least by private individuals, whereas ‘Marine mammals’ covers animal
keeping in marine theme parks.

‘Part V, Recent and emerging issues’, includes three chapters. ‘Climate change, human-wildlife conflict, and biodiversity loss’ covers the impact (direct and indirect) of human activities on wild animals. ‘Animal welfare and human health’ introduces the concept of One Health in a comprehensive way. ‘Animal disaster management’ is about how to take animals into account when managing primarily environmental disasters.

‘Part VI Animal ethics and law’, includes two general chapters on ‘Animal ethics’ and ‘Developments in animal law’, followed by specific chapters on key animal law in different parts of the world. By including Australia, Europe, India, China, South Africa and United States, this set of chapters presents some geographic diversity but is far from comprehensive and leaves out all of
one (Latin America) and most of another (Africa) continent.

‘Part VII Social change for animals’, closes the book by addressing not the situation of animals but the potential for humans in different roles to change how animals are treated. There are three chapters, on ‘Stakeholder groups and perspectives’, ‘Animal advocacy and human behaviour’, and ‘Animal welfare education and communication.’

The book goes a long way towards achieving its ambitious objective of broad coverage and challenging status quo. The quality of the individual chapters is somewhat variable, but the vast majority are balanced and comprehensive and will undoubtedly be very useful for readers looking for more information or deeper understanding of animal welfare in different contexts. A few
chapters are written from a perspective that is explicitly personal (“I think”, “In my opinion”) present an unjustified bias which excludes consideration of different perspectives (“[a given practice] should be banned”), in a way
that is problematic for an academic handbook. There should certainly be room for bold statements in a book which aims to push the boundaries of how we think about animal welfare, but not at the expense of recognising alternative standpoints. Also, an academic handbook is expected to be based on systematically collected evidence, so a chapter where one-third of the reference list are publications from a political lobbying group is definitely problematic.

Taking the usefulness of the handbook to its readership into account, I think more illustrations would have been helpful, in particular to give a more comprehensive picture of the situations in which animals are faring more or less well. There is also room for much more cross-referencing between chapters. These as well as the less-balanced chapters are issues that I encourage the editors to address in future editions of the handbook.

The Routledge Handbook of Animal Welfare fills a gap in the existing animal welfare literature, and with a few exceptions does it well. At over £200 the hardback edition is really only accessible to a minority of its potential readership, but individual chapters are open access online.

Anna S Olsson
Laboratory Animal Science, i3S, University of Porto, Portugal

Anesthesia and Analgesia in Laboratory Animals, Third Edition

Edited by M Dyson, P Jirkof, J Lofgren, E Nunamaker and D Pang (2023). Published by Elsevier, 230 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10169, USA. 788 pages Hardback (ISBN: 9780128222157). Price $US178.50, $US210.00 (with eBook).


This is the third edition of this comprehensive review of anaesthesia and analgesia sponsored by the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine and is intended for all those involved in biomedical research, particularly veterinarians, those conducting the research and animal welfare committees.

The editors are to be congratulated for bringing together over 70 globally eminent individuals to produce the 30 chapters of this informative manual, giving a wide perspective on animals, agents and anaesthetic use within research.

New in this edition is consideration of some ethical aspects of anaesthetic use, which set the context, whilst acknowledging that it starts from the premise that use of animals in research and teaching is permissible. Legislative approach and regulatory frameworks in different parts of the world are compared constructively, together with suggestions for developing a local (institutional) policy framework, which will be of particular help and interest for ethical and scientific review committees.

The next section provides an excellent overview of sedation, anaesthesia and analgesia, including pharmacology of both injectable and inhaled agents and detail of their action on receptors. A huge variety of drugs is listed, including some of historical interest or non-pharmaceutical quality, with comprehensive information for the reader on effects, adverse effects and routes of administration. The authors explain the importance of using sedatives as part of a balanced anaesthesia protocol and provide information to assist the rational choice of agent.

Interestingly, subcutaneous injection is not included as a route of administration of injectable anaesthetics, although successfully used in both clinical and research settings. This chapter would also be a good opportunity to remind the reader about the importance of providing oxygen to prevent hypoxia during anaesthesia using injectable agents. Examples of drug pharmacokinetics, metabolism and excretion are given, however it’s not always clear to which species they refer, and practical doses are not always provided which can be a little confusing for the reader who is trying to select the most appropriate agent, route and dose. However, doses are provided later in the book, so this may simply be a result of preventing repetition.

The chapter on inhaled anaesthetics includes an extensive section on operator safety, which is very much oriented to USA regulations, although the principles of safe anaesthetic use apply more widely. This thorough chapter includes examples of anaesthetic workstations and multi-animal anaesthetic delivery systems. The need for regular testing and servicing for anaesthetic equipment is highlighted.

Neuromuscular blocking agents (NMBA) are considered, together with caveats, including robust scientific justification for their use. The anaesthetic regime must be reliable, with adequate physiological monitoring, ventilation and monitoring of blockade. The authors note the potential use of ultra-short-acting and/or reversible drugs which will increase the versatility and safety of NMBA use.

Section three sets out practical information on delivery and monitoring for anaesthesia, including a clear explanation and illustrations of circuits and delivery systems available. Open and closed systems are explained, including use of face masks, endotracheal tubes and supraglottic devices at the patient end. There is also a useful section on the different types and uses of mechanical ventilators. A notable omission, though, is discussion about low-flow inhalation systems for small rodents, which have advantages including the reduction of waste gas and less chilling of the patient.

Anaesthesia disrupts the animal’s homeostasis, and this may be exacerbated by the long procedures applied in research, or when anaesthetising animals with pre-existing pathology. Chapter 10 emphasises that the first principle of monitoring anaesthesia is to assure the welfare of the animal and secondly to interpret correctly the physiological changes that may occur, before intervening appropriately. Core components of monitoring are set out; from basic physical observations to use of physiological monitoring machines. The authors consider too the challenges and considerations for effective monitoring in small laboratory animals.

Continuing the consideration of care of research animals, the chapter on peri-procedural care starts with emphasis on the importance of proper oversight, good planning, consultation with veterinary experts and consideration of the needs of the species involved. Helpful guidance, such as PREPARE Guidelines are cited as a useful checklist, as well as a sample ‘animal surgery’ checklist for daily use. The chapter is written from a helpful and practical standpoint, including consideration of the importance of meeting suitable housing and psychological needs of small rodents, larger species and agricultural animals. This chapter is nicely illustrated, with examples of monitoring, personnel training, specific patient care, nutritional support and humane endpoints, should the procedure or recovery not go as planned.

The legal and societal reasons for pain prevention in these sentient animals are discussed in chapter 12, together with the challenges of effective pain assessment in the laboratory, especially as regards the prey species that make up the majority of animals used. Effective assessment of pain is crucial to pain management and this chapter sets out logical and clear indications for timing, methods and documentation of assessment. Validated pain measures, as well as the challenges of pain assessment, are set out and with a suggested solution that home-cage automated assessment tools, such as activity and/or video monitoring, are useful tools both to reduce the subjectivity of observers and to address the need to monitor these nocturnal animals during their active phase.

Section 5 contains 13 separate chapters and includes a wide range of species and classes of animal, ranging from mammals, avians and amphibia to marsupials, fish and invertebrates. The commonly used lab animal species are covered in detail, including consideration of species-specific anatomy in relation to anaesthesia and practical considerations for anaesthesia and analgesia.

An extensive chapter on laboratory rodents fits with their place as the most commonly used animals in research. The authors are to be commended on their pragmatic approach to setting out current best practice in rodent anaesthesia with discussion of methods that are reliable, safe and relatively straightforward for the non-expert anaesthetist to perform. The need for careful planning at the pre-procedural stage is emphasised, including deciding on the required degree and nature of anaesthesia, patient evaluation, and for provision of analgesia. A number of anaesthetic agents are discussed, together with helpful tables of dose rates, route and references. The chapter includes anaesthesia for specific situations and managing common anaesthetic emergencies, as well as a thorough section on post-operative care and rational use of analgesics. Again, a helpful table of agents, doses and references is included. The section on approaches to analgesia mentions several methods of pain assessment and suggests that a combination of methods is most likely to produce accurate results. Given the utility and uptake of facial grimace scales in a variety of species, it seems odd that this is not signposted here, as it may be a challenge for the less experienced reader to select appropriate method(s) and interpret signs of pain. Rodents other than rats and mice are considered separately and the relevant species differences are made clear.

The chapter on rabbits has been updated from the previous edition and provides an excellent overview of anaesthesia and analgesia in the species. The authors also direct the reader to other journals for up-to-date information as practices change. Available anaesthetic and analgesic agents are listed, together with suggested delivery systems, including endotracheal tubes and supra-glottic devices. Annotated line drawings and photos add clarity to the text. Options for anaesthetic monitoring and patient support are discussed and illustrated, together with information about optimising patient care.

Fish encompass a huge variety of species, although there are fewer that are routinely used in the research setting. Again, pre-procedural planning is emphasised encompassing human as well as fish safety. Physical restraint as well as anaesthesia is discussed, including the use of neuromuscular blockers or cooling to immobilise fish, as well as electro-fishing outside the laboratory, where the reader is referred to their local ethical review committee before proceeding. Anaesthetic and analgesic agents are considered, with examples for different species. The challenges of post-operative care, including avoiding stress, assessment of pain and control of any adverse effects. A table of welfare assessment parameters is included to guide the reader.

The chapter on pigs is particularly thoughtful, written from both a practical and welfare-oriented standpoint, pointing out the need to understand the pig’s natural behaviour and to work with the animal through training in order to reduce stress. Precise and practical instruction on basic physiology involved in anaesthesia is provided which seeks to improve stability during the procedure, as well as manage the procedure for better patient (and scientific) outcomes. The authors emphasise the need for researchers to take expert advice prior to undertaking anaesthesia, particularly if neuro-muscular blockade is being considered. This chapter also includes some excellent photographic illustrations of the points in the text.

Anaesthesia and analgesia of non-human primates (NHPs) is covered comprehensively, although very much from a US standpoint, with availability of drugs in this country, such as dexmedetomidine, rather than the racemic mixture used elsewhere in the world. The chapter includes helpful tables of doses for anaesthetics and analgesics, although in some cases the routes of administration for the analgesics are regrettably omitted. Some more information on monitoring and maintenance of homeostasis during anaesthesia would perhaps be helpful, particularly as the larger NHPs are often used in long-lasting anaesthetic and surgical procedures. There is a well-illustrated section on placement of nerve blocks in the head, as well as sections on paediatric and geriatric anaesthesia in NHPs.

Various breeds of dog and cat are considered in chapter 19, whereas most research texts would consider only the beagle dog. There is particular emphasis on good preparation of equipment, drugs and personnel before anaesthesia, including a pre-anaesthetic checklist. This should be applied to all anaesthesia situations and is worth repeating and emphasising elsewhere too (e.g. in the principles of anaesthesia section).

It’s great to see a separate chapter on ferret anaesthesia and analgesia, as specific information can be challenging to find in other laboratory texts – the species’ differences and tips for care are pertinent and practical.

The chapter on ruminant anaesthesia includes a helpful discussion on fasting prior to anaesthesia, as there are different opinions and practices in place; the effects of fasting are explained, helping the reader to make a more informed decision. It is emphasised that ruminants are prey animals and thereby need to be handled accordingly during pre- and post-operative care, for example not undergoing isolation from herd-mates and having their analgesic needs properly met. Important safety considerations, such as ensuring that ruminants are intubated and never anaesthetised in dorsal recumbency are highlighted.

A welcome addition to this book is a chapter collecting together information on anaesthesia concerning a variety other mammals that may be used in research, including chinchillas, naked mole rats, bats and armadillos. This really does make the ACLAM manual a ‘one-stop-shop’ for everything anaesthesia.

Species-specific anatomy and physiology are reprised in the avian chapter, including explanation of the role of the air sacs in breathing and advice on positioning of the bird during anaesthesia. Large and small species are considered, including sedation for more challenging species, such as ratites.

There’s a huge diversity of over 10,000 species of reptiles, representing a formidable challenge for a single chapter! Important issues, such as the circulatory shunts in many species are emphasised, which must be taken into account if injectable anaesthetic and analgesic agents are used. The chapter includes tables of dose rates and routes for sedative, anaesthetic and analgesic agents for various species, as well as advice on post-operative care and pain assessment.

Amphibia are another large class of species but both terrestrial and aquatic species are well considered in chapter 25. Specific anatomical features, such as their delicate skin, are emphasised, along with consideration of the available anaesthetic agents and recommendations for specialised procedures.

The final species chapter considers invertebrates – again a huge range, including insects, arachnids, molluscs and decapods. The differing legal protection of cephalopods and decapods, which are important research subjects, in the USA and, for example, EU is highlighted; the authors recommend that, whatever the regulatory situation, a humane approach to use and consideration of stress responses should always be applied.

The final section considers a variety of special topics for anaesthetic and analgesic use, tackling poorly understood issues such as chronic (maladaptive) pain. The sequelae of long-standing pain are set out, together with our current poor ability to detect and evaluate maladaptive pain in most non-human species and some treatments are listed.

Anaesthesia for pregnant animals, foetuses and neonates is examined in chapter 28, with recommendations for supportive care of neonatal animals, post anaesthesia (and surgery). Interestingly, hypothermia is still included as a permitted method of ‘restraint’ of neonatal animals, although the data regarding the adverse effects of this procedure are also presented.

The imaging of animals during experiments is a commonly used procedure; the chapter in this book provides an excellent summary of the modalities in use. The authors explain clearly how the quality and stability of the animal’s physiological state (particularly common anaesthetic problems such as hypoxia and hypothermia) impact significantly on the quality of the data gained and the reproducibility of the study. The authors stress the need for researchers to seek expert advice regarding the choice and application of the anaesthesia and understand the effects that different agents will have on the animal, and therefore the data.

The final chapter of the book reviews the use of animals in pain research, with discussion of the available Non-Animal Methods (NAMs) that may provide a more robust and mechanistic approach to some scientific questions, as well as the current animal models of pain that are in use. The authors suggest that use of technology will assist researchers in better understanding the animals’ response to pain (and pain models); much of the pain research is carried out in nocturnal small rodents, so use of automated monitoring systems, camera recording and computational analysis will produce a much more robust and reliable dataset than periodic elicited observations.

Overall, this is an excellent, well-written and comprehensive book of 760 pages, with a great deal of information and detail in a form that is accessible to both veterinarians and researchers. The list of contents contains details of sections and chapters to signpost the reader directly and is complemented by a short index at the back of the book.

That said, readers should take the time first to review the principles of anaesthesia and analgesia, as well as the species-specific sections, as the two are intended to be complementary. The book includes consideration of both the use of anaesthesia and analgesia for humane purposes but also information to help the researcher select the most appropriate agent with regard to the collection of reproducible and reliable scientific data. It’s an up-to-date and essential addition to the reference library for any institution that uses animals in research.

Lucy Whitfield
OWL Vets Ltd, Mildenhall, UK

Health and Welfare of Captive Reptiles, Second Edition

Edited by C Warwick, PC Arena and GM Burghart (2023). Published by Springer, Cham, Switzerland. 638 pages eBook (ISBN: 978-3-030-86012-7), Hardback (ISBN: 978-3-030-86011-0). Price £159.50 (eBook), £199.00 (Hardback).



I was delighted to be asked to review this book, having recently retired from many years working as educator and advisor on reptile husbandry with a strong emphasis on improving welfare, in both professional zoological and ‘hobbyist’ communities, and also as a long-term keeper of reptiles myself. Health and Welfare of Captive Reptiles, Second Edition is a huge 19-chapter, 638-page book which sells at just under £200; I doubt it will feature on many private reptile-keepers’ bookshelves. It is not, as its title might suggest, a simple manual on how to improve reptile health or welfare; instead, it consists of a series of very detailed literature reviews on aspects of reptile physiology and behaviour, and detailed discussions on the challenges these create for those hoping to give these sentient beings a “life worth living”. Each chapter is heavy with references. Frustratingly, a high proportion of these are merely cross-references to other chapters in the book, and many others are inaccessible without access to an institutional library. However, inclusion of the weblinks to those which are freely available in the reference lists is a welcome touch.

I suspect the book will prove most valuable to educators in veterinary schools and agricultural colleges which include exotic animal husbandry courses, who do need to include an appreciation of reptile sentience and welfare assessments in their teaching material, and to students in these colleges, broadening their specialist knowledge on the problems facing captive reptiles. Many of these are unique to ectotherms owing to their need for enclosures with controlled environments when housed within human habitation.

Those involved in education of the pet-keeping public on social media, or via other means such as websites, workshops, lectures, or writing popular books and magazines would also do well to study many of the chapters within. Much of the information also needs to be shared with zookeepers, reptile breeders and those working in the industry designing, manufacturing, selling and promoting products for the reptile trade. The writing style in many chapters might be disconcerting for non-academics, with its emphasis on citation of scientific references, but an objective, evidence-based approach is essential for credibility.

There is insufficient space sadly to review each and every chapter, but here are some of the highlights.

Chapter 10 (Controlled Deprivation and Enrichment, by Robert Mendyk and Lauren Augustine)
I start with this chapter, because it is central to the book in more ways than one. Readers might even benefit from reading this chapter first, as its holistic approach covers many topics which are examined in greater detail elsewhere in the book. In this chapter, the authors explore the concept of “controlled deprivation” first introduced by Gordon M Burghardt, and ways of mitigating this “deprivation” by identifying natural conditions that are critical to each individual species’ welfare, and then providing them within biologically relevant and innately familiar enriched environments. A logical model for reptile enrichment is described. First, basic biological requirements must be met (e.g. needs for adequate space, microclimate, nutrition, social dynamics). Then, existing deprivations, which are to varying degrees inevitable once an animal is in an artificial environment, need to be identified. These may vary between individual animals as well as between species. Changes can then be made, and enrichments added which promote positive welfare states, in particular allowing the reptile greater self-determination and freedom of choice, and thereby reducing one of the major stresses of captivity.
Chapters 2 and 3 (Physiology and Functional Anatomy, by Harvey B Lilywhite, and Sensory Systems, by Jenna M Crowe-Riddell and Harvey B Lilywhite)
These remain among the best reviews of reptile biology I have ever read, with comprehensive coverage of both structure and function, and with detailed explanations relating these to reptilian physical needs, perception and behaviour. These chapters are also written and illustrated in a very clear style, making the material accessible to those with no formal background in zoology, so could be recommended as essential reading for anyone involved in reptile husbandry.

Chapter 5 (Normal Behaviour, by James C Gillingham and David L Clark)
Likewise, this is a superb review, in this case of reptilian behaviour across all taxa, well-illustrated with examples from field studies, enabling, in addition, a clear perception of the restrictions on normal behaviour all too often imposed on captive animals by inadequate environments and poor husbandry, which may result in chronic stress.

Chapters 6 and 7 (Social Behaviour as a Challenge for Welfare, by J Sean Doody and Brains, Behaviour and Cognition: Multiple Misconceptions, by Enrique Font, Gordon M Burghardt, and Manuel Leal)
Over the last 50 years, we have gathered vast amounts of data on sociality in reptiles, which clearly show reptiles as “being capable of sophisticated and complex social interactions.” Doody discusses the difficulties facing reptiles in captivity, ranging from the stresses of isolation for social species to the problems raised by inadequate housing for groups, where territorial behaviour and even inadequate “personal space” may lead to chronic stress or aggressive encounters, even mortality. Chapter 7 offers an unusual but effective approach to appreciation of reptilian intelligence and complex behaviour patterns, by looking at a huge range of studies over the last 20 years or so which sweep away all outdated notions of the reptilian brain being “inferior” in structure and function to that of other vertebrates.

Chapter 4 (Biology of Stress by Eric J Gangloff and Neil Greenberg)
This offers a detailed account of physiological stress systems, and so would seem an appropriate accompaniment to the abovementioned chapters. However, “stress” is, as the authors point out, “notoriously difficult to define.” A stress response may be a normal and essential part of a healthy life, driving adaptive responses to changing situations; however, if stress is prolonged or intense, it may exceed the animal’s ability to cope. Individuals within a species may also vary widely in their ability to cope, depending on not just the stressor, but their own developmental, ecological, evolutionary, and physiological status.

Chapter 12 (Ethologically Informed Design and DEEP Ethology in Theory and Practice by Neil Greenberg)
The previous points are discussed further by Neil Greenberg in this chapter, although readers unfamiliar with ethological concepts and vocabulary may find this a bit of a challenge to follow – I certainly did.

Chapter 8 (Psychological and Behavioural Principles and Problems by Clifford Warwick)
This is largely a review of the consequences of bad husbandry, in particular inadequate housing and unsuitable environmental parameters. Warwick describes two typical behavioural responses: “first, exploratory, search, and escape behaviours; and second, biological shut-down behaviours to withdraw from their surroundings.” However, a table of “behavioural signs of stress or captivity stress” contains numerous behaviours associated with acute defensive and fear responses (e.g. cloacal evacuation, death-feigning, flattened body posture, freezing, hissing) which are more suggestive of an animal’s normal response to a perceived immediate threat (such as an expectation of inhumane handling), rather than the chronic stress of captivity in an unsuitable environment. “Biological shut-down behaviours” characterised by inactivity and disinterest in surroundings (resembling “boredom”) are in my experience much more often indicators of captivity stress in pet reptiles when kept in deficient and inappropriate environments.

Chapter 13 (Spatial and Thermal Factors, by Phillip C Arena and Clifford Warwick)
This is an especially important chapter owing to the continuing and often hostile debates that persist in many circles, regarding the negative implications of inadequate space and inappropriate furnishing of that space. Appropriate thermal gradients throughout the habitat and the space required to achieve such gradients are not well understood by many reptile keepers and breeders. The latter, in particular, may wish to house large numbers of animals in facilities where space is at a premium. Some have bred many generations of “apparently healthy” reptiles, housed like battery hens, in tiny enclosures such as plastic tubs and snake racks with only the provisions required for basic survival. It is not surprising that people resist change if they believe their husbandry to be adequate; they may perceive demands for improved welfare as a threat to their beliefs as well as their livelihood. Such attitudes towards reptile-keeping resemble those that were shown by many towards intensive poultry farming – but these attitudes are being changed, mainly by evidence of the positive effects of improved welfare. Education is vital as to the welfare benefits of offering enough space for self-determination and expression of natural behaviours, as well as the health benefits of an adequate range of thermal zones for thermoregulatory choices. The authors present a powerful case. It is disappointing, however, that the importance of species-appropriate full spectrum lighting in the creation of these thermal zones is not mentioned. Research is increasingly revealing the benefits of all wavelengths found in natural sunlight. Irradiance levels can have profound effects on behaviour and circadian rhythms. Moreover, short-wavelength infrared is biologically active, not just a heat source.

Chapter 14 (Nutritional Considerations, by Michael Thomas Maslanka, Fredric L Frye, Barbara Ann Henry, and Lauren Augustine)
Gratifyingly this chapter which follows on does discuss the importance of UVB provision as well as topics such as a review of the entire process of food selection by the reptile, its passage through the digestive system and the excretion of waste products. Target nutrient values for various diets are discussed, as are requirements for water, and the effects of stress, improper diets, obesity and starvation.

Chapter 16 (Evidential Thresholds for Species Suitability in Captivity, by Mike Jessop, Anthony Pilny, Clifford Warwick and Martin Whitehead)
The theme running throughout the book, as one might expect from the title, is that when reptiles are kept in captivity, this confinement in an artificial environment is inevitably a deprivation. However, it is a “controlled deprivation” – the keeper is in control, and bears the responsibility of identifying problems and tackling issues with the best welfare outcome for the animal always in mind. This positive approach is extremely encouraging – that by understanding the reptile, its needs, its strengths and weaknesses, and its world view, we can improve husbandry and work towards giving these amazing animals “a life worth living”. I approached this review with a degree of apprehension, knowing the connection of some authors with the Animal Rights movement, who openly admit to an agenda of eliminating all reptile-keeping. Such negative views are not helpful in encouraging improvements in animal welfare and their absence from almost all chapters is a relief. However, I do have reservations about some of the material in chapter 16. It cannot be denied that many pet reptiles are kept in very unsuitable conditions, largely owing to owners’ ignorance of their needs or – sadly – due to misinformation gathered with the best of intentions from widely available published resources, social media, so-called “experts” and “influencers” and even pet product manufacturers. It is also obvious to those of us involved in reptile rehabilitation, rescue and veterinary care that no reptiles are easy to care for, since even their ectothermic nature requires environmental control for their entire lives, and many have far more specialised requirements and can live much longer than many owners expect. The authors usefully review the current models for assessing welfare: the “Five Freedoms”, the “Five Domains” (Mellor Reference Mellor2016, Reference Mellor2017) and the RSPCA’s “Five Welfare Needs.” However, instead of simply stating the obvious, that all reptiles could be considered difficult to keep, with some species extremely difficult to keep, the authors have devised an overly complicated “EMODE system” which allocates points to rate the suitability of a particular reptile for captive care. All species of reptiles are pre-determined to be “moderately” difficult. This seems disingenuous since each species is then scored for features thought to make them even less suitable to keep, including such basic things as small size, large size, lifespan over 10 years and nocturnality. Possessing just one of these features puts the animal straight into the “difficult to keep” category. It is obvious that the EMODE system has been designed to categorise all reptiles as either difficult or extremely difficult, as all but one of the worked examples in the appendix demonstrate. That one exception, however, has been scored incorrectly. Even less edifying is the second part of the EMODE system which seeks to score humans as regards their suitability to keep a reptile. Unless you have professional training or detailed husbandry experience, or can “identify at least 40 welfare-related signs” you are likely to have “Low” suitability to keep a reptile; and if there are any elderly persons or children under five years in your “extended circle” you are cautioned not to keep reptiles at all. What hope for our future herpetologists, zoologists and animal welfare experts? Most of us developed our love of animals and dedication to our profession through keeping pets through our formative years.

That said, the authors’ concern over large numbers of reptiles kept in unsuitable conditions is warranted. Therefore, a degree of restriction on ownership without evidence of a suitable level of understanding of the animal’s needs, and of the owner’s ability to fulfil those needs, would appear long overdue. Banning ownership is not the answer and would have disastrous effects on welfare as reptile keeping would assuredly go underground. Some form of licensing following completion of a recognised training program, for example, might be one positive way forward. Admittedly there are no easy answers.

Education geared towards a reminder that no reptiles are easy to keep, and provision of high quality advice and assistance for those who do undertake ownership seriously, would go a long way towards the goal of providing reptiles with “a life worth living.” I hope this book enables readers to take a step in this direction.
Mellor, DJ 2016 Updating animal welfare thinking: Moving beyond the “Five Freedoms” towards “a Life Worth Living”. Animals 6(3): 21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mellor, DJ 2017 Operational details of the five domains model and its key applications to the assessment and management of animal welfare. Animals 7(8): 60CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Frances M. Baines
UV Guide UK Abergavenny, Wales, UK


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