Bias and Misrepresentation of Science Undermines Productive Discourse on Animal Welfare Policy: A Case Study

Kelly Jaakkola*, Jason Bruck, Richard Connor, Stephen H Montgomery, Stephanie L King

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)

6 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Creating good animal welfare-related laws, regulations, and policies depends on accurate knowledge. To that end, scientific reviews that explain and contextualize the relevant research can be powerful tools for informing decision-makers, assuming these reviews represent the state of the scientific knowledge accurately and objectively. In this commentary, we examine the major flaws, biases, and misrepresentations of the scientific literature in one such recent review regarding the welfare and care of captive killer whales. Such pervasive problems, in this or any review, make it impossible to determine the true state of knowledge of the relevant issues, and can ultimately result in misinformed, arbitrary, or even harmful decisions about animals and their care.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1118
Number of pages17
JournalAnimals
Volume10
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2020

Keywords

  • animal welfare
  • misrepresentation
  • orca
  • killer whale
  • captivity
  • brain size
  • legislation
  • policy
  • management
  • bias

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