Jaakkola 2020 Bias and Misrepresentation

Animal Welfare Needs Unbiased Science

Animals' quality of life is important – both in the wild and in zoological settings. Because legislators, regulators, and animal caretakers make decisions that affect animals' well-being, it is vital that these decisions are informed by unbiased, accurate reviews of scientific knowledge. Unfortunately, not every review measures up to commonly accepted standards of analysis and objectivity. In this paper, an international team of scientists examined the major flaws, biases, and misrepresentations in one such review regarding the welfare of captive killer whales. Such pervasive problems not only undermine scientific credibility, but can lead to misinformed, arbitrary, or even harmful decisions about animals and their care.


  • Jaakkola, K., Bruck, J.N., Connor, R. C., Montgomery, S. H., & King, S. L. (2020). Bias and misrepresentation of science undermines productive discourse on animal welfare policy: A case study. Animals, 10, 118.

Affiliate Organizations: Dolphin Research Center, Stephen F. Austin State University, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, University of Bristol

To read the scientific article, click: https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/10/7/1118

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