Marian Dawkins

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Marian Dawkins
Professor Marian Dawkins CBE FRS.jpg
Marian Dawkins portrait via the Royal Society
Born Marian Ellina Stamp
(1945-02-13) 13 February 1945 (age 69)
Hereford, UK
Nationality British
Fields
Institutions University of Oxford
Alma mater University of Oxford
Thesis The Mechanism of Hunting by 'Searching Image' in Birds (1970)
Known for Animal welfare science
Notable awards
Spouse Richard Dawkins (1967–1984)
Website
www.zoo.ox.ac.uk/people/view/dawkins_m.htm

Marian Ellina Dawkins CBE FRS[1] (/ˈdɔːkɨnz/; née Stamp; born 13 February 1945) is a British biologist who is professor of animal behaviour at the University of Oxford.[2] She has published several books, one of which has been translated into German, and many peer-reviewed papers. Her research interests include vision in birds, animal signalling, behavioural synchrony, animal consciousness and animal welfare.[3][4][5]

Education and career[edit]

Dawkins completed her Doctor of Philosophy degree at the University of Oxford in 1970.[6] She became a lecturer in zoology in 1977 and in 1998 was made Professor of Animal Behaviour. She is currently (2014) Head of the Animal Behaviour Research Group and is the Director of the John Krebs Field Laboratory.[7]

Research[edit]

Dawkins has written extensively on animal behaviour and issues of animal welfare. Along with other academics in the field, such as Ian Duncan,[8] Dawkins promoted the argument that animal welfare is about the feelings of animals.[9] This approach indicates the belief that animals should be considered as sentient beings. Dawkins wrote, "Let us not mince words: Animal welfare involves the subjective feelings of animals.[10]

In 1989, Dawkins published a study in which she filmed hens from above while they performed common behaviours (e.g. turning, standing, wing-stretching). From these films, she calculated the amount of floor-space required by the hens during these behaviours and compared this to the amount of floor-space available in battery cages. She was able to show that many of these common behaviours were highly restricted, or prevented, in battery cages.[11]

In 1990, she contributed to a paper in which she developed her ideas regarding how to assess animal welfare by asking questions of animals. She proposed using preference tests and consumer demand studies to ask what animals prefer (e.g. space, social contact) and how highly motivated they are for these. She argued that animals were more likely to suffer if they were not provided with resources for which they are highly motivated.[10] These techniques are now used widely in animal welfare science (e.g.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18]).

Central to her most recent (2012) view on animal welfare is scepticism about whether science can establish that animals have consciousness and therefore its role in definition and measurement of animal welfare and suffering. Instead, her view is that good animal welfare rests on determining the needs and wants of animals, which do not require that they are conscious.[19] These theses are presented in her book, Why Animals Matter: Animal Consciousness, Animal Welfare, and Human Well-being (2012).[20] Her views on animal consciousness have been criticised by evolutionary biologist, Marc Bekoff, who argues that she too readily rejects anthropomorphic research on animals.[21][22] She responded to the criticism by stating her position as "wrongly interpreted", and says that "my concern is to make the case for animal emotions as watertight as possible and thereby to strengthen it. That is the way science progresses and always has."[23][24]

Awards and honours[edit]

Dawkins was awarded the RSPCA/British Society for Animal Protection prize in 1991, Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour's Niko Tinbergen Medal in 2009, and the World Poultry Science Association Robert Fraser Gordon Medal in 2011.[7]

Dawkins was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to animal welfare.[25]

In 2014, she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, her nomination reads:

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c https://royalsociety.org/people/fellowship/2014/marian-dawkins/
  2. ^ "Staff:Academic Marian Dawkins". University of Oxford, Department of Zoology. Retrieved 1 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Guilford, T.; Dawkins, M. S. (1991). "Receiver psychology and the evolution of animal signals". Animal Behaviour 42: 1. doi:10.1016/S0003-3472(05)80600-1. 
  4. ^ Marian Dawkins from the Scopus bibliographic database.
  5. ^ Dawkins, M. S. (1983). "Battery hens name their price: Consumer demand theory and the measurement of ethological 'needs'". Animal Behaviour 31 (4): 1195. doi:10.1016/S0003-3472(83)80026-8. 
  6. ^ Dawkins, Marian (1970). The Mechanism of Hunting by 'Searching Image' in Birds (DPhil thesis). University of Oxford. 
  7. ^ a b "Prof Marian Dawkins, CBE". Debrett's. Retrieved January 4, 2014. [dead link]
  8. ^ Duncan, I.J.H. (1996). "Animal welfare defined in terms of feelings". Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica. Section A, Animal Science 27: 29–35. 
  9. ^ Dawkins, M.S. (1980). Animal Suffering: The Science Of Animal Welfare. Chapman & Hall, London. 
  10. ^ a b Dawkins, M. S. (2011). "From an animal's point of view: Motivation, fitness, and animal welfare". Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13: 1. doi:10.1017/S0140525X00077104. 
  11. ^ Dawkins, M. S.; Hardie, S. (1989). "Space needs of laying hens". British Poultry Science 30 (2): 413. doi:10.1080/00071668908417163. 
  12. ^ Dawkins, M. (1985). "Cage height preference and use in battery-kept hens". Veterinary Record 116 (13): 345–7. doi:10.1136/vr.116.13.345. PMID 4002542. 
  13. ^ Sherwin, C. M.; Nicol, C. J. (1997). "Behavioural demand functions of caged laboratory mice for additional space". Animal Behaviour 53: 67. doi:10.1006/anbe.1996.0278. 
  14. ^ Sherwin, C.M. (1998). "The use and perceived importance of three resources which provide caged laboratory mice with the opportunity for extended locomotion.". Applied Animal Behaviour Science 55: 353–367. 
  15. ^ Manser, C.E., Elliott, H., Morris, T.H. and Broom, D,M. (1996). The use of a novel operant test to determine the strength of preference for flooring in laboratory rats.journal=Laboratory Animals 30. pp. 1–6. 
  16. ^ Olsson, I.A.S. and Keeling, L.J. (2002). "The push-door for measuring motivation in hens: laying hens are motivated to perch at night.". Animal Welfarevolume=11pages=11–19. 
  17. ^ Baldwin, B.A. (1979). "Operant studies on the behaviour of pigs and sheep in relation to the physical environment.". Journal of Animal Science 49: 1125–1134. 
  18. ^ Collier, G. H.; Johnson, D. F.; Cybulski, K. A.; McHale, C. A. (1990). "Activity patterns in rats (Rattus norvegicus) as a function of the cost of access to four resources". Journal of comparative psychology (Washington, D.C. : 1983) 104 (1): 53–65. PMID 2354629. 
  19. ^ "Crystallizing the Animal Welfare State Why Animals Matter: Animal Consciousness, Animal Welfare, and Human Well-being. Marian Stamp Dawkins . Oxford University Press , 2012 . 224 pp., illus. $24.95 (ISBN 9780199747511 cloth)". BioScience 63: 57. 2013. doi:10.1525/bio.2013.63.1.13. 
  20. ^ Dawkins, M. S. (2012). Why Animals Matter: Animal Consciousness, Animal Welfare, and Human Well-being. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-958782-7. 
  21. ^ Marc, Bekoff. "Do animals think and feel?". Psychology Today. Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  22. ^ Bekoff, M. (2012). "Animals are conscious and should be treated as such". New Scientist 215 (2883): 24. doi:10.1016/S0262-4079(12)62435-X. 
  23. ^ Dawkins, Marian Stamp (2012) Convincing the Unconvinced That Animal Welfare Matters Huffington Post, 8 June 2012.
  24. ^ Dawkins, Marian Stamp (2013) What do animals want? Edge, 31 October 2013.
  25. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60728. p. 8. 31 December 2013.[dead link]