[MARMAM] New publication: Animal welfare needs unbiased science

Kelly Jaakkola kelly at dolphins.org
Wed Jul 1 11:31:17 PDT 2020

Dear All,

My co-authors and I are pleased to announce our new publication:

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. 


Reliable scientific knowledge is crucial for informing legislative, 
regulatory, and policy decisions in a variety of areas. To that end, 
scientific reviews of topical issues can be invaluable tools for 
informing productive discourse and decision-making, assuming these 
reviews represent the target body of scientific knowledge as completely, 
accurately, and objectively as possible. Unfortunately, not all reviews 
live up to this standard. As a case in point, Marino et al.’s review 
regarding the welfare of killer whales in captivity contains 
methodological flaws and misrepresentations of the scientific 
literature, including problematic referencing, overinterpretation of the 
data, misleading word choice, and biased argumentation. These errors and 
misrepresentations undermine the authors’ conclusions and make it 
impossible to determine the true state of knowledge of the relevant 
issues. To achieve the goal of properly informing public discourse and 
policy on this and other issues, it is imperative that scientists and 
science communicators strive for higher standards of analysis, 
argumentation, and objectivity, in order to clearly communicate what is 
known, what is not known, what conclusions are supported by the data, 
and where we are lacking the data necessary to draw reliable conclusions.

The paper is open access, available here: 

All the best,


------------------ /
Kelly Jaakkola, PhD
Director of Research, Dolphin Research Center
Chair, Scientific Advisory Committee, Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks 
and Aquariums
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