Animal sentience workshop

Panel discussion

At the end of the workshop, some of the earlier speakers spoke in a panel discussion to answer questions about animal sentience (45:45)

[This video was filmed during a workshop in front of an audience. The panel members sit at a table on stage and answer questions that Grant Shackell asks them. Grant is standing at a speaker podium.]

Grant Shackell: Thank you very much Annie, and thank you to every single one of you in this room for coming along. The thing that has impressed both Gwyn and I, is the fact that you've all come here with an open mind and that you've all engaged and it's been really interesting to see that animated discussion around each of the tables and there has been no lack of discussion. The two committees thought about this day and what we might do with it and we're just a bunch of people that have been taken from the public and put together to be committees. We can't actually operate without secretarial support and we get our support from MPI because that's where the ACT sits and I would really like to, before we do anything else, to publicly thank Jen and the rest of the team from MPI for helping organise this day. Getting such a wide variety of people here to talk about a subject that really is dear to the heart of all of us. So would you please thank Jen and her team from MPI.


So what we've done, we have got out in the back there, an incredible amount of paper. And we've got an incredible number of questions and a far from incredible amount of time. So what we'd had to do is look at those questions, sort of group them, synthesise them and then pick one that is perhaps representative. So if your question's not here it's not because it wasn't a good question, it's just as important as the ones that do get asked. So what we're going to do is we're going to ask each of the panel a question and then we've got a few questions here that ah, could be answered by anybody and we're going to throw it open and they're going to fight amongst themselves. When I did my opening talk I put up a photograph, I didn't put up a photograph this time we've actually got a tableau and here they all are. I'm not going to circle anybody as to who's interested and who's not watching and who doesn't really want to be here, but here they all are.

Just lately when I've been thinking about this thing I came across a quote not so long ago which I thought you might be interested in hearing. The one thing that I didn't do is attribute it to where it came from. I can't remember.  It's just a good quote and the quote is "animals can't speak for themselves, so we have to listen to them very carefully." And I believe that that's quite a good thing to keep in the back of our minds when we're thinking about the things that we've thought about today. So what I'm going to do now is put a question to a panel member and let's see where we go.

So I'm going to start with Ian because Ian you started the day and the question I guess is two parts - how can we legally ensure positive welfare and how can happy and sad be translated into legal requirements?

Ian Robertson: It's very rarely I get it. Can you hear me? Yes, now? It's very rarely I get accused of not being able to be heard, so thank you for that confluence as well. Look, thank you for the question. The pivotal words in that question itself is the word legal. So there are multiple disciplines represented here but focusing on legal, it helps to answer the question if we first very briefly remind ourselves of the process that if there are questions about legal compliance, then that's reported frequently for example by a neighbour or other member of the public to the relevant Authority. That's then investigated, evidence is collated and a range of subjective frequently a subjective assessments accompanied by empirical, wherever available, evidence is compiled. Decisions are made by lawyers, managers, the officer or officers engaged, assisted by relative experts. If charges are laid then you've got the court or the judge involved, you've got the prosecutor and you've got the defense counsel. Lawyers can you nod if I've left anything out of that brief summary. With that revision, out of that falls out how to respond to, how do we legally compel positive welfare. From that the first thing we notice is that we're talking positive welfare that was also in the question. That's the third element right that I was talking about earlier on.

So what was the question that was put at the table - what are we going to ensure compliance with? Before we can ensure the 'what', we've got to be clear about what the 'what' is and that's why we're advocating a definition to be provided. Because from that definition comes the responsibility, or clarity regarding the responsibility, and therefore for the enforcers, clarity about, and that's your comment, what they're actually enforcing. How can you enforce something if you don't know what it is you're enforcing, right? So start with the definition, then get the education and so that applies then that's the 'what' that needs to be clarified. And then the 'who' that's the folk that need to in that process about legal process and legal considerations falls out of that the officers, the courts, the lawyers including the experts and that's where the information, all day but particularly this afternoon, from Ngaio, Nick and Jessica is the evidence. Yeah I'm aware of cases already that it's not just veterinarians who may turn up to assess a situation on a farm but also they're our relevant experts. What Alan and I, used to work with him, would referred to as 'train wrecks'. You know, collect the evidence and in terms of a positive state of welfare it's key that the evidence is there. I appreciate that's a longer answer but three parts - process, what are we enforcing for legal compatibility and then who needs to understand it so that positive welfare outcomes can be applied. Thank you. Thoughts on that?

[Inaudible talk between panel members]

Excellent that was called an attempt to pass the buck and failed, thanks Ngaio.

Grant Shackell: Thank you very much Ian. So the next question is for Mark. Mark, how does innate behaviour actually fit into the concept of sentience and. I'll add, no I'll ask you that one yeah.

Mark Fisher: You mean there's a supplementary question? This is a really easy one for me to answer. I have absolutely no idea Grant.  Is it as important as learned behaviour? I'd suspect so. That's about as far as I can go.

Grant Shackell: Gee thanks Mark. Supplementary question. Oh yeah, I'm happy to take it, yes please.

Ngaio Beausoleil: Um this brings up another question I think for me which is the the difficulty with using the framework of behavioural needs because it really begs the question of how do we recognise a need as opposed to something that an animal might value, but is not necessary for necessary for what, for survival? So the the behavioural needs that are necessary for survival are very obvious because if we don't fulfill them, the animal dies but there are a whole range of other behaviours that animals are highly motivated to express and those are probably the ones we think about as being the innate ones, but the animal survives if it doesn't have the opportunity to express those behaviours, so is it a need? How do we know and I find that a challenging framework to use for welfare assessment which is why I prefer the five domains for example because it focuses on minimising unpleasant experiences and maximising positive experiences as opposed to having to recognise and delineate what a behavioural need is, as opposed to a luxury or a want.

Grant Shackell: Thanks Ngaio. Anybody else want to add to that? Because that actually segues into a question that I was going to put to all of you. You may like to continue or you may like to pass the microphone. If sentience is awareness of self, how do we actually know that if an animal is experiencing something that it's actually aware of what's happening? Yep. This has been taken from a piece.if sentience could be interpreted as an awareness of self, how do we actually know that if the animal is experiencing something that it's actually aware of what's happening to it? Can we know that?

Virginia Williams: It's working? Is sentience is that, is that a definition of sentience?

Grant Shackell: It's not, it's an interpretation of sentience. 

Virginia Williams: I'm not sure that it's a valid one, so I'm not going to answer the question.

Grant Shackell: Okay!

Ngaio Beausoleil: In cognitive science there are a whole level, a range of levels of awareness of self, that are and there are various tests that are used to see whether a particular species or individual can achieve that level of awareness and we don't necessarily align an animal's ability to experience positive and negative states or feelings with awareness of self at any of those different levels. Grant: Yeah that's fine so that actually that actually moves. If you just pass a microphone one to your right please. Because there's a question here for Jim. So Jim, how do we prioritise research efforts in order to determine negative and positive states? How do we actually put them into which which order that we're going to, that we need to look at them?

[Inaudible talk between panel members]

Jim Webster: There you go, it works. Yes, so do we just go for the easy ones whether they're positive or negative? I think bringing this new emphasis on sentience doesn't mean we should take our eye off the negative ones and I think that they're particularly important because we all know how noxious negative experiences are, so I think they'll always be important and we should keep working on those. We know we haven't solved a lot of negative experiences yet. But the new wider definition of sentience we're appreciating that animals can have positive experiences and we should try and promote them whether that's a legal need or not. I think it just gives us a more holistic approach to it where we can do both at the same time I think.

Grant Shackell: Okay. Nick! We have this question for you which is an interesting one I felt. How can we have a valid framework for assessing positive state when the animals are actually in an artificial environment?

Nick de Graaf: Great question. I wish I had a simple answer. Unfortunately that question isn't a simple one to ask either. So I've been writing some thoughts on this, I don't know much time I have to answer a question? You're okay at the moment. Okay, stop me when I go to long. I guess the first thing, and it's been touched on which is why I didn't want to add to some comments, because I knew I was going to be touching on these points as well. When I'm trying to think of how to answer, provide a simple answer I guess what we want to say is we need the animals to tell us what it needs or what it wants, and that will guide us then in what is provided to it. When we talk about the idea of being in an artificial environment I guess my interpretation from this question is that when it's in a natural environment its welfare is assured and I probably would like to challenge that. I would like to say that an animal in a natural environment also has negative experiences. Different to the experiences that it would have in an artificial environment but they're still negative. So an example there would be an animal that isn't cared for, so it's a wild environment it's totally natural it has to find its own food. What if there's a drought and there's a food shortage, or a crash in prey species? They suffer. They go hungry.

Same thing for when they injure themselves there's no treatment they have to put up with the pain, disease in the wild. So just being in a natural environment doesn't mean their welfare is always good. It can be good at times but of course it can be bad at other times. Now when we look at an artificial environment we're really referring to the affective state of the animal in this instance and so you can still have animals with positive and negative experiences in an artificial environment and it's on us to make sure that we minimise those negative experiences and yet promote the positive ones. We were talking earlier at our table this morning about a koala situation which I want to raise here and it was a really good piece where we, Koalas in the wild in Australia put up with cold temperatures because they're in trees, it gets cold in winter, they just put up with it. I wouldn't be able to say for sure whether they actually enjoy that time, but we know that they can tolerate it at least. Now there's an interesting situation in one of the zoo's, most zoos that keep Koalas, allow their Koalas to be exposed to the winters, because that's normal, that's natural but there's this one zoo that provides heated dens for their Koalas and that's unnatural or artificial. But the interesting thing was was that every morning when the keepers go to check the koalas to see how they fared over the night, where do they find them? In the heated dens. And so what that's telling us is they're probably going in there because they like it because if it's warm, maybe it's a sense of security as well, maybe there's other reasons for it but for now let's assume they're going in because it's warm.

Now that's an unnatural experience for the animal they won't get that opportunity if they were in the wild however that opportunity presents itself and the animals engaging with that opportunity most likely because it enjoys it. So there's no reason to think it's having a negative experience but it is having a positive one and another way to look at this as well is when we look in the in the wild the wild is shrinking and and so what we need to do is look to our animals, and this is where I started with I guess with my answer, is we need to look at to the animals to tell us what it is that we need to provide for them because as their wild environments are shrinking it's going to depend more and more on human care anyway. We need to make sure that they are provided with the sufficient space to find their food if we expect the food to be sustainably sourced by the animal. As in we don't actually have to put the food down to the animals it grows naturally. We have to make sure there's enough or sufficient decrease on pressure on the environment so that we know that the food sources are sustainable. We might get to a point we're gonna have to manage that anyway.

So it really comes down to what's artificial and what's not and so I think the other thing too is we zoos, this is a new journey for the zoo industry. Other zoo associations around the world the American Association, European, South East Asia. They're really looking at our program with a lot of interest because they also agree that change has to come, in that as we learn more and understand more about our animal's experiences, our industry will change to accommodate for that. So we can't actually assume that what we see today is what we're going to see in a hundred years. It might be completely different. It really depends on what we learn and what we embrace. So I hope that helps. I don't know if it directly answers the question but there's a lot of ins and outs with that particular scenario.

Grant Shackell: Thanks, Nick. There was a little comment in there, I don't know whether it resonated with anybody about the Koala is living in cold environments that they may not like it but they put up with it. Yeah so that sort of takes us to a question that was put for Ngaio, should the expectations of a good quality of life be the same for animals in zoos as it is for production animals?

Ngaio Beausoleil: I had a couple of minutes to think about this and I have a short answer and a very long answer. So the short answer, and I'd be keen to hear what other people think is, why not? Why would we expect to provide different quality of life for different kinds of animals? So that kind of leads me into the longer answer which is that perhaps there's an assumption, and I could be wrong here, that the degree of sentience or the capacity to experience unpleasant experiences particularly, is different between those two groups of animals. Does anybody think that's the case? So if we think about a giraffe and a sheep, is there any biological reason to think that they have different capacities for experiencing unpleasant and pleasant things? Yeah.

Grant Shackell: There were a lot of questions around this wider topic of which I mention in my talk about George Orwell, about some animals. All animals are sentient, but are some more sentient than others.

Ngaio Beausoleil: So I just want to raise one quick point on that because I have the microphone, which is um, I mean what is the minimum standard for inclusion in the sentience club and I don't think that we've really tackled that yet and so when I think of it and I know that Craig Johnson's thought about this quite a bit and we've come up with different discussions about how we can decide who gets into the club and who doesn't as a starting point before we decide whether there are different degrees of sentience on top of that, and we seem to default to the neural capacity to experience pain. And that's probably a sensible place to start but what I started thinking about was whether or not pain is the most relevant or most useful and pleasant sensation for all different animals. So what I was thinking about is the way that we think about unpleasant experiences is as signals to tell the animal something is going wrong, or is likely to go wrong, if you don't do something differently. So they act as signals to say to the animal you need to change something there's a threat to your survival and that's kind of what gives them their survival benefit. So the question is really for animals that live in different environments and have different sensory ecology and different sensory capacities, do we all, do we use the same minimum standard for inclusion of what you can feel and what you can't feel? Maybe animals that echo-locate that sensory system is more important than their nociceptors, their pain sensing system. Maybe animals that live in low oxygen levels, well they don't have signals that tell them to be breathless because they live in low oxygen all the time so it's not a sensible signal to have. So I guess I'm just sort of throwing the question out to ask, how do we make, what is our decision-making process for saying if you want to be in the sentience club you have to be able to do this thing. Is it always to be able to sense pain, or should the metric be different depending on how you've evolved and what your sensory capabilities are.

Grant Shackell: Thanks, Ngaio. It makes me think about if our…

Ian Robertson: Can I add just a piece to that.

Grant Shackell: Yes.

Ian Robertson: From a legal perspective we've talked about how society's expectations are largely reflected in the law and the law can be a record of those changes in evolution. Just addressing some of those bits and pieces. I liked your term 'the club'. The animals that are currently in 'that club' are defined in the Animal Welfare Act at the moment. Thank you for nodding I looked to colleagues just to make sure I'm on the right page. There is a list of animals that are included and there are some that haven't made that cut yet but reference to pain and distress or element number two has been a defining criteria but in Section 10,  I'm covering a couple of these bits and pieces so you know our our current rule book's not bad as comparisons go. Who gets in and who gets out section 10 of the Animal Welfare, New Zealand's Animal Welfare Act, currently says you know expectations rely on reference to good practice and 'scientific knowledge' so there's room to expand there and analogy from one species to another in some ways is very tempting but it's potentially treacherous, because a lot of our law revolves around the uses for which animals are put, and the closeness with a human caregiver. Take a cat for example, we have codes of welfare that recognise cats can be in different environments and situations. You can have the domesticated cat who's pampered, and you can the cat that's wild and feral or one that was released by it's owner when their owner was moving two years ago. Their states can be entirely different and consequently the responsibilities varies as well, but in Section 4 of the New Zealand's Animal Welfare Act where it references the principles of the five freedoms, and many of you be familiar with that I expect, what's so often overlooked is the very last line of that particular section, which after listing the responsibilities that mirror the five freedoms it basically says it all has to be interpreted in consideration of the species, the environment and, here's the bucket term, all the circumstances. So would vary according to what we heard from the other speakers today. Circumstances which those animals collectively have found, as well as the individual animal. So our law is a pretty good law and it has some, it has some touch points and it has some qualifiers that accommodate some of those questions and goes back to including who's in the club and who's not.

Grant Shackell: Okay so that actually sits to another question that we picked up that was actually directed to Mark and that was, and it follows on - possibly follows on - from what you've just said Ian or you might have a comment as well. So that now sentience is in the Act do we actually, does the next thing we need to think about is changing the definition of an animal? Mark.

Mark Fisher: Thanks, Grant. Perhaps we do but I don't think we need to or just yet anyway. It might be of interest to you that the World Organization for Animal Health or the OIE already considers bees animals, although as far as I know they haven't addressed animal welfare with respect to bees. But I guess what this question really makes me think about is Jane Goodall when she found out that chimpanzees were using tools, amongst other things, and she sent a telegram to Louis Leakey about it, and his reply was something like; I think we need to change the definition of a tool or change the definition of a human. And that's a little bit where I think we'll end up going maybe not in the next year but perhaps in the next 200 years. But we cannot live without having an impact on animals, whether you're a veterinarian, a farmer or a vegetarian or vegan, we cannot live certainly our modern life. We change animal's habitats left right and centre. We dump plastic in the ocean. We don't live without having an impact on the animals. But we also have these barriers where we rule ourselves as different from other animals, and these barriers are gradually being broken down.

Charles Darwin did some of them by showing that we were linked to animals for instance and sentience is just another one of those barriers that's being broken down. And I think maybe the future is that we need to accept that we're animals as much as the hunter-gatherers did 50,000 years ago. They considered themselves part of animal kingdom and that's the way that they worked out their barriers. They said thanks to the animal when they killed it. They said they were lucky if they caught it. They had all these rituals like taking the eyes out of the bear when they'd caught it, so the bear wouldn't see what was happening to it, after had been killed of course. So we were part of the animal kingdom and maybe that's where the future sort of lies, so rather than putting bees into the club maybe we have to think about ourselves and our role in the natural world.

Grant Shackell: Thanks Mark. So, odds smile around the room there. So we NAEAC as a committee, we work with Part 6 of the Act, and we work with that specific definition of animal and that definition of animal includes some embryonic stages, developmental stages so we take our definition very very widely in fact sometimes before the animal's even drawn a breath. Whereas in the US their definition of animals specifically excludes birds, rats and mice that are bred for and used for the purposes of research, testing and teaching. So we work in completely different environments from other places around the world and for me that poses a really interesting question. So our animal research community is quite large so we have people coming in from other jurisdictions. We send our own people out to be trained in other jurisdictions and so we've got people coming in to research, testing and teaching in New Zealand who've come from an environment where the controls over what they do is completely different. And we send out people to be trained in places where the controls are different and that creates some interesting dynamics. So Virginia, how do we use sentience to evaluate a research, testing and teaching proposal, when one species is being manipulated specifically for the benefit of another species?

Virginia Williams: Well we carry out a cost-benefit analysis, that's what we do. There are lots of ways in which animals are used to benefit humans and to benefit other animals. Testing of vaccines for instance, which is often quite a high-impact procedure. Shellfish toxin so that we don't all die of shellfish toxins. The pest issue looking at more humane ways to deal with pests. So every time that one of those proposals comes before an animal ethics committee, there has to be a cost-benefit analysis and sometimes it'll come down on one side and sometimes it'll come down on the other. I think mostly it probably comes down on one side which is probably that, if it's for humans it's going to happen. If it's for animal vaccines that's going to happen - to keep our animals healthy. The wildlife one is a difficult one because you're weighing up a being like a possum, that is probably more sentient then some of the animals that are gonna be saved if we can get rid of the possums. But there are different values that come to play there that are conservation values. How much do we value our wildlife? Our Kiwi or all those wonderful birds that we have that can creep around on the ground and can't fly anymore, versus the possum which came across the ditch when we didn't really want it to. It's a sentient being. A rat is a sentient being. A weasel is a sentient being. A stoat is a sentient being. It's a difficult area it really is. I'm happy that I'm not on the DOC Animal Ethics Committee, but that's an Animal Ethics Committee that has some very difficult decisions to make and and they and they do that, they do that tough job and we have to be grateful for that. So really it's yes you've got to weigh up one animal against another. There's no two ways about it.

Grant Shackell: Thanks, Virginia. Ngaio I noticed you writing there and I noticed Ian writing too, were you writing for yourself or were you writing for the microphone.

Ngaio Beauloleil: I'm a prolific note-taker so I'm always writing. No I was just writing about; I'm interested to know Virginia, just put you on the spot again, how is the level of sentience, if such a thing exists, factored into those cost-benefit analyses currently? So say for example I mean we've got two different scenarios where there's harm for one animal to benefit another animal, or we might have a scenario where we have harm to an animal to benefit say plants or an ecosystem or something that we consider to be non-sentient.

Virginia Williams: I don't I don't think we're weighing the sentience from one species to another. I think we're weighing the situation, and so although probably in many cases it's might be an animal that one might think of lower down the chain, I don't want to kind of put it like that, but a mouse vs a human kind of thing.  It's not always the case. The wildlife issue is a case of point from that. I think it's more the situation that we're talking about rather than weighing up or trying to decide whether one animal is more sentient than another which I don't think we're deciding. All animals are sentient and so that's a kind of level playing field from that point of view.

Grant Shacekll: Thank you very much. Now I noticed that we've starting to get people to leave so we're starting to infringe on travel commitments and all of those sorts of things. As I say, we didn't take everybody's questions and we're still going to finish up having more questions up here than we're going to get time to ask for. So what I think, to give you time to maybe mingle just before you go and help your networking, discuss something or finish a discussion that you were having before you were interrupted. I've got one last question which probably, more than anything, sums up the day in some ways and you may want to, feel free this is not directed at any individual it's directed at the table, so an answer from the table will be good. You may just wish to sit and nod your head sagely but the question is, is it our responsibility to create positive states for animals or do we provide conditions and adopt practices that allow animals to create their own positive state?

Nick de Graaf: Thanks I'd like to start with an answer there or a comment I guess. I think what we're finding in our work is that the idea of establishing if the animals having positive experiences or not is a snapshot in time. So we assess the animal based on the understanding and evidence in front of us. It's having some positive experiences we haven't identified negative ones in an ideal scenario. The next natural question is, will this be the same tomorrow? Next year? What's going to happen if it breaks its leg a month from now, because there's a trip hazard in the enclosure? Now right now we can't say the animal's welfare state is negative because it might have an injury down the road. So there's a relationship that we're recognising and that is, animals experiences, or its welfare, tells us one thing but it's the care and practices that we provide to the animal that tells us another and you need each to answer the other side or validate the other side. So for example, if we just assess practices well we take good care of the animal - that's not telling me whether the animal is having positive and negative experiences. We need to see what the animal is telling us too to confirm that the practices are appropriate. Then we need to look at it the other way too. When we look at the animal's experiences and like I said well it's positive today but how do we know if it's going to be positive tomorrow? We need to understand what the likelihood of its welfare is going to be in the future, and we can only really judge that by assessing the practices and the methods of care that is to be applied to the animal down the road and that gives us at least some confidence of where it's going to go.

Grant Shackell: Anybody else like to comment?

Ian Robertson: Thanks for those comments. I think that's a poignant question. You're referencing the animals, I know today we've spoke a lot about the animals, I think it's worth recognising that there's a constant interaction between the animals, people and what we call our shared planet. Ofttimes what's good for, offtimes, not always, but oftentimes, what's good for one benefits the other but in that mix of considerations there are going to be conflicts of interest. Even in this room there are there conflicts and different perspectives on how we see definition. How that definition might be applied? What impact it may have on our respective area of involvement that intersects with animals? However, I really liked your question there, which I think is relevant to all of us, you said, will this be the same next year? You know we'll still be having the same conversation because not much has shifted. At the moment there, as we said, there are groups, ubiquitous reference groups, exceeding those basic minimums, but there's no compellability. So the starting point is giving something as the table to the right was talking about earlier. Getting that definition, getting that that process and bits and pieces in place, because we will continue, I liked your presentation Nick, well all of them, but Nick's reference in this point, that we'll continue trying to alleviate or minimise an animal's pain or distress, but until we're compelled, or be helpful to compel and require, positive states to be incorporated into that list of responsibilities as well. And then going back to Nick's question out of that we'll learn, because we need to keep learning, but I think as lawyers, scientists, policymakers and every other individual and profession that's represented here, with the compellability regarding positive welfare will be forced to not only learn more but also start asking different questions. And that will make the difference to the animals, people and planet equation. Thank you.

Ngaio Beausoleil: I just want to make one other point which is probably what other people have said in different ways, which is, just like us individual animals have different preferences and different things make individual animals happy or give them positive experiences and we don't necessarily know what those are for individuals. So you know we can provide something for a range of different animals and some of them will take up the opportunity and find it pleasurable and others won't for whatever reason. So I think one of the things that's really valuable that we can do, and probably what our obligation is, is to provide a range of choices for animals to make and that's in all of the different domains so micro climates, different environments for them to choose between - so that they can moderate their own behaviour and provide themselves with a positive opportunity positive experiences. If we just provide something that we think is one size fits all, then invariably some of the animals in that group will not have positive experiences. So choice is really important.

Grant Shackell: Okay all hands are remaining firmly on the table now so I think, did you want to say something Jim?

Jim Webster: I agree with that, I think we we do have to provide a range of things for different animal personalities to be expressed and we can't give experiences per se, but we can understand what things are going to increase the likelihood that animals are going to have positive experiences and look at providing those. And I don't think we need to be compelled to do that either because some of those are very very simple to do it can be done cheaply and easily. So yeah I think we can make good progress in providing positive situations for positive experiences for animals.

Grant Shackell: Thanks Jim. So what I'm going to do now is close this off. There will be a taxi parked outside at 4:30 and it's now 4:20. I'd like you all please. The 2 committees are going away here with a lot of paper and a lot to digest. When we first spoke to the Minister about this day, what we were going to do, he looked at us he said what do you want to do he said, so it's an information gathering exercise? And yes it's been an information gathering exercise and that information has come from all of you, it's coming to us and now we've got to decide what we might do with it. I'd like you all please to thank the speakers who've given up their time to come here today and spoken to you. And while you're doing that just have a wee brief think in your own head that you're thanking yourself as well for the input that you've made.


Gwyneth Verkerk: So it falls to me just to bring the day to a close and say farewell to everyone and Grant has thanked the speakers but I would like to again thank them for the great contribution they've made and we need to get Jess from Bristol a thank you as well we'll do that. We have a huge amount of information now to think about and digest. Within the committee's, both of us will take these thoughts and ideas back to our committees, and certainly with the NAWAC committee we have one of our themes in our work programme is looking at how we understand the concept of sentience and the good life, and how that might be brought through in the codes and regulations that we're responsible for. So Annie described to you before how this information will be made available. I'd like to think that as you go away and when you wake up at midnight tonight and think, oh I should have said that,  capture it and make sure that you add it because, this is not a task that committees can just do on their own.

As Grant said we're just a bunch of people that for some reason got nominated to this job and really it's our communities that give us the strength to work things through, make decisions and make changes. And so we have a lot of rich information, we will be thinking about this, we'll be digesting this and you will no doubt hear further from us. I'd just like again to thank the MPI team which has been great support for us. Jen, who we've exposed to a whole lot of negative emotions in the last little while, and we'll have to make sure she gets some positive stuff and Kate, Nicki, Marie, Tam all of you out there, I've forgotten someone, and but yeah thank you very much for your support and we look forward to working on this further. This is something that is probably just yet another step in David Bayvel's journey, which is all our journeys too. So we'd like to wish you all farewell and safe travel home and we look forward to re-engaging with you all at another time. Thank you.


[Video ends]

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Last reviewed: 22 Nov 2021