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Would You Eat an Alien? - Sociable Aliens

Professor Christine Nicol explores the meaty problem of eating aliens and how to choose. Jake the spaceman crashes on a planet and has to eat the locals. Do they feel pain?

In this four part series Christine Nicol, professor of Animal Welfare at the University of Bristol, explores the fascinating and challenging subject of animal sentience and welfare. To help delve into the nuances we set up an intriguing scenario: Jake the Spacemen (aka comedian Jake Yapp) has crash-landed on a remote planet and doesn't have much food to keep him going until he is rescued. Fortunately, the planet is teeming with alien life forms that are edible, but which ones should he eat? He wants to cause the minimum amount of pain and distress to the creatures, so what does he need to know about the nature of the beings on the planet? Can they feel pain? If so, how can he minimise suffering? Will eating an alien cause distress to others? Is the alien so aware and sensitive to its environment that Jake needs to consider whether it is a non-human person?

Christine will interview animal welfare scientists, philosophers and wildlife biologists to get under the skin of animal sentience and the potential consequences of accepting that animals are conscious, aware creatures. These big questions generate surprising and challenging insights into our attitudes to other life. When you know absolutely nothing about the alien in front of you, what do you need to know before eating it?

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28 minutes