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Document Details :

Title: Animal Ethics
Subtitle: Animal Welfare or Animal 'Illfare'?
Author(s): REARDON, Mark
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 18    Issue: 2   Date: 2011   
Pages: 269-285
DOI: 10.2143/EP.18.2.2116813

Abstract :
Each day, more than 130,000,000 farmed nonhuman sentient beings meet the designated end of their lives – always prematurely, always violently, always without the chance of escape. During life, animal welfare initiatives strive to ensure that that they ‘fare well’ until their appointed time. But can such an individual life, from birth defined not as a morally considerable subject-of-a-life, but as a pending ‘subject-of-a-death’ be designated fairly as one that fares well? In this paper, I will argue that much animal welfare-based thinking, whilst purporting to embrace consideration of what may constitute living (and dying) well for an individual animal, in practice all too frequently contents itself with fulfilling little more – and frequently less – than the basic needs of that individual or group. The core moral problem for this ‘minimal welfarism’ is that it all too readily trades as a reasonable duty of care. In this way animal welfare becomes the mechanism for perpetuating its own myth, ameliorating our consciences and improving productivity. I argue here for an urgent re-examination of the term ‘animal welfare’ itself, and question the moral adequacy of ‘illfare’ reducing strategies.

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