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It’s time to reconsider the meaning of ‘animal welfare’

GARY FRANCIONE: ‘Animal welfare organizations campaign against the ‘abuse’ of animals. But even if all of these abuses stopped and all animals were treated in perfect accordance with applicable laws and regulations, the situation would still be terrible. Animals would still be killed without there being any necessity to do so, and even if we transformed animal agriculture in the direction of family farms there would still be a huge amount of morally-unjustified suffering and death.

In fact, standards of animal welfare are not about animals at all; they are about us. These standards make us feel better about continuing to exploit animals. They were formulated at a time when most people thought that killing and eating animals was necessary for human health. No one can reasonably believe that any longer.

Therefore, it is time to examine the moral justification for using animals. As someone who maintains an animal rights position rather than an animal welfare position, it is my view that we cannot justify exploiting animals for any purpose, including biomedical research aimed at finding cures for serious human illnesses, any more than we can justify using humans whom we believe are cognitively ‘inferior’ for such a purpose’. SOURCE…


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