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date: 26 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter summarizes two strands of work on the ethics of food animal production. A dietetic tradition emphasizes the questions of whether and under what conditions consumption of animal protein is morally acceptable. For those who do not adopt some form of ethical vegetarianism, this approach has typically favored more traditional approaches to husbandry. A productionist tradition focuses on the potential for ethically motivated change in livestock production methods and policy. Beginning with the Brambell Committee’s five freedoms, this identifies indicators for multiple dimensions of food animal well-being, and recommends changes in existing industrial production systems. The multiple dimensions of welfare differ from one food animal species to another, and opinion is divided between members of the lay public, who tend to favor indicators relating to an animal’s ability to perform behaviors thought typical, normal, or natural, and scientific experts, who tend to favor cognitive affect and veterinary health.

Keywords: livestock, husbandry, animal welfare, animal behavior, vegetarianism, meat, concentrated animal production operations, CAFO, Welfare Quality

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