22 Veterinary Times

Traditional animal welfare advocacy (welfarists) New welfarism Abolitionism
Animal welfare supporters (“welfarists”) accept the
legal status of animals as property. This utilitarian
view is not concerned with the use of animals for
food per se, but with their treatment before
slaughter and consumption
Although taking a position between
abolitionism and welfarism, new
welfarists found their beliefs on the
basis of welfarist views.
Abolitionists seek to change the fundamental
legal status of animals away from mere
property towards something closer to
personhood. Francione argues for the right of
non-humans not to be treated as property
Animal welfare supporters accept “benevolent
over animals that expressly reaffirms
humanity’s superiority to other species; however,
animals ought not to suffer unnecessarily.
New welfarists argue that the abolitionist
position is currently not achievable – therefore,
incremental changes in animal welfare
regulation ought to be pursued in the quest to
improve the welfare of animals.
Abolitionists believe humans and
non-humans possess some inalienable
rights that deserve recognition and
protection. They reject human dominion.
See footnote 30. For an example of a new welfarist stance see
Temple Grandin
and footnote 29.
Abolitionists reject the stance of new
welfarists, arguing that incremental changes
regarding animal welfare regulations, for
example, do nothing to address the plight of
confinement agriculture.
Traditional welfarists accept keeping and slaughter
of animals for food on an ancient contract basis
To raise animals for slaughter in a confinement
setting is acceptable to new welfarists
They condone animal use for food; only by
leading a vegan lifestyle animal suffering can
be directly addressed
PREVIOUS arti cl es i n thi s
series have highlighted issues
regarding the moral status and
the (moral) rights of animals,
as well as how society has
viewed its relationship with
animals through the expression
of thinkers and philosophers
throughout recent time.
It was concluded that, ulti-
mately, human morality cannot
be relied upon when it comes to
protecting animals’ interests, as
human interest will always domi-
nate and, therefore, prevail over
the interests of non-humans.
This article will focus on the
dichotomy between the general
protection of animals in our soci-
ety through various welfare laws
and regulations, and the exploi-
tation of animals on an industrial
scale, which society has, qui-
etly, come to accept. It will also
examine the status of animals as
property and proposal to afford
legal rights to non-humans.
Not moving forward:
the animal rights debate
To many, the very idea of “animal
rights” – a term and subject that
are both usually poorly under-
stood and debated – seems
and is often disputed
or rejected altogether
Gary L Francione
, an Ameri-
can law professor, lawyer and
author of several i nf l uenti al
books dealing particularly with
the abolitionist idea
, avoids the
animal rights debate entirely
when he argues for just one
right: the right for animals not to
be treated as property (Table 1).
Francione views the animal rights
debate as one between abolition
and animal welfare legislation
He claims the animal rights posi-
tion represents the abolitionist
position, and the welfare position
merely advocates regulation of
animal exploitation as it relates
to confinement agriculture
In “Di fferi ng perspecti ves
on animals”, Lubinski
– along
the lines of Francione’s view
– presents the case of “rights”
versus “welfare”, highlighting the
disagreement within the animal
protection movement about the
goals that should be sought on
behalf of non-humans.
Lubinski points out that some
rights advocates (abolitionists)

“do not accept the property sta-
tus of animals nor the wisdom of
subjecting them to human domi-
nation”. He continues: “Animal
experimentation in laboratories,
even if helpful to humans, is
unjustified. Factory farming, and
[...] the meat industry itself, is
immoral [...] Even the concept
of pet ownershi p i s suspect
under the rights framework
Acceptance of this rights position
requires a rejection of [...] law as
it currently stands”
Lubinski identifies three com-
peting philosophies within the
animal rights debate:
 the traditional animal welfare
advocates (welfarists);
 the animal rights advocates
(abolitionists); and
 the so-called “new welfarists”
(see Table 1).
“New wel fari sm”, a term
coined by Francione
, repre-
sents a compromise between the
abolitionist and welfare stance.
New welfarists accept traditional
welfare gains in the hope that
these will eventually amount to
full recognition of animal rights
with all its consequences
. New
welfarists reject the notion that
animals are merely tools for
. According to Fran-
cione, welfarists strategies tend
to mimic those of traditional
welfare-based groups
He claims the animal protec-
tion movement is in favour of
abolition, but fears that society
is not yet prepared: the general
view of the abolitionist theory
is still considered to be utopian
and idealistic. Abolitionist theory
is often considered “unpalatable”
because, apart from the prescrip-
tion to lead vegan lifestyles, it will
not allow for any other action to
be taken – a commitment that
our society is not yet ready for.
Therefore, the stance of the
advocacy movement is that ani-
mals can only be helped by pur-
suing animal welfare regulation
(new welfarist position). New
welfarists live in the hope that
regulation will eventually lead to
abolition, and hope to achieve
this via incremental changes that
ought to lead to better welfare
and, ultimately, to abolition.
Francione describes the animal
rights movement as a confused
movement “when it allows the
so-called father of animal rights,
Peter Singer, to indirectly pro-
mote animal exploitation by con-
doning meat consumption”
Property paradigm and
animal welfare’s failings
Historically, animals have been
treated merely as the property
of humans. The principle that
animals are property – they are
goods to be bought and sold – is
deeply interwoven into the law.
As Lubinski
further points
out, treating animals as property
is not strictly a matter of law,
however, as it is also deeply
entrenched in western religion

and culture. Philosophers have
equally wrestled with the pro-
prietary nature of humanity’s
interactions with animals
Thus, to the law, religion and
philosophy, animals are chattels
whose destiny is directed by
humans. As property, they have
no i nterests i ndependent of
those assigned by humanity.
However, we can all appreci-
ate that animals are not just like
any other household property
Things that are merely property
can have no legal rights. The best
that “property” can hope for is
that those who own and use it
will establish rules to give it some
degree of protection, which is
generally done to protect the
“value” of the owner’s property.
In the case of animals, such
protection was to be granted in
various pieces of legislation that
were supposed to limit abuse,
but failed to do so.
The property status of animals
renders meaningless any attempt
to balance human and animal
interests, and the result is that
the level of care required by
animal welfare laws rarely rises
above the level that a rational
property owner would provide
to use the animal in an eco-
nomically efficient way. Animal
welfare laws generally do not
require that we accord any value
to animal interests unless to
do so will be beneficial for us.
The property status of animals
militates against the recognition
that animals have inherent value
and have interests that should
be respected, irrespective of any
human benefit
Animal welfare legislation

aims to prevent “unnecessary”
or “wilful” harm to animals. But,
as some authors have argued,
whether these rules are infringed
is always looked at by balancing
the rights of humans against the
interests of animals that have no
such rights
. Inevitably, there-
fore, the balance will always
be weighted in favour of the
human right holder
Francione is right to point
out that it is naive to believe
that changes in animal welfare
regulation will lead to abolition
Despite support in the form of
animal welfare regulation, as a
society we have progressed little
with regard to our treatment of
animals in the past 200 years. In
actual fact, we have taken a step
back and seem to have accepted
the treatment of animals accord-
ing to the Cartesian principle
when we look at the excesses
of confinement agriculture in
Europe and elsewhere.
Franci one bemoans t he
present cycle of welfare meas-
ure leading to more welfare
measures without addressing
the underlying problems
. He
argues: “The welfarist ‘successes’
of that time period have been
meaningless, both in terms of
shifting the property paradigm
and in terms of reducing the suf-
fering of animals now. Indeed,
I think that the welfarist move-
ment has actually made the pub-
lic feel more comfortable about
animal exploitation”
Francione is equally critical of
the World Trade Organisation’s
(WTO) trade rules, which, as
Peter Stevenson has highlighted,
have had maj or detri mental
impact on meas-
ures designed to
protect animals
The organisation
was f ormed i n
1995 with the aim
of making inter-
national trade a
smoother proc-
ess. But because
WTO rules pro-
hi bi t count ri es
from distinguishing
between products
on the basis of how they have
been produced, animal products
imported for sale in Europe do
not have to meet European
standards for animal welfare
As per Francione, the WTO
undercuts the whole argument of
animal welfare, as cheaper animal
products are allowed to be pro-
duced abroad in countries that
do not adhere to higher animal
welfare standards. These prod-
ucts will ultimately be allowed
to be imported into countries
that adhere to higher welfare
standards. If there is demand,
these cheaper and poorly pro-
duced products will still enter the
country. Free-trade agreements
prohibit the use of barriers. This
is another reason why Francione
supports the abolitionist idea,
stating: “The public have a vague
sympathy for animals but most
people are not willing to spend
more on animal products.”
Procrastination and question-
able welfare add-ons very much
dominate our current “welfarist”
regulation; the EU directive that
all pigs must have permanent
access to manipulable materials

addressing environmental enrich-
ment is a case in point. It does
nothing to address the underly-
ing problem of confinement
agriculture. And, although close-
confinement stalls for breeding
sows have been banned in the
UK since 1999, an EU-wide ban
on sow stalls is only to come fully
into force by 2013.
Although one could argue
that delays are inevitable when
the interests of several member
states have to be taken into
account, the UK itself is delaying
improvements unnecessarily (for
example, regarding the issue of
farrowing crates).
The UK position
i s ambi val ent

and, therefore, it
could be argued,
“ wel f a r i s t ” i n
nature. Only until
very recently, UK
producers were
campai gni ng to
delay the EU legis-
lation that will ban
battery cages in
. Although
veal crates have been banned
in the UK since 1990, the unac-
ceptable, yet seemingly accepted,
practice of shooting bull calves at
birth on dairy enterprises is yet to
be resolved
. According to one
press report, almost half a million
bull calves a year within the UK
are either shot on farm soon
after birth or will be exported
to continental veal farms
An industry that dispatches of
mal e progeny because they
are surplus to requirements

will have to give the abolitionist
ideal momentum.
Although the Animal Welfare
Act 2006 (England and Wales)
has certainly made a big differ-
ence in enforcing the law, it is
questionable whether improved
enforcement of welfare regula-
would allow us to progress
beyond the status quo.
Some European countries
have progressed further and,
although still welfarist in nature,
progress has been made, par-
ticularly where the law has been
amended to give animals special
protection. By adding the words
“and the animals” to its constitu-
Animal rights: property vs protection
considers various views on animal protection,
exploitation, legal rights and welfare legislation
continued on page 24
TABLE 1. The animal protectionist spectrum
Figures 1a
(left) and
1b. Foie gras
the right not
to be treated
as property?
“To the law, religion
and philosophy,
animals are chattels
whose destiny is
directed by humans.
As property, they
have no interests
independent of
those assigned by
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24 Veterinary Times
predominantly small animal
background and his main
interests are physiotherapy,
acupuncture and animal
welfare. He works in mixed
practice and primarily writes
on veterinary ethics and
animal-assisted therapy.
tion, Germany became the frst
country in the EU to guarantee
the highest level of legal pro-
tection to non-humans
. The
German Animal Protection Law
is consid-
ered among the strongest in
the world
. The law begins by
declaring an intent to “protect
the life and well-being of animals
as fellow creatures”
In addition, the German civil
code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch)
was expanded in 1990 to recog-
nise that: “Animals are not things.
They are protected by special
laws in that laws pertaining to
physical objects apply to them
only so far as there is no special
regulation concerning them”
Sweden has a long history of
detailed and progressive legisla-
tion relating to the welfare of
laboratory, farm and companion
animals. The frst ban on animal
abuse was issued in 1857 and, in
1944, complete animal welfare
legislation came into force
In many cases, the Swedi sh
legislation stretches beyond the
requirements of the EU direc-
tives for species for which the EU
has so far issued such directives.
The Swedish parliament long
ago passed an animal protec-
tion law that grants domestic
animals the right to a favour-
able environment where their
natural behaviour is protected.
Animal husbandry measures are
concentrated on keeping animals
healthy and content
. All cattle
are entitled to be put out to
graze if they are more than six
months old. Sows can no longer
be tethered, and there is provi-
sion that they should have suf-
fcient room to move. Separate
bedding, feeding and voiding
places are to be provided.
Breeding pigs should be given
the opportunity to stay outdoors
in the summer. Cows and pigs
must have access to straw and
litter in stalls and boxes. Live-
stock buildings must be fitted
with windows that let in light.
Technology must be adapted to
the animals – not the reverse
Conventional battery cages for
laying hens have been banned in
Sweden since 1988
, and most
egg producers have changed
to either modified cages with
perches, dust baths and nests, or
to aviary or barn systems.
Compared with the situation
in the US, European legislation
could be considered a success
story. The United States has
some of the weakest farm animal
welfare standards in the devel-
oped world – effectively exclud-
ing 98 per cent of animals from
welfare bills
. The weakness
of the US standards seems in
direct proportion to the eco-
nomic and political strength of
the agribusiness lobbyists.
The Animal Welfare Act is one
of the most important pieces of
animal-related federal legisla-
in the US in recent years. It
generally applies to animals used
in research and exhibitions, and
commercial breeders of dogs
and cats sold for research and the
pet trade
. However, the act
does not apply to animals raised
for food or food production
Twenty-ei ght states have
enacted laws that create a legal
realm whereby certain acts, no
matter how cruel, are outside
the reach of anti-cruelty statutes
as long as the acts are deemed
“accepted”, “common”, “custom-
ary” or “normal” farming prac-
. These statutes have given
producers the power to defne
cruelty to animals for themselves
– an example of the signifcant
trend in the US to remove legal
protection from animals raised
for food or food production
altogether. These unfortunate
animals do not receive the legal
protecti on from cruel ty that
other animals receive.
Similarly, certain states’ anti-
cruelty statutes also exclude
poultry, which represent an esti-
mated 95 per cent of the more
than seven billion farm animals
slaughtered annually. There is
also no federal law governing the
welfare of farmed animals on the
farm and the federal laws relating
to transport and slaughter are
also very problematic
It is equally not acceptable
that because of economic pres-
sure, animals farmed for food are
denied veterinary care
Only recently has the public
awoken to the extent of agri-
business shortcomings and our
transgressional use of animals.
Whether public dissent is driven
by an aesthetic dislike of “com-
mon farming practices” (includ-
ing foie gras production
, see
Figure 1) or an enlightenment
driven by the wish to reconnect
with nature and animals on an
ancient contract basis, a re-evalu-
ation of our relationship with ani-
mals may lead us to warm more
to the abolitionist idea. The
veterinary profession may have
to explain its position. Should
our duty to inform include a
demonstration of the absence of
a presumed presence of law?
1. In previous articles in this series,
we have explained various trains
of thought in society over recent
centuries. Immanuel Kant merely
thought of animals as “man’s instru-
ments”, deserving protection only to
help human beings in their relation
to one another
. We also highlighted
Jeremy Bentham’s school of thought,
suggesting that mistreatment of ani-
mals was akin to racial discrimination
(echoed by John Stuart Mill)
a. Kant I (1963), Lectures on Ethics
(translated by Louis Infield), New
York: Harper Torchbooks.
b. Bentham J, The Principles of Mor-
als and Legislation, chapter XVII,
section IV [–1781], Amherst, NY.
Prometheus (1988), at 310-311, and
John Stuart Mill, “Whewell on moral
philosophy,” in Mill J S and Bentham
J (1987), Utilitarianism and Other
Essays 228, 252, Ryan A (ed), New
York: Penguin.
2. For a definition of “rights”, see
3. “I think of a right as a claim that
someone has with respect to a par-
ticular interest. If I have the right to
liberty, that means I have the ability
to stop you from interfering with
that right. A right protects an interest
that can’t be compromised simply
because there would be benefcial
consequences if it were. It’s an inter-
est that’s considered so important
[that] it can’t be traded away.” Inter-
view with Gary Francione at http://
4. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
5. Francione uses the term “regula-
tion” rather than “animal welfare leg-
islation”. See http://veganfreakradio.
6. Also termed “agribusiness”, “indus-
trial agriculture” or “factory farming”.
See Cassuto D N: “Bred meat: the
cultural foundation of the factory farm”
7. See Lubinski J (2004), Introduction
to Animal Rights, Michigan State Uni-
versity, Detroit College of Law.
8. For defnitions of the terms in differ-
ent contexts, see http://en.wikipedia.
org/wiki/Abolitionism (context slav-
ery) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Abol i ti oni sm_%28bi oethi cs%29
(context bioethics).
9, 10. Regan T (2001), Defending Ani-
mal Rights, University of Illinois Press.
11. Francione G L, Animal Rights and
Animal Welfare, supra note 18 at 397.
12. Francione considers animal rights
organisations like PETA and promi-
nent individuals, such as Bernard
Rollin and Temple Grandin, to be
“new welfarists”, because some of
their efforts regarding the improve-
ment of animal welfare are bought by
serving ideas to producers on how to
maximise effciency in animal produc-
tion, rather than address the issue of
animal exploitation per se. See the
same reference as footnote fve.
13, 14. Francione G (1996), Rain
Without Thunder, Temple University
Press, supra note 46 at 36-37.
15. This refects the views of Jeremy
Bentham, the 19th century utilitar-
ian on whom Peter Singer bases his
theory. Bentham argued that although
animals could suffer and, therefore,
mattered morally, animals would not
care whether, for instance, we killed
and consumed them. According to
Bentham, animals only care about
how we treat them until we kill them
for their meat. This view – that it is
not the animal use per se, but their
treatment that matters – is, according
to Francione, the foundation of animal
welfare ideology and differs from the
animal rights position as we have
described it in this article. Francione
maintains that if animals have an
interest in continued existence (and
he argues that any sentient being
does), our use of them as human
resources, however “humanely” we
treat them, cannot be defended mor-
ally, and we should seek to abolish
and not regulate animal exploitation
16. The only right Francione per-
ceives to be important in the animal
rights debate is that of animals not to
be treated as property. He refers to
the moral obligation humans have in
this regard. He argues that institutional
exploitation merely exists because of
our use of animals as “things” (see
reference in footnote 15).
17. Same reference as footnote seven.
18. The autistic associate professor
of animal science at Colorado State
University has been involved for
a number of years with improving
design and safety issues in slaughter
plants. In Francione’s eyes, Grandin
represents a typical new welfarist.
Grandin has been quoted as saying: “I
think using animals for food is an ethi-
cal thing to do, but we’ve got to do it
right. We’ve got to give those animals
a decent life and we’ve got to give
them a painless death. We owe the
animal respect” (http://en.wikipedia.
or g / wi k i / Te mp l e _ Gr a n d i n ) .
Grandin’s expert opinion has been
recently sought following a PETA
undercover investigation at a kosher
slaughter plant (www.peta.org/feat/
proggy/2004/winners.html). Grandin
also oversees McDonald’s auditor
training (www.mcdonalds.com/corp/
19. The term seems to have first
been coined by Stephen Budiansky
(see “The ancient contract”, US
News and World Report, March 20,
1989: 74-79). It describes the early
symbiotic relationship man had with
animals: a mutually benefcial rela-
tionship between man and domes-
tic animal, based on good animal
husbandry, which would ultimately
ensure human survival. In “Thinking
in pictures”, Grandin comments on
the Budiansky article: “Recently I read
an article that had a profound effect
on my thinking […] It presented a
natural historical view of our evolv-
ing relationship with animals […]
People feed, shelter, and breed cattle
and hogs, and in return the animals
provide food and clothing. We must
never abuse them, because that
would break the ancient contract.
We owe it to the animals to give them
decent living conditions and a pain-
less death […]” (www.spinninglobe.
20. In Singer’s most recent book
– Singer P and Mason J (2006), The
Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices
Matter (1st edn), Rodale Books – he
and co-author Jim Mason claim that
society can be “conscientious omni-
vores” and exploit animals ethically
if, for example, we choose to eat the
meat of only animals that have been
well cared for and then killed without
pain or distress. For Francione this is
as much an unacceptable stance as
a fallacy and he remarks that such
a stance will inevitably lead to an
increase in consumption of animal
products. Francione further remarks
that an increased demand will exac-
erbate animal suffering. According
to Francione, the “consume with
conscience” approach merely serves
to perpetuate and legitimise the
consumption of animal products (see
same reference as footnote 15).
21. Francione comments: “We are
inflicting pain, suffering, and death
on billions of non-humans every
year. No one – including the most
convinced abolitionist – maintains
that we can stop that overnight or,
indeed, anytime soon. The issue
that confronts the advocate is what
to do now” (see same reference as
footnote 15). In this article, Francione
further suggests that campaigns that
would encourage consumers to eat at
least one vegan meal a day would be
much better than encouraging them
to eat “free range” meat, eggs or dairy
with every meal. He concludes: “The
message should be clear: veganism,
and not ‘compassionate consumption’
is the baseline principle of a move-
ment that promotes abolition.”
22. An interview with Gary Francione
(see reference at footnote fve) partly
refers to Singer and Mason’s book
(see reference in footnote 20). Meat
consumption per se has become a
contentious issue because of environ-
mental concerns and world hunger
and poverty (see www.ciwf.org/
Apart from his criticism aimed at
Singer, Francione equally criticises
PETA: “On one hand, PETA purports
to encourage veganism. On the other
n AnimAl rights: property vs
protection – from page 22
“Compared with the situation in the US,
European legislation could be considered a
success story. The United States has some of the
weakest farm animal welfare standards in the
developed world – effectively excluding 98 per
cent of animals from welfare bills.”
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VT38.20 master.indd 24 23/5/08 10:13:11
25 June 2, 2008
hand, PETA’s campaigns are, for the
most part, focused on traditional
welfare regulation and PETA actively
and confusingly promotes the con-
cept of ‘humanely’ produced animal
products” (see same reference as
footnote 15). Francione points out
that PETA seems to present vegan-
ism merely as an optional lifestyle
choice (which is often portrayed
as being difficult and only for the
committed few rather than as an
easy way to eliminate exploitation).
23. See reference
at footnote seven.
24. The Old Testa-
ment, for instance,
decrees that animals
ar e goods over
which humanity has
dominion (see King
James Bible, Book of
Genesis 1:20–25).
Thi s wi l l be di s-
cussed in the next
article in this series.
25. For John Locke,
for example, animals
wer e somet hi ng
common to the world, not unlike
the air we breathe – how could
something of that nature be legally
possessed by any one individual?
See Francione G (1994), Animals,
property and legal welfarism: “unnec-
essary” suffering and the “humane”
treatment of animals, Rutgers L Rev
46: 721, 733.
26. For a more detailed discussion
of animals status as property, see
Francione G (1995), Animals, Property
and the Law, Temple University Press.
See also Wise S M (1996), The legal
thinghood of nonhuman animals, B C
Envtl Aff L Rev 23: 471.
27. See discourse on the principle
of equal consideration of interests,
which has been discussed in previous
articles in this series.
28. Often termed “anti-cruelty legisla-
tion” in the United States.
29. See Fairfax C, What Legal Rights
for Animals (www.animalaid.org.
ALL/403//:). Fairfax seems content
with incremental progress and states:
“Only last year, the Home Offce pro-
duced a document in response to a
report from the Parliamentary Animal
Procedures Committee which recog-
nised that great apes have a ‘special
moral status’ which would preclude
them from being used in experi-
ments. […] Once it is accepted that
any species of non-human animal has
a status inconsistent with its treatment
as property then it must surely be a
small step to recognise that species
should be afforded true ‘rights’ and
the precedent is then set to extend
the same treatment to other non
human animal species.”
30. Taimie Bryant dissects this topic
elegantly in her article “Similarity
or difference as a basis for justice:
must animals be like humans to be
legally protected from humans?”
She presents the similarity argument
we have touched on in previously
articles – justice requires that animals
be protected from human (ab)use
because animals are similar enough
to humans to be given protections
similar to those that humans have
from each other (search for article
at www.law.duke.edu). A podcast of
the Animal Law Conference (at which
Bryant was a speaker), held in 2006,
can be found at http://realserver.law.
31. See Francione G (2000). Intro-
duction to Animal Rights: Your Child or
the Dog? Temple University Press.
32. The Cartesian view has already
been discussed in this series. For fur-
ther reading see Ibrahim D M (2007).
A return to Descartes: property,
proft and the corporate ownership
of animals, Arizona Legal Studies
Discussion Paper No 06-23, Law and
Contemporary Problems, 70: 87 (at
33. Battery hens that supply some
major fast-food chains may now
live in an area that is equivalent to a
square of about 8.5in, rather than the
industry standard – a square of about
7in. Francione states it would be
nonsense to claim that the existence
of a battery hen is anything but miser-
able (see reference
in footnote 15).
34. See reference in
footnote 15. Fran-
cione urges us to
pursue incremen-
tal change both on
an i ndi vi dual and
societal level, in a
manner consistent
with abolitionist phi-
losophy and within
the context of an
explicit recognition
of the inherent value
of animals.
35. See Peter Stevenson: “The World
Trade Organisation rules: a legal
analysis of their adverse impact on
animal welfare” (www.animallaw.info/
36. The WSPA remarks: “It is unreal-
istic to ask farmers in Europe to raise
their environmental and animal wel-
fare standards yet, at the same time,
allow goods from other countries that
don’t meet these standards to food
the market. If Europe wants higher
standards, then it must be prepared to
protect those standards in international
trade from cheaper imports from
countries which do not meet those
standards” (http://wspafarmwelfare.
37. See www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/
38. DEFRA states: “Nevertheless,
we should prefer, if possible, to avoid
the close confnement of all sows [...]
This is why we are funding research
to develop and test commercially
viable farrowing systems that do not
closely confne the sow, but provide
adequate protection to piglets. Some
such alternative systems seem prom-
ising in an experimental environment,
but in others, piglet mortality has
been unacceptably high. It remains
the case that results need to be
replicated consistently under com-
mercial conditions” (same reference
as footnote 37).
39. In January 2008, the European
Commission published its report
in which it recommended that the
ban on battery cages should not be
postponed, but should come into
force in 2012 as planned. Peter
Stevenson, chief policy advisor at
Compassion in World Farming, said:
“The directive gave farmers a very
generous 12 years to move away
from battery cages. It’s a scandal that
the industry has been pressing for
even more time. [...] The spotlight
now switches to powerful member
states like France, Spain and Poland,
all of which want the ban to be
postponed. The question is will they
accept the commission’s ruling or will
they try to overturn it and get the ban
put back or even scrapped? [DEFRA]
has made it clear that the UK does not
want the ban to be delayed.” Barren
battery cages confne laying hens in
small wire cages with less space than
an A4 sheet of paper each. These
conditions cause immense suffering
and leave hens unable to exercise or
to carry out many important natural
behaviours. Scientifc research shows
that battery cages severely compro-
mise hen welfare. See www.ciwf.
40. See also Roger Evans’ musings in
Veterinary Times (38.10 and 38.14).
41. See www.farmersguardian.com/
story.asp?storycode=15813 and
exports-stakeholder.shtml as well as
“UK calf transport and veal rearing”
by Claire Weeks (www.ciwf.org/pub-
_and_Veal_Rearing.pdf). In a new
initiative, some of the UK’s biggest
supermarkets will indirectly support
dairy farmers who are willing to rear
their bull calves to enter the domestic
supply chain in an attempt to make
up the current 250,000 tonne short-
fall in production each year in the
UK beef industry.
42. Compared with other European
countries, very little veal is eaten in
the UK, but only a small proportion
of that consumed is produced under
welfare-friendly systems in Britain.
Some supermarkets sell only British
veal, but many hotels, restaurants
and other caterers sell veal imported
from the continent. Thus, we may
be importing and eating meat pro-
duced under systems illegal in this
country. See farm animal information
(accessed via www.rspca.org.uk) and
43. This also applies to the chicken
meat and egg industry, where male
hatchlings are dispatched off. Male
day-old chicks of the laying breeds
are killed according to the Humane
Sl aughter Associ ati on’s Code of
Practice for the Disposal of Chicks in
Hatcheries (see www.hsa.org.uk and
previous articles by the author).
44. For further information, see “Sig-
nifcant gaps in contemporary animal
welfare legislation” (www.animal-law.
45. Engelsman S J (2005). World
leader – at what price? A look at
lagging American animal protection
laws, Pace Envtl L Rev 22: 329 (www.
46, 47. www.tierhelfer-ingelheim.
48. Art 1 Tierschutzgesetz.
49. Bürgerlichen Gesetzbuch 90a.
50. Ekesbo I (2003). Kompendium
i husdjurshygien (Syllabus in Animal
Hygiene), Department of Animal
Environment and Health, Faculty of
Veterinary Medicine, Swedish Uni-
versity of Agricultural Sciences.
51. Animal Welfare Institute, supra
note 13, at 305; Swedish Animal
Protection, cited in Swedish Ministry
of Agriculture Press Release (May 27,
1988). See also Lidfors L, Berg C and
Algers B (2005), Integration of natural
behaviour in housing systems, AMBIO:
A Journal of the Human Environment,
34(4): 325–330 (search for arti-
cle at http://ambio.allenpress.com).
52. Wolfson D J (1996), Beyond the
law: agribusiness and the systematic
abuse of animals raised for food pro-
duction (www.animallaw.info/articles/
53. A 10-year transition period fol-
lowed by a period where exemptions
could be made for individual farms.
Thus, there should be no more bat-
tery cages left in production today.
See Berg C and Hammarström M
(2006), The process of building a new
governmental authority based on
public demands for improved animal
welfare, Livestock Science, 103(3):
297-302, Ethics in Animal Agriculture.
54. See reference in footnote 52.
55. In the USA, there are several
tiers of legislation: federal laws apply
throughout the country, state laws
apply only in the relevant state, and
there may also be localised by-laws
or city/district laws. Federal law may
only be agreed in areas covered by
the constitution. Thus, most animal
protection laws are at state level.
56. 7 USC ss 2131-2159 (1994).
57. Section 2132(g) of the Animal
Figure 2. Mulesing. Are
food animals commodities
without rights or value?
“A re-evaluation of
our relationship
with animals
may lead us to
warm more to the
abolitionist idea.
The veterinary
profession may
have to explain its
continued overleaf
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