Animal pleasure and its moral significance

This paper presents arguments for, and evidence in support of, the important role of pleasure in animals’ lives, and outlines its considerable significance to humankind’s relationship to other animals. In the realms of animal sentience, almost all scholarly discussion revolves around its negative aspects: pain, stress, distress, and suffering. By contrast, the positive aspects of […]

Science-based assessment of animal welfare: farm animals

Animal welfare is to do with the feelings experienced by animals: the absence of strong negative feelings, usually called suffering, and (probably) the presence of positive feelings, usually called pleasure. In any assessment of welfare, it is these feelings that should be assessed. Because feelings are subjective, they cannot be investigated directly. However, there are […]

Animal welfare: Concepts and measurement

The term “welfare” refers to the state of an individual in relation to its environment, and this can be measured. Both failure to cope with the environment and difficulty in coping are indicators of poor welfare. Suffering and poor welfare often occur together, but welfare can be poor without suffering and welfare should not be […]

From an animal’s point of view: Motivation, fitness, and animal welfare

Using aversion learning techniques to assess the mental state, suffering, and welfare of farm animals

The extent that handling farm animals causes them to suffer is a central concern when assessing their welfare. “Suffering” is a mental state, resulting from different emotions, such as fear, pain, or boredom, which have different causes and effects on the animal’s behavior and physiology. What is common is that they are aversive; animals will […]

The assessment and implementation of animal welfare: theory into practice.

This paper reviews the procedures and protocols necessary for the development of a practical programme for the assessment and implementation of animal welfare on farms and in other commercial situations. An effective programme must incorporate measures of both husbandry and welfare. Most current systems are based almost entirely on measures of husbandry provision, e.g. resources […]

Behavioural deprivation: a central problem in animal welfare

A key issue in animal welfare is whether keeping animals in conditions where they cannot or do not perform behaviour typical of more naturally-kept members of their species causes them to suffer. Various measures have been used to resolve this issue. The cost an animal is prepared to pay for the opportunity to perform different […]

The implications of cognitive processes for animal welfare

In general, codes that have been designed to safeguard the welfare of animals emphasize the importance of providing an environment that will ensure good health and a normal physiological and physical state, that is, they emphasize the animals’ physical needs. If mental needs are mentioned, they are always relegated to secondary importance. The argument is […]

Ethology applied to animal ethics

According to modern animal welfare legislation, animals should be protected from suffering and lasting harm not for the benefit of us humans as in earlier anthropocentric conceptions, but in their own interest. The driving force behind animal protection is our empathy with animals which triggers feelings of compassion. Empathy with animals most likely is a […]

Welfare by design: The natural selection of welfare criteria

The scientific study of animal welfare has generated a welter of complex, equivocal and often contradictory results. Consequently, there is little agreement about how impairment of welfare should be measured. While some solutions to this have been suggested, these have usually relied on more sophisticated versions of, or more control over, existing measures. However, we […]