Animal Welfare and the Acknowledgment of Cultural Differences

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Pigs are considered sentient beings that have a mental capability that warrants attention to their welfare. Cultural values towards animal welfare differ in world regions. Still, authors have argued for worldwide harmonization of animal welfare rules. At the same time, the focus of many animal welfare rules do not address the most significant problems on modern commercial pig farms. The foci of animal welfare rules are often on space (quantity and quality), acute painful practices, equipment, and caretaker behavior. However, most serious animal welfare issues are related to episodic events such as compromised pigs, lack of appropriately skilled staff, and human behavior (or lack thereof) towards animals. Modern technologies such as image, sound, and building oversight by automated systems can potentially provide better individual pig care. The future should bring us solutions to identify and resolve episodic negative animal welfare events. The other issues of space and painful practices are best improved by using science-based solutions. We propose that science be the key resource to making animal welfare decisions, but with a healthy appreciation and respect for cultural differences in our views of animals and the economic impact of rules. Colonialism is not viewed positively today, and economic neo-colonialism should not be allowed to replace it. Respect for cultural differences should play a role in animal welfare rules within and among countries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number474
JournalAnimals
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022

Keywords

  • Pigs
  • Sustainability
  • Welfare

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