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The globalisation of farm animal welfare

Author(s) : D. Fraser

Summary :

Animal welfare has achieved significant global prominence for perhaps three reasons. First, several centuries of scientific research, especially in anatomy, evolutionary biology and animal behaviour, have led to a gradual narrowing of the gap that people perceive between humans and other species; this altered perception has prompted grass-roots attention to animals and their welfare, initially in Western countries but now more globally as the influence of science has expanded. Second, scientific research on animal welfare has provided insights and methods for improving the handling, housing and management of animals; this ‘animal welfare science’ is increasingly seen as relevant to improving animal husbandry worldwide. Third, the development and use of explicit animal welfare standards has helped to integrate animal welfare as a component of national and international public policy, commerce and trade. To date, social debate about animal welfare has been dominated by the industrialised nations. However, as the issue becomes increasingly global, it will be important for the non-industrialised countries to develop locally appropriate approaches to improving animal welfare, for example, by facilitating the provision of shelter, food, water and health care, and by improving basic handling, transportation and slaughter.

Animal husbandry – Animal welfare – Culture – Legislation – Science – Standards – Trade.

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