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Under the Microscope: Understanding Societys Perspectives on Animal Welfare

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Title: Under the Microscope: Understanding Societys Perspectives on Animal Welfare


1
Under the Microscope Understanding Societys
Perspectives on Animal Welfare
  • Gail C. Golab PhD, DVM, MACVSc (Animal Welfare)
  • Director, Animal Welfare Division
  • American Veterinary Medical Association

2
Topics to Address
  • How values and experiences influence animal
    welfare decisions
  • Cultural and historical contributions to defining
    human-animal relationships
  • The role of science in animal welfare decisions
  • Animal welfare assurance through public policy

3
Which is More Welfare Friendly?
  • 7x 2 individual stalls, movement restricted
  • Avg body condition score 2.8, low injury score
  • Sham chewing/bar biting evident
  • Individual observation
  • Concrete slatted floors
  • Electronic sow feeder
  • Social interaction possible
  • Inter-pig aggression ? injuries, scratches
  • BCS slightly variable
  • Concrete slatted floors

4
Which is More Welfare Friendly?
  • Large space, freedom of movement
  • Little inter-pig aggression, minimal injuries
  • BCS variable
  • Wind chill 25 below, shelter available

5
Which Do You Choose?
1
2
3
  • Which do you think these people would choose?
  • Veterinarians and scientists
  • Those in business to produce animals and their
    products
  • Your neighbor
  • Your public officials

Q
6
  • Everyones Choice is Framed By Their Values
  • Veterinarians and scientists
  • Businesses
  • Members of the Public
  • Public Officials

7
Understanding Your (and Their) Choice
Measures of health, growth and productivity
Measures of affective states (pain,
suffering, contentment)
Quantitative and qualitative comparisons to wild
or free-living conspecifics
1Adapted from Fraser D, Weary DM, Pajor EA, et
al. A scientific conception of animal welfare
that reflects ethical concerns. Anim Welf
19976187-205.
8
  • AndEveryones Choice is Conditioned By Their
    Experiences
  • Veterinarians and scientists
  • Businesses
  • Members of the Public
  • Public Officials

9
Understanding Their ViewpointVeterinarians and
Animal Scientists
  • What type of person is attracted toward a
    veterinary or animal science career?
  • Like precise measurements, less inclined toward
    the warm fuzzies
  • Compassionate, fascinated by/love animals
  • Able to work under unpleasant conditions (e.g.,
    blood, feces/urine, physical demands)
  • Training
  • Instills knowledge about the various types and
    uses of animals and exposes them to a variety of
    owners
  • Teaches them to respect species differences
  • Makes them very good at evaluating and predicting
    the responses of animals to various situations
  • Makes them conceptually more comfortable with
    some pain/discomfort

10
Understanding Their ViewpointEven veterinarians
and animal scientists come in different
flavors
  • Companion animalindividual animal focus care
    decisions framed by owner attachment and ability
    to pay, and generally not by market value
    advanced procedures in demand
  • Equinefocus is mixture of pleasure and function
    care decisions often framed by use advanced
    medical care available, but return on investment
    can be an important consideration
  • Food Supplyherd focus care decisions framed by
    goal of bringing product to market medical
    procedures limited by market value procedural
    outsourcing

11
Understanding Their ViewpointVeterinarians and
Animal Scientists
  • Laboratory Animalgroup focus care decisions
    affected by demands of research and regulation
    advanced procedures limited by value to and
    affect on research programs
  • Public practicemultiple stakeholder demands and
    factors
  • Advocacyanimal industry or humane groups
    expected to fully support the missions and aims
    of their particular group

12
Understanding Their Viewpoint Animal Use
Businesses
  • After WWII
  • Production/use costs ? (esp wages)
  • Prices ? (market forces)
  • Pressures on those involved in
  • animal use ? intensification
  • ? efficiency, emphasis on business
  • management
  • Specialization, few multiply-faceted
  • operations, contract operators emerge
  • Economy of scale/type, animals units or
    commodities
  • But
  • Respond to consumer purchasing behavior
  • (desired attributes vs cost)
  • Social responsibility initiatives

13
Understanding Their Viewpoint Public
  • Urbanization
  • Social shifts in family units
  • Increase in disposable income
  • Animals move from utility food/fiber/research
    to companions
  • Public vision of animals reflects CA experience
  • Potential for direct conflict with views of
    animal use businesses
  • But
  • Concern for food and drug/device availability and
    security/safety

14
Understanding Their Viewpoint Public Officials
  • Come from all walks of life with all kinds of
    experiences
  • In many areas majority are not familiar with the
    animal use industries and animal care practices
  • Most driven by a genuine desire to do the right
    thing
  • Butthey want to be re-elected/re-appointed
  • Therefore
  • Tremendous potential for stakeholder
  • influence
  • Activists
  • Animal use industries

15
Age and Gender Effects
  • Effect of social changes mean that younger
    generations are going to think differently than
    the older ones
  • Research shows that women tend to have more
    interest in and empathy for social issues. Animal
    welfare is a social issue.
  • As women and younger individuals move into
    decision-making positions, choices about how
    animals are cared for will change.

16
Position of the Veterinarian
17
  • Dealing with the conflicts is really about
    understanding how people define the human-animal
    relationship and what they perceive as their
    duties with respect to that relationship.

18
Human-Animal Relationships in Various Cultures
  • Hunter-gatherers
  • Animal use opportunistic
  • Animals inhabited by the spirits of the dead,
  • goal not to offend spirit
  • Pastoralism
  • Nomads
  • Non-terminal animal use
  • Animals usually herbivores
  • Animals focus of events and rituals
  • Agrarianism
  • Complex social organization, centers of activity
  • Raise crops and animals for food, but with
  • desire to create an ongoing source
  • Care ethic

19
Rationalizing Our Relationship With Animals
  • Mythology
  • Helps define relationship between people and
    animals
  • Helps resolve ethical conflicts of animal use
  • Reinforces how people think about proper conduct
    toward animals
  • Reflects popular beliefs of a culture (art and
    stories)
  • Remnants exist today

20
Animals and Religion
  • Christianity
  • Adam and Evewhole of creation participated in
    their fall nature is not perfect and is subject
    to the laws of natural selection
  • Noahs ArkFlood animals were part of a covenant
    for the future
  • Humankind has dominion over animals not based on
    power and control, but on stewardship and service
  • Judaism
  • Uses same Bible stories as Christianity, but the
    emphasis is on each creature having its proper
    place.
  • Creations parts are named and humans must behave
    toward them with justice and compassion (implies
    responsibility).
  • Food rules (how much based on view of animals and
    how much on food safety concerns?)

21
Animals and Religion
  • Islam
  • Allah makes creation happen and move humans are
    servants and agents of God.
  • As stewards, humans are trustees of creation and
    Allah rewards those who engage in responsible
    stewardship.
  • Animals are communities and nations of their own.
  • Goal of Halal is no pain before death.
  • Hinduism
  • Infuses the Ultimate (God) and nature
    togethermany Hindu gods reflect animal life.
  • Humankind is continuous with plants and animals
    certain animals may not be killed. Many Hindus
    are vegetarian.
  • Doing harm to others may result in being reborn
    as an animal, and animals may be reborn as people.

22
Animals and Religion
  • Buddhism
  • Sees animal life as sentient beings that suffer
    as we do if we harm them, we harm ourselves
  • Humans and animals are co-inhabitants of this
    planet and both have a right to the bounties of
    its environment
  • Everything is constantly changing and decaying,
    therefore we might experience what is like to be
    an animal through a rebirth most Buddhists are
    vegetarian or vegan

23
Increasing Social Complexity ? A Subject of Debate
  • Philosophy
  • Ancient
  • What animals were or were not capable of and what
    they were or were not owed
  • Aristotle 350 BC Animals cant reason
  • Modern
  • Attention to nature of the relationship, what is
    derived by both parties, and human responsibility
  • Jeremy Bentham 1789 The question is not, can
    the reason, nor can they talk, but rather can
    they suffer?
  • Popularization of ethical debate ? secular
    solutions for animal welfare concerns
  • Standards (guidelines, laws first in 1822,
    anti-cruelty for cattle, sheep, horses)
  • Protective societies

24
  • What have you noticed about the discussion of
    human-animal relationships so far?
  • Ive never once mentioned SCIENCE!

Q
25
So when and where did science come in?
  • Starting in the 1940s Broadening gulf between
    those involved in using animals on a daily basis
    for consumptive purposes and those who do not
  • Increasing need to justify and refine animal use
    ? push for measurement (science)

26
Emergence of Animal Welfare Science
  • Laboratory animals
  • 1940s and 1950s ? Increased public concern about
    vivisection, especially within the context of
    pets
  • 1954 UFAW commissions a systematic study of
    laboratory techniques in an ethical context
  • William Russell (zoologist, psychologist and
    classical scholar)
  • Rex Burch (microbiologist)
  • Published The Principles of Humane Experimental
    Technique in 1959, a detailed discourse on the 3
    Rs (refinement, reduction, and replacement)

27
Emergence of Animal Welfare Science
  • Farmed animals
  • 1964Ruth Harrison authors Animal Machines, which
    focused on modern intensive farming practices in
    Great Britain
  • Unnatural
  • Potential for suffering, ill health, and food
    safety problems
  • Life in the factory farm revolves
  • entirely around profits, and animals
  • are accessed purely for their ability
  • to convert food into flesh or
  • saleable products.
  • Resulted in massive public concern

28
Emergence of Animal Welfare Science
  • 1965Brambell Commission appointed
  • Farmers, veterinarians, animal protectionists,
    regulators
  • Identified science as a way to work through
    questions
  • Called for additional research
  • First funding for animal welfare science begins
    to flow
  • Technical report released
  • Principles included comment that An animal
    should at least have sufficient freedom of
    movement to be able, without difficulty, to turn
    around, groom itself, get up, lie down, and
    stretch its limbs first statement of the Five
    Freedoms

29
Assessing Animal Welfare Scientifically
  • How do we know animals are being treated well?
  • Physiologic and mental responses
  • Success in coping with conditions and practices
    associated with being kept
  • But what are the critical scientific
  • components?

30
Assessing Animal Welfare Scientifically
  • Five basic frameworks used by animal welfare
    scientists
  • Homeostatic (quality of function)
  • Feelings (affective states)
  • Animal choices
  • Nature of the species
  • Five Freedoms

31
Homeostatic
  • Quality of fitness
  • Measure physiologic and behavioral responses
  • Fitness costs of responses
  • Favored by veterinarians, scientists/researchers,
    animal use industries (e.g., producers, breeders)

32
Feelings (Sentience)
  • Measure emotions (challenging)
  • Link between visceral and cognitive processes
  • Emphasize
  • Reductions in negative responses (e.g., pain,
    fear)
  • Increases in positive responses (e.g.,
    pleasure, comfort)
  • Favored by humane advocates, cognitive
    scientists/psychologists, some behaviorists

33
Animal Choices
  • Examine motivations/preferences for resources
  • Space
  • Flooring
  • Nest site
  • Relate motivations to underlying needs/wants
  • Choice tests
  • Willingness to work for choice
  • Results may reflect immediate needs, can be
    situation-dependent
  • Favored by more recently trained animal welfare
    scientists, behaviorists

34
Nature of the Species
  • Look for natural environs and behaviors
  • Can be difficult to define what natural means
  • When is natural necessary for the animal (e.g.,
    wild versus domestic)?
  • Customized animal types
  • Favored by consumers in industrialized countries,
    those uncomfortable with invasion of technology

35
Five Freedoms
  • Ideal welfare five conditions met (Farm Animal
    Welfare Council)
  • Freedom from hunger and thirst
  • Freedom from discomfort
  • Freedom from pain, injury, and disease
  • Freedom to express normal behavior
  • Freedom from fear and distress
  • Generally not possible to fulfill all five
    simultaneously
  • Meld of homeostatic, feelings, and natural
    approaches therefore, may be more comprehensive
    and have wider appeal
  • Accrues benefits/problems of those approaches

36
Some Additional Comments
  • Welfare is assessed across a continuum
  • Need met good welfare
  • Need not met poor welfare
  • Wants ????
  • Assessments may look at
  • What is provided for animal (inputs/resource
    measures) ? engineering standards
  • Effects of inputs on welfare performance
    (outputs/animal measures) ? performance standards
  • Assessments should consider
  • Severity of welfare concerns
  • Duration concerns have existed
  • Number of animals affected
  • Risks versus benefits

37
Does Scientific Framework Solution to Problem?
Q
38
Summary of Freedoms Assessment1
1Adapted from Kelly Lunds Welfare review of
alternatives to gestation stalls, Alberta
Agriculture Food and Rural Development, August
15, 2002
39
The Scientific Decision
  • The consequences for welfare of housing pigs in
    stalls for varying durations should be evaluated.
    Because stall housing is a controversial issue
    from the view of public perception, but may have
    reproductive and welfare advantages, housing in
    stalls for a defined period that is considerably
    less than the period of gestation may be a
    reasonable compromiseThere is no scientific
    evidence to support the recommendation in the
    Code of Practice advising against housing sows in
    stalls followed by housing in crates.
  • A Review of the Welfare Issues for Sows and
    Piglets In Relation to Housing
  • Barnett JL, Hemsworth PH, Cronin GM, et al.
  • Aust J Agric Res 2001521-28.
  • Since overall welfare appears to be better when
    sows are not confined throughout gestation, sows
    should be preferably kept in groups. However,
    only housing systems resulting in minimal
    aggression or injury should be used.No
    individual pen should be used which does not
    allow the sow to turn around easily.
  • The Welfare of
    Intensively Kept Pigs

  • Report of the Scientific Veterinary Committee,
  • European Commission, September 30, 1997

40
Science and AW Decisions
  • What science can do
  • Determine risks associated with certain animal
    care practices
  • Recognize differences/limitations in scientific
    assessment models
  • Incorporate cross-disciplinary research (e.g.,
    animal science, veterinary medicine, behavior) to
    improve understanding
  • What science cannot do
  • Determine what type or level of risk is
    acceptable

41
What Risk IS Acceptable?
  • Most cultures and individuals agree that use of
    animals for human purposes is appropriate
  • Most cultures and individuals agree that people
    have a responsibility to ensure that animals are
    treated well
  • Acceptability, however, is a value judgment,
    and

76
2003 Gallup Poll
64
61
62
35
38
35
22
strict laws on treatment of farmed animals
banning product testing on lab animals
banning medical research on lab animals
banning all types of hunting
42
Values Related to Animal Use and Care Are Diverse
Animal Use (animals exist for our responsible
useour needs trump theirs)
Animal Exploitation (animals are our absolute
property)
Animal Control (responsible use enforcement of
laws)
Animal Welfare (duty to ensure animals are
treated kindly)
Animal Liberation (eliminate all types of animal
use)
Animal Rights (intrinsic rights that must be
guaranteed)
As derived from Katherine B. Morgan, Community
Animal Control, Kansas City, MO
Q
43
SoWhat is Ultimately Acceptable
  • May be different for different segments of
    society, which may lead to conflicts between
    those segments
  • Animal welfare decisions include consideration
    for
  • Personal values
  • Public/cultural sensibilities
  • Practicalities
  • and Science (if available, presented
    appropriately, and embraced)

44
Some Words to the Wise
  • Science itself is not value-free
  • Can be biased toward specific value frameworks
  • Can be biased by positive benefits associated
    with a particular outcome
  • Can reflect underlying values for public funding
    (e.g., expeditious production of needed drugs and
    medical devices, safe and wholesome food,
    improved efficiency)
  • Different values generally represent legitimate
    differences with respect to our views and
    treatment of animals the exception would be
    when those values lead to activities that are
    destructive
  • Values, however, dont tell us the actual effects
    on the animal ? thats where science can really
    help (if we let it and apply it appropriately)

45
Societal Assurance
  • Concerns about animal welfare are generally
    accompanied by a need to do something
  • That something often ends up being public
    policy
  • Public policy solutions can include
  • Voluntary processes (often market-driven e.g.,
    retailers social responsibility initiatives,
    brand/product differentiation)
  • Legislative/regulatory processes
  • and can be
  • Local, regional, national or international in
    scope
  • Assurance confidence in the effectiveness of
    the solution

46
Typical Path to AW Policy Solutions in the US
Preferred solution
Cultural characteristics
Debate
Research (science, opinion)
Contrasting agendas
Precipitating event
47
Some Tough Current AW Public Policy Questions
  • Housing systems

X
?
48
Some Current AW Public Policy Questions
  • The good partIt considers animals behavioral
    needs, which have tended to be overlooked in
    deference to high production, animal health and
    food safety
  • The problemIt doesnt include consideration for
    other factors affecting the welfare of laying
    hens

49
Some Tough Public Policy Questions
  • Efforts to ban horse slaughter
  • Horsesemotional morph from livestock to
    companion animals
  • Not consistent with human consumption, which has
    lead to efforts to ban
  • Ancillary problemtoo many horses and slaughter
    serves as one of few options for disposal
  • Overbreeding
  • Insufficient space in sanctuaries
  • Second career option desirable, but opportunities
    may be limited

50
Some Tough Public Policy Questions
  • Closing of slaughter houses means more horses
    shipped to Mexico and Canada
  • August 30, 2007 August 30, 2008
  • Slaughter 29,945 36,097
  • Geldings 2,275 1,691
  • Breeding males 281 1,712
  • Breeding females 446
    2,835
  • Burro/mule/pony 1
    115
  • Totals 28,948 42,450

51
Some Tough Public Policy Questions
  • Drought and high hay prices have aggravated the
    problem, leading to reports of neglect
  • and abandonment
  • Prohibitions on transport to slaughter
  • Unlikely to be effectiveincreased transport of
    breeding stallions/mares and pleasure horses to
    Mexico
  • By August 30, 2007
  • Breeding stallions 281
  • Breeding mares 446
  • By August 30, 2008
  • Breeding stallions 1,712
  • Breeding mares 2,835

52
Why Such Approaches to AW Public Policy Can Fail
the Animal
  • Protecting animal welfare means doing what you
    can to meet the animals needsphysical and
    mental
  • Components of animal care systems do not exist in
    a vacuumeach affects the system as a whole.
  • Choosing among animal production systems involves
    trade-offs (e.g., ? behavioral freedom ? ? risks
    of injury and disease)

53
Why Such Approaches to Public Policy Can Fail the
Animal
  • Choosing appropriate animal production systems is
    also a balancing act involving animal needs,
    human needs (including occupational health and
    safety), food safety, environmental concerns, and
    economics.
  • In shortwe cant afford to fail to see the
    forest for the trees

54
Summary How Society Tackles Animal Welfare
  • We develop thinking based on philosophy,
    beliefs and what we think is best for ourselves
    and others, human and not
  • Attempt to apply these principles to our use and
    treatment of animalsthen we
  • Justify the approaches with science, philosophy
    and a laundry list of other componentsthen we
  • Attempt to convince (or compel) others to adhere
    to a particular paradigm.
  • Our responsibility and challengemaking sure our
    paradigm actually translates into good welfare
    for the animal

55
Where to Look for More Information on Specific
Topics
  • AVMA animal welfare Web section
  • www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfare/default.asp
  • AVMA animal welfare policies
  • www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfare/policies.asp
  • Animal welfare backgrounders
  • www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfare/backgrounders.a
    sp
  • Upcoming meetings/activities
  • www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfare/meetings.asp
  • Additional resources
  • www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfare/related_links.a
    sp

56
Thank You For Your Time and Attention
Please Let Us Know What We Can Do To Help
You ggolab_at_avma.org
Have the courage to act, instead of react
Oliver Wendell Holmes
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