Acta Biotheoretica

, Volume 59, Issue 2, pp 139–152

Health and Welfare in Animals and Humans

Regular Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10441-011-9125-1

Cite this article as:
Nordenfelt, L. Acta Biotheor (2011) 59: 139. doi:10.1007/s10441-011-9125-1


This paper contains a brief comparative analysis of some philosophical and scientific discourses on human and animal health and welfare, focusing mainly on the welfare of sentient animals. The paper sets forth two kinds of proposals for the analysis of animal welfare which do not appear in the contemporary philosophical discussion of human welfare, viz. the coping theory of welfare and the theory of welfare in terms of natural behaviour. These proposals are scrutinized in the light of some similar theories dealing with human health and quality of life. My conclusion is that the coping theory and the natural behaviour theory are not in themselves adequate for the characterization of welfare, either for humans or for sentient animals. I contend, finally, that, in the light of the previous discussion, there are good arguments for a particular set of analyses of both animal and human welfare, viz. the ones that are based on the notions of preference satisfaction and positive subjective experiences.


Health Welfare Animals and humans Coping theory Theory of natural behaviour Theory of subjective experiences 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical and Health SciencesLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden

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