Journal of agricultural ethics

, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 323–347 | Cite as

Ecological, ethological, and ethically sound environments for animals: Toward symbiosis

  • M. Kiley-Worthington


There are inconsistencies in the treatment and attitudes of human beings to animals and much confusion in thinking about what are appropriate conditions for using and keeping animals. This article outlines some of these considerations and then proposes guidelines for designing animal management systems. In the first place, the global and local ecological effects of all animal management systems must be considered and an environment designed that will not rock the biospherical boat. The main points to consider are the interrelatedness of living things with each other and the environment, the self-sustaining nature of ecosystems, and the importance of diversity in the stability and maintenance of ecosystems. These can and should be taken into account when assessing animal management. They are illustrated by examples of companion/urban dogs, as well as farm, zoo, and circus animals. The environment must also be considered from the point of view of the ethological needs of the animals. There are two possible approaches to this: (1) the reductionist approach, illustrated by the choice experimental tests; and (2) a holistic, evolutionist approach that concentrates on the degree of behavioral restriction and the identification of distress. The assessment of an animal's ethological needs, and thus the ethological soundness of an environment, must take into account the species needs (communication system, species-specific characteristics of the brain receptors and cognition) and the individual's needs (his past experience). The behavioral effects of domestication and how distress can be assessed are discussed. Different ethical positions toward animals and their treatment are briefly outlined, and it is argued that, provided animals are in ecologically and ethologically sound environments, their use by human beings is ethically acceptable. The animal-human association should be characterized by symbiosis—mutual benefit—rather than a parasitic or exploitative relationship—employer to employee, rather than master to slave.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Attfield, R. 1983.The ethics of environmental concern. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  2. Balfour, E. B. 1975.The living soil. London: Faber and Faber.Google Scholar
  3. Beilharz, W. 1988. Breeding birds to excel in modern farming systems.Proc. Pouth. Inform. Ex. Queensland: Goldcoast, 139–146.Google Scholar
  4. Blaxter, K. 1976. The use of resources.Anim. Prod. 23:267–279.Google Scholar
  5. Broom, D. 1983. Stereotypes as animal welfare indicators. InIndicators relevant to farm animal welfare, ed. D. Smidt. Holland: Martinus Nijhoff.Google Scholar
  6. Campbell, W. E. 1975.Behavioural problems of dogs. Santa Barbara, CA: Amer. Vet. Publ.Google Scholar
  7. Church, R. M., and W. H. Meck. 1984. The numerical attribute of stimuli. InAnimal cognition. ed. H. C. Roitblatt, T. Beaver, and H. S. Terrace. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  8. Clarke, S. 1976.The moral status of animals. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Danzer, R. 1986. Behavioral, physiological and functional aspects of stereotyped behaviour. A review and reinterpretation.Journal of Animal Science 62:1776–1786.Google Scholar
  10. Dickinson, A. 1980.Contemporary animal learning theory. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Dumont, R., and B. Rosier. 1969.The hungry future. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  12. Duncan, I. J. W. 1970. Frustration in the fowl. InAspects of poultry behaviour, ed. B. M. B. Freeman and R. F. Gordon, 15–31. Edinburgh: Poult. Sci. Holland: Martinus Nijhoff.Google Scholar
  13. Duncan, I. J. W., and M. S. Dawkins. 1983. The problem of assessing “well-being” and suffering in farm animals. InIndicators relevant to farm animal welfare, 13–24.Google Scholar
  14. Duncan, I. J. W., and C. Petherick. 1989. Society, Veterinary Ethology. Bristol, July.Google Scholar
  15. Erlich, P., and A. Erlich, 1982.Extinction. London: Victor Gollanz.Google Scholar
  16. Erlich, P., A. Erlich, and J. P. Holden. 1977.Eco-science. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman.Google Scholar
  17. Frank, H., and M. G. Frank. 1982. Comparison of problem-solving performance in six week old wolves and dogs.Animal Behavior 30:95–98.Google Scholar
  18. Frank, H., L. M. Hasselbach, and D. M. Littleton. 1987. Socialized versus unsocialized wolves (Canis lupus) in experimental research. InAdvances in animal welfare science, 1986–87, ed. M. W. Fox and L. D. Mickley, 33–50. Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff.Google Scholar
  19. Frey, R. G. 1983.Rights, killing and suffering. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  20. Furness, R. W., and P. Monyihan. 1987.Seabird ecology. Glasgow: Blackie.Google Scholar
  21. Griffin, D. R. 1984.Animal thinking. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Government Statistics on Agriculture. 1988. London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  23. Harrison, R. 1964.Animal machines. London: Vincent Stuart.Google Scholar
  24. Hearne, V. 1986.Adam's task: Calling animals by name. London: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  25. Herrnstein, R. J. 1979. Acquisition, generalization and discrimination reversal of natural concepts.Journal of Experimental Psychology of Animal Behaviour Processes 5:116–125.Google Scholar
  26. Hughes, B., and I. T. H. Duncan. 1988. The notion of ethological need. Models of motivation and and animal welfare.Animal Behavior. 36:1696–1707.Google Scholar
  27. International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM). 1985. W. Germany, 1987, Santz Cruz, CA.Google Scholar
  28. Jensen, P. 1986. Normal and abnormal behaviour of animals. InEthics of animal experimentation. Acta. physiol. scand. 128. ed. M. Thelestran and A. Gunnarsson, 11–23.Google Scholar
  29. Jerison, H. 1973.Evolution of brain and intelligence. London: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  30. Kamil, A. C. 1984. Adaptation & cognition: Knowing what comes naturally. InAnimal cognition. ed. H. C. Roitblatt, T. Beaver, and H. C. Terrace, 533–544. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  31. Kiley-Worthington, M. 1969. Some displays in ungulates, canids and felids. Ph.D. thesis. University of Sussex, England.Google Scholar
  32. Kiley-Worthington, M. 1977. The behavioural problems of farm animals. Stockton: Oriel Press.Google Scholar
  33. Kiley-Worthington, M. 1980. Problems of modern agriculture.Food Policy, August, 208–215.Google Scholar
  34. Kiley-Worthington, M. 1983a. Ecological agriculture. A case study of an ecological farm in the south of England.Biology, Agriculture and Horticulture 2:101–133.Google Scholar
  35. Kiley-Worthington, M. 1983b. The behaviour of confined calves raised for veal: Are these animals distressed?International Journal for the Study of Animal Problems 4:198–213.Google Scholar
  36. Kiley-Worthington, M. 1986. Okologis che Ethologie und Ethik der Tierhaltung. InOkologische Tierhaltung, ed: H. H. Sambraus, E. Boehncke, 35–56. Müller Karlsruh.Google Scholar
  37. Kiley-Worthington, M. 1987.The behaviour of horses in relation to management and training. London: J. A. Allen.Google Scholar
  38. Kiley-Worthington, M. 1990.Animals in zoos and circuses. London: Little Ash.Google Scholar
  39. Kiley-Worthington, M. In press. Symbiotic animal management, can it work?African Development, 9.Google Scholar
  40. Kiley-Worthington, M., and S. de la Plain. 1983.The behaviour of beef suckler cattle. Basel: Birkhuser Verlag.Google Scholar
  41. Kilner, P. 1975. Bread basket for the Middle east.African Development 9:9–11.Google Scholar
  42. Midgeley, M. 1981.Animals and why they matter. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.Google Scholar
  43. Miller, G. A. 1981.Language and speech. New York: Feeman.Google Scholar
  44. Ministry of Agriculture. 1989. London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  45. Morton, A. 1987. Weighing death against pain in people and animals. Paper presented at applied philosophy workshop on Ethics in Veterinary Medicine, Glasgow, March.Google Scholar
  46. Odum, E. P. 1971.Fundamentals of ecology. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders.Google Scholar
  47. Passmore, J. 1974.Man's responsibility for nature. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.Google Scholar
  48. Paton, W. 1984.Man and mouse. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Pearce, S. 1988.Animal cognition. Longmans.Google Scholar
  50. Petherick, C., S. M. Rutter, and I. H. J. Duncan. 1989. Push-door for measuring motivation. Abstract. Bristol: Society for Veterinary Ethology. July.Google Scholar
  51. Regan, T. 1983. Animal rights, human wrongs. InEthics and animals, ed. H. B. Miller and W. H. Williams, 19–44. Clifton, NJ: Humana.Google Scholar
  52. Roitblatt, H. L., T. Beaver, and H. S. Terrace, eds. 1984.Animal cognition. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  53. Rollin, B. E. 1981.Animal rights and human morality. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus.Google Scholar
  54. Rollin, B. E. 1989.Animal consciousness, animal pain and scientific change. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  55. Rolston. 1983. Values gone wild.Inquiry 181–207.Google Scholar
  56. Routley, V. 1975. Critical notice of Jon Passmore'sMan's responsibility for nature.Australian Journal of Philosophy 53:171–185.Google Scholar
  57. Rowan, A. 1986. Animal awareness. Are animals anxious? Paper presented at Delta Society Congress, Living Together: People, Animals and the Environment, Boston.Google Scholar
  58. Saponziz, S. E. 1987.Morals, reason and animals. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  59. Savage, S., and H. Rumbaugh. 1984. Acquisition of functional symbol usage in apes and children. InAnimal cognition. ed. H. C. Roitblatt, T. Beaver, and H. C. Terrace. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  60. Scott, J. P., and S. L. Fuller. 1964. Genetics and the social behaviour of the dog. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  61. Selye, H. 1956.The physiology and pathology of exposure to stress. Chicago: Acta Inc.Google Scholar
  62. Sharpe, R. 1987. The cruel deception. InAdvances in animal welfare science, 1986/87, 9–18.Google Scholar
  63. Sherpell, J. 1986.In the company of animals. Oxford: Blackwell's.Google Scholar
  64. Shoard, M. 1980.The theft of the countryside. London: Temple Smith.Google Scholar
  65. Shumaker, E. F. 1974.Small is beautiful. London: Abacus.Google Scholar
  66. Singer, P. 1976.Animal liberation. London: Johnathan Cape.Google Scholar
  67. Stamp-Dawkins, M. 1980.Animal suffering. The science of animal welfare. London: Chapman and Hall.Google Scholar
  68. Stamp-Dawkins, M. 1989. From an animal's point of view. Consumer demand theory and animal welfare.Behavior and Brain Science. In press.Google Scholar
  69. Stolba, A., and D. Wood-Gush. 1981. Verhaltensgliederung und Reaction auf Neurreise als ethologische Kriterien zuer Beurteiliung von Hattungs begingungen. InAngewandte ethologie bei haustieren. K. T. B. L. Damstadt.Google Scholar
  70. Thomas, K. 1984.Man and the natural world. Changing attitudes in England, 1500–1800. Hammondsworth, NY: Penguin.Google Scholar
  71. Thorpe, W. H. 1965. The assessment of pain and stress in animals. Report of the Technical Committee to Enquire into the WElfare of Animals Kept under Intensive Livestock Systems. Chairman: R. W. R. Brambell. 2836. HMSO.Google Scholar
  72. Tolman, E. C., and C. H. Honzik. 1930. Introduction and removal of reward, and maze performance in rats.Univ. Cla. Publ in Psychology 4:257–275.Google Scholar
  73. Turnbull, C. 1980.The forest people. London: Paladin.Google Scholar
  74. Ulrich, I. 1966. Pain as a cause of aggression.American Zoology 6: 643–662.Google Scholar
  75. Universities Federation of Animal Welfare (UFAW). 1981.Alternative to intensive husbandry systems. Potters Bar.Google Scholar
  76. Universities Federation of Animal Welfare (UFAW). 1988. Behavioral needs of farm animals.Appl. Animal Behav. Sci. 19:339–386.Google Scholar
  77. Walker, S. 1983.Animal thought. New York: Routledge & Kegan.Google Scholar
  78. Wiepkema, P. R. 1983. On the significance of ethological criteria for the assessment of animal welfare. InIndicators relevant to farm animal welfare. Holland: Martinus Nijhoff, 152–162.Google Scholar
  79. Zayan, R. 1986. Assessment of pain in animals. Epistomological comments. EEC Report, 9742.EN.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Taylor & Francis 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Kiley-Worthington
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.School of AgricultureUniversity of EdinburghScotland
  2. 2.Little Ash Eco-FarmThrowleigh, Okehampton

Personalised recommendations