Seeing the Animal: On the Ethical Implications of De-animalization in Intensive Animal Production Systems

  • Jes Lynning HarfeldEmail author
  • Cécile Cornou
  • Anna Kornum
  • Mickey Gjerris


This article discusses the notion that the invisibility of the animalness of the animal constitutes a fundamental obstacle to change within current production systems. It is discussed whether housing animals in environments that resemble natural habitats could lead to a re-animalization of the animals, a higher appreciation of their moral significance, and thereby higher standards of animal welfare. The basic claim is that experiencing the animals in their evolutionary and environmental context would make it harder to objectify animals as mere bioreactors and production systems. It is argued that the historic objectification of animals within intensive animal production can only be reversed if animals are given the chance to express themselves as they are and not as we see them through the tunnel visions of economy and quantifiable welfare assessment parameters.


Ethics Experience De-animalization Objectification Animal welfare 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jes Lynning Harfeld
    • 1
    Email author
  • Cécile Cornou
    • 2
  • Anna Kornum
    • 3
  • Mickey Gjerris
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre for Applied PhilosophyAalborg UniversityAalborg CDenmark
  2. 2.Faculty of Health and Medical SciencesUniversity of CopenhagenFrederiksberg CDenmark
  3. 3.Department of Resource and Food Economics, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of CopenhagenFrederiksberg CDenmark

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