Advertisement

The Ethics of Farming Flightless Birds

  • G. Tulloch
  • C. J. C. Phillips
Chapter
Part of the Animal Welfare book series (AWNS, volume 11)

Abstract

The ethics, or morality, of farming a relatively novel and undomesticated group of animals, the ratites, is considered. Ethical considerations for animal management centre on their right to life, bodily health and integrity, opportunity to use their senses and emotions, to have affiliations with conspecifics and be part of a worldwide species network, to play and to have control over one’s environment. Ratites are considered to present greater ethical problems compared to conventional animal farming because of their inherent unsuitability for farming for meat and other products and their limited level of domestication. This unsuitability arises principally from their large size, slow maturation and limited social structure relative to other farmed birds. The absence of a domestication influence to reduce aggression and flight distance means that they have a significant potential to inflict damage on themselves, their handlers and conspecifics. Bodily mutilations, such as declawing may mitigate damage to others, but is ethically questionable because of potential welfare impact and offence to integrity. It is concluded that significant ethical concerns surround ratite farming that make the practice of dubious value as a means of producing food and leather with due respect to the animals’ needs.

Keywords

Ethics Morality Ostrich Ratites 

References

  1. Bentham J (1789) Principles of morals and legislation. Clarendon, LondonGoogle Scholar
  2. Darwin C (1859) On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. John Murray, LondonGoogle Scholar
  3. Deeming D (1998) A note on effects of gender and time of day on the winter time-activity budget of adult ostriches (Struthio camelus) in a farming environment. Appl Anim Behav Sci 59:363–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Deeming DC (2011) Incubation and chick rearing. In: Glatz P (ed) The welfare of farmed ratites. Springer, HeidelbergGoogle Scholar
  5. Descartes R (1901) Meditations on first philosophy (first published in Latin and French in 1641). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, Edited John VeitchGoogle Scholar
  6. Hoffman LC, Lambrechts H (2011) Bird handling, transportation, lairage and slaughter: implications for bird welfare and meat quality. In: Glatz P (ed) The welfare of farmed ratites. Springer, HeidelbergGoogle Scholar
  7. Kamau JM, Patrick BT, Mushi EZ (2002) The effects of mixing and translocating juvenile ostrich chicks (Struthio camelus) in Botswana on the heterophil to lymphocyte ratio. Trop Anim Heal Prod 34:249–256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Kant I (1997) The Cambridge edition of the works of Immanuel Kant. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  9. Kofron CP (1999) Attacks to humans and domestic animals by the southern cassowary (Casuarius casuarius johnsonii) in Queensland. Aust J Zoo 249:375–381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Meng J (2009) ‘Origins of Attitudes of Animals’. Google book online http://jmeng.goodeasy.info/publications/readOAA.php, accessed 5 April
  11. Meng J, Hao LP, Hou H, Illmannová G, Alonso ME, Hanlon A, Aldavood SJ, Choe BI, Lee GL, Handziska A, Kjastad H, Lund V, Olsson A, Rehn T, Keeling LJ, Pelagic VR, Kennedy M, Phillips CJC (2009) Attitudes to animals in Eurasia: the identification of different types of animal protection through an international survey. Abstract number IS OP061, In: Proceedings of the Minding Animals Conference, Newcastle, JulyGoogle Scholar
  12. Meyer A, Cloete SWP, Brown CR, van Schalkwyk SJ (2002) Declawing ostrich (Struthio camelus domesticus) chicks to minimize skin damage during rearing. S Afr J Anim Sci 32:192Google Scholar
  13. Navarro JL, Martella MB (2011) Ratite conservation: linking captive-release and welfare. In: Glatz P (ed) The welfare of farmed ratites. Springer, HeidelbergGoogle Scholar
  14. Nihill N (2002) Dangerous visions, the cassowary as good to think and good to remember amongst the Agnanen. Oceania 72:258–274Google Scholar
  15. Nussbaum M, Sen A (1993) The quality of life. Clarendon, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Phillips CJC (2009) The welfare of animals: the silent majority. Springer, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  17. Phillips CJC, McCulloch S (2005) Attitudes of students of different nationalities towards animal sentience and the use of animals in society, with implications for animal use in education. J Bio Educ 40:17–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Pope Benedict XV1 (2005) How Pope Benedict XVI views animals. www.all-creatures.org/living/howpope.html. Retrieved 19 April
  19. Russell WMS, Burch RL (1959) The principles of humane experimental technique. Methuen, LondonGoogle Scholar
  20. Ryder R (2005) “All beings that feel pain deserve human rights”. The Guardian. 6 August. http://www.guardian.co.uk/animalrights/story/0,11917,1543799,00.html. Retrieved 19 April, 2010
  21. Scruton R (1996) Animal rights and wrongs. Demos, LondonGoogle Scholar
  22. Singer P (1990) Animal liberation: a new ethics for our treatment of animals, 2nd edn. Random House, New YorkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Animal Welfare and Ethics, School of Veterinary ScienceUniversity of QueenslandGattonAustralia

Personalised recommendations