Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics

2019 Edition
| Editors: David M. Kaplan

Animal Welfare: A Critical Examination of the Concept

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1179-9_313



The past half-century has witnessed a dramatic increase in both philosophical and social concern about animals. Much of this concern is about animals’ moral standing and the ethical permissibility of various animal-harming practices. However, a parallel track of concern relates to animal mind and animal well-being. Some of the motivation for concern about animal mind and animal well-being can be traced to scientific curiosity; however, the investigation of what animals are like, and what makes an animal’s life go well or poorly, is an important part of moral philosophy. Normative judgments about what humans owe animals usually presuppose some account of what is beneficial or harmful to them, and philosophical work in normative ethics therefore must proceed apace with conceptual and empirical work regarding animal welfare. In addition, an important historical and sociological aspect...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). (2003). Veterinary leaders support science-based OIE animal welfare policies. AVMA News. Available at: https://www.avma.org/News/JAVMANews/Pages/031201n.aspx. Last accessed on 2 Oct 2012.
  2. American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). (2005). A comprehensive review of housing for pregnant sows. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 227(10), 1580–1590.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Carbone, L. (2004). What animals want: Expertise and advocacy in laboratory animal welfare policy. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. DeGrazia, D. (1996). Taking animals seriously: Mental life and moral status. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. DeGrazia, D. (2007). The harm of death, time-relative interests, and abortion. The Philosophical Forum, 38(1), 57–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Fraser, D. (1995). Science, values and animal welfare. Animal Welfare, 4, 103–117.Google Scholar
  7. Fraser, D. (1999). Animal ethics and animal welfare science: Bridging the two cultures. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 65, 171–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fraser, D., Weary, D. M., Pajor, E. A., & Milligan, B. N. (1997). A scientific conception of animal welfare that reflects ethical concerns. Animal Welfare, 6, 187–205.Google Scholar
  9. Frey, R. G. (1980). Interests and rights: The case against animals. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  10. Harman, E. (2011). The moral significance of animal pain and animal death. In T. L. Beauchamp & R. G. Frey (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of animal ethics (pp. 726–737). New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Haynes, R. P. (2008). Animal welfare: Competing conceptions and their ethical implications. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Haynes, R. P. (2011). Competing conceptions of animal welfare and their ethical implications for the treatment of non-human animals. Acta Biotheoretica, 59, 105–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Heathwood, C. (2006). Desire satisfactionism and hedonism. Philosophical Studies, 128, 539–563.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). (2009). Scientists and experts on gestation crates and sow welfare. Humane Society of the United States. Available at: http://www.hsus.org. Last accessed 2 Oct 2012.
  15. Jones, W. T. (1975). Logical positivism. In A history of Western philosophy, Vol. V. The twentieth century to Wittgenstein and Sartre (2nd ed., revised, pp. 218–249). New York: Harcourt Brace.Google Scholar
  16. Korte, S. M., Olivier, B., & Koolhaas, J. M. (2007). A new animal welfare concept based on allostasis. Physiology and Behavior, 92, 422–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mason, G., & Mendl, M. (1993). Why is there no simple way of measuring animal welfare? Animal Welfare, 2, 301–319.Google Scholar
  18. McGlone, J. (2006). Comparison of sow welfare in the Swedish deep-bedded system and the US crated-sow system. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 229(9), 1377–1380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Mench, J. (1998). Thirty years after Brambell: Whither animal welfare science? Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 1(2), 91–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Rachels, J. (1993). Subjectivism. In P. Singer (Ed.), A companion to ethics (pp. 432–441). Malden: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  21. Rollin, B. (1990). The unheeded cry: Animal consciousness, animal pain, and science. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Rudner, R. (1998). The scientist qua scientist makes value judgments. In E. D. Klemke, R. Hollinger, & D. W. Rudge (Eds.), Introductory readings in the philosophy of science (3rd ed.). Amherst: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  23. Shrader-Frechette, K. S. (1991). Risk and rationality: Philosophical foundations for populist reforms. Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  24. Smith, M., Lewis, D., & Johnston, M. (1989). Dispositional theories of value. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volumes, 63, 89–111, 113–137, 139–174.Google Scholar
  25. Tannenbaum, J. (1995). Veterinary ethics: Animal welfare, client relations, competition and collegiality (2nd ed.). St Louis: Mosby.Google Scholar
  26. Weaver, S. A., & Morris, M. C. (2004). Science, pigs and politics: A New Zealand perspective on the phase-out of sow stalls. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 17, 51–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Community Health and PreventionDrexel University School of Public HealthPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.HJF-DAIDSA Division of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc., NIAID, NIH, DHHSBethesdaUSA