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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been hearing a lot about "animal welfare" in the animal rights & vegan community, and some of it is often negative. I looked up animal welfare but I don't really understand it, or why some "are not for" it. Can someone help me?<br><br>
I'm also applying for a scholarship at dosomething.org and one of the "something" options that I pick is animal welfare, but I'm not really sure what animal welfare is.
 

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Animal welfare loosely means how animals, especially animals raised as food, are treated. The reason it is frowned upon in AR circles is that what it boils down to is making life slightly less horrific for livestock before they are slaughtered, which is counter to the goal of ending the breeding, raising and slaughter of animals altogether.<br><br>
If you are "concerned with animal welfare" it generally means you're cool with animals being bred, raised and killed for food, as long as their cages are big enough or they aren't abused, etc.<br><br>
Some AR people are more concerned with animal welfare because they believe that humans won't stop eating animals, so we should make life as pleasant for them as possible within the system. Others believe that making life as pleasant for the animals as possible within the system just encourages people to feel okay with eating meat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
oh okay... thanks for clearing that up! definitely NOT associating myself with animal welfare!
 

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Since when does being concerned with the welfare of animals mean you're okay with them being raised for food? There's the Temple Gradin crowd that audits slaughterhouses for improved welfare, but that's slaughterhouse specific. To imply concern with general animal welfare blankets being okay with meat as food is INSANE. What about the welfare of shelter dogs and cats? Or endangered species? Maybe there's some bureaucratic definition of animal welfare I've yet to come across, but it seems like a ridiculous thing to demonize. The term may be occasionally misappropriated, but that goes for most things.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>agalloch</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3020084"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Since when does being concerned with the welfare of animals mean you're okay with them being raised for food? There's the Temple Gradin crowd that audits slaughterhouses for improved welfare, but that's slaughterhouse specific. To imply concern with general animal welfare blankets being okay with meat as food is INSANE. What about the welfare of shelter dogs and cats? Or endangered species? Maybe there's some bureaucratic definition of animal welfare I've yet to come across, but it seems like a ridiculous thing to demonize. The term may be occasionally misappropriated, but that goes for most things.</div>
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She asked about the term used in AR circles, and why it tends to have a negative connotation within said circles, so that's what I tried to explain. Maybe it's because I most hear about it through those circles, but I don't hear the term used to mean much other than animal care within the context of livestock production.<br><br>
Perhaps the part about the dosomething.org scholarship in the OP's question was meaning the well-being of all animals when it had "animal welfare" on it's list of things to check, I just don't know. I just know how it's used in AR circles, which is the place I've heard it used.
 

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Yeah, I guess I didn't read the initial post thoroughly enough. I'm not versed in this fugazi take on animal welfare. It seems to be a matter of differentiating between corporate "Animal Welfare" and animal welfare in general. I guess it's never safe to assume the intentions of others (in this case, the scholarship mentioned) are always pure, but to scare her away from generally supporting the improvement of animal welfare seems crazy. Her reaction to your explanation startled me, but that's obviously not what you intended to evoke.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>agalloch</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3020142"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Yeah, I guess I didn't read the initial post thoroughly enough. I'm not versed in this fugazi take on animal welfare. It seems to be a matter of differentiating between corporate "Animal Welfare" and animal welfare in general. I guess it's never safe to assume the intentions of others (in this case, the scholarship mentioned) are always pure, but to scare her away from generally supporting the improvement of animal welfare seems crazy. Her reaction to your explanation startled me, but that's obviously not what you intended to evoke.</div>
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Right. Good, I'm really glad we worked that out. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br>
nayrocks719, I did not mean to say that all animal welfare is a negative thing, I'm sure some people mean it differently, and I would investigate further on the matter of the scholarship, though I'm not even sure the context of that, it could just be the causes you are interested in? In which case maybe there is no box for "animal rights" and "animal welfare" includes all animal issues. Anyway, I wouldn't necessarily disregard that, as certainly the words could be used in a different context.<br><br>
I was mostly talking about how it's used in AR circles. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><b><br></b>
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
ok thanks! but if I had to pick a side (animal rights vs. animal welfare) I would most definitely pick animal rights because I don't think animals are ours AT ALL and it seems like the animal welfare people want to domesticate animals, and to be honest I don't think domesticated cats and dogs and rabbits is the best thing. But there's so many jerks in the world who will hurt them in the wild. Also, I don't think there's any way that we can undomesticate (?) them.<br><br>
It did kinda seem like on that website they were talking about animal welfare in the "animal rights view" of it. Like "raising as many animals as you can." what the hell?!
 

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Some people draw a bright line between what they term "animal welfare" and what they term "animal rights" but people don't always agree on the definitions and there's a lot of overlap between the two areas.<br><br>
In general, welfare is about improving animals' lives for the better (or preventing suffering) be they farmed animals, sheltered animals, or wild animals. Rights tend to be more about noninterference/ leaving animals alone without human intervention (or when human interference is accepted then it's only for liberation/emptying cages).<br><br>
The overlaps are these (not an exhaustive list): concern for animals' interests, consideration of animals as individuals not commodities, acknowledgment of animal suffering, dedication to social change...<br><br>
As you can see, there are conflicts. What is in the best interest of dogs who have been rescued from puppymills? Should they be set free to live short lives in the wild or should they be placed him homes with humans? Or should they be euthanized? Does it matter that most of the homes they will go to if they wind up with humans are homes where they will be fed the remains of farmed animals like pigs and chickens? What is in the best interest of those farmed animals? Should they be set free or euthanized? Should they be rescued and live in sanctuaries to educate the public? Should they be placed in homes with humans? What will they eat? And so on....<br><br>
Also, try searching this forum on this topic and you will find many old threads that discuss the issues in depth.
 

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I take 'animal welfare' to usually mean what most people saying "I support animal welfare" mean by that expression: that even such fundamental non-human interests as continued living and avoiding suffering can be sacrificed for such trivial human benefits as pleasure or amusement, as long as the animals are not caused suffering which is "gratuitous" and which is based merely on economically unjustified, sadistic impulses.<br><br>
That meaning of 'animal welfare', then, is simply a rejection of the idea of animal rights, and it's not surprising why I don't support it -- despite individuals in the animal advocacy community who might use the term for something different.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>ElaineV</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3020429"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
As you can see, there are conflicts. What is in the best interest of dogs who have been rescued from puppymills? Should they be set free to live short lives in the wild or should they be placed him homes with humans? Or should they be euthanized? Does it matter that most of the homes they will go to if they wind up with humans are homes where they will be fed the remains of farmed animals like pigs and chickens? What is in the best interest of those farmed animals? Should they be set free or euthanized? Should they be rescued and live in sanctuaries to educate the public? Should they be placed in homes with humans? What will they eat? And so on....</div>
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For the vast majority of animal rights people, these are not issues (except what to feed omnivores like dogs). Most every animal rights person I know is also a domestic animal rescuer, and would never consider releasing a domestic animal into the wild to fend for himself. Most people are practical about these things and aren't thinking about releasing puppy mill dogs or factory farmed chickens into the wild. "Liberation" is sill looked at within the confines of what is humane. All the farm animal sanctuaries I know of are run by animal rights vegans.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Irizary</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3022278"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
...these are not issues (except what to feed omnivores like dogs).</div>
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That shouldn't be an issue, either. Dogs are champ vegans.
 

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Another problem with AW (animal welfare) that I don't think has been bought up - I only skimmed the thread - is that it makes people think it's okay to eat meat. If they can believe the animal they are eating had a happy life their guilty conscience is eased. Thereby it can actually cause people to continue eating meat when they may become vegetarians otherwise. Nobody argues that we should keep 'meat' animals miserable to turn omnis vegetarian, but you can argue that advocating veganism (an animal rights activity) is a better place to spend your energy, and better for the animals, than trying to produce 'happy meat' for people to eat.
 

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Yeah, the distinction is clearer to me now. I stupidly forget that 9/10 people just take for granted that animals exist for our consumption and entertainment. So they destroy the actual definition of welfare in order to make these servants of ours slightly more comfortable.<br><br>
The free range movement is such a joke, too. Wouldn't those animals least want to die? And it's not like they're passing on naturally.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">despite individuals in the animal advocacy community who might use the term for something different</div>
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I'd suggest <b>most</b> people use the term for something different. 'Animal welfare' traditionally has meant the physical health and well being of animals. Nowadays the mental or psychological well being is also (often if not always) considered. That's it. Nothing either way about human interests. I'd call the idea that human interests can trump an animal's welfare interests something else - 'welfarism'. Certain members of the animal advocacy community conflate welfarism and welfare. They're not a single concept. Many 'animal welfare' advocates are indeed welfarists, but I see no reason they would need to be.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>agalloch</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3022304"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Yeah, the distinction is clearer to me now. I stupidly forget that 9/10 people just take for granted that animals exist for our consumption and entertainment. So they destroy the actual definition of welfare in order to make these servants of ours slightly more comfortable.<br><br>
The free range movement is such a joke, too. Wouldn't those animals least want to die? And it's not like they're passing on naturally.</div>
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Not to mention the legal definition of free range means virtually nothing. Cut a hole in the side of the barn that theoretically allows the hens to walk outside, shove 10,000 of them in there so most of them can't even move out of their own excrement and you can sell the eggs as free range.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Thereby it can actually cause people to continue eating meat when they may become vegetarians otherwise.</div>
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It should be noted that the primary advocate of that point of view admits that he can't actually back that up with facts - it's just a possibility.<br><br>
The growth in the sales of 'humane' meat (whatever you want to call that imaginary product) is not even close to large enough to account for the overall increase in meat consumption. People are eating more factory farmed meat.
 

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AW is to AR as Socialism is to Communism.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Envy</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3022354"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
AW is to AR as Socialism is to Communism.</div>
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I was gonna call it Animal Rights Lite.
 

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To say you only care about AR and not AW would suggest that showing people how bad the treatment of animals is in the farming industry is irrelevant and all that matters is the fact that they are farmed at all. They aren't mutually exclusive. And you can believe exploiting/killing animals is against their welfare, but doing it in certain ways is even more against their welfare.
 
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