Animal welfare: what is it


Animal welfare refers to how an animal copes with its environment and living conditions

Several organizations have definitions for animal welfare

  • The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE): see their definition here
  • The American Veterinary Medical Association: see their definition here

Animal welfare is one of those hot button issues. Why?

  • Because it can mean different things to different people
  • Animal welfare includes both science and ethics
  • Ethics are the moral principles that shape people's views and perceptions about animals
    • Some people think it is alright to use animals for various things, like food
    • Other people do not think animals should be used for food or other purposes
  • Science can help us understand how particular things that we do to animals affect the animals
    • We can measure behavioral and physiological responses of animals when they try to cope with their environment