Animal Welfare: Why it’s Important

Remember when I defined animal rights and animal welfare? Better know the difference cause I’ll be writing about them for the next couple hundred words. Animal rights will not be so prevalent in this post, but keep in mind how someone who values animal rights would view the journal I am about review.

Here educate yourself and click on this: Animal Welfare

…if that completely failed you can do it the old fashioned way and copy/paste this: (oh my gosh so much work)

I’ll admit it’s an intimidating piece of work and a little bit dry, but there are some excellent examples that illustrate what animal welfare is all about. I strongly advise that if you don’t know what something to Google it and see what comes up.

A quick side note before I dive into my review. Be skeptical. When you look up sites about controversial topics you’re bound to find arguments that are a load of crap. They want to sway your opinion to believe the extreme. Someone could claim to be an animal welfare expert, when really they have no evidence to back themselves up. One time, I kid you not I found an article written by a reverend on the topic of animal production. He had no farm background or degree in the area of agriculture. WHERE IS YOUR CREDIBILITY? Out-the-window, buh-bye!

Down to the nitty gritty. The criteria I used to determine that this journal is beneficial to the agriculture community constitutes the following:

  1. Relates to a diversified audience
  2. Current issues are addressed
  3. Entails ideas for the future

A diversified audience is important to agriculture because it captures more minds for the sake of progress. The first couple of paragraphs mentions household pets, vegetarianism, and aspects of animal welfare. First of all, those three categories cover a wide range of people. Second, the organization of the paragraphs immediately gears the reader towards learning more about animal welfare. The more agriculture can reach out and connect to people the more they will understand the progress of production. When I say ‘progress of production’ I mean become more efficient in producing agriculture products. Food. Once people understand production, they won’t complain how food ends up on their plates because they know how it got there.

Current issues are addressed. The reason why current issues are valuable to the field of agriculture are because they show where areas need improvement. There are several animal welfare issues brought up in the journal including:

  • Sow gestation stalls
  • Veal crates
  • Foie gras production
  • De-horning
  • Slaughter process
  • Tie stall farms

The issues  above are excellent examples of where animal welfare is trying to improve. The journal does a great job of briefly assessing the problem and then explaining what science could do to improve the issue.

Side note: I had to do a little digging on foie gras production. I had no idea ducks were “force-fed” to produce huge livers for foie gras. I stumbled upon an article that caught my eye. (Gosh I’m getting good at inserting links. Click on the previous eye, wink wink).  The article went into depth of how such huge livers were produced from these ducks and did a tour of the farm. I thought the article was very well written, until I did a little background search on the author. The author was a chef. Of course they think this liver production was perfectly fine! (They just want to keep those fat livers coming). Credibility definitely dropped a bit.

Ideas for the future are important to the field of agriculture, including animal welfare because they will progress production. It is absolutely essential that production of crops and animals are highly efficient. We live in a demanding world my friends. People consume a lot. This journal emphasizes through the use of scientific methods we can become more efficient. Keeping in mind that processes have to be ethical as well. The public is starting to care a lot about where and how food gets to their plates. A sense of direction for issues in the agriculture is a step towards innovating the next big thing. More ideas = better research = more efficient production.


One thought on “Animal Welfare: Why it’s Important

  1. First off, I think you chose a very good topic to write about as it incorporates everyone, whether they know if or not, and it is currently an extremely controversial issue.

    I agree that you should be skeptical whenever you read anything and you have an excellent example about a reverend preaching about animal production to explain what you mean. I think more people should listen to credible sources who have hands-on experience in animal welfare such as scientists and livestock producers instead of random people, like the preacher, who have probably never even seen livestock in reality.

    As far as animal rights vs. animal welfare goes, I always account for other people’s thoughts and opinions, but I do not think animals should have the same rights as humans. Animals are not humans. If animals were supposed to have rights, they would tell us, which again proves my point. Animals can’t talk because they are not human. There should be no need for animals to have to speak to us and complain about their rights if they are taken care of properly in the first place.

    I come from a small farm where we raise pigs and grow crops such as corn, soybeans, and sweet corn. I have worked with pigs, and other livestock, for as long as I can remember. Through all of my experiences, I have learned the importance of animal welfare: proper nutrition, shelter, health, human treatment, etc. In the past we kept our sows in barns that were exposed to the elements and to be honest they were not the best living conditions. Like any good livestock producer, and there are those who do a poor job, we wanted to give our sows the best that we could and in return we would have a higher success rate. In order to do so, we recently put up a gestation barn for our sows to give them better living conditions and provide each sow with a unique feed ratio that is best suited for them. I understand why people think gestation barns are bad, the gestation crates don’t allow the sow to move around much, but I think it is unfair to livestock producers because those who support animal rights only focus on the negative effects of any livestock operation. They don’t understand that a gestation barn prevents pigs from fighting, allows each sow a consistent and specific feed ratio fit for its needs, makes it easier to work with/breed the sows, and most importantly it gives the sow the opportunity to focus on nourishing her future piglets, instead of fending for herself and trying to survive in a pen of other sows. Producers don’t put animals through stuff that they know will have a negative effect on the animals, it wouldn’t be right and would only hurt the producer.

    All I ask is that more people are like you and understand whether their source is credible or not and to get both sides of a story before choosing a concrete decision on the issues at hand. People need to be more informed before making a decision.


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