ABSTRACT

Animal welfare is a complex concept, a social movement, and a topic of both philosophical debate and scientific research. It is also an area of increasingly global policy and action where a practical ethics approach by philosophers can make important contributions. Animal welfare began largely as a rich-country issue, but is now receiving a degree of global recognition, partly through the engagement of organizations such as the World Organisation for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. To date, animal welfare and environmental conservation have developed as separate concepts, movements, and areas of research. An alternative interpretation is that many who adopt an animal welfare approach are focused on making feasible changes in the real-world rather than debating theoretical ideals. Beginning in the 1970s, people began to conduct scientific research on animal welfare, partly to address specific welfare concerns and partly because people expected the science to adjudicate among the conflicting views of welfare.