Staying good while playing god - The ethics of breeding farm animals

Citation
P. Sandoe et al., Staying good while playing god - The ethics of breeding farm animals, ANIM WELFAR, 8(4), 1999, pp. 313-328
Citations number
47
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Animal Sciences
Journal title
ANIMAL WELFARE
ISSN journal
0962-7286 → ACNP
Volume
8
Issue
4
Year of publication
1999
Pages
313 - 328
Database
ISI
SICI code
0962-7286(199911)8:4<313:SGWPG->2.0.ZU;2-Q
Abstract
Modern genetics has given us some very efficient tools with which to alter the characteristics of animals. To date farm animal breeders have mainly us ed these tools to increase productivity. Thus, each new generation of farm animals matures faster, yields more milk, or produces more meat or eggs, th an the previous one. Despite these apparent benefits, modern farm animal br eeding has had severe negative consequences, including effects on the quali ty of the animals' lives and biodiversity. The aim of this paper is to disc uss the goals and consequences of farm animal breeding within an ethical co ntext. First, a description of what has happened to broilers and dairy catt le as breeders have, pursued the goal of ever more efficient production is given. Second the ethical values that ought to underlie future breeding sch emes are discussed. It is suggested that there are in fact two very differe nt ethical approaches: the 'quality of life-based' approach and the 'preser vationist' approach. A view combining elements from both approaches is adva nced Finally, an example is given of how it is possible, in practice to pur sue an ethically defensible breeding goal without compromising production e fficiency.