A new report by a Council for Agricultural Science and Technology task force examines the scientific, ethical, and economic aspects of farm animal welfare.
The report examines four key topics:
- the current issues facing agricultural animal production
- insights into the origins of current welfare concerns
- major scientific advances that have occurred since the 1997 CAST Task Force Report
- outstanding challenges and priority areas for future research, coordination, and outreach relative to agricultural animal welfare
Led by Task Force Cochairs Candace Croney, Joy Mench, and William Muir, the authors recognize the issue of animal production is multifaceted and involves consideration of not only the biology and psychology of animals, but also people’s ethical concerns. This paper demonstrates the need for strategic engagement related to ethical concerns when communicating with a wide range of interested stakeholders—while also remembering the importance of keeping differing perceptions and levels of knowledge in consideration.
This report, in comparison to the 1997 CAST Task Force Report, shows a growing emphasis on animal welfare regulations. The priorities, state of the science, challenges, and approaches to addressing the topic have also evolved considerably. Increased collaboration has occurred between scientists and philosophers to address agricultural bioethics in an effort to facilitate conflict resolution.
Throughout the past 21 years, livestock and poultry industries have felt pressure to move toward alternative production practices. As the authors point out, “It is imperative to understand which systems and practices may optimize economic efficiencies in conjunction with ensuring positive animal welfare outcomes and public support of animal agriculture.”
Due to the complexity of the issue, the scientific community continues to strive for a consensus that provides a framework for scientific and ethical analysis.
Download a copy of the report’s Quick CAST by clicking the download button below.
Source: Council for Agricultural Science and Technology