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2014 Autumn - Farmers fare well with better animal welfare

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FPJ1101C - Hemsworth, P et al. (2014) - Do Natural Settings Safeguard the Welfare of Domesticated Animals?

FPJ1101C - Hemsworth, P et al. (2014) - Do Natural Settings Safeguard the Welfare of Domesticated Animals?, Farm Policy Journal, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 1-7, Autumn, Surry Hills, Australia.

The use of animals in farming, as with any other animal use, necessitates the responsibility of safeguarding the welfare of these animals. The widely-held view in the Australian community is that the use of animals by humans is acceptable provided that such use is humane. A common belief in the community is that farm animals should be allowed to lead natural lives displaying their normal behaviour and consequently from an animal welfare perspective, some consider modern indoor production systems for livestock as inherently ‘bad’. High animal welfare standards require care and maintenance of animals to meet their nutritional, climatic, social and health requirements and this level of animal management should be provided in any livestock production system, whether indoors or outdoors.
The animal welfare movement is increasingly questioning and influencing views on animal use and the acceptability of various animal management options. While public attitudes to animal welfare are influential, science has an important role in underpinning governments’ decisions, on behalf of the community, on animal use and the attendant conditions and compromises. Science provides the means to understand the impact of a production system on the animal and thus underpins the evidence-based development of animal welfare standards. The exclusion of science in this process of establishing animal welfare standards will result in emotive or ideological arguments from sectional interests dominating community debate.




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