Large scale insect rearing and animal welfare

D.M. de Goede, J. Erens, E. Kapsomenou, M. Peters

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperAcademicpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


In Europe, the intentional cultivation of insects for feed or food has long been uncommon. Recently however, a trend of insect consumption as an environmentally friendly alternative to the consumption of traditional animal livestock emerges, most notably in the Netherlands. Possible benefits include recycling of organic waste into biomass of high nutritional value, lower ecological footprint, and increased food security. This paper discusses the potential of large scale insect rearing in the Netherlands in relation to the new Dutch Wet Dieren (Animal Act). Current legislation on welfare of production animals typically refers to Brambell’s five freedoms, and explicitly excludes invertebrates. In the absence of specific welfare regulations for insects, and through trial and error, pioneering insect farmers have individually developed best production practices for their niche markets and insect farmers are hesitant to share their expertise when independent authorities and welfare regulations are not available yet. The Animal Act not only includes several insects as production animals, but also asks farmers to respect the intrinsic value of the insects in terms of Brambell’s five freedoms. In our paper we address the question if and how the existing framework of Brambell’s five freedoms can be applied to measure insect welfare. We observe that scientific information about insect welfare and used rearing methods is limited. We argue that an explicit declaration of applicability of Brambell’s framework to insects is perceived as a scientific problem, but that it also suggests a deliberate moral extension, leading to the inclusion of insects as a category of moral objects in Dutch animal welfare legislation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe ethics of consumption
Subtitle of host publicationThe citizen, the market, and the law
EditorsH. Röcklinsberg, P. Sandin
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
ISBN (Print)9789086862313
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event11th EurSafe Congress 2013 : The ethics of consumption : the citizen, the market, and the law, Uppsala, Sweden -
Duration: 11 Sept 201314 Sept 2013


Conference11th EurSafe Congress 2013 : The ethics of consumption : the citizen, the market, and the law, Uppsala, Sweden


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