Premature culling of production animals; ethical questions related to killing animals in food production

M.R.N. Bruijnis, F.L.B. Meijboom, E.N. Stassen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The aim of this chapter is to analyse the importance of longevity in relation to the welfare of production animals. I hypothesize that the concept of longevity helps to support the moral intuition that premature culling of animals is a moral wrong. The analysis shows that the interpretation of the concept of animal welfare is important for decisions on whether or not to cull animals, but also for the measures that should be taken to prevent premature culling. This is illustrated by two examples in animal production, one example relating to dairy cattle and the other to breeding sows. These two types of farming have in common that in these practices animals are necessary to produce products, yet this production does not require– the animal itself to be killed. My proposal is to accept the view on animal welfare according to which longevity is accepted as an independent moral argument. Acceptance of this view substantiates the intuition that premature culling of animals is a moral wrong, because it shows that we have additional reasons to give the interests of animals more weight. In order to respect this view, some common practices in animal farming will become the subject of debate, as illustrated in the two cases.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe end of animal life: a start for ethical debate
Subtitle of host publicationEthical and societal considerations on killing animals
EditorsStassen E.N., Meijboom F.L.B.
Place of PublicationWageningen, the Netherlands
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
Pages149-166
ISBN (Electronic)9789086868087
ISBN (Print)9789086862603
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2016

Keywords

  • animal welfare
  • longevity
  • production animals

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    Bruijnis, M. R. N., Meijboom, F. L. B., & Stassen, E. N. (2016). Premature culling of production animals; ethical questions related to killing animals in food production. In S. E.N., & M. F.L.B. (Eds.), The end of animal life: a start for ethical debate: Ethical and societal considerations on killing animals (pp. 149-166). Wageningen Academic Publishers. https://doi.org/10.3920/978-90-8686-808-7_10