Volume 1, 2007
Animal Welfare, Trust, Governance, and the Public Good
Putting Ethics to Task
Pragmatic philosophy and discourse ethics are offered as an alternative way to respond to and understand the concerns of philosophical animal ethics and animal welfare science, especially as they relate to ethical decision-making and democratic participation in today's technical animal agriculture. The two major challenges facing philosophical animal ethics and animal welfare are: the acceptability of alienating individual animals from their genetic and social identities through practices that seek to alter their genome or which fail to provide for their respective natures, and the extent to which the former concern will contribute to further deterioration of already fractured human-farm-animal and consumer-producer relationships. This paper considers how we might ethically and strategically rise to the challenge of reshaping conventional animal farming practices in liberal democracies, especially as it applies to making improvements in animal welfare standards and promoting public trust and confidence in science, the production sector and government. I suggest some ways to empower consumers and farmers to realize this end.