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Death is a welfare issue

By J. W. Yeates

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It is commonly asserted that "death is not a welfare issue" and this has been reflected in welfare legislation and policy in many countries. However, this creates a conflict for many who consider animal welfare to be an appropriate basis for decision-making in animal ethics but also consider that an animal's death is ethically significant. To reconcile these viewpoints, this paper attempts to formulate an account of death as a welfare issue. Welfare issues are issues that refer to evaluations concerning an animal's interests. This includes evaluations that refer only to comparisons between the presence and absence of states, including positive states. This means that an animal's death may be a welfare issue insofar as it leads to the exclusion of relevant positive states. This allows us to deny that death is necessarily not a welfare issue.

Date 2010
Publication Title Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics
Volume 23
Issue 3
Pages 229-241
ISBN/ISSN 1187-7863
Language English
Author Address Department of Clinical Veterinary Science and Centre for Ethics in Medicine, University of Bristol, Langford House, Stock Lane, Langford, Bristol, BS40 5DU, UK.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Alternative methods
  2. Animal experimentation
  3. Animal research
  4. Animal rights
  5. Animal testing
  6. Animal welfare
  7. Ethics
  8. Laboratory animal science
  9. Laws and regulations
  10. Legislation
  11. mortality