This opinion piece argues that while improving the treatment of animals in not on the radar of public health officials, it should be. The author points to the intersection between animal welfare and emerging infectious diseases, as well as two other less commonly acknowledged connections: 1) medical research (namely the poor predictability of animal testing), and 2) domestic violence (given its frequent connection to animal abuse). The author offers suggestions for improving public health strategies to take these concerns into account.
In this study, the authors explore how the print media in the U.S. and the EU portray stories on the topic of cultured meat (i.e., in vitro or lab grown). There is a discussion on typical themes in news stories on the topic (benefits, livestock production problems, skepticism, etc.) as well as commonly cited sources (most notably proponents of cultured meat, including academics and PETA). Advocates looking to create public acceptance of cultured meat will be interested to know how the media is presenting the issue to consumers.
The dairy industry’s practice of separating newborn calves from their mothers shortly after birth is a controversial one. A web-based forum on the topic surveyed individuals who had no involvement in the dairy industry as well as those who had some connection (animal advocates, veterinarians, students/professors, and dairy industry professionals). The results showed little agreement on the topic. The authors review what demographic characteristics are most commonly associated with either camp and review the reasons respondents gave for their views.
This article explores how animal protection, environmental, and food-focused organizations in Canada, Sweden, and the U.S. encourage meat reduction as a means of guarding against climate change. Individuals from 35 organizations in these three countries were interviewed, including U.S. animal advocates from FARM, Farm Sanctuary, HSUS, and PETA. The results showed that environmental groups were particularly limited in their use of public education campaigns with clear messaging around dietary change.
Male chicks have long been an unwanted by-product of the egg industry and face a most unpleasant end after hatching. This article summarizes research out of Germany that produced a new way to determine the sex of chicks by analyzing the allantoic fluid before they hatch. Using this method, gender differences can be detected as early as 9 days into incubation, which, the researchers claim, is before the onset of pain perception.
This report explores the risk of exposure to zoonotic diseases—those passed from animals to humans—that stems from animal agriculture. The paper looks at foodborne pathogens as well as influenza viruses, and examines the impact on both farmed animals and humans. It concludes by offering recommendations for tackling this global threat.
This article explores attitudes towards factory farming and cognitive dissonance. The research showed that anti-factory farming literature was more likely to be well-received by those who initially voiced their commitment for its central premise (a pro-welfare position), than by those who were not asked to give their opinion on the topic. The authors suggest that these findings are of use for animal advocates who, they say, should frame appeals to capitalize on what most individuals already believe.
Although halal and kosher meats are similar in many respects, there are also key differences. One main distinction is that unlike halal, kosher guidelines require that animals be conscious prior to slaughter. As a result, animals destined to become halal meat are permitted to be stunned pre-slaughter, while their counterparts in kosher slaughterhouses are not. This paper provides a thorough review of the technologies used in halal and kosher slaughter and the associated animal welfare concerns.
The foot health of dairy cows is considered to be chief among the welfare concerns for these animals. This study examined several factors including dairy farmers’ attitudes on the topic, their intentions to take corrective action, and their motivations and barriers for addressing foot disorders. The findings showed that 70% of farmers intended to act, however most also said they were satisfied with the quality of foot health at their farm. Cost-effectiveness was identified as a more important factor than animal welfare, and labor efficiency and the delayed realization of improvements were put forth as possible barriers. Interestingly, a quarter of the farmers surveyed did not believe cows could experience pain.
This paper presents some useful findings on how an individual’s belief system impacts their attitudes towards farmed animals. The researchers tested views of farmed animals for three types of belief systems: social justice, traditional, and wealth. The results showed that individuals who identified with the social justice orientation were more likely to have a positive attitude towards farmed animals. These individuals were also more apt to have a lower level of trust in agricultural producers and to believe that the responsibility for farmed animal welfare rests with a variety of individuals, including consumers.
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