Kriterium for berekraftig husdyravl og retningslinjer - Skog og landskap

Kriterium for berekraftig husdyravl og retningslinjer - Skog og landskap

4. Environmental soundness: minimal negative impact both on the farm and beyond the farm


5. Social viability: equitable systems favouring owner/operator farms, contributing to viable

rural economy, infrastructure and community, supporting and integrating with overall


This implies that one increasingly should take future generations into consideration, and be

more critical of the globalization of food systems, as well as of the energy consumption

resulting from specialization and the long-distance transport of large quantities of food and


Ethical norms for animal husbandry

As a reaction to a narrow interpretation of the concept of animal welfare and a liberal

interpretation of the animal protection act, the issue of ethics has been raised in connection

with animal husbandry. Many difficult questions have arisen with regard to the nature of

animals’ intrinsic value. Assuming that animals do have intrinsic value, all encroachments on

their lives (by humans) become moral issues in demand of carefully considered answers and


An important question with regard to animal husbandry is if it is morally legitimate to use

animals merely as a resource or means to meet our needs, or if there are moral considerations

that place restrictions on such an approach. An anthropocentric attitude, however, implies that

we only have moral obligations, e.g., showing respect, caring and preventing and healing

injuries, to other humans. On this basis, a purely instrumental approach to animals can be

justified. Non-anthropocentric attitudes are based on the assumption that not only humans, but

all organisms have intrinsic value and interests, thus placing moral obligations on us humans.

In order to distinguish between appropriate and unacceptable animal welfare, knowledge is

needed about physiology, ethology, human health, genetics, etc. However, even when

agreeing on the scientific facts, it is still possible to disagree about what to consider as a

sufficient level of animal welfare. Such disagreement is often caused by differences in ethical

norms and judgements. Just like different individuals and cultures have different opinions

about how do define a “good human life”, we also have diverging views on animal welfare.

Such considerations are based on such fundamental ethical issues as what is important in life,

and thus, they must be taken seriously. Emotions play an important role in developing values

and attitudes. Discussions on animal welfare are therefore often stigmatized as being

emotional, and thus subjective and unfit as a basis for rational decision making. In this

connection, Simonsen (1994) quoted the late Danish chief veterinarian Christian Brekling,

who throughout his life was among the most committed supporters of improved animal

welfare: «Emotions are not the opposite of reason. Emotions are rather the opposite of

indifference, stupidity and cynicism – exactly those characteristics that are currently

threatening the welfare of humans as well as animals».

The word ”welfare” is derived from well + fare, i.e., how well (or dignified) an animal ”fares”

(travels) through life. How well is an animal able to regulate its biological functions in

relation to its environment? The term “animal welfare” applies to both the mental/emotional

and the physical health (from an objective standpoint) of the individual animal or the animal’s

condition while trying to cope with its environment. The term also includes behaviour, as well

as physiological and immunological factors. In this context, health is defined broader than

merely the absence of disease. It is also seen as a condition in which the body is resistant to

negative environmental influences. An important basis for ensuring animal health is the


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