Defining ‘animal welfare’ versus ‘animal rights’

On the News-Journal.com site out of Longview, Texas, writer Kelly Heitkamp seeks to define the difference between two phrases – animal welfare and animal rights.

Her basic assertion is summed up in this paragraph –

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The difference between these two positions can be seen as applied to an issue like farmed animals. The animal rights position holds that humans do not have the right to slaughter and eat animals, but the animal welfare position insists the animals should be treated humanely before and during slaughter. The animal welfare position does not object to the consumption of animals, but seeks the elimination of cruel factory farming practices such as confining calves in veal crates, confining pregnant sows in gestational stalls, and debeaking chickens.

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I think it’s more complex than that. People who might put themselves in the animal welfare category might also believe animals have certain rights. I push for animal welfare and animal rights. But at the same time, I understand we are unfortunately a long way from ending the practice of eating meat.

To divert slightly – I think what we need are more, viable alternative to meat and more people will switch over. I’ve tried a number of meat-alternative products and while most claim to taste like meat – to satisfy that craving for people – most fall far short. But there are a couple that I’ve tried that do taste pretty good.

Come on food industry. This could be huge if you could make this happen. I think more and more people would stop eating meat if they have a good-tasting alternative.

Back to the topic at hand – what are your thoughts on these definitions of animal-welfare and animal-rights movements? Comment below or on Facebook.

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