Words that deceive: ‘animal welfare’

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Image by Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

Animal Welfare: noun
the protection of the health and well-being of animals

‘Welfare’ is a word suggesting pastoral care that fulfils physical and emotional needs. When we talk about human welfare and well-being, we are thinking of a good or satisfactory state of living, characterised by health and contentment.

‘Animal Welfare’ is one of the worst defined, most over-used terms in the world of non-human use. It is assumed by most to mean something similar to the dictionary definition above, but in fact means nothing even close to it. It’s one of these terms where a straight definition is impossible to find, although like ‘cruelty’ it’s a term where everyone thinks they know what it means.

It is utter nonsense to use the word ‘welfare’ as defined in the dictionary in a context where the untimely killing of an individual is an inherent and key part of the process of our use of their unconsenting lives and bodies, as if premature killing could possibly constitute ‘concern for health and wellbeing’.

The reality of the matter is that the exploitation of sentient individuals, their bodies and reproductive functions as commercial resources and any sort of ‘concern’ for their individual wellbeing are mutually exclusive conditions.

Their only value within that system is the cost per kilo of their body parts and secretions.  It is sound business practice to maintain all business assets in functioning order at minimum cost in order to maximise profit. This is the reality of the situation into which our defenceless victims are forced, in order to fulfil our demands as consumers calling for them to be harmed on a commercial basis. That we allow ourselves to dress up this stark reality as ‘concern for welfare’, is allowing ourselves to be deceived, simply to appease our conscience as the driving force behind the atrocities that are being committed.

We are all very well aware that to disregard every right and wish of a sentient individual by inflicting an existence of use, followed by death for no reason is the worst atrocity we can imagine.  And for our defenceless victims, their very existence, which we have caused, within a system where their sole reason for being is to be relentlessly and thoroughly used and ultimately killed in cold blood for no valid reason whatsoever other than our self interest, is a complete contradiction of any concept of ‘wellbeing’.

Despite this,  ‘improving welfare’ is a ploy used – and celebrated loudly – by the harm industries, their media marketers, and sadly by many that claim to represent the interests of animals, to soothe consumer consciences and thereby increase demand and revenue. By and large, in a world where consumer opinions are easy prey to media and marketing, it’s a strategy that has been effective for a very long time. By diverting the attention of concerned consumers around the glaring issue which is that we have no need to be committing these disgraceful atrocities at all, we are invited to focus on, and rail against, the conditions in which we perpetrate these unnecessary and heinous acts whilst totally overlooking the main principle.

‘Welfare’ in the context of our use of other species, has come to focus on consideration of the degrees of the torture to which they are subjected; the details of the environment in which they are unnecessarily confined, the means by which their bodily integrity and reproductive systems may be unnecessarily violated, the methods by which they may be unnecessarily surgically mutilated, the means and duration of their transport to their place of unnecessary death, the methods by which their unnecessary killing can occur and so on. How come we have so many torture experts in the world?  How come there are so many people who consider themselves knowledgeable enough to argue what is ‘better’ for our unnecessary victims, what causes them ‘less harm’, what is ‘humane’? It is disturbing that those who have never experienced imprisonment, deprivation or use as a commercial resource, consider themselves qualified to argue in favour of standards they cannot possibly know anything about from a victim’s perspective. A sentient victim’s perspective.

All we need to know is that other beings are sentient. That should accord them the same respect we give to humans. We need to stop being torture experts. They are not ours and they shouldn’t be there in the first place.

Be vegan, promote the end of ALL use and share the vegan message. It’s the absolute least we can do.

 

(updated 22 June 2017)

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This entry was posted in Abolition vs Welfare, Terminology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Words that deceive: ‘animal welfare’

  1. Pingback: False hopes and misunderstanding ‘welfare’ | There's an Elephant in the Room blog

  2. The term seems to be frequently over-used by people who on the one hand seems to care about certain animals (e.g. freak out when an elephant was killed) but not so much about animals where the meat comes from. And in discussions they only seem to buy meat from the farmer next door.

    Liked by 1 person

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