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Is humane slaughter possible?

Veit, Walter and Browning, Heather (2020) Is humane slaughter possible? Animals, 10 (5). ISSN 2076-2615

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Identification Number: 10.3390/ani10050799


One of the biggest ethical issues in animal agriculture is that of the welfare of animals at the end of their lives, during the process of slaughter. Much work in animal welfare science is focussed on finding humane ways to transport and slaughter animals, to minimise the harm done during this process. In this paper, we take a philosophical look at what it means to perform slaughter humanely, beyond simply reducing pain and suffering during the slaughter process. In particular, we will examine the issue of the harms of deprivation inflicted in ending life prematurely, as well as shape of life concerns and the ethical implications of inflicting these harms at the end of life, without the potential for future offsetting through positive experiences. We will argue that though these considerations may mean that no slaughter is in a deep sense truly ‘humane’, this should not undermine the importance of further research and development to ensure that while the practice continues, animal welfare harms are minimised as far as possible.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 The Authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
Date Deposited: 15 Aug 2022 15:00
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2024 07:09

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