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The issue of modern breeding : a social request, consumer request or responsible inquiries ?

INRA Prod. Anim., 16(5), 329-332.


INRA, Unité Transformations sociales et politiques liées au vivant, 65 bd de Brandebourg, 94205 Ivry-sur-Seine cedex


The paper begins by criticizing the notion of the“social request” (a “request” that would justify that onecares for animal well-being and the breeding environment); we never know who expresses this wish nor how.Only the economy suggests a rigorous definition – thatis a request that is validated by the market. However,the approach that includes the evaluation of the benefitthat is gained by individuals consuming animals whohave lived happy lives on farms preoccupied by the qualityof their environment asks a question of justice : is itright that the consumer pay so that farms pollute lessand animals suffer less? From these two criticisms, theauthor suggests interpreting the social uneasiness thatappears under different forms of modern breeding as anexpression of two questions of ethics. The first concernshow the animals make out : to just what point do wehave the right to manipulate animals that we have recognisedas being weaker ? The second concerns the responsibilityof the breeders : in what measure are theyresponsible for the non-intentional effects of their activity,when these harmful effects (pollutions) areknown? These questions are those that should be debatedand should make individuals as citizens react.

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