Taking Ethics into Account in Farm Animal Breeding: What can the Breeding Companies Achieve?
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Animal welfare and the ethical issues it raises have been discussed intensively for a couple of decades. The emphasis has been on the direct effects of housing and husbandry, but more attention is now being given to problems originating in selective breeding. European attempts to adjust animal welfare legislation to deal with these problems have been largely unsuccessful, but the fact that selective breeding can introduce welfare problems continues to place an ethical responsibility on the animal breeding industry. Since breeding decisions are made centrally and, increasingly, internationally, strategic change is only likely to occur if it is embedded in an international agreement of some kind. The aim of this paper is to describe the key ethical issues facing animal breeding and assess the suggestion that the breeding industry itself can deal with ethical issues by means of an ethical code. Results from recent projects involving commercial breeding enterprises are presented.
Keywordsanimal production animal welfare biotechnology sustainability values
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