Those who support animal welfare concentrate on promoting and encouraging welfare reforms in nonhuman animals. They strive to make treatment of animals as much humane as possible with various campaigns like foie grass and fur, promoting cage free type of eggs and beef, which are grown purely on grass.
Such measures are intended to ban animal use, while other animal welfare supporters are not against using animals provided they do not suffer much. Humane treatment in short is the main goal for those in animal welfare. Animal welfare faces some major difficulties in its approach.
Lack of protection for animals
The measures did not provide much difference to the protection of animals and their interests. For instance, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) had campaigned to make many of the leading fast food restaurant chains including McDonald’s to follow the slaughter and handling method of Temple Grandin, but irrespective of whether the method is followed or not, a slaughterhouse remains a hideous place, which makes the entire animal welfare objective mute here.
Many animal welfare organizations are encouraging alternative gestation crates for use in pigs, but such measures when viewed closely deal with only expensive campaigns and do nothing towards the actual protection as they have several loopholes that allow exploiters to do as they wish. Similarly, improvements in animal welfare have also not made many inroads into the situation.
Organic meat has however reached across the population as more and more people have started preferring organically grown vegetables and meat. It is possible to grow plants even indoors with efficient grow lights. And LEDs are used in chicken and pig farms for maintaining the right temperature. Organic farming has become very common now.
Makes people feel better
The various measures taken with regard to animal welfare has made people feel better on exploiting animals and using them. People who had earlier avoided eating animal foods due to the bad treatment of animals have started to eat them after the organizations promoting animal welfare persuaded them about the humane treatment the animals were receiving.
But ironically, with increased welfare measures, animal suffering was found to increase. This is because with increased success of welfare measures, the use of animals’ increased leading to more suffering. A fitting example for this situation is veal consumption in Europe. The consumption has increased due to the regulation brought on the confinement of the veal calves.
No change in animal status
The various measures introduced to improve animal welfare are focused on exploiting animals efficiently and do not, like animal rights, ban use of animal meat. Animal welfare thus safeguards animal interests only to protect the economic benefits provided by animals for humans and treats animals as commodities only.
For instance, in poultry industry the alternative to crates, used for gestation, has been adopted as it saves costs, increases revenue, quality of meat and shelf life and improves conditions of the workers and all this do not in any way relate to welfare of the animals.
While organic meat belongs to this category, organic or homegrown vegetables and fruits are healthy and even protect plants well. From the Effective Grow Tents to LED grow lights there are several beneficial tools that help in organic farming indoors and in all weather conditions.
Even as more money is funneled into animal welfare, it serves to increase exploitation of animals, while abolition or vegan education is neglected largely as both cannot be done simultaneously.