Animal Welfare

Animal Welfare
History of animal welfare
transmigration of souls, same kind of soul in animals as in humans
natural hierarchy of sentient beings, philosophers at the top, free men, women and slaves, animals
possession of a soul is proportional to rationality
1:26 rada - to drive (as in, to drive the flock), to rule, to chastise; Syriac, rada - to drive or tend the flock, to subdue; Arabic, rada(y) - to tread, to walk on; Akkadian, radu - to drive or to tend the flock, as in a shepherd, to go, to flow
modern (and possibly ancient) Christian interpretations of Genesis Hebrew 'rada' as stewardship or shepherding not as exploitative and despotic dominion.
St Thomas Aquinas
only the reasoning soul survives after death, so not babies or animals
St Francis
sacredness in nature, all creations to be treated with reverence, not actually only focussed on animals
Leonardo da Vinci
vegetarian, released captive birds from the market
Utopia - no hunting for sport, no animal sacrifices
Descartes - philosophical authority used to justify vivisection
Claude Bernard, dissected his wife's pet dog, she left him
unanaesthetised vivisection justified by Descartes' rationalism that only rational beings have souls
self-reflexive consciousness essential for experience of suffering,
assumed no non-human animals had self-reflexive consciousness,
therefore concluded animals could not suffer
only unconscious reaction to stimuli
animals do not have rational souls, but, kindness to animals is associated with people, therefore is a moral imperative
George Fox, John Wesley
concerned for children not to grow up to be cruel to animals because they will be cruel to people too
overall, more naturalistic, anti-authoritarian attitude to ethics, that morality emerges from the inner light/ personal conscience
(Ruth Harrison also a Quaker, many Quakers involved in Compassion in World Farming)
vegetarian, animal rights
"The day may come when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been witholden from them but by the hand of tyranny. [...]
A full-grown horse or dog, is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day or a week or even a month, old. But suppose the case were otherwise, what would it avail?
The question is not, Can they reason?, nor Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?" 1832
traditional Christian interpretation of 'dominion' condemned as tyranny
actual sentience higher in a horse or dog, or even more an ape in a zoo, than in a day or week old human baby
what matters is feelings not rationality
reverse of Aristotle and Descartes
Victorian social change and first animal welfare law
driving animals to slaughter in towns
no refrigeration, so animals would be forced to walk extremely long distances to slaughter in towns and cities
George Bernard Shaw
Queen Victoria
royal assent to the RSPCA 1840
made animal welfare concern respectable
Animal Cruelty Act 1876
urgent need for efficient food production
industrialisation of animal production
Ruth Harrison
Animal Machines, 1964
farm animal welfare campaigner
first use of term 'factory farm'
Peter Singer
says he was originally inspired by Ruth Harrison
utilitarian, focus on sentience
social evolution of morality
expanding circle of moral concern
Tom Reagan
intrinsic value principle
miniride (minimise overriding of conflicting intrinsic rights) principle
worse off principle
attitudes to animals
assumptions about sentience
phylogenetic hierarchy (or similarity to humans)
factual assumptions/ knowledge
internal conflict between attitudes and behaviour,
i.e. cognitive dissonance
embrace affection, reject utility
reject affection, embrace utility
Distancing/ Compartmentalisation
Recompense rituals (special case of compartmentalisation)
external conflict between people with different attitudes
or with different responses to internal conflict between affection and utility
family psychology and animals
investment dynamics
mother-infant conflict
affective dynamics
attachment theory
what is a family?
kin-based social unit
modern nuclear family v recent
shift in emphasis from functional aspects of family to individual emotional fulfilment within family
social environment in which human nature evolved
extended kinship networks
male parental care, cultural structures that enforce paternal care
monogamy evolved because it reduces inter-male competition and thus enables stabilisation of larger political coalitions
multi-level societies, i.e. grandparents, parents, juveniles and offspring
co-operate in food hunting and gathering and care of offspring
reciprocal altruism
kin selection special case of reciprocity
individual recognition is essential pre-requisite
"arms-race" between FPSL and counter-mechanisms
human life-history
exceptionally altricial
'altricial' means requiring care from others - parents, mostly
development of social cognition
language and cultural cognitive abilities
extended post-reproductive stage
grandparents, post-menopausal grandmothering
relatively stable pair-bonding, male investment in offspring
Kin networks
political power mediated by kin networking
rules for intermarriage between groups
groups that could collaborate were more successful
runaway selection for social traits
maternal-infant conflict
kin selection by inclusive fitness explains maternal care
but, offspring are only 50% related to mother, and 50-25% related to (half)-siblings
if b (infant) < rc (mother), net cost of inclusive fitness to mother
if b (infant) >2x rc (mother), net cost of inclusive fitness to infant
maternal-infant conflict is essentially due to the 'relatedness imbalance'
relatedness imbalance is ultimately because of sexual reproduction with haploid gametes
in third trimester, mother's hormones limit nutrition to foetus
gestational diabetes/ pre-eclampsia, metabolic diseases related to excessive cost to mother
besides metabolic pregnancy diseases, evidence of maternal-infant conflict in reality is thin
difficult to observe in humans, partly because of complex social networks of care
that relieve excess costs of infant care on mothers before excessive costs start to show
(especially in original EEA Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness)
kin recognition mechanisms
phenotype matching
fathers tend to be interested in whether the child looks like them
co-residence since infancy
incest avoidance
altruism much stronger between co-residents since infancy
high cost help to kin, low cost help to friends
emotional help to friends, instrumental help to kin
'benefit of the doubt' to kin, not so much to strangers
gender differences
men tend to take credit from friends, women tend to give credit to friends
intra-group conflict
quasi-kin groups
suicide bombers/ anti-Crusader assassins
kin cue manipulation
pets as 'part of the family'
90% respondents in US survey answered they consider pets as 'part of the family'
universal human trait
many hunter-gatherer societies keep pets, altho often in different ways
levels of attachment to pets
unmarried > married
divorced > married with children
no children > with children
childless women >> anyone else!
in hunter-gatherer societies, women who have lost many infants >> anyone else
adaptive trait in humans?
practice for parental care
honest signal of parenting ability (especially in males)
precursor to domestication
attachments inhibit consumption,
while retaining females for breeding
generalisation to other animals
concern for animal welfare
pathological attachment
excessive mourning > clinical depression
obsessive-compulsive animal collecting
compulsion to collect 'stray' animals (which may well not be stray!)
obsession with "saving" animals
delusional un-awareness of own inability to ensure the animals' welfare
risk factors for pathological attachment forming to animals
low income
chaotic childhood
lack of emotionally safe and reliable attachments in human society
psychology of animal abandonment
people abandoning animals to shelters report:
~50% due to animal's behaviour
housing problems
allergies/ lifestyle
characteristics of relinquishing owners
pet previously stray/ rehomed/ obtained from a friend
i.e. low initial investment
owned 6-12 months
male = female
wide range of incomes -not a predictive factor
psychology of cruelty to animals
predatory behaviour - high reward value for pain/ blood/ death
status mechanism - representing what agent may do to other people if they challenge his dominance
cultural elaborations: in war, entertainment, blood sports
mechanism for strengthening social cohesion - relatively sublimated form of out-group aggression, which increases in-group loyalty
male > female
in childhood, form of 'dirty play'
graduation hypothesis for link between animal cruelty to human cruelty/ domestic violence
commonly accepted view, supported by animal welfare charities and BVA advice
little/ ambiguous actual evidence of causal link
animal cruelty is associated with general criminality,
but not specifically cruelty/ violence towards other people
common factors in both
lack of education
need to express masculinity
lowered threshold for aggression
need for control
alternative hypotheses to explain the correlation
That extreme and or sustained cruelty to animals in youth may lead to violence towards people in adulthood
That animal cruelty within a home may be associated with other forms of domestic violence
That children who are subjected to abuse in the home may go on to abuse animals
animals as companions
ancient history of pet keeping by humans
widespread, more or less present in most cultures, found in hunter-gatherer societies which are in EEA
economic/ ecological factors
most common in urban industrialised and subsistence hunting societies,
least common in subsistence farming societies
Western cultural style of pet-keeping now widespread,
but still many other styles of pet relationships and species of pets worldwide and historically
e.g. Japanese 'Mushi'
Amazonian indigenous peoples, favour primates, indifferent to dogs
parasitic or mutual symbiosis?
benefits to humans
Help with hunting
Vermin control
Protect against aggressors/predators
Fulfils ‘need to nurture’
Keeps us happier / healthier
costs to humans