The Role of the Ideology of Animal Welfare in the Consumption and Marketing of Animal-Origin Products

The Role of the Ideology of Animal Welfare in the Consumption and Marketing of Animal-Origin Products

Nick Pendergrast (University of Melbourne, Australia) and Sarah McGrath (Independent Researcher, France)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4757-0.ch015
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Abstract

This chapter investigates the dominance of the animal welfare ideology and the role it plays in the widespread consumption of animal-origin products. Animal welfare ideology promotes the humane use and slaughter of non-human animals. This chapter includes a literature review on the dominance of the animal welfare perspective. It also analyses how this ideology is reflected and promoted in the marketing of animal-origin products. This is done by exploring the packaging and advertising of the company Harvey Fresh as well as the role of the accreditation of the government-funded non-profit organisation the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) in Australia. Their marketing and accreditation are linked to the dominance of the animal welfare perspective and the widespread consumption of animal-origin products.
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Background: The Dominance Of The Animal Welfare Perspective

The idea of animal welfare came about with the realisation that animals’ physical and emotional well-being is important, not just their productivity for human ends (Bourke, 2009, p. 132). Cary Williams (2012, p. 12) explains that ‘both animal rights and animal welfare advocates agree that animals should be protected, and that animals are sentient creatures’. This sentience refers to non-human animals as conscious beings capable of experiencing suffering and pleasure, rather than objects (Munro, 2012, p. 169; Freeman, 2013, p. 98). These ideologies however vary greatly in the protection that should be granted to non-human animals as a result of their sentience. Animal rights are related to challenging the human-animal boundary and contesting the concept of other animals being here for humans to use and slaughter; regardless of how “humanely” or otherwise this is done (Cherry, 2010, p. 458; Williams, 2012, pp. 13-14). The focus of animal welfare is on working for better treatment of other animals used and slaughtered for human ends (Beers, 2006, pp. 3-4; Singer, 2012, interview).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Sentience: Beings who are conscious and capable of experiencing suffering and pleasure, rather than objects.

Speciesism: Discrimination based on species.

Animal Welfare: Strives for the humane use and slaughter of non-human animals.

Animal Rights: Contests the concept of other animals being here for humans to use and slaughter; regardless of how “humanely” or otherwise this is done.

Property Status of Non-Human Animals: The status of other animals as merely property under the law.

The Australian Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA): A non-profit organisation and charity that advocates for animal welfare.

Harvey Fresh: A company which sells dairy products, owned by The Lactalis Group, the largest dairy group in the world with production operations in forty-three countries worldwide.

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