TIERethik - Zeitschrift zur Mensch-Tier-Beziehung


Animal ethics and animal welfare science – Problems and challenges of a tense relationship
Kirsten Schmidt



Although animal ethics and animal welfare science share a common interest in the advancement of animal welfare, their relationship is affected by mutual reservation. Especially the close connection of animal welfare science with social contexts where animals are seen as legitimate objects of use by human beings is inconsistent with the moral demand for a fundamental change in our attitude towards animals. The analysis of this conflict from the perspective of animal ethics shows that animal welfare science and animal ethics highly depend on each other. Welfare concepts are indispensable in the whole field of animal ethics. Evidence for this can be found by analyzing the structure of theories of animal ethics and the different ways in which these theories employ welfare concepts. Furthermore, the background of values underneath every welfare theory is essential to pursue animal welfare science. Animal ethics can make important contributions to the clarification of these normative assumptions.


Keywords: animal welfare, animal welfare science, animal ethics