Animal welfare is the physical and psychological well-being of animals. It is measured by indicators including behavior, physiology, longevity, and reproduction. The term animal welfare can also mean human concern for animal welfare or a position in a debate on animal ethics and animal rights. This position is measured by attitudes to different types of animal uses.
Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW)
The Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW) is a proposed inter-governmental agreement to recognise that animals are sentient, to prevent cruelty and reduce suffering, and to promote standards on the welfare of animals such as farm animals, companion animals, animals in scientific research, draught animals, wildlife animals and animals in recreation.
Animal Rights versus Animal Welfare
by BBC – Ethics: Guide to moral and ethical issues
The difference between animal rights and animal welfare has been summed up like this:
Animal rights supporters believe that it is morally wrong to use or exploit animals in any way and that human beings should not do so.
Animal welfare supporters believe that it can be morally acceptable for human beings to use or exploit animals, as long as: the suffering of the animals is either eliminated or reduced to the minimum and there is no practicable way of achieving the same end without using animals.
For people who think like this, the suffering to animals is at the heart of the issue, and reducing the suffering reduces the wrong that is done.
Supporters of animal rights don’t think that doing wrong things humanely makes them any less wrong.
BBC – Animal Ethics
Rational argument about the right and wrong way to treat animals is made more difficult by the deep love that many of us feel for animals. For philosophers it raises fundamental questions about the basis of moral rights.