Oxford Martin School, Seminar Room 2
Title: Brave New Farm: Should We Use Psychoactive Substances to Promote Animal Welfare? (co-authored with Ole Martin Moen)
Every year, tens of billions of animals live and die on an industrial production line to meet our demand for meat, eggs and dairy. Most of these animals live their whole lives inside factory farms, where they often suffer tremendously. There are three main ways in which people have sought to reduce this suffering: (i) by reducing the consumption of products from factory farms; (ii) by improving the animals’ environment (e.g. larger cages); and (iii) through bodily interventions (e.g. tail docking). In this paper, we explore a fourth possible approach. If what we seek to reduce is the suffering of factory-farmed animals, and this suffering is ultimately experienced through the central nervous system, should we do more to try to intervene directly in there? We investigate this question by considering the potential large-scale and prolonged use of psychoactive substances in factory-farmed animals to reduce their suffering, and argue that this option, however controversial it may seem, deserves serious attention, given that it is unlikely that factory farming and the suffering it entails are going to end any time soon.
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