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Role of Joy in Farm Animal Welfare Legislation

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While animal welfare is commonly invoked in legal debates regarding non-human animals kept for food purposes, the concept of animal joy is rarely mentioned in such contexts. This paper analyzes the relationship between welfare and joy in the German animal protection law (GAPL) and in the EU directive 98/58/EC. Based on a review of scientific and philosophical approaches towards animal welfare, joy is argued to be a part of welfare. Nevertheless, joy is ignored in the German and EU legal provisions. While there may be economic disadvantages of legally protecting animal joy, it is argued that overlooking elements of joy cannot be justified from any ethical perspective that claims to take animal welfare into consideration. In order to clarify the aims of the legal provisions, decision-makers need to define the role joy ought to play in welfare legislation.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Societal Transition and Agriculture, University of Hohenheim ; 2: Department of Food and Resource Economics, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen


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