Animal welfare has been conceptualized in such a way that the use of animals in science and for food seems justified. I argue that those who have done this have appropriated the concept of animal welfare, claiming to give a scientific account that is more objective than the sentimental account given by animal liberationists. This strategy seems to play a major role in supporting merely limited reform in the use of animals and seems to support the assumption that there are (...) conditions under which animals may be raised and slaughtered for food that are ethically acceptable. Reformists do not need to make this assumption, but they tend to conceptualize animal welfare is such a way that death does not count as harmful to the interests of animals, nor prolonged life a benefit. In addition to this prudential value assumption, some members of this community have developed strategies for defending suitably reformed farming practices as ethical even granting that death and some other forms of constraints are harms. One such strategy is the fiction of a domestic contract. However, if one accepts the conceptualization of human welfare give by L. W. Sumner, and applies it to animals in the way that I think is justified, an accurate conceptualization of animal welfare has different implications for which uses of animals should be regarded as ethically acceptable. In this paper I give an historical and philosophical account of animal welfare conceptulization and use this account to argue that animal breeders, as custodians of the animals they breed, have the ethical responsibility to help their animal wards achieve as much autonomy as possible in choosing the form of life made available to them and to provide that life. Attempts to avoid these implications by alluding to a contract model of the relationship between custodians and their wards fail to relieve custodians of their ethical responsibilities of care. (shrink)
The quest for a ``theory of nonhuman minds'''' to assessclaims about the moral status of animals is misguided. Misframedquestions about animal minds facilitate the appropriation ofanimal welfare by the animal user industry. When misframed, thesequestions shift the burden of proof unreasonably to animalwelfare regulators. An illustrative instance of misframing can befound in the US National Research Council''s 1998 publication thatreports professional efforts to define the psychologicalwell-being of nonhuman primates, a condition that the US 1985animal welfare act requires users of primates (...) to promote. Thereport claims that ``psychological well-being'''' is a hypotheticalconstruct whose validity can only be determined by a theory thatdefines its properties and links it to observed data. Thisconception is used to contest common knowledge about animalwelfare by treating psychological well-being as a mentalcondition whose properties are difficult to discover. Thisframework limits regulatory efforts to treat animal subjects lessoppressively and serves the interests of the user industry.A more liberatory framework can be constructed by recognizing thecontested nature of welfare norms, where competing conceptions ofanimal welfare have implications about norm-setting authority, asit does in other regulatory contexts, e.g., food safety. Properlyconceptualized welfare should include both the avoidance ofdistressful circumstances and the relationship between ananimal''s capacities to engage in enjoyable activities and itsopportunities to exercise these capacities. This conception ofanimal welfare avoids appropriation by scientific experts. (shrink)
Many women creative practice-led researchers appear inhibited by a number of factors directly connected to their gender. This article discusses these factors, including the culture of visual arts professional practice, the circumstances surrounding women postgraduate students and unproductive self-theories about intelligence and creativity. A number of feminist strategies are discussed as potential interventions that may assist women creative practice-led researchers and their supervisors to reap more personal and professional rewards from their postgraduate research.