Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics vol:19 issue:1 pages:67-76
When making an assessment of animal welfare, it is important to take environmental and animal-based parameters into account. An alternative approach is to focus on the behavior and appearance of the animal, without making actual measurements or quantifications. In this paper, we suggest that it is possible to find a common ground between these (seemingly) diametrically opposed positions and argue that this is a 'third' way to deal with the complexity of animal welfare. The model must be acceptable for different parties who are affected by it, and benefiting for the animal. This 'practical ethical' approach can be condensed into a model that essentially is made up out of three basic elements: the classical welfare analysis with an existing welfare assessment tool, an assessment of the stockholder, and an implementation of the Free Choice Profiling technique. This new framework does not pretend to be a different or better animal welfare matrix but is intended to integrate existing knowledge and to provide a practical tool for improving animal welfare. It not only identifies whether there are welfare problems on a farm (and, if present, whether these problems are caused by the housing system or the stockholder), and but also what can be done to improve the situation.