Why is animal welfare important? If you are asking yourself this question, you are in the right place! In the past, I might have been surprised that I would write an article about the necessity and importance of animal welfare at some point - after all, animals are doing just fine here in Germany - or so I always thought. But the reality looks different.
Many of them live here caged and certainly not free from hunger and thirst, from fear, stress, from pain and disease. The absurd: the animals must be protected from us humans. Because the goals of animal protection clash with the actual "use" in our society.
Whether wild, street or farm animals, whether in Germany or elsewhere in the world: In this article I would like to list the most important reasons for animal welfare and give you a comprehensive sense of its importance. Let's go!
Here you can find a short overview in advance. Animal welfare is important because animals...
- are sentient, intelligent creatures
- have done nothing to us
- have no voice and few rights in our society
- are important for the environment
- are threatened with extinction
- need our help
- promote our social coexistence
- not stand among us people
- want to be treated humanely by us
- are endangered and we humans endanger ourselves with it
1. because animals are sentient, intelligent creatures
Mammals have a central nervous system from the brain and spinal cord - and can therefore feel pleasure and pain, for example. So animals have feelings and last but not least a will to live, just like we humans do.
Even though a lack of intelligence should of course never be a reason for treating someone badly or even exploiting them, it must not go unmentioned that animals are in their own cosmos extremely intelligent living beings are. Chickens, for example, organize themselves in clear hierarchies - they can even calculate and reason logically.₁
2. because animals have not done anything to us
One can certainly argue about whether revenge is the right reaction when something has been done to you. But animals have definitely not done anything to us. On the contrary: whether dogs, cats, pigs, sheep or chickens - they are all capable of bringing a smile to our faces. Yet we treat most of them, like objects.
Whoever finds himself in the almost hopeless situation of a severely wounded street dog or an exploited cow in the Factory farming can quickly understand why animal welfare is so incredibly important and necessary.
3. because animals have no voice and too few rights in our society
Actually, in Germany and many other countries in Europe, it is regulated by law that animals must be protected in our society. Animal protection is part of the Basic Law. And in the Animal Protection Act states, for example, that we humans bear responsibility for our fellow creatures and that no one may inflict pain or suffering on an animal without reasonable cause. There are also expert opinions and guidelines for dealing with all other animals.
However, the term "suffering lines" is more appropriate. Because despite the laws millions of animals suffer systematically every day for our food (e.g. in breeding farms, in slaughterhouses), entertainment (e.g. in zoos and circuses), clothing (e.g. for fur and wool), in Animal testing, in hunting and not least, through cruelty to animals in private households. So animal welfare is important because laws are not enough to protect them.
4. because animals are important for the environment
Animal welfare is also environmental protection. Not only animals in stables or private households must be protected, but also animals in the wild. There they need above all plenty of space, clean water, fresh air, and sufficient food and shelter. We humans also need these things as a basis for life - yet we take more from this planet than we are entitled to. And also burden nature - for example through the Deforestation or the Plastic waste in the environment.
Each animal takes on an important role in its ecosystem and is thus important for the ecological balance. The mole, for example, is responsible for a healthy and well-aerated soil - and the bee ensures through the Plant pollination for their reproduction - and thus also for food for countless other animals and us humans.
5. because countless animals are threatened with extinction
Of course, animal welfare means more than that - but most people probably associate it with endangered species like Polar bears, elephants or Gorillas. The species extinction is definitely one of the biggest, ecological problems of our time. To stop it, animal welfare is of course also so incredibly important. Ultimately, however, we humans also suffer from the dwindling animal and plant species on our planet.
Tip: What you personally do against the extinction of species you can learn in the linked article!
6. because animals need our help
In many countries, people keep dogs and cats on chains or put wild animals in a bag and beat them to death because they are considered a nuisance. And then there is also generally weak and injured animalswho would suffer and die without our support.
Animals need our help! Namely not only in times of need after an injury - but in general. Because even if we humans Animals love, many of us eat their body parts. And no one can seriously believe that an animal goes happily into a slaughterhouse, comes out in pieces and wrapped in plastic - and that something "humane" has happened to our fellow creature in the meantime.
I am an animal rights activist because millions of animals need our help at this moment alone and I want to do something about this deplorable state of affairs. Anyone who has seen an animal suffer (e.g. in a slaughterhouse, in an animal show or after a wildlife accident) absolutely wants to ensure that this suffering comes to an end. This is what characterizes us humans as compassionate beings.
7. because the conscious protection of animals promotes our social coexistence
Those who protect animals and exemplify this attitude automatically also contribute to a non-violent coexistence among us humans. It serves the development of our coexistence if we "no longer even" harm animals. The hurdle to harming another human being becomes even greater as a result.
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."Mahatma Gandhi (more at Gandhi Quotes)
I want to prevent both human and animal suffering as much as practically possible. For the protection of the Health of each individual, for law-abidingness, peace, justice, compassion and a better future.
Tip: At vegan against violence I will explain to you how these things are all related to animal welfare and are promoted by a respectful, ethical-social treatment of animals.
8. because we humans are not above animals
Many people justify their inconsiderate treatment of animals by saying that we are different and that we humans are above them. But just because we look, talk and behave differently is no reason to treat them badly. Rather, this is a speciesist mindset.
In addition to many general similarities, there are also especially one overriding, decisive common featureWe humans are also animals. Already by definition - because we have sense organs, a metabolism and reproduce to survive. We are a mammal from the family of the apes.₂
Yet we do not overbreed human animals - we rape them, kidnap them, sell them, gas them, shred them, displace them, dismember them, package them, and eat them. That sounds exaggerated? I don't think that, for example, dairy cows, pigs, ducks, chickens but also not all dogs and cats share this opinion. We must not live at the expense of animals - and that is precisely why animal welfare is so important.
Tip: There may have been a time in our evolutionary history when we had to eat animals and warm ourselves with their skins in order to survive. But in today's civilization, the argument may "Meat has helped us survive and evolve". no longer count as an excuse for animal cruelty.
9. because we represent human values
Respect, love, mercy and compassion are the hallmarks of human action. Habits, stress or feelings of revenge, for example, take us away from them from time to time. But basically we all strive for these human values. When dealing with animals, however, we often or even daily make exceptions to them.
Animal protection is therefore also there to question one's own behavior and to provide food for thought. Our responsibility must not be lost in the masses of society. Animal welfare starts with each individual.
10. because, not least, we are endangering our own livelihoods
This is one, admittedly not entirely altruistic, reason why animal welfare is extremely important. But anyone who has a little foresight knows that Animal protection also means human protection. For example, due to the extinction of species or the consequences of the growing consumption of meat in our society - first and foremost the climate change, the World hunger and the deforestation of the rainforests - we are ultimately sawing off the branch on which we are sitting.
The animal exploitation and Stop factory farming and really treating all animals the way we want to be treated gets to the root of all these problems. Animal welfare is a much more tangible and effective lever for an environmentally friendly everyday life than simply hoping that people will start doing it on their own, to live more climate friendly.
We cannot simply behave recklessly on this planet and must understand that Nature and animals play a crucial role in our own lives. If that's not motivation enough for you, you should at least drive the future of your own children and grandchildren.
Animal welfare is important and makes us human
We all agree that animals only need to be protected from us humans, right? So animal protection is also to be seen as a certain Guideline for our behavior on this planet to understand.
Each of us can and must contribute to animals being able to live a reasonable and species-appropriate life. And indeed all animals, whether dogs, cats, pigs, cows or bees - here with us in Germany and in all other places in this world.
"Animal protection is education to humanity."Albert Schweitzer (more at Animal welfare quotes)
Finally I would like to give you here further articles about the topic of animal welfare:
- Animal welfare in everyday life - What everyone can do
- Why do people torture animals?
- Adopt dog from animal shelter
- The best animal welfare organizations
I hope that this article has helped you understand why animal welfare is important. Do you have any questions, tips or further reasons? Then I look forward to your comments.
Be always kind to animals,
PS: Look with pleasure still something in the animal welfare blog around. There you will learn, for example, the Tools in factory farming that make it at least somewhat easier to put yourself in the animals' shoes.
₁ Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk: Underestimated poultry - intelligent chickens (as of 04.06.2017), available at https://www.mdr.de/wissen/intelligenz-bei-huehnern-100.html. [16.05.2023].
₂ Isabell Kubon: Are humans animals? This is why we are not above animals (as of Sept. 22, 2021), available at https://www.peta.de/themen/sind-menschen-tiere. [16.05.2023].