terça-feira, 28 de julho de 2015

About confined freedoms and shared lives: animals, humans and welfare in beef cattle breeding farms

by Graciela Froehlich

Designed to evaluate the conditions in which live animals in intensive livestock systems in England, the Brambell Committee produced, in 1965, a report that noted several problems in the health and welfare of animals raised in such a production model. In addition, defined "five freedoms" that are now widely disseminated and should be provided for the animals to live on welfare conditions: the animals must be free from hunger and thirst; free of discomfort; free of pain, abuse and disease; free to express their natural behavior, and free of fear and sadness.
The notion of Animal Welfare is present on stamps and origin certifications, seeking to guarantee consumers that animals that gave rise to such foods were created rationally and slaughtered humanely. In the same path as the European Union and informed by the rules of the International World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the Brazilian regulatory try to adapt and regulate a certain idea of respect for freedom of animals, including those raised for food. In Brazil, Animal Welfare initiatives are being implemented in livestock farms, pigs and chickens, as well as refrigerators and slaughterhouses. Such processes have the decisive mediation of the Brazilian State, concerned with keeping high the meat export indices, especially bovine.
Attentive to such demands, the meat production chain try to adapt to animal welfare requirements, and of these links, the farms of beef cattle breeding are a privileged place to think about the possibilities of engagement and detachment between humans and animals that “animal welfare” concept evokes. Animals and humans live there in everyday relationships, sharing work and living conditions. My purpose here is to discuss the notion of Animal Welfare, thinking about concepts such as freedoms and needs, paradigmatic for such a notion. This will be done based on field research that I have been doing in beef cattle breeding farms - possessed of good farming practices and certifications, always focusing on animal welfare protocol as one of its mandatory requirements - in Regions South and Midwest of Brazil. The perception of workers about animal welfare and the daily work in the farms provide the basis for issues raised here: what are the ways of speaking freedoms when animals are raised in small pens where their food depends on human labor? What changes in that frame when the animals live in larger pastures, in the open? What other animal welfare ideas arise in the context of daily work the farms? What are "happy animals" and "animals in welfare conditions"?

Currently Doctoral Student in Social Anthropology, at the University of Brasília (UnB). My graduation and my Master Degree were in Social Sciences, at the Federal University of Santa Maria, in 2008 and 2012, respectively.
E-mail: gracielafr@gmail.com
55 (61)8302 0601 

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