The three pillars of applied farm animal welfare

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Miroslav Kjosevski
Martin Nikolovski
Ksenija Ilievska
Lazo Pendovski
Vlatko Ilieski


There is an evident difference in the implementation level of animal welfare (AW) across the societies and countries worldwide. Although multiple factors contribute to these differences, we can summarize them into a three pillar concept, the three aspects of applied farm AW. The objective of this review is to analyse applied AW on farms from the ethical, economic and animal health aspects. Modern ethics emphasizes biocentrism against anthropocentrism, the modern ethical concept of bioethics. Additionally, beside the differences among the major ethical concepts, there is a consensus that AW deserves a respectful place. An animal’s economic value is not only limited by its material value determined by the inputs and outputs. Thus, rather than being simply considered as a “stock-good” machine, animals are valued as a sentient beings with “added value”, which has an impact on the final product price. Animal health and welfare are interconnected and are based on the impact of AW on health and vice versa. The implementation of higher welfare standards to farm animals is only possible if AW is accepted as part of the health of the animal. The applicability of this concept is presented through the European Union AW legislation, which is based on public opinion, economy and animal health. As a conclusion, applied AW is possible only at the level at which the three pillars are equally balanced, and the initiatives in this field should work and be focused on ethics, economics and health.


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Kjosevski, M., Nikolovski, M., Ilievska, K., Pendovski, L., & Ilieski, V. (2021). The three pillars of applied farm animal welfare. Veterinarski Glasnik, 75(2), 99–111.


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