Led On Line
Presentazione - About us
Novita' - What's new
Lededizioni Home Page Ricerca - Search
Catalogo - Catalogue
Per contattarci - Contacts
Per gli Autori - For the Authors
Statistiche - Statistics
Cookie Policy
Privacy Policy

The Relationship between Humans and Other Animals in European Animal Welfare Legislation

Paola Sobbrio


Beginning with the Treaty of Amsterdam and then later with the Treaty of Lisbon (TFEU), Europe has more than once formally recognized nonhuman animals as sentient beings. This recognition spurred the creation of regulations that provide for the protection and promotion of animal welfare. However, this protection seems to contain many exceptions, particularly regarding the consideration from which these regulations stemmed: the recognition of animal sentience. In this paper, I argue that the regulations generated by this legislation, far from being aimed at improving the living conditions of nonhuman animals used by the human animals, are actually put in place in order to obtain additional benefits for humans. These benefits include, but are not limited to, the reduction of zoonotic diseases (in the case of nonhuman animals being used for breeding), and the improvement in predictability of animal models (in the case of nonhuman animals being used for experimental purposes). While the rhetoric of these laws seems to endorse the protection and welfare of animals as sentient beings, they actually allow for their enslavement and objectification. In the end, the credibility of Europe’s acknowledgement of animal sentience is greatly hampered by the institutionalization of very cruel practices allowed by animal welfare regulations.


Animal welfare, animal legislation, nonhuman animal, human animal, sentient beings, food, animal welfare legislation

Full Text:



Brambell, Rogers F.W. (Chairman). 1965. Report of the Technical Committee to Enquire into the Welfare of Animals Kept under Intensive Livestock Systems. London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.

Broom, Donald M. 1986. “Indicators of Poor Welfare”. British Veterinary Journal 142

(6): 524-6. doi: 10.1016/0007-1935(86)90109-0.

Broom, Donald M. 1991. “Animal Welfare: Concepts and Measurement”. Journal of Animal Sci¬ence 69 (10): 4167-75.

Council Directive. 1986. “Approximation of Laws, Regulations and Administrative Provisions of the Member States Regarding the Protection of Animals Used for Experimental and Other Scientific Purposes. Council Directive 86/609/ EEC of 24 November 1986”. Official Journal of the European Union L 358 (18/12/1986): 1-28.

Council Directive. 1998. “Concerning the Protection of Animals Kept for Farming Purposes. Council Directive 98/58/EC of 20 July 1998”. Official Journal of the European Communities L 221 (08/08/1998): 23-7.

Council Directive. Council Directive. 1999. “Laying down Minimum Standards for the Protection of Laying Hens”.

Official Journal of the European Communities L 203 (03/08/1999): 53-7.

Council Directive. 2001. “Amending Directive 91/630/EEC Laying down Minimum Standards for the Protection of Pigs. Council Directive 2001/93/EC of 9 November 2001”. Official Journal of the European Communities L 316 (01/12/2001): 36-8.

Council Directive. 2009. “Laying down Minimum Standards for the Protection of Pigs. Coun¬cil Directive 2008/120/EC”. Official Journal of the European Union L 47 (18/02/2009): 5-13.

Council Directive. 2010. “On the Protection of Animals Used for Scientific Purposes. Council Directive 2010/63/EU of 22 September 2010”. Official Journal of the Euro¬pean Union L 276 (20/10/2010): 33-79.

Council of the European Union. 2010. “Consolidated Versions of the Treaty on Euro¬pean Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union”. Offi¬cial Journal of the European Union C 83 (30/03/2010).

Duncan, Ian J.H. 1993. “Welfare Is to Do with What Animals Feel”. Journal of Agri¬cultural and Environmental Ethics 6, Supplement 2: 8-14.

Duncan, Ian J.H., and Carol J. Petherick. 1991. “The Implications of Cognitive Pro¬cesses for Animal Welfare”. Journal of Animal Science 69 (12): 5017-22.

EFSA. 2012. Science Protecting Consumers from Field to Fork. Accessed December 6, 2012. http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/corporate/doc/efsacorporatebrochure.pdf.

European Commission. 2010. “Sixth Report on the Statistics on the Number of Ani¬mals Used for Experimental and Other Scientific Purposes in the Member States of the European Union SEC(2010) 1107”. Official Website of the European Union. Accessed December 6, 2012. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/ LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2010:0511:REV1:EN:PDF.

European Commission. 2012. “Communication from the Commission to the Council and the Euro¬pean Parliament on Animal Welfare Legislation on Farmed Animals in Third Countries and the Implications for the EU”. Official Website of the Euro¬pean Union. Accessed December 6, 2012. http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/ welfare/references/2002_0626_en.pdf.

European Commission. 2012. “Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee on the European Union Strategy for the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2012-2015”. Official Website of the European Union. Accessed December 6, 2012. http://ec.europa. eu/food/animal/welfare/actionplan/docs/aw_strategy_19012012_en.pdf.

European Parliament, and Council. 2006. “Concerning the Registration, Evalua¬tion, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), Establishing a European Chemicals Agency, Amending Directive 1999/45/EC and Repeal¬ing Council Regulation (EEC) no. 793/93 and Commission Regulation (EC) no. 1488/94 as well as Council Directive 76/769/EEC and Commission Directives 91/155/EEC, 93/67/EEC, 93/105/EC and 2000/21/EC. Regulation (EC) no. 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and Council of 18 December 2006”. Official Journal of the European Union L 396 (20/12/2006).

Farm Animal Welfare Committee. 2011. “Five Freedoms”. FAWC. Accessed Decem¬ber 6, 2012. http://www.defra.gov.uk/fawc/about/five-freedoms.

Fraser, David, et al. 2009. Capacity Building to Implement Good Animal Welfare Practices Report of the Fao Expert Meeting – Fao Headquarters (Rome) 30 September - 3 October 2008. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Harrison, Ruth. 1964. Animal Machines. London: Stuart.

Rovida, Costanza, and Thomas Hartung. 2009. “Re-evaluation of Animal Numbers and Costs for In Vivo Tests to Accomplish REACH Legislation Requirements for Chemicals – A Report by the Transatlantic Think Tank for Toxicology

(t4)”. Altex 26 (3): 187-208.

STOP VIVISECTION. 2012. What is STOP VIVISECTION. Accessed December 6,2012. http://www.stopvivisection.eu/en/content/what-stop-vivisection.

Welfare Quality®. 2009. Project Overview. Accessed December 6, 2012. http://www.welfarequality.net/everyone/26536/5/0/22.

World Organisation for Animal Health. (1968) 2012. Terrestrial

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/rela-2013-001-sobb

Relations. Beyond Anthropocentrism
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (04/05/2012 n. 211)
Online ISSN 2280-9643 - Print ISSN 2283-3196

Executive Editor: Matteo Andreozzi
Associate Editors: Rod Bennison - Alma Massaro - Kim Stallwood - Jessica Ulrich
Review Editors: Sofia Bonicalzi - Eleonora Adorni
Editorial Board:
Ralph R. Acampora - Carol J. Adams - Matthew R. Calarco - Gabriele Cambiotti - Piergiorgio Donatelli - Arianna Ferrari - William Grove-Fanning - Serenella Iovino - Joel MacClellan - Dario Martinelli - Roberto Marchesini - Barbara Muraca - Serpil Oppermann - Piergiacomo Pagano - Paola Sobbrio - Sabrina Tonutti