For an optimal and responsible behavior towards animals.
AWe are all responsible for optimal and responsible
behavior towards animals. From almost all contributions
to Animal Freedom it becomes apparent that our mentality
and our behavior should be based on the principle that
every animal has a right to live in freedom. The freedom to behave according to our
The right to live in freedom can only be fully upheld, and the interests
of animals can only be served, by refusing to eat meat,
by no longer keeping animals as pets and by letting animals
live freely in their natural environment in a natural
balance, with sufficient space and surrounded by their
But even in a society where meat is consumed and where
pets are kept it is worthwhile to aim for better animal
treatment and the preservation of animal rights.
It is obvious that this responsibility lies on different levels:
With voters. Voters can influence politics by casting
With individuals. The individual (as a consumer)
has a major influence on economics.
With consumers. Consumers have a daily choice to
prepare food in a responsible way. Responsibility
also means to broaden the horizon and to learn more
about alternative ways of preparing food.
With supermarkets and fast-food chains. These buy
massive quantities of meat at low prices, and increase
meat consumption. If they were restricted to buying
only local food, then this could put a stop to the
international trade in meat from factory farming.
With interest groups. These groups can influence
the public opinion and attitude by negotiating and
providing information. The latter especially aimed
at the media.
which dictate standards and morality for their congregations.
With legal organizations. The average Dutch pig
farm is only inspected once every seventeen years
on the well being and health of the animals, while
on the other hand the majority of these farmers break
at least one law concerning the well being of pigs
(source: annual report of the Dutch inspection organization).
who can reach international agreements about the treatment
of animals, and issue laws concerning basic animal
rights, for example through the World Trade Organization.
By stopping the international trade in animals the
demand for (the current quantities coming from) factory
farming will decrease and (the quality of) biological
farming can and will be encouraged.
With the government, which can pass laws and regulations
designed to keep a keen eye on the market and the
way animals live and how they are treated. The government
handles taxes and should at least guard against abuse
of governmental subsidies that promote inequality
regarding the treatment of animals.
With farmers and pet owners,
who are the main responsible and the only ones directly
influencing their animals' living standards and quality
The latter in this list are more responsible than the former. This
responsibility is even greater in the case of spokesmen
for the agricultural community. They have a position
in society where they can influence the opinions and
behavior of others.
Since we have become more and more individualistic,
the roles of church and government as guardians of morality
have become smaller and smaller. There is nothing wrong
with this development, but we have to stay sharp so
we do not harm vulnerable parties.
The protective role lies primarily with the government.
Of course others can help the government by making the
public aware about keeping our dealings with animals
endurable. The same of course goes for churches, schools
and other public organizations, etc..
Besides the responsibility, the meat-eating consumer also has a
special interest in low prices for meat. This is the
reason for the great difference between what the consumer
says and what the consumer does.
The industry also has its economical interests in the
exploitation of animals, for example: banks, distribution
channels, the meat processing industry, the fodder industry,
restaurants, bars, pubs, etc.
Farmers like to represent themselves as 'victims', victims
of the banks, the fodder industry and the consumers.
This is merely a way of drawing attention away from
their prime responsibility. Every farmer who stops with
factory farming helps to reduce the suffering of animals.
Take your own responsibility
Everyone is (on more than one level) responsible, which
makes it easier to push away this responsibility towards
others. We must dare to point out responsibilities to
each other. Unfortunately, this is not a favorite pastime
for (Dutch) people. Take your responsibilities on more
than one level and in more than one way. There is not
just one way, there are thousands.
Do not wait for others to begin, today you can start
(at home, work or school) by setting the right example
for others. There is so much you can do for animals
and it can be fun and rewarding as well.