Agriculture and animals: different role and ethical consideration

Giuseppe Bertoni, Andrea Minardi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Animals have always – since their domestication – represented something useful (sometimes precious) for humans. Despite this there are objections that in the last centuries have become fierce and widespread, especially in the western world. Initially the reasons tended to be ethical-philosophical (prevent the animals from suffering and respect them as creatures); more recently animals have been accused of being pollution factors within the ecosystem and of being the cause of health risks for humans that feed on them. Without wanting to negate the vein of truth in these statements, this essay highlights both the moral obligation inherent to the exploitation of animals and the extent to which their exploitation is indispensable in many ways: food for human health, textile fibers, skins and hides, work force in agriculture, and a whole range of other specific roles, including as pets. Having taken all of this into consideration, and not being able to do without farmed animals, a series of additional considerations emerge regarding the need to lessen the possible negative effects related to animal farming (avoid excess use, improve the efficiency, reduce the impact on the ecosystem) and guarantee living conditions that are appropriate for the animals in question and the farmers as well.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWorld food production. Facing growing needs and limited resources
EditorsG Bertoni
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • animal husbandry, animal products, animal sustainability


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