FVE believes that all farmed animals should have a good life and a humane death, and that veterinary professionals should take a leading role in advocating for this in policy and practice (AVMA, CVMA, FVE 2014). A good life incorporates opportunities to perform highly motivated behaviour and to be in good physical health, as conveyed by frameworks such as the Five Freedoms, as well as opportunities for positive experiences such as comfort, contentment and interest.
When animals are used for human benefit, including those that are farmed for food, resulting ethical issues should be recognised and addressed. Where possible, any ethical harms (such as compromised animal welfare) should be eliminated or minimised. It is also appropriate to consider the global impact of the killing and disposal of surplus animals in relation to water, feed and land use and the impacts of the production on the environment and climate change (UN 2015, FVE 2016).
Citizens who consume animal-derived food should be informed of key ethical issues, so that society can make a collective decision on what is justifiable and acceptable. Veterinary professionals and associations, as well as improving animal welfare in practice, should take a lead role