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Animal Welfare

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Essay title: Animal Welfare

For most people in modern, urbanized societies, the principal form of contact with animals is at meal times. The use of animals for food is probably the oldest and the most widespread form of animal use. Since the beginning of civilization, mankind has been surviving by hunting and feeding on animals. Animals remained hunted by mankind for food and for survival. With the evolution of mankind, animals were traded for other benefits in return and as the evolution continues to its present state today, animals can be bought for a price deemed reasonable by the market. And as a result of commercialization, animals have been slaughter for the purpose of being bought and sold by wholesaler or distributors to end consumers. From this profitable industry, large organizations have emerged as a result. In the context of the fast food industry, KFC and McDonalds can be considered as the giants in the fast food industry profiting significantly by slaughtering animals to produce their main products. From a corporate perspective, in order to offer affordable meat serving prices to customers, organization tolerates methods of producing meat such as farming animals in cramped areas, mass slaughtering of animals without bearing the cost of injections and unsuitable conditions treatment of farming animals.

Quoted by Isaac Bashevis Singer (2005), “As long as people will shed the blood of innocent creatures there can be no peace, no liberty, no harmony between people. Slaughter and justice cannot dwell together.” The combination of animal welfare and economic benefits have resulted in issues raised causing significant impacts on the relationships between contemporary organizations and their publics. Concern for animals’ well-being has always existed. Stakeholders’ expectations and demands regarding the standard guidelines of corporate conducted on animal treatment are increasing. Publics are demanding organizations to show their concern for animal welfare by taking prompt actions to address the issues on hand. By imposing an organization perspective, the pressure of merging the competing forces of stakeholders and activist groups and the impact on their reputation are the challenge faced by many public relations practitioners today. By looking at the campaigns run by PETA against KFC and Burger King, The Body Shop’s “humane purchasing” campaign, this article examined the strategies and possible consequences of certain public relations practices regarding the issue of animal welfare as well as the issue management context.

The issues surrounding the philosophies of animal welfare are very familiar to those who have been involved or are involved in animals slaughtering, animals entertaining in return of profits and animal testing of products. As society has migrated from our agricultural roots to a more urban existence, the importance of animal welfare has also become dominant (Animal Welfare vs. Animal Right, n.d). Definitions or explanations of animal welfare have been strongly argued within both ethical and economic profits. The issue of animal welfare from the standpoint of the business sector is often seen as to be sacrificed so as to reduce cost of production. In order to achieve higher economic profits, organizations tend to confined animals in cramped and improper environment and do not provide proper diet as well as watering system (Lamb & McKee, 2005, 200). However, there are groups with thinking that differs from the general public and with their different perceptions they see wrong with what these organizations are doing. They organized themselves together and form groups such as animal welfare activist group. From their perspective as an animal welfare activist, they believe that animals should be treated humanely. The right of humans to use animals for food, entertainment or research was never challenged by animal welfare activist groups but instead they put in all their efforts on improving the well-being and living conditions of animals. As supported by the definition from American Veterinary Medical Association, animal welfare advocates seek to ensure that all animals used by humans have their basic needs fulfilled including proper housing, management, disease prevention and treatment and responsible care (Animal Welfare vs. Animal Right, n.d)

The issues of animal welfare in organizations with a stake has evolved and expanded rapidly over the last decade, in direct connection with the rise of consumerism where consumers have a right to be safe, to be informed, to choose, and to be heard during their consuming process. The rise of consumerism is because of the emergence of personal risks, perception of risk, societal risks and environmental risks. It has been argued as a result, for society in general and for firms in particular, the production and consumption of risks has become at least as important as the production and consumption of products

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