The story of Noahs Ark in the Bible book of Genesis, is one of the most striking and memorable in any culture. Here was a man with a mission, and it was mission that compels our admiration and sympathy. There may be some historical basis for the story, because there is evidence of a major flood in Mesopotamia about 6000 years ago. Noah got the idea that he should protect animals from danger. Not just some animals, not just the useful ones, but representatives of all animal species. Under Jewish law  and Noah was a Jew certain animals as a pigs are unclear. Yet Noah took pigs with him on the ark: unclean as well as clean, wildlife as well as livestock, animals that were apparently useless as well as those that were useful.
Is a Noahs idea relevant today? Does he stand as a representative for our society's attitude to animals?
Noah is sailing the ark of society above the flood of human population growth, technological change and environmental damage. Animals are on board and we need to look after them, look on their welfare. But what is the animal welfare?

What is animal welfare

Plenty of meetings and discussions in a past have produced definitions of animal welfare. Some of them brought a significant understanding to the concept of animal welfare.
Important step forward in understanding animal welfare has been conducted by outlining three categories for animal responses that people think are important. This framework has been suggested by two professors of animal welfare David Fraser and Ian Duncan. They suggested three important categories or views on animal welfare. The first category concerns animal feelings, such as happiness or suffering, the second involves bodily matters such as health, and the third concerns to the question of whether animals lead natural lives. They can be summarized by the phrase mind, body and nature. This is very similar to the idea of mind body and spirit in humans, especially as the concept of spirit is close to the human nature. However there are two other points to make before moving on. First: Welfare is a characteristic of an animal, not something given to it. Secondly, welfare is not all-or-nothing.

Welfare and the animal minds approach

Jeremy Bentham - The question is not, can they reason ? Nor can they talk? But, can they suffer?

Marian Dawkins - To be concerned about animal welfare is to be concerned with the subjective feelings of animals, particularly the unpleasant subjective feelings of suffering and pain.

Ian Duncan  - It is generally agreed that welfare is a term which cannot be applied sensibly to the lower animals or to plants but only to sentient animals. Since sentient means capable of feelings, the argument is developed that welfare is solely dependent on what animals feel.

Welfare and animal bodies

Donald Broom - The welfare of an individual is its state as regards its attempts to cope with its environment. This state includes how much it is having to do to cope, the extent to which it is succeeding or failing to cope and its associated feelings.

Welfare and animal natures

Bernard Rolin - Animal have natures - the pigness of the pig, the cowness of the cow, fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly  which is essential to their well-being as speech an assembly are to us.

Marthe Kiley - Worthington - If we believe in evolution, than in order to avoid suffering, it is necessary over a period of time for the animal to perform the behaviour in its repertoire.


Mind body and nature

To recapitulate the three elements of animal welfare, can actually be identified in other treatments of animal welfare. For example in formulation of the five freedoms listed by UK's farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) which says.

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst
  • by ready access to fresh water and diet to maintain full health and vigour
  • Freedom from discomfort
  • by providing an appropriate environment, including shelter and comfortable resting area
  • Freedom from pain, injury and disease
  • by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment
    Freedom to express normal behaviour
  • by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal�s own kind
  • Freedom from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering

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