Chair of the Global Animal Partnership Board of Directors, University Distinguished Professor, University Bioethicist, and Professor of Philosophy, Biomedical Sciences, and Animal Sciences at Colorado State University, and Commissioner on the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, Bernard Rollin, Ph.D., has published more than 500 papers and 17 books, as well as lectured extensively and internationally on such topics as animal ethics, animal pain, and animal agriculture.
I have been working on animal ethics for more than 35 years, beginning with articulating a theoretical basis for our obligations to animals and applying it successfully to the use of animals in teaching and research. Whereas the numbers of animals used in science and scientific training number in the millions, animals raised for food number in the billions, and a very high percentage of them live lives that abort and truncate the basic needs required by their biological and psychological natures.
Much of agricultural animal suffering derives from the abandonment by today’s conventional animal agriculture of “the ancient contract” with animals, which is essential to their successful rearing. As some ranchers still affirm, “we take care of the animals; they take care of us.” For most of agricultural history, animal husbandry was essential to agricultural success. The animals were placed in environments for which they had evolved, and the husbandry person, epitomized by the Good Shepherd, provided for additional needs, such as food during famine, water during drought, protection from predation, medical attention, and so on. With the rise of industrialization, industry supplanted husbandry, with technological fixes allowing us to force animals into unnatural environments for the sake of productivity and efficiency.
History tells us that the restoration of good husbandry is possible. Global Animal Partnership, as an organization representing consumers, producers, and retailers, is uniquely positioned to help accomplish such restoration in a viable way. There is no reason to believe that society as a whole will reject food from animal sources, so the greatest relief from suffering will undoubtedly come from standards such as the 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Standards created by GAP.
GAP fits well with my commitment to effecting meaningful change in animal use, and I’m pleased to serve as a member of the Board of Directors.
—Bernard Rollin, Ph.D.