A Christian Case for Farmed Animal Welfare

Margaret Adam, David Clough* (Corresponding Author), David Grumett

*Corresponding author for this work

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1 Citation (Scopus)


It is now common to blame Christianity for broader society’s general inattention to the needs and comfort of animals in general, and farmed animals in particular. This critique of Christianity claims that certain biblical themes and particular biblical passages form the foundation for an anti-animal position that Christianity has imposed on Christians and on wider Western society. This article concedes that Christianity has often been used to justify exploitation of animals, but argues that it is a mistake to consider Christianity inevitably opposed to concern for animals. After reviewing the views of critics such as Lynn White Jr., Peter Singer, and Tom Regan, the article demonstrates the complexity of interpreting biblical passages and the possibility of readings that affirm the importance of treating animals well. It shows that Christians have indeed been advocates for animals, notably in relation to the first legislation against animal cruelty in the early nineteenth century and the formation of the RSPCA. Finally, it proposes a constructive framework for a Christian ethics of farmed animal welfare that could provide the basis for Christian action to reduce consumption of animals and shift to higher welfare sources of animal products.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1116
Number of pages13
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

This research was conducted as part of the Christian Ethics of Farmed Animal Welfare Project, funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council.
Conflicts of Interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest. The funders had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript, or in the decision to publish the results.


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