Too Cute to Kill? The Need for Objective Measurements of Quality of Life
School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7AL, UK
Received: 26 May 2020
Revised: 10 June 2020
Accepted: 15 June 2020
Published: 18 June 2020
Animal welfare is affected by how people think we should treat animals, and what people think is important affects the way they treat animals. The way people think about their animals is affected by how cute they perceive them to be. Animal welfare affects quality of life, which is about how sentient animals experience their lives, and understanding this requires animal welfare science. Ethics weighs that scientific knowledge with human desires (e.g., to earn a living by farming, to keep an animal as a companion, to clear land and build houses), so we decide how we should treat animals. The decisions that society has reached using science and ethical reasoning about how we ought to treat animals are reflected in animal welfare law. However, animal welfare law may often set a low standard of care, as there is little public money to enforce higher standards or the public is not aware of the welfare problems. The first step in ensuring a good quality of life is to measure welfare and then take action to improve it.