Hello! I’m the chicken from the farm next door… I’d like breakfast in bed. Thank you!

This phone call obviously never happened.

Yet there are people who confuse their own welfare ideals with what they assume to be animal welfare. These people act as if they can claim to know what the perceived wellbeing is for animals that in reality ‘in the wild’ cannot enjoy places of refreshment and protection, as is the case for animals that are bred, albeit for food supply purposes.

The animal’s perception of welfare is certainly different from the way people perceive it. The gap between that of the animal and that understood by people obviously exists, but it is not measurable or describable. It is only theoretically certifiable by humans.

What do we know about whether welfare understood by humans is perceived as such by the animal according to its own criteria?

One thing is certain: while it is good that there are people who are dedicated to studying how to offer their own concept of welfare to animals, animals are not in a position to argue with us about the effectiveness of the efforts, beliefs, labels, money or other elements that are used to define their welfare. To be honest, even mankind is not so able to determine whether its own modern wellbeing (that derived from its modern organisation) is ‘better’ than that of its fellow humans living in ‘rustic’ environments.

Can a person therefore define the welfare of an animal?

The subject of animal welfare is a delicate point on which different opinions and ways of considering it clash, and yet it is always of the human kind.

There are many ways of interpreting it, which can be grouped into two large groups:

  1. Those who, without having any way of scientifically verifying whether their thoughts correspond to what the animal perceives, define their theory by stating it strongly. To this group belong the associations of ‘anti-farming’ activists and those who form their own ideas on their demands.
  2. Those who take the time and resources to verify, together with the animals, the conditions in which the animal ‘demonstrates’ conditions of wellbeing, and then apply in practice what they have been able to verify, continuing to make ever-improving verifications. To this group belong companies that breed animals responsibly and with the constant support of veterinarians and specialised technicians.

The human perception of animal welfare

From the multitude of human interpretations and perceptions of animal welfare, a variety of consequences arise related to various factors. M.A.C. has collected some of these in the attached document which also contains numerous links for further study:


Link to the doc “technical text+reference” (it contains a more technical discussion and all the references with related in-depth links)


The editorial staff of M.A.C.