A symposium organized by CABI and the Royal Veterinary College to mark the 50th anniversary of Animal Machines, by Ruth Harrison, reviewed how far we have come in understanding and improving animal welfare since the publication of the book, which marked the start of the movement for welfare of animals in intensive production.
“Would Ruth be pleased with the progress that has been made so far?” asked the panel of international experts on animal welfare, ethics and sustainability. The general consensus of opinion was that there are many things she would be pleased about (e.g. EU-wide bans on veal crates, sow stalls and barren battery cages), but she would be disappointed with the slow speed at which improvements are being made, particularly in countries outside the EU. However, it was suggested that she would be ‘delighted’ by the thought-provoking discussions that took place during the symposium, which highlighted important questions that remain to be addressed.