Social Reasons For Concern About Animals

Several other factors besides social concern for restoration of husbandry have vectored into the significant proliferation of animal welfare ethics as a major social concern. First, demographic changes and agricultural productivity have created a society in which only 1.5% of the public produces food for the rest. In this regard, therefore, the paradigm in the social mind for an animal is no longer a horse or cow as it was in 1900 when half the population was engaged in agriculture it is now the pet or companion animal, which most people see as a member of the family.

Second, over the past 50 years, society has undergone a great deal of ethical soul-searching with regard to the disenfranchised blacks, women, persons with disabilities, and others. Inevitably, the same ethical imperative has focused on animals and the environment, with many leaders of the animal movement coming from other social movements.

Third, the media have discovered that animals sell papers and that the public has an insatiable hunger for animal stories. According to a New York Times reporter who did a count, animal stories and shows occupy the single largest block of time on New York cable television.

Fourth, animal issues have been championed by highly intelligent philosophers and scientists, and by many celebrities with great influence on social thought. Books on animal ethics sell very well Peter Singer's seminal Animal Liberation has been in print steadily since 1975, and has gone through three editions.[5]

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