The legislation which protects animals from cruelty and poor welfare is described, from both a European and British perspective. Using well-established definitions of welfare, it can be seen that certain current practices related to farm animal breeding may constitute poor welfare particularly for dairy cattle. Taking only scientific measures of welfare as criteria for acceptable practice may not completely satisfy public concern over some biotechnical innovations in animal breeding. A reassessment of attitudes towards manipulation of animals for human use may be necessary.
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