Within society, farm animal welfare is moving up the policy and moral agenda as many of the industrial processes associated with animal farming are now being called into question. In the academy, there is growing intellectual interest in the relationship of humanity to animality and the porosity or otherwise of the biologically and socially constructed boundaries between them. This paper uses the farm animal welfare debate to explore changes in society animal relations by looking in turn at the farm, at farm animals and at the notion of farm animal welfare itself. The paper explores the paradox that for as long as society eats and kills animals for food, we are necessarily bound up in a persistent modernist and essentialist conceptualisation of animals and nature. However, alternative approaches are investigated as part of what might be described as a more postmodern approach to animalian difference.
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