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Animal Agriculture Experimentation






Companion Animal Veterinary Research

Animal Agriculture Experimentation

Petfood Testing




One field where animal experimentation is inherently unethical is agriculture research. In Israel and in other countries, much experimentation on farm animals is designed to develop new husbandry methods that would increase productivity at the expense of animal welfare.


For example, researchers at the Volcani Institute of Agricultural Research, affiliated with the Ministry of Agriculture, investigated the effects of a practice called forced molting on egg production by hens. An unspecified number of hens were used. "The induced-molting treatment included an 8-day feed withdrawal period followed by a 22-day rest period during which the birds received 60 or 70 grams per day of a low-nutrient maintenance dietů and a reduced duration of daylight." Conclusion: forced molting resulted in an increase in egg production, although the eggs were initially smaller than before. "Egg breakage was markedly reduced by induced molt."1 Even if withholding food results in greater egg production, it is cruel and a violation of animal welfare standards.


At the Desert Aquaculture Research Station in the Sapir Center, Southern Israel, researchers evaluated the densities at which silver perch fish can be bred commercially. Fish weighing 50 grams "were reared in round fiberglass tanks under controlled conditions at density levels of 30, 60, 90, and 120 fish per cubic meter" (1 cubic meter equals about 264 US gallons) of water. Results: "Survival was significantly higher at the highest density (120 fish per cubic meter)." Conclusion: "This study provides information on the practicability of rearing silver perch at high densities. Further studies are required in order to assess the optimal density for rearing these fish to market size under intensive conditions."2 Restricting the movement of fish causes suffering and increases bacterial contamination from waste matter, which, in turn, leads to problems for human health. An increase in production does not justify causing suffering to sentient beings by overcrowding them.


Clearly, such experiments encourage farmers to increase productivity by further undermining animal welfare.


1 S. Hurwitz, E. Wax, Y. Nisenbaum, M. Ben Moshe, I. Plavnik. "Practical and Biological Aspects of Aging and Molting," http://old.agri.gov.il/AnimalScience/Poultry/Rep-Hurwitz1.html.

2 S. Harpaz, I. Karplus, G. Hulata, R. Segev, "Evaluation of juvenile silver perch (Bidyanus bidyanus) growth under intensive production conditions at various densities," http://old.agri.gov.il/AnimalScience/Aquaculture/Rep-Harpaz6.html.