Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Ethics of Digital Animal Farming

Version 1 : Received: 16 July 2021 / Approved: 16 July 2021 / Online: 16 July 2021 (11:27:24 CEST)

How to cite: Neethirajan, S. Ethics of Digital Animal Farming. Preprints 2021, 2021070368 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202107.0368.v1). Neethirajan, S. Ethics of Digital Animal Farming. Preprints 2021, 2021070368 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202107.0368.v1).

Abstract

The demand for animal products is expected to continue to rise, which requires the development of efficient livestock farming systems. Environmental, societal and economic concerns regarding this industry are however accumulating, addressing the large resource demand, pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions and health concerns that the livestock industry is responsible for. Precision livestock farming systems allow the continuous automatic monitoring of various physiological, behavioural and phenotypic parameters of animals in order to increase productivity and animal welfare while controlling and minimizing the environmental impact. There is a high potential for digital farming to be the solution for responsibly and ethically feeding the growing and urbanizing population. However, many problems and concerns are still present in this developing industry and remain relatively unaddressed, starting with the ethical aspects in regard to the animal, including its objectification, human-animal relationships and welfare and ending with the societal implications of this digitalization. Concrete frameworks, inter-disciplinary studies and global legislation need to be put in place in order to ensure the safety and protection of the animals, farmer and society. Here, implications of digital farming for the animals, farmers, society and the planet are critically reviewed with the future outlook of digital farms.

Keywords

Precision Livestock Farming; Sensors; Animal Ethics; Animal Welfare; Society; Sustainability; Human-animal relationships

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