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Can natural behavior be cultivated? The farm as local human/animal culture
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences. (Centre for Bioethics)
2007 (English)In: Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, ISSN 1187-7863, E-ISSN 1573-322X, Vol. 20, no 2, 167-193 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Although the notion of natural behavior occurs in many policy-making and legal documents on animal welfare, no consensus has been reached concerning its definition. This paper argues that one reason why the notion resists unanimously accepted definition is that natural behavior is not properly a biological concept, although it aspires to be one, but rather a philosophical tendency to perceive animal behavior in accordance with certain dichotomies between nature and culture, animal and human, original orders and invented artifacts. The paper scrutinizes the philosophy of natural behavior as it developed in the organic movement in response to a perceived contrast between industrialized and traditional agriculture. There are two reasons for focusing on the organic movement: (i) the emphasis on “the natural” is most accentuated there and has a long history, (ii) everyday life on organic farms presupposes human/animal interplay, which conflicts with the philosophical tendency to separate nature from culture. This mismatch between theory and practice helps us see why, and how, the philosophy of natural behavior needs to be reconsidered. The paper proposes that we understand farms as local human/animal cultures, and asks what we can mean my natural behavior in such contexts. Since domestic animals adapt to agricultural environments via interaction with caretakers, such interplay is analyzed as “hub” in these animals’ natural behavior.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 20, no 2, 167-193 p.
Keyword [en]
animal caretaker, animal husbandry, animal welfare, domestication, double imprinting, human/animal culture, mutual adaptation, natural behavior, organic movement
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-11285DOI: 10.1007/s10806-006-9028-3ISI: 000245269000003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-11285DiVA: diva2:39053
Available from: 2007-08-24 Created: 2007-08-24 Last updated: 2011-02-09Bibliographically approved

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Segerdahl, Pär
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