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Well-being and suffering in livestock farming : living conditions at work for people and animals - J. Porcher

Jocelyne Porcher
Laboratoire de psychologie du travail et de l’action, CNAM/INRA-SAD, 41, rue Gay-Lussac, 75005 Paris, France

Available online 26 July 2006 on ScienceDirect

Starting in the 1980s in France, the scientific problems relating to the well-being of animals reduced a complicated social critique of industrial systems of raising livestock to a matter of adapting animals to the living conditions imposed by these systems. This swept out of view questions about the working conditions for farmers and wage-earners. However people and animals tend to share living conditions in these systems, conditions that cause suffering. Given the intensified pace of work, as people tend an even larger number of animals, and the mounting pressure on both people and livestock, affects are repressed, and communication breaks down. Relations to one’s self and to others are altered, and the relations to death is ‘pathologized’ at the work place – thus providing further evidence of a failed relation to life and to others in animal husbandry.

Keywords : Work ; Animal husbandry ; Living conditions at the workplace ; Suffering ; Affects ; France

Article Outline

  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. “Animal well-being” in livestock farming : overlooking the matter of human labor
  • 3. Working conditions, quality of life, and living conditions at work : some terminological clarifications
  • 4. Living conditions at work and livestock farming practices : “We’ve got more and more animals …”
    • 4.1. Degraded communication among individuals and repression of affect in relations
    • 4.2. Changed relations to self and others
    • 4.3. Pathologized experience of animal death
  • 5. Conclusion
  • Références

Sociologie du Travail
Volume 48, Supplement 1, August 2006, Pages e56–e70
Translation by Amy Jacobs