Lever, John (2010) Ambivalence and sensibility : civilizing animal farming in Europe. In: XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology : Sociology on the Move, 11-17th July 2010, Gothenburg, Sweden. (Unpublished)

The emergence of the public abattoir in 19th century Europe brought about a radical shift in animal farming, institutionalising large numbers of farm animals for industrial production. From a figurational perspective (Elias 2000) this development can be viewed as part of a long term civilizing process through which many diverse aspects of human practice slowly disappeared from view as human sensibilities changed. Things started to change during the later stages of the 20th century, as worries over food safety and food quality pushed farm animal welfare back into public discourse and political debate. Civilization was no longer judged by its ability
to control nature in order to facilitate human needs, more by its ability to protect the natural environment (Sutton 2004) and non human animals.
This paper examines the changes in animal farming that subsequently emerged through empirical material collected during the EU funded Welfare
Quality project, which has proposed a standardised method for assessing the welfare of farm animals & harmonising welfare claims. While
these developments have the potential to improve the life of farm animals, the paper concludes that there needs to be a much wider engagement with social & environmental issues if they are to be successful.

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