There is a long history of concern in Britain for how animals are treated. Until the 1960s, these concerns were expressed largely in terms of cruelty or suffering, which was prevented through various acts of Parliament. Over the period 1964-71, amidst public debates about intensive farming, a new discourse of animal welfare emerged. To understand what welfare meant and how it became established as a term, a concept and a target of government regulation, it is necessary to examine farming politics and practices, the existing tradition of animal protection and attempts to rethink the nature of animal suffering.
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