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A highly recommended read

News Section Icon Published 19/12/2012

John Webster is one of the pioneering professors who placed the welfare of farm animals high on the agenda of their veterinary students, in his case at Bristol University.

But he's no dry academic. A fantastic and forthright speaker, he is also a terrific writer.

His latest book Animal Husbandry Regained: The Place of Farm Animals in Sustainable Agriculture (Routledge 2012), has a foreword by leading environmentalist Jonathon Porritt, a Patron of Compassion in World Farming.

Prof Webster loves the word "husbandry" and believes we should once again make it integral to farming practice. For him, it sums up a right relationship between the farmer, their animals and the land.

In this book John aims to reconcile rightful "progress" in agriculture with an ethical view which is based on respect and compassion for animals, concern for the future of our precious planet and all its inhabitants, including the disadvantaged.

John recognises that the rich world needs to cut its consumption of meat, but the numbers of farm animals in the world are still on the upward trend. He makes constructive suggestions as to how we can achieve truly sustainable agriculture, where human dignity is respected, the animals are well cared for and the environment is enhanced, not damaged.

In particular, he advocates a new social contract which recognises the rights of people to a fair share of good food and a green and pleasant land, but also calls for our shared responsibility to preserve these essential public "goods".


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