Prof. Donald Broom – Introduction


I’m Donald Broom, I’m a retired
professor of animal welfare here in Cambridge University Veterinary School. Prof. Donald Broom — Introduction I’ve worked on how to assess the
welfare of animals in a scientific way and investigated their abilities,
their cognitive abilities, and also looked at the sustainability
of systems of agriculture. I started by working on animal behavior, and then applied that to agricultural animals and domestic animal problems to disease transmission. And then I became the first professor of
animal welfare in the world in 1986 here, and I’ve continued since then to work on
animal welfare and related issues. I’m writing books and papers, and there are still lots of important
things to do in the world, and there are useful things to say, I think. I think the biggest change has probably been the attitude of people to non-human animals, in that it’s now clear that their abilities are much more sophisticated and
complex than people used to think. And indeed, I suppose another surprising thing I wouldn’t have expected when I started my scientific career is that I would have written a book about about the
evolution of morality and religion. I’ve moved into areas which I wasn’t
involved in at the beginning, so I’ve learned a lot and I’m still trying to
learn. Human societies and the societies of other animals can only really function if they have a structure. And that structure needs to be a moral
structure. That is, if individuals do things which are
damaging to other individuals and destabilizing the whole group, then that is something which can’t carry on. So you have to behave in a moral way if
you want to live in a social group, and that applies to humans, it applies to cows, it applies to sheep, chickens,
fish which live socially all the time, birds which live socially. So the the whole idea of morality is
something which has a biological basis, and it is something which has to be there in order that societies will be stable. And it’s very important of course in our society.

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