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The subject of farm animal welfare has evoked a wide range of responses from those involved in the livestock industry and those concerned about the humaneness of intensive husbandry farming practices. Books have been published on the subject as well as a large number of articles in professional and popular magazines. Three international symposia dealing with animal rights have been held in the last two years and a major European conference dealing with farm animal welfare and involving veterinarians, farmers, animal scientists and animal welfare groups was held in Amsterdam in 1979.

In the U.K., a governmental Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Council has been established and codes of practice drawn up which have been copied by most of the member countries of the European Economic Community. In the U.S., humane concerns of 'factory' farming have been extensively discussed by Frank (1979) and a model draft of protective legislation drawn up. Both the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology and the U.S. Animal Health Association are taking an active interest in the subject. The Institute for the Study of Animal Problems has recently conducted a small survey of veterinarians and animal scientists involved in the livestock industry in the U.S. to determine how they feel about the many husbandry practices that are now being questioned by a growing number of their professional peers in the U.K. and Europe.