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Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 2.100
Discursive tools of animal welfare activism
Created in 1994, the French association Welfarm aims to fight for the protection of farm animals and for a better consideration of their well-being, from breeding to slaughter. Through a range of different actions (organization of information campaigns, creation of teaching materials, opening of an educational farm, etc.) the association’s objective is to inform the public at large of the practices of intensive livestock farming by highlighting its flaws and directing the consumer towards good purchasing habits. More generally, Welfarm intends to educate the consumer and encourage them towards what they call ""consom'action"" – a neologism which expresses the idea that everyone can vote through their spending habits. By consciously using purchasing power to defend certain values, consumers are able to take into account an animal’s welfare in the act of purchase. Based on my fieldwork in the Northeartern region of France, this paper proposes to examine the various modes of engagement of the Welfarm team. What are the discursive tools mobilized to raise awareness to animal causes? What arguments and rhetorical mechanisms build their discourses? Unlike other associations that have chosen to base their actions on moral shock and guilt, Welfarm’s discourse is utilitarian and educational. Welfarm does not aim to question the very practice of farming, but only to denounce a type of farming considered ""adrift"": intensive industrial farming. Welfarm leads us to re-categorize farming and to recognize good and bad practices. Simultaneously, Welfarm attempts to instil a notion of animal welfare and the promotion of “responsible consumption”.