The recent crises of BSE and FMD in the United Kingdom have revealed widespread concerns on the part of farmers and consumers about government regulations and handling of animal movements, animal welfare, and food safety. Both crises raised issues of government accountability and the lack of openness in public debate. The issues of democratic process and decision-making were especially strong in relation to the mass slaughter policy of the government to control FMD. This article explores public disquiet about these matters, as expressed through the reports of two public inquiries, and the perceived links between government decision-making and the needs of global agribusiness, to the detriment of family farms and animal welfare. In light of the growing evidence about the environmental and economic costs of agribusiness, the argument is made that strong programs of citizen action, such as the Devon Foot and Mouth Inquiry, that are grounded in an ethical stance on animal welfare can challenge the perspectives of central governments about concepts of cost, efficiency, and safety in agriculture.
|Publication Title||Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics|
|Author Address||School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies, Trinity College Dublin, D'Olier Street, Dublin, 2, Irish Republic. email@example.com|
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