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Intentions and values in animal welfare legislation and standards

By F. Lundmark, C. Berg, O. Schmid, D. Behdadi, H. Rocklinsberg

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The focus on animal welfare in society has increased during the last 50 years. Animal welfare legislation and private standards have developed, and today many farmers within animal production have both governmental legislation and private standards to comply with. In this paper intentions and values are described that were expressed in 14 animal welfare legislation and standards in four European countries; Sweden, United Kingdom, Germany and Spain. It is also discussed if the legislation and standards actually accomplish what they, in their overall description and ethics, claimed to do, i.e. if this is followed up by relevant paragraphs in the actual body of the text in the legislation and standards respectively. The method used was an on-line questionnaire from the EconWelfare research project and text analyses. This study shows that the ethical values within a set of legislation or private standards are not always consistently implemented, and it is not always possible to follow a thread between the intentions mentioned initially and the actual details of the legislation or standard. Since values will differ so will also the animal welfare levels and the implications of similar concepts in the regulations. In general, the regulations described were not based on animal welfare considerations only, but also other aspects, such as food safety, meat quality, environmental aspects and socio-economic aspects were taken into account. This is understandable, but creates a gap between explicit and implicit values, which we argue, can be overcome if such considerations are made more transparent to the citizens/consumers.

Publication Title Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics
Volume 27
Issue 6
Pages 991-1017
ISBN/ISSN 0893-4282
Publisher Springer
DOI 10.1007/s10806-014-9512-0
Language English
Author Address Department of Animal Environment and Health, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Box 234, 532 23 Skara,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Agriculture
  2. Animal husbandry
  3. Animal production
  4. Animal welfare
  5. British Isles
  6. Commonwealth of Nations
  7. Contamination
  8. Developed countries
  9. Documentation
  10. Domestic animals
  11. Environment
  12. Ethics
  13. Europe
  14. Farms
  15. Food safety
  16. Germany
  17. Impact
  18. Internet
  19. Laws and regulations
  20. Legislation
  21. Livestock
  22. Meat.
  23. Meat production
  24. Mediterranean region
  25. OECD countries
  26. peer-reviewed
  27. Public health
  28. regulations
  29. residues
  30. Scandinavia
  31. social anthropology
  32. Social psychology and social anthropology
  33. socioeconomics
  34. Spain
  35. standards
  36. Sweden
  37. United Kingdom
  1. peer-reviewed