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The ethics of a co-regulatory model for farm animal welfare research

By C. J. C. Phillips, J. C. Petherick

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Standards for farm animal welfare are variously managed at a national level by government-led regulatory control, by consumer-led welfare economics and co-regulated control in a partnership between industry and government. In the latter case the control of research to support animal welfare standards by the relevant industry body may lead to a conflict of interest on the part of researchers, who are dependent on industry for continued research funding. We examine this dilemma by reviewing two case studies of research published under an Australian co-regulated control system. Evidence of unsupported conclusions that are favourable to industry is provided, suggesting that researchers do experience a conflict of interest that may influence the integrity of the research. Alternative models for the management of research are discussed, including the establishment of an independent research management body for animal welfare because of its public good status and the use of public money derived from taxation, with representation from government, industry, consumers, and advocacy groups.

Publication Title Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics
Volume 28
Issue 1
Pages 127-142
ISBN/ISSN 0893-4282
Publisher Springer
DOI 10.1007/s10806-014-9524-9
Language English
Author Address Centre for Animal Welfare and Ethics, School of Veterinary Science, The University of Queensland, Gatton, QLD 4343,
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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal health and hygiene
  3. Animal physiology
  4. Animals
  5. Animal welfare
  6. APEC countries
  7. Australasia
  8. Australia
  9. Biochemistry
  10. Bovidae
  11. Calves
  12. Cattle
  13. Commonwealth of Nations
  14. Countries
  15. Developed countries
  16. Ethics
  17. Law and legal issues
  18. Laws and regulations
  19. Livestock
  20. Liveweight gains
  21. Mammals
  22. Oceania
  23. OECD countries
  24. peer-reviewed
  25. regulations
  26. Ruminants
  27. Sheep
  28. stocking density
  29. taxation
  30. ungulates
  31. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed