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How best to improve farm animal welfare? Four main approaches viewed from an economic perspective

Af T. Christensen, S. Denver & P. Sandøe (2019)
Animal Welfare. UFAW

Abstract

Looking at the issues from an economic perspective, we examine four approaches to the improvement of farm animal welfare: legislative initiatives, and initiatives driven by producers, consumer choice (labelling), and food companies (Corporate Social Responsibility; CSR). We take as our starting point the assumption that to obtain the best possible improvements in animal welfare, a combination of all four approaches will be needed. The main focus of the paper is to show that (and how) economics and other social sciences can play an important role in determining how to design and implement these approaches most effectively. We argue that insights from animal welfare science on what constitutes an improvement in animal welfare, and how such improvements are best measured, are a necessary input to the economic analyses. Economic analyses can guide the form and extent of welfare legislation so as to set decent minimum standards of animal welfare. To exploit producer-driven animal welfare opportunities, understanding the relationship between animal welfare, productivity and other product or production characteristics is essential. To make best use of initiatives driven by consumer choice and CSR, the focus needs to be on, not simply aspects of animal welfare for which consumers are known to be willing to pay, but also other welfare dimensions viewed as essential by animal welfare experts. Finally, recent, rapid developments in the marketing of animal welfare-friendly products have demonstrated the need for more knowledge about the ways in which consumers perceive the different kinds of information used in labels and CSR strategies.

Fuldtekst (pdf)


Is there a middle ground? A study of how retailers and other key stakeholders view farm animal welfare from indoor production.

Af L. Esbjerg & K. B. Laursen (2018)
Proceedings from the 6th Nordic Retail and Wholesale Conference 

Uddrag (Introduction)

Animal welfare is an important issue for modern industrialised food production. The industrialisation of food production after World War has enabled the production of larger quantities of meat while lowering production costs, but often at the detriment of welfare of farm animals. Public concern about the negative consequences of modern factory farming practices for the welfare of farm animals continues to put pressure on actors in the food sector to improve the conditions of farm animals. Previous research has shown that animal welfare differs in importance to the practices of different actors: to some actors, animal welfare is central, while for others, animal welfare is but a minor concern (Esbjerg, Pedersen and Hansen, 2014).

Studies show that many consumers view animal welfare as important but that other issues such as taste and prices are more important when making buying decisions. Retailers play a central role in relation to animal welfare as consumers can only buy what is available in stores, while producers will only produce welfare meat if there is a demand to satisfy. This can create a ‘lock-in’ situation where producers and consumers wait for the other party to act first. Hence, producers have to be able to trust that retailers actually want to promote better farm animal welfare (Purwins and Schulze-Ehlers, 2018).

Fuldtekst (pdf)


Farm animal welfare in Europe: From legislation to labelling (arbejdspapir)

Af P. Sandøe & T. Christensen (2018)
Institut for Fødevare- og Ressourceøkonomi, Københavns Universitet

Uddrag (Introduction)

The modern idea of animal welfare was born in Europe in the 1960s in response to the concerns of informed citizens about the plight of animals in modern, intensive animal production. Since then the idea has undergone several significant transformations. To understand today’s focus on animal welfare as a consumer issue we therefore propose, in this paper, to track the idea back to its origins. Se we begin by (in Section 2.-4.) by providing the wider context within which the final presentation of animal welfare as a driver in the market for animal products in Europe (in Sections 5.-6.) can be understood. We will throughout use regulation of pig production and the market for pork as an illustration.

Fuldtekst (pdf)