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2014 Autumn - Farmers fare well with better animal welfare

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FPJ1101F - Goodfellow, J et al.(2014) - The Future of Animal Welfare Policy and its Implications for Australian Livestock Industries

FPJ1101F - Goodfellow, J et al.(2014) - The Future of Animal Welfare Policy and its Implications for Australian Livestock Industries, Farm Policy Journal, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 39-49, Autumn, Surry Hills, Australia.

As economic prosperity rises, public concern for the welfare of animals increases. Such trends are occurring throughout the developed world and are likely to occur within the growing middle classes of the BRIC economies (Brazil, Russia, India and China). Animals, including livestock, are increasingly being viewed less in instrumental terms for their material value to human beings and more as sentient beings with intrinsic value. The recognition of sentience and intrinsic value is likely to result in increased demands for animals to be treated with greater consistency regardless of the purpose for which the animal is used. Significant implications for the way livestock industries deal with animals are expected. Changing consumer expectations will impact market structures increasing market share for food products with higher welfare attributes. Public scrutiny of controversial production practices will increase from a wider range of institutional sources including the legal profession and consumer protection bodies. The approach industry takes to responding to public concerns can limit the extent of societal conflict and the level of impact upon business, and can create new market opportunities by fostering consumer willingness to pay for higher welfare attributes.
This paper first explores the social and economic drivers behind increasing concern for animal welfare before considering the implications such concerns pose for livestock industries and the development of animal welfare policy in Australia. The paper will conclude with recommending a number of key strategies for livestock industries moving forward including taking a more proactive and engaging approach to public concerns about animal welfare largely through efforts to increase the openness and transparency of production practices.





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