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

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 […]

Farm animal welfare and food policy

Legislation has been the main policy approach for protecting the welfare of farm animals. The use of legislation raises issues such as whose preferences the legislation reflects and whether the preferences of some people in society should constrain the food consumption choices of others. The paper outlines a survey in Great Britain which sought to […]

Farm animal welfare in the U.S.A.: Farming practices, research, education, regulation, and assurance programs

What impact has the Brambell Report, and the growth of the field of applied ethology, had on the United States of America? There has been increasing public awareness of farm animal welfare issues and a concomitant increase in animal welfare research and teaching activities. This has occurred more slowly in the U.S.A. than in Europe, […]

The ethics of natural history documentaries


Ethology applied to animal ethics

According to modern animal welfare legislation, animals should be protected from suffering and lasting harm not for the benefit of us humans as in earlier anthropocentric conceptions, but in their own interest. The driving force behind animal protection is our empathy with animals which triggers feelings of compassion. Empathy with animals most likely is a […]

Welfare, husbandry and veterinary care of wild animals in captivity: changes in attitudes, progress in knowledge and techniques

Since the first zoos were founded, attitudes to keeping wild animals in captivity have changed considerably. A much firmer conviction that animals have the capacity for consciousness and thus suffering, has been one factor in the growth in concern for welfare in recent decades. The pursuit of conservation goals and higher welfare standards has driven […]

Measuring public support for animal welfare legislation: A case study of cage egg production

A contingent valuation survey of 2000 people in Great Britain was conducted to find out about people’s concerns about farm animal welfare and their willingness to pay to support legislation to phase out the use of cages in egg production in the European Union (EU) by 2005. The survey found that respondents were concerned about […]

Applying scientific advances to the welfare of farm animals: why is it getting more difficult?

Despite interest and willingness to apply advances in animal welfare science, it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so. This paper addresses three main areas. The first deals with economic consequences and, while recognising the cost of implementing change, highlights the importance of hidden costs in animal disease. It argues that when these costs are […]

Applications for methods of on-farm welfare assessment

Animal welfare assessment at group level is a scientific discipline that is rapidly developing. The interest in welfare assessment systems is based on an ethical concern for the welfare of farm animals. The scientific community plays an important role in delivering an appropriate repeatable, valid and feasible framework for these assessments. Consideration of the potential […]

Informed debate- the contribution of animal welfare science to the development of public policy

The development of animal welfare science has had a fundamental influence on the development of public policy towards the treatment of animals, not only in individual countries such as the United Kingdom, but also within the institutions of the European Union. This has led to a new a body of legislation which is intended to […]