The Regulation of Animal Welfare in Food Production
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CitationThe Regulation of Animal Welfare in Food Production (2005 Third Year Paper)
AbstractThis paper surveys the various ways in which we choose to regulate, or could choose to regulate, the treatment of animals in food production. â€œRegulationâ€ is broadly defined to encompass any systematic initiatives, public or private, that aim to affect the treatment of farmed animals. After offering a brief survey of the husbandry practices common in modern agriculture, and presenting evidence that our current system is too dependant on free-market principles, this paper goes on to consider several methods of regulating this sector: the regulation of advertising, the regulation of product labeling, the enactment of general welfare standards, and specific-practice legislation. For each of these categories, both current and potential regulatory initiatives are considered, and some analysis of the costs and benefits of each alternative approach is offered. I conclude that an absence of consumer deception regarding the treatment of the animals used to produce their food products should provide a baseline standard for regulation, although possibilities for regulation moving significantly beyond this baseline are considered.
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