Legislative and Regulatory Options for Animal Welfare
ByJessica Vapnek and Megan Chapman
In addition to the various religious, ethical and philosophical bases for animal welfare, there is increasing recognition of the ties between animal welfare indicators and animal health.1 Disregard for animal welfare often leads to poor animal health – increased susceptibility of animal populations to disease and injury and poor quality or contaminated animal-based food
products – with resulting economic losses (Broom, 2001). Animal welfare is thus intrinsically related to other government concerns such as public health, food safety and long-term economic development. Consumers increasingly link animal welfare indicators with food safety and quality (Harper and Henson, 2001), in addition to ethical or socially responsible preferences. These consumer preferences create economic incentives for producers to meet animal welfare standards, as established by
legislation or voluntary certification programmes. In addition, mobilized citizens and animal welfare advocates may exert pressure on governments to set and enforce animal welfare standards.