Farm animal welfare: Origins and interplay with economics and policy

AB Lawrence, Belinda Vigors

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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In this chapter we look at the origins of animal welfare as a societal concern and the interplay between the concept of animal welfare, economics and policy. We firstly propose adjustments to the ‘standard view’ of the development of animal welfare concerns (which we refer to as the Harrison- Brambell- FAWC (HBF) sequence). For example, we suggest that the role of science in setting animal welfare policy is a more complex process than is sometimes acknowledged. We discuss the application of economics to animal welfare including the analysis of the costs of animal welfare improvements to more recent work on trade- offs relating to animal welfare across the supply chain. Considering this range of uses of economics relating to animal welfare, we identify that the question of how to value animal welfare in economic terms remains unresolved. Lastly, we suggest that the period 1965–2008 may come to be regarded as a ‘golden era’ for the translation of animal welfare concerns into positive socio- political actions. We discuss a raft of issues which appear to have diminished the position of animal welfare in the policy ‘pecking order’. However, societal concern over animal welfare will mean that government and others will need to be cautious of breaching ‘red lines’. On a more positive note, the public profile that animal welfare enjoys will continue to provide the opportunity for policy and business innovations to improve animals’ lives.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Economics of Farm Animal Welfare
EditorsBouda Ahmadi, Dominic Moran, Rick D'Eath
Place of PublicationUK
PublisherCABI International
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9781786392329
ISBN (Print)9781786392312
Publication statusPrint publication - Jul 2020


  • animal welfare
  • Economics
  • Origins of animal welfare
  • Animal welfare science


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