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Conflicting areas in the ethical debate on animal health and welfare

Sundrum, Albert (2007) Conflicting areas in the ethical debate on animal health and welfare. In: Sustainable food production and ethics, Wageningen Academic Publishers, pp. 257-262.

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There is a far-reaching agreement within western society, that a high level of animal health and welfare can be regarded as an ethical value. An increasing number of consumers are interested to purchase products that derive from animal-friendly housing conditions. Often animal-friendly and organic products are affiliated. Although the prescriptions of the EURegulation on organic agriculture clearly exceed the minimal standards of conventional livestock production, they do not automatically lead to a high status of animal health and welfare. Animal health status emerges from complex interactions within a farm system and thus is not primarily related to the production method or to minimal standards. Literature reviews indicate profound discrepancies between the claim and reality of animal health and welfare on organic farms. Conflicting areas on different levels within and between the groups of retailers, producers, and consumers are responsible that efforts with regard to improvments in relation to animal health and welfare have come to a standstill. In order to preserve the credibility of organic agriculture and the confidence of the consumers in organic products there is a need for more transparency and for a change in the paradigm from a standard-oriented to an output-oriented approach. Credible information about animal health and welfare has to be provided, which consumers are able to understand. Simultaneously, a high level of animal health and welfare has to be honoured by premium prices to cover the additional costs and efforts that are needed to improve the current situation.

EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords:organic livestock, consumer expectations, inconsistencies
Subjects: Food systems > Food security, food quality and human health
Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Values, standards and certification > Consumer issues
Research affiliation: Germany > Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food - BLE
Germany > University of Kassel > Department of Animal Nutrition and Animal Health
Deposited By: Hoischen-Taubner, Susanne
ID Code:19349
Deposited On:15 Sep 2011 12:26
Last Modified:15 Sep 2011 12:26
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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