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Farm Animal Welfare in the European Union – a critical analysis

Näsström, Moa Jessica Linnea (2016) Farm Animal Welfare in the European Union – a critical analysis. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the causes behind why England and Sweden, as European Union (EU) Member States that share a higher concern for animal welfare, suffer similar financial drawbacks and a decrease of their farmers’ competitive strength, in spite of their fundamentally different regulatory approaches to transposing EU law. This complex situation is investigated by tracing the issue to its origin: the inherent tension stemming from the dual classification of the animals in EU primary law as both sentient beings and tradable goods. Farm animal welfare is regulated by minimum harmonising EU Directives, which permit Member States to implement stricter domestic regulatory standards. This thesis argues that these stricter standards, while being zoocentrically important in terms of enabling a higher level of farm animal welfare, also have a substantial negative economic impact upon the affected farmers, due to the higher input costs. The issue arising is that minimum Directives effectively negate the competitive strength of the farmers in ‘stricter’ Member States, as their domestic produce competes directly against imported products from Member States whose national legislation is closer to the minimum standard established by the EU Directives. This thesis critiques this situation as untenable and submits that the farmers’ competitive strength in stricter Member States can be improved by a shift in consumer purchasing behaviour, achieved by a programme that raises public awareness. The research outcome is a recommendation of the introduction of an EU-wide farm animal welfare labelling policy, one that would allow consumers to distinguish high-welfare products from low-welfare ones, where the elevated price commanded by the former would offset the higher costs incurred in their production. The benefits of this solution are that it facilitates increased competitiveness within the EU’s internal market, while maintaining and promoting higher farm animal welfare standards.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: EU Agricultural Law, Animal Welfare, EU, Sweden, England, Farming,Article 13 TFEU, Article 36 TFEU, Pigs, Poultry, Minimum harmonisation, Directives, Consumer behaviour, Internal Market, WTP, Labelling, Foodstuff,
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds)
The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Law (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.695971
Depositing User: Dr MJL Nasstrom
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2016 10:14
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 09:53
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/15328

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