Commodifying animal welfare

Buller, Henry and Roe, Emma J. (2012) Commodifying animal welfare. Animal Welfare, 21, supplement 1, 131-135. (doi:10.7120/096272812X13345905674042).


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As the profile of farm animal welfare rises within food production chains, in response both to consumer demand and greater ethical engagement with the lives of animals, animal welfare is increasingly being commodified by various foodchain actors. That is to say that, over and above regulatory or assurance scheme compliance, welfare conditions and criteria are being used as a ‘value-added’ component or distinctive selling point for food products, brands or even particular manufacturers and retailers. We argue in this paper that such a commodification process has major implications both for the way in which farm animal welfare is defined and assessed (with greater emphasis being placed either on those welfare elements that lend themselves to commodification processes or on those that respond to consumer interpretations of what ‘good’ welfare might be at a particular time) and for the ways in which farm animal welfare is articulated and presented to food consumers as a component of product value or quality.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.7120/096272812X13345905674042
ISSNs: 0962-7286 (print)
Keywords: animal welfare, commodification, consumption, free-range eggs, market, welfare assessment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Divisions : Faculty of Social and Human Sciences > Geography and Environment > Economy, Society & Space
ePrint ID: 204781
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
May 2012Published
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2011 14:52
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:47
Integration of animal welfare in the food quality chain: from public concern to improved welfare and transparent quality (WELFARE QUALITY)
Funded by: European Commission - FP6 (506508)
1 May 2004 to 31 December 2009

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