Standards for farm animal welfare are variously managed at a national level by government-led regulatory control, by consumer-led welfare economics and co-regulated control in a partnership between industry and government. In the latter case the control of research to support animal welfare standards by the relevant industry body may lead to a conflict of interest on the part of researchers, who are dependent on industry for continued research funding. We examine this dilemma by reviewing two case studies of research published under an Australian co-regulated control system. Evidence of unsupported conclusions that are favourable to industry is provided, suggesting that researchers do experience a conflict of interest that may influence the integrity of the research. Alternative models for the management of research are discussed, including the establishment of an independent research management body for animal welfare because of its public good status and the use of public money derived from taxation, with representation from government, industry, consumers, and advocacy groups.
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Neither of the authors of this paper has a financial or personal relationship with people or organisations that inappropriately influenced or biased the content of this paper. No external funding was provided for this study.
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Phillips, C.J.C., Petherick, J.C. The Ethics of a Co-regulatory Model for Farm Animal Welfare Research. J Agric Environ Ethics 28, 127–142 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10806-014-9524-9
- Animal welfare
- Co-regulatory model
- Stocking density