Humane Treatment of Farm Animals

Part of the Natural Resource Management and Policy book series (NRMP, volume 38)


The welfare of farm animals is an increasingly important issue for the U.S. food and agricultural system. Dramatic improvements in productivity have contributed to lower consumer prices for animal products, but critics contend that this has been at the expense of the well-being of farm animals. The food and agricultural industry has responded to concerns by adopting a range of voluntary schemes designed to improve farm animal welfare. However, a range of activist groups, some of whom would like to see the elimination of animal agriculture entirely, have been increasingly successful in pressing for tighter regulation, particularly at the state level. The proliferation of regulations is likely to impose additional costs on producers and could place them at a competitive disadvantage. Despite the likelihood that higher standards will increase production costs, it would be extremely risky for the industry not to take a proactive approach to the animal welfare issue. A combination of strengthened voluntary actions, supported by more stringent penalties for those who fail to follow accepted practices, could satisfy the welfare concerns of the vast majority of Americans who wish to continue to consume animal products.


Animal Welfare Welfare Standard Cage System Farm Animal Welfare Veal Calf 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Agricultural SciencesPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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