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Conference paper - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Whose interest matters when regulating animal welfare? A Swedish case study

Lundmark Hedman, Frida; Berg, Lotta; Steen, Margareta

Abstract

Sweden is often mentioned as a leading country when it comes to animal welfare (AW). However, substantial changes have been made in the national AW legislation lately, resulting in criticism. This study analysed how the Swedish Central Competent Authority (CCA) has handled AW research findings, and changes in governmental and stakeholder interests when revising the national legislation between 1988 and 2019. AW legislation amendments for cattle, pigs and horses were scrutinized as well as other governmental documents. The AW regulations have been modified several times since 1988. The main motive presented by the CCA’s for an alteration of the legislation was to improve AW. However, the CCA’s use of scientific results were surprisingly scarce and inconsistent. The second most common motive was that changes were made in the interest of the owners/industry. The stakeholders’ major opportunity to influence new AW regulations turned out to be through an early CCA consultation. After referral management, the CCA did generally not make substantial changes in relation to the original proposal, even if a majority of referral bodies were critical. The industry had the biggest impact, while the opinions from AW, animal rights, and consumer NGOs never per se induced changes. The Government and the Ministry are involved not only in the AW Act and Ordinance but indirectly also at the CCA level. The CCA regulations did mirror the Government’s views and wordings, focusing on improving the AW level and making detailed regulations before 2007, and after 2007 recommending that the CCA regulations’ AW level shall be maintained but less detailed, more flexible and goal oriented. The governmental directions to the CCA are, and have been, anything but unambiguous. The regulations can hence be perceived as inconsistent. We hence, argue that the politicians need to provide clearer directions and instructions to the CCA.

Keywords

amendments; legislation; politics; stakeholders

Published in

Title: Justice and food security in a changing climate
ISBN: 978-90-8686-362-4, eISBN: 978-90-8686-915-2
Publisher: Wageningen Academic Publishers
DOI: 10.3920/978-90-8686-915-2_43

Conference

EurSafe 2021, 210624-210626, Fribourg, Switzerland