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Doctoral thesis, 2016

Mind the gaps!

Lundmark, Frida


There is a movement away from government governance of farm animal welfare towards more private governance. As a result, many farmers need to comply with both legislation and private standards simultaneously. The overall aim with this project was to study the intentions of different animal welfare regulations, and how effective these systems can be in improving animal welfare. The first study examined the intentions and values of various animal welfare regulations. The second study analysed the content and structure of different sets of Swedish regulations, and the last study focused on controls at the farm level, to identify common remarks and risk factors of non-compliance at dairy farms in official (CAB) and private (Arla) control. We found that the aim of a regulation could be quite vague, and more ambitious than what is included in the detailed requirements. Policymakers had different views on what constitutes ‘necessary suffering’ and ‘natural behaviour’. These differences were seen both between countries, between regulations in a country, and between species in a regulation. The second study illustrated that private standards for dairy cows in Sweden partly covered the same requirements as the legislation, with the exception of the organic standard. However, due to vague wordings and different ways of measuring it was not always clear if the requirements were truly identical between the regulations. In the third study we identified that inspections focused on different areas; dirty dairy cattle being the most common non-compliance in official controls, and dirty cowsheds being most common during Arla audits. The highest risk for non-compliance was, however, similar for CAB and Arla; tie-stalls during winter. Organic farms had a lower risk for non-compliance compared to conventional farms. This project identified the need to clearly define concepts and desired animal welfare outcomes in order to reduce the gaps between intentions, requirements and assessments within a regulation. Also gaps between different animal welfare regulations need to be illuminated with the purpose of either clarifying the differences or reducing the gaps provided that the aims are similar. The presence of both similarities and differences between different regulations and control systems puts extra high demands on transparency, predictability and clarity during inspections.


audits; animal law; animal welfare; assurance schemes; control; official; policymaking; private; standards; values

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2016, number: 2016:95
ISBN: 978-91-576-8692-3, eISBN: 978-91-576-8693-0
Publisher: Department of Animal Environment and Health, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Lundmark, Frida (Lundmark Hedman, Frida)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Environment and Health

UKÄ Subject classification

Public Administration Studies
Law and Society

URI (permanent link to this page)