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Research article2016Peer reviewedOpen access

Content and structure of Swedish animal welfare legislation and private standards for dairy cattle

Lundmark, Frida; Röcklinsberg, Helena; Wahlberg, Birgitta; Berg, Charlotte


In this study the animal welfare legislation and three private standards in Sweden, focusing on dairy cows, were analysed. The aim was to investigate to what extent these regulations consisted of resource-, management- or animal-based requirements, to analyse the content and discuss consequences. The results showed a higher proportion of management- and resource-based requirements than animal-based in all regulations. However, the borders between these categories were not as distinct as expected. The private standards put slightly more emphasis on the animal-based requirements and on animal welfare at herd level. It was primarily the organic standard that included higher animal welfare demands than the legislation. Due to vague wording and guideline statements it was not always clear if the welfare level achieved would be the same in practice although the requirements were similar. It will be necessary to clearly distinguish between requirements and measures to make the policy process more transparent.


Animal-based; animal welfare; dairy cows; ethics; non-animal-based; policy-making

Published in

Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section A - Animal Science
2016, Volume: 66, number: 1, pages: 35-42
Publisher: Taylor & Francis: STM, Behavioural Science and Public Health Titles