Paperwork and the decoupling of audit and animal welfare: The challenges of materiality for better regulation

This paper explores farmers’ record-keeping practices and why they do not analyze and use the animal welfare records they are required to keep for regulatory inspection in the ways that regulators hoped that they would when they imposed the requirement. As well as highlighting design features that make records required for regulatory compliance unsuitable for assessing welfare, the research highlighted important differences between farmers’ own models of good husbandry and those of veterinary experts. It pointed to the need to improve understanding of farm practice and of farmers’ own ideals of good animal husbandry so as to enable Defra to identify unnecessary administrative burdens and align EU record-keeping requirements with opportunities for improved animal welfare practice.


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