UNDERSTANDING THE ROLE OF ECONOMICS IN ANIMAL WELFARE ASSESSMENT AND POLICY DESIGN
Professor Dominic Moran (SRUC), Dr Luiza Toma (SRUC), Dr Taro Takahashi (University of Bristol & Rothamsted Research), Dr Bouda Vosough Ahmadi (European Commision DG Joint Research Centre (JRC) & SRUC)
This one-day workshop aims to explore the use of key economic concepts in the supply and (measurement of) demand for animal welfare. We will explore how concepts can be integrated with welfare science and the gaps that handicap the development of national and international welfare policy. The workshop will bring together invited welfare scientists, economists, industry and government stakeholders to develop a common picture of the latest developments in economic research of relevance to animal welfare research and policy development.
Recent “grand challenge” rhetoric provides a contemporary entry point to consider how we can include welfare status and its value in economic calculus of farm productivity. The grand challenges narrative has emphasised sustainable intensification (SI) and resource use efficiency to increase productivity while minimising harmful externalities. Managing animal welfare is implicitly included as an important externality, but there is a clear tension between some forms of agricultural intensification and implied welfare status (e.g. large housed animal production).
There is also a knowledge gap in terms of how we should incorporate animal welfare into other indicators of social wellbeing including the ecosystem services framework and adjusted measures of (national) growth. The latter begs further questions about cross-country progress with respect to the ‘supply’ of animal welfare and the varied status of the demand structure (or willingness to pay) for high welfare.