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Animal Welfare
Farm animal welfare ‘cannot be left to the free market’

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GOVERNMENT has a crucial role to play in maintaining an acceptable standard of animal welfare, according to a recent report from the Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC). The committee argues that the quality of life of farm animals cannot be left to the free market ‘because economic forces are powerful and vested interests many-fold’.

The FAWC's comments are made in a report of its investigations of the impact of economics on farm animal welfare, which was published on December 7. The report aims to explore the relationships between economics and farm animal welfare, and to identify the mechanisms by which economic drivers might be exploited to enhance farm animal welfare.

Introducing the report, Christopher Wathes, the FAWC's chairman, says that ‘In investigating our subject, we have found that issues in economics are just as complex as those in science. We recognise that political decisions about the welfare of farm animals have to account for economics – in its broadest sense – as well as sociological, technical and other factors.’ He points out that the FAWC ‘deplores the …

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