Conflicting goals of welfare assessment schemes: a case study
The aim of this article is to discuss the farming industry's development and use of welfare assessment schemes. A welfare assessment scheme developed by the Danish Cattle Federation (DCF) is used as a case study. The declared aim of the DCF scheme is to improve animal welfare, farm profitability and dialogue with the public. It is the purpose of this article to attempt to understand the dilemmas arising from this broad aim. We ask how DCF measures of welfare compare with alternative measures in which economic factors receive less emphasis. We bring in farmers' views on whether the DCF's parameters of welfare track welfare effectively and are economically feasible. We also discuss how the views of the Scandinavian public on animal welfare influences the likelihood that the DCF scheme will improve dialogue with the public. The DCF definition of welfare is broad, but the measures it deploys are more limited and indeed very narrow compared with those in other welfare assessment schemes. This may not be a problem if the goal is to improve farm profitability. However, if the goal is to improve welfare, limited measures are problematic, and this may undermine attempts to improve dialogue with the public.
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