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Animals 2011, 1(1), 69-82; doi:10.3390/ani1010069

Challenges to the Development and Implementation of Public Policies to Achieve Animal Welfare Outcomes

Prince of Wales Clinical School, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Received: 22 December 2010 / Accepted: 31 December 2010 / Published: 31 December 2010
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Simple Summary

Many countries have enacted legislation to protect animals. In the 1800’s the primary concern was to protect animals from cruelty but more recent legislative changes also seek to ensure that human beings uphold a duty of care towards those animals for which they are responsible. Today animal welfare concerns all aspects of our interaction with other animals. Although, the diversity of views in society can present challenges, the whole community needs to be engaged in the development and implementation of policies and initiatives so as to achieve sustainable improvements in animal welfare.


Although there is a long-established tradition of concern for the welfare of animals, it was not until the mid 1800’s that governments sought to enact legislation to protect animals from cruelty. In the 1950’s, questions concerning animal welfare re-emerged and in the ensuing years have been an on-going focus of government activities. These developments occurred against a backdrop of significant social change but there are important differences in what now underpins and informs these considerations. In the formulation and implementation of public policies, governments look for a course of action that represents and protects the interests of the community; the process may be challenging with competing interests but the final determination seeks a middle ground that best meets the needs and interests of the community as a whole. When policy development concerns our relationship with other animals, the complexity of this relationship presents particular challenges not only to the formulation of policies but also to the evaluation of outcomes. Notably, the depth of feelings and diversity of views in our community reflect the complex social, cultural and personal dimensions of this relationship. The use of animals for scientific purposes remains one of the most contentious animal welfare issues primarily because when animals are used for these purposes, accepted animal welfare benchmarks cannot always be met. Based on the Australian experience, this paper will discuss the influences in and on-going challenges to the development and implementation of public policy when animals are used for these purposes. View Full-Text
Keywords: public policy; animal ethics committees; legislation; animal welfare outcomes; animal research public policy; animal ethics committees; legislation; animal welfare outcomes; animal research
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Rose, M. Challenges to the Development and Implementation of Public Policies to Achieve Animal Welfare Outcomes. Animals 2011, 1, 69-82.

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