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Commentary

Social License and Animal Welfare: Developments from the Past Decade in Australia

1
Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia
2
RSPCA Australia, P.O. Box 265, Deakin West, ACT 2600, Australia
3
Sydney School of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(12), 2237; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122237
Received: 2 November 2020 / Revised: 21 November 2020 / Accepted: 26 November 2020 / Published: 28 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
“Social license to operate” (SLO) is the process by which a community grants or withholds permission to an industry to conduct its business. This article describes how animal welfare has recently become arguably the most crucial consideration underpinning SLO for Australian animal use industries in the past decade. Such industries include animal racing, wildlife harvesting, and the farming and live export of livestock. We posit that these industries are at risk of loss of SLO unless policies shift to proactive engagement with stakeholders and transparent monitoring of animal welfare outcomes.
“Social license to operate” (SLO) refers to the implicit process by which a community gives an industry approval to conduct its current business activities. It has become an important focus for many natural resource management fields (especially mining), but there is less awareness of its role in animal use industries. This article describes how animal welfare has recently become arguably the most crucial consideration underpinning the SLO for Australian animal use industries. It describes several industries in Australia that have faced animal welfare scrutiny in the past decade (2010–2020) to illustrate how persistent issues can erode SLO, lead to regulatory bans, and decimate previously profitable industries. Industries described include the live export of livestock, greyhound and horse racing, kangaroo harvesting, and dairy and sheep farming. In these cases, there has been intense public discourse but little scholarly progress. This article examines factors that may have contributed to these developments and suggests approaches that may assist these industries in maintaining their SLO. Animal welfare has become a mainstream societal concern in Australia, and effective management of the community’s expectations will be essential for the maintenance of SLO for many animal use industries. View Full-Text
Keywords: sheep; cattle; dairy; greyhounds; horses; kangaroos; public perceptions; racing sheep; cattle; dairy; greyhounds; horses; kangaroos; public perceptions; racing
MDPI and ACS Style

Hampton, J.O.; Jones, B.; McGreevy, P.D. Social License and Animal Welfare: Developments from the Past Decade in Australia. Animals 2020, 10, 2237. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122237

AMA Style

Hampton JO, Jones B, McGreevy PD. Social License and Animal Welfare: Developments from the Past Decade in Australia. Animals. 2020; 10(12):2237. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122237

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hampton, Jordan O., Bidda Jones, and Paul D. McGreevy 2020. "Social License and Animal Welfare: Developments from the Past Decade in Australia" Animals 10, no. 12: 2237. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122237

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