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The Benefits of Improving Animal Welfare from the Perspective of Livestock Stakeholders across Asia

Centre for Animal Welfare and Ethics, School of Veterinary Sciences, The University of Queensland, Gatton, QLD 4343, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2019, 9(4), 123;
Received: 7 February 2019 / Revised: 19 March 2019 / Accepted: 25 March 2019 / Published: 28 March 2019
A previous study into successful international animal welfare management strategy presented the vital need for animal welfare proponents to establish mutual benefits with the livestock industry. What the perceived benefits to addressing farm animal welfare are, is therefore important information not previously researched. This study asked leaders in the livestock industry in regions across six Asian countries what they saw as the key benefits for improving animal welfare, and which of those benefits they found the most compelling. The potentials to increase productivity of the animals and improve meat quality were among the most frequently cited and most highly rated across the countries. Important differences in the focus of other benefits existed by country, with food safety of highest importance in China and Vietnam, and people-focused benefits (such as human health and improved community livelihood) of greater importance in countries with higher rates of poverty such as India and Bangladesh. Animal-based reasons, such as improving animal welfare to the benefit of the animals themselves, were not compelling benefits in any of the investigated countries, other than India. The results of this study could assist in the development of improved animal welfare strategies.
In this study, 17 focus group meetings were held with livestock industry leaders in geographically dispersed areas of China, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, India and Bangladesh, regarding animal welfare issues, potential solutions and attitudes. Livestock leaders were asked ‘what do you see as the benefits to improving animal welfare’ and later to discuss the potential benefits and rank them according to their associated importance. While differences existed by country, the most important perceived benefit area across all countries was financial in nature, primarily focussed on the potential to increase the productive output of the animals and to improve meat and product quality. However, doubt existed around the ability to increase profit against the cost of improving animal welfare, particularly in China. Human health benefits and the tie to human welfare and community livelihood were considered most important in India and Bangladesh, and animal-focussed benefits were not significant in any countries, except India and, to a lesser extent, Bangladesh. Thus, improving animal welfare for the sake of the animals is unlikely to be a compelling argument. The results presented here can be used to create meaningful mutual ground between those that advocate improvement of animal welfare and the stakeholders that have the ability to implement it, i.e., the livestock industry. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal welfare; benefit; profit; human health; Asia; livestock animal welfare; benefit; profit; human health; Asia; livestock
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Sinclair, M.; Fryer, C.; Phillips, C.J.C. The Benefits of Improving Animal Welfare from the Perspective of Livestock Stakeholders across Asia. Animals 2019, 9, 123.

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