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Economics and animal health and welfare policy

The Animal Health and Welfare Strategy for Great Britain published in mid-2004 recognised that enhanced animal health and welfare is not an outcome that can or should be achieved by government in isolation, but requires the active participation of the private sector working in partnership with the state.

State intervention in the areas of animal health and welfare has a long history in the UK and takes a variety of forms. Examples include statutory and regulatory controls, compensation for slaughter of diseased animals and border surveillance.

Against a backdrop of deregulation, liberalisation of the economy as a whole and public expenditure controls over the last quarter century the presumption that the current balance between public and private sector responsibilities for animal health and welfare represents an optimal position requires careful examination.

It was in this context that this project was commissioned by Defra to examine the potential for economic analysis to contribute to the understanding, formulation and implementation of policy in England relating to the health and welfare of animals, and to consider the role of economic analysis in offering guidance in the assembly of the evidence base used in the development of animal health and welfare policies.

The programme of research was conducted in four stages;

  • a review of literature
  • a workshop to consider policy mechanisms for animal health and welfare
  • the development of a framework for policy development
  • the testing of that framework through a series of case studies.
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