The role of quality labels in market-driven animal welfare

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

In policy-making the consumption of specially labelled products, and its role in improving the welfare of livestock, has attracted considerable attention. There is in many countries a diverse market for animal welfare-friendly products which is potentially confusing and may lack transparency. We ask whether special quality labels that involve medium levels of animal welfare, as compared with labels promoting premium levels of animal welfare, have a role to play in promoting improvements in animal welfare. The Danish pork market is our reference case, but we also widen the context by comparing the markets for pork in three other European countries. Our findings suggest that in order to improve animal welfare through demand for welfare-friendly products it is important to maintain separate the market for products with strong animal welfare profiles from markets for products with medium levels of animal welfare where, often, animal welfare is bundled together with other food quality attributes. We conclude that such quality labels may indeed play an important role in promoting higher animal welfare standards provided that they offer real improvements in animal welfare as compared with standard products. They will be attractive to consumers with a positive, but not especially strong interest in animal welfare as an individual food attribute who would otherwise be inclined to purchase standard products.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)67-84
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Published online 14 October 2014

ID: 126002935