Collective Bargaining as a Dispute-Reduction Vehicle Accommodating Contrary Animal Welfare Agendas

2 Kentucky J. Equine, Agric. & Nat'l Resources L. 191(2009-2010)

24 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2009 Last revised: 29 Apr 2017

See all articles by Michael N. Widener

Michael N. Widener

Bonnett, Fairbourn, Friedman & Balint; Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Date Written: July 24, 2009


Animal activists and animal enterprise managers share little common ground debating science and values. Activists are frustrated with the pace of improvements in animal welfare. Enterprise managers tire of activists’ increasingly threatening, urban-guerilla tactics. Meanwhile, legislation is ineffective to bring sweeping improvements in animal treatment or to stop activist civil disobedience-driven acts of property damage and public vilification of perceived human animal 'enemies.' Lawsuits filed to sanction a camp’s behavior tax patience and resources on both sides. Violence against persons appears imminent between the factions.

This essay advocates implementing mediated, collective bargaining processes along animal enterprise sector lines to engage enterprise management with activist representatives to negotiate animal labor accords. Animal exploitation in business renders sentient creatures 'workers' in laboratories, zoos and aquaria and in food production, among other environments. Labor-management negotiations leading to improved animal welfare conditions should model the most efficient and timely processes of union bargaining sessions used in setting human labor protocols. This essay further describes existing sources for adopting baseline standards of animal treatment in their various work environments, and argues that collective bargaining surpasses adjudicating or legislating for improving standards of animal welfare, whether in American agri-business, amusement or research-based enterprises.

Keywords: animals, collective bargaining, dispute resolution, agricultural policy, animal rights, animal enterprises

JEL Classification: C78, D23, D74, J52, K30, L66, Q18

Suggested Citation

Widener, Michael N., Collective Bargaining as a Dispute-Reduction Vehicle Accommodating Contrary Animal Welfare Agendas (July 24, 2009). 2 Kentucky J. Equine, Agric. & Nat'l Resources L. 191(2009-2010). Available at SSRN:

Michael N. Widener (Contact Author)

Bonnett, Fairbourn, Friedman & Balint ( email )

2325 East Camelback Road
Suite 300
Phoenix, AZ 85016
United States

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University ( email )

Prescott, AZ 86301
United States

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