Empowering Market Regulation of Agricultural Animal Welfare through Product Labeling

32 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2022

See all articles by Sean Sullivan

Sean Sullivan

University of Iowa College of Law

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

In many western countries, rising public concern for the welfare of agricultural animals is reflected in the adoption of direct regulatory standards. The United States has taken a different path, preferring a "market regulation" approach whereby consumers express their preference for agricultural animal welfare through their consumption habits, incentivizing desired welfare practices with dollar bills and obviating the need for direct government regulation. There is, however, little evidence that consumers in the United States actually demand heightened animal welfare practices at market. This article explores the failure of market regulation and the welfare preference paradox posed by consumers who express a strong preference for improved animal welfare in theory, but who do not actually demand heightened animal welfare in practice. I argue that the failure of market regulation is due to the inability of current voluntary and nonstandard animal welfare labeling practices to clearly and credibly disclose to consumers the actual treatment of agricultural animals. As a corollary, effective market regulation of agricultural animal welfare could be empowered simply by improving animal welfare labeling practices.

Keywords: animal welfare, market regulation

Suggested Citation

Sullivan, Sean, Empowering Market Regulation of Agricultural Animal Welfare through Product Labeling (2013). Animal Law Review, Vol. 19, No. 2, 2013, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4078298

Sean Sullivan (Contact Author)

University of Iowa College of Law ( email )

Melrose and Byington
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sean-p-sullivan.com

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