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CAB Reviews

A reviews journal covering agriculture, global health, nutrition, natural resources and veterinary science

CAB Review

Compliance with animal welfare regulations: drivers and consequences.


In the field of animal welfare science, the main focus has traditionally been on the risk factors for, and prevention of, animal welfare problems. More recently, the topic of measuring animal welfare at the individual level or at the group level has attracted substantial attention among animal welfare scientists. Furthermore, research into the content and structure of various regulations-including both official legislation and private standards-and their effects on animal welfare outcomes is growing. However, the amount of research related to compliance with animal welfare regulations is still extremely limited. In this review, we aim at illuminating the concept of compliance, how it can be measured within different audit systems, and the scientific challenges encountered when comparing different regulations in terms of compliance. In addition, we analyse and discuss different drivers for compliance, as well as the obstacles and complications in relation to various inspection and follow-up approaches in cases of non-compliance. We conclude that if participation in voluntary private animal welfare schemes is to be used as one of the variables when applying a risk-based approach to official animal welfare control, then the methods of measuring and accounting for compliance within such schemes must be clearly reported.

CAB Review details

  • History
  • Published: 10 June 2020
  • ISSN
  • 1749-8848
  • Publisher information
  • CABI Wallingford UK
  • Record Number
  • 20203219441