1 Department of Animal Science - Behaviour and stressbiology, Department of Animal Science, Science and Technology, Aarhus University2 Nanjing Agricultural University3 Department of Animal Science - Behaviour and stressbiology, Department of Animal Science, Science and Technology, Aarhus University
The concern for farm animal welfare is increasing. The people concerned are not only consumers and producers of animal products, but also politicians, retailers, and economists trying to determine the type and strength of motivation behind demands to ensure farm animal welfare standards (Olynk, 2012; Matthews and Hemsworth, 2012). The cost of and willingness to pay for improved farm animal welfare infl uence not only international markets, but also i ncentives, education, guidelines, and legislation put in place to change the way we raise production species. These issues are highly pertinent for countries emerging on the global food market for several reasons. In rapidly developing countries, animal welfare standards are likely to be lower on the list of immediate concerns of the farmer, for whom availability and quality of animal feed, production yield and disease control may rank higher. Different production methods and use of indigenous breeds also infl uence the nature of the animal welfare measures that can be applied. Cultural differences in the treatment of animals may require changes to existing farm animal welfare protocols before they can be implemented. Also, the lack of control systems to ensure the proper implementation of guidelines and legislation regarding farm animal welfare may impede the marketing and potential added value of the resulting products. In this article, we look at farm animal welfare from the viewpoints of two countries, which differ in a number of aspects: China, as representing a rapidly developing country, and Denmark as a country with a highly developed organization of farm animal welfare standards. We use pigs and poultry as examples of production animals, where animal welfare problems, improvements and legislation exist. We strongly believe that many of the issues raised in this article are relevant to both developed and rapidly developing countries in general. There is a potential risk of “western arrogance” if ready-made standards are imposed onto scenarios that in reality are very different from those in which those standards were developed. We therefore hope this article will give the reader an opportunity to ponder on this particular subject. Are we seeing problems where none exist? And can one country really learn from the mistakes of another? This paper does not attempt to give “The Solution,” but to highlight the lessons to be learned, foresee some of the likely hurdles, and suggest potential fi rst steps.