Regulating animal welfare (Australia)

Australian lawyer Geoff Bloom wrote a paper for the AAWS International Animal Welfare Conference (2008) which applied "general thinking and practices about regulation within Western liberal democracies to the subject of regulating animal welfare." The abstract of that paper states that the paper "focuses on how animal welfare might be regulated to promote and protect improved animal welfare outcomes consistent with the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy. Specific features of animal welfare must be understood in order to regulate it, like the inability of animals to represent their own interests, the other interests contiguous with animal welfare and the effect of the international trade rules on domestic animal welfare regulation. Non-regulatory mechanisms are inadequate alone to secure consistent animal welfare outcomes. Regulating animal welfare has been a political process, with stakeholders pressing their differing claims with variable reference to existing knowledge.

Past and existing attempts to regulate animal welfare have treated animal cruelty and animal welfare as one topic to be regulated in the same way but they are better treated as two topics, to be regulated in different ways. Regulation can generally take a legal process approach of command and control, or a social process approach of cooperative regulator-industry problem solving.
 
It may better achieve animal welfare outcomes to shift regulation of animal welfare from a legal process approach to a social process approach, leaving anti-cruelty offences regulated according to legal process. Different regulatory forms may suit different animal welfare issues, including licenses, disclosure, labelling, non-government standards, co-regulation and regulating the regulators. Five Considerations for Regulators are proposed."
 
The full paper may be read at

http://www.daff.gov.au/animal-plant-health/welfare/reports/regulating_animal_welfare