Knowledge for better food systems

Farm animal welfare in the UK

This report, Farm animal welfare: Past, present and future, looks back at how farm animal welfare assurance schemes have developed over the past 20 years, and assesses potential future development of such schemes.

It is a result of the commissioned work by Food Ethics Council and Heather Pickett, for the 20th anniversary of the RSPCA’s Freedom Food scheme, researching past and potential future factors driving changes in farm animal welfare in the UK.

Farm animal welfare is high on the agenda of many members of the general public, food businesses, farmers, farm assurance schemes and, of course, animal welfare organisations. Based on a literature review and interviews with 21 experts with a wide range of perspectives on farm animal welfare from retail, government, academia and NGOs, the report addresses:

How farm animal welfare in the UK has changed over the past 20 years; how farm assurance schemes and labels have evolved; what role they’ve played in driving up standards and practices; what role they might play in the future in taking opportunities and addressing challenges; and what a vision of farm animal welfare might look like in 20 years from now.

Read the full report here.

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Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

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