3 June 2020

Benchmarking Farm Animal Welfare — A Novel Tool for Cross-Country Comparison Applied to Pig Production and Pork Consumption

By P. Sandøe, H. O. Hansen, H. L. H. Rhode, H. Houe, C. Palmer, B. Forkman, T. Christensen (2020)
Animals. MDPI


A pluralist approach to farm animal welfare, combining animal welfare legislation with market-driven initiatives, has developed in many countries. To enable cross-country comparisons of pig welfare, a number of welfare dimensions, covering the features typically modified in legisla- tive and market-driven welfare initiatives aimed at pig production, were defined. Five academic welfare experts valued the different welfare states within each dimension on a 0–10 scale, then as- sessed the relative contribution of each dimension to overall welfare on a 1–5 scale. By combining these values and weights with an inventory of pig welfare initiatives in five countries, the additional welfare generated by each initiative was calculated. Together with information on the national cov- erage of each initiative, the Benchmark value for each country’s production and consumption of pork could be calculated on a scale from 0 to 100. Two (Sweden and the UK) had a much higher Benchmark value than the rest. However, there was a drop in the Benchmark for consumption in Sweden and the UK (indicating imports from countries with lower-Benchmark values for produc- tion). Even though the experts differed in the values and weights ascribed to different initiatives, they were largely in agreement in their ranking of the countries.

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