Government’s failure to account for animal welfare is another reason for their vulnerability to abuse.
The CASJ has identified another critical yet overlooked void in UK animal protection policy: there is no system of comprehensive welfare surveillance for the billion or so animals per year in the UK who are adversely affected by human activity. This is perturbing because such a system is essential to set out basic social and policy goals by identifying the magnitude of problems, tracking progress and prioritising actions.
Such auditing systems are also critical to check that legislation is being enforced adequately. Most fundamentally, the absence of comprehensive welfare surveillance means that the government is failing in its ‘guardianship duties on behalf of society’, according to an expert government committee.1
Nevertheless, the UK government and animal harm industries routinely claim that the country has high animal welfare standards, if not the highest in the world, despite the lack of data necessary to substantiate such a claim. In fact, our analysis of the implementation of animal research and farm animal welfare regulations reveals how government and industry work to together to avoid complying with animal protection rules. Claims of stringent animal welfare regulations are, in reality, part of a narrative of false reassurances designed to neutralise public pressure for better protection.