The assurance of high standards of farm animal welfare is the primary focus of my thesis.
The European Union (EU) has been a pioneer in adopting farm animal welfare legislation, with early initiatives commencing in the absence of a co-ordinated animal welfare policy and specific animal welfare competence. However, the majority of the early legislation was directed to ensuring minimum standards and concerns soon arose as to its adequacy. More recently animal welfare has become entrenched within the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), but doubts continue as to whether the key driver is the market or the well-being of animals per se.
My thesis will focus on:
The significance of the new constitutional animal welfare provision in the TFEU and, in particular, the extent to which animal welfare is being accommodated by the current reforms of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP);
The role of EU agricultural product quality standards and labelling in the promotion of high standards of animal welfare; and,
Critically, the potential for the multifunctional role of agriculture to reinforce higher animal welfare standards and practices.
Integral to the thesis is the relationship between public and private institutions. Public and private animal welfare standards exist alongside each other, yet the inter-relationship between these standards and their respective inter-institutional balance is uncertain in law. Indeed, the extent to which there should be public regulation of private animal welfare standard setters and accreditation bodies is core.