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Compassion, by the Pound: The Economics of Farm Animal Welfare

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Author Info

  • Norwood, F. Bailey

    (Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University, USA)

  • Lusk, Jayson L.

    (Professor and Willard Sparks Endowed Chair, Department of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University, USA)

Abstract

For much of human history, most of the population lived and worked on farms but today, information about livestock is more likely to come from children's books than hands-on experience. When romanticized notions of an agrarian lifestyle meet with the realities of the modern industrial farm, the result is often a plea for a return to antiquated production methods. The result is a brewing controversy between animal activist groups, farmers, and consumers that is currently being played out in ballot boxes, courtrooms, and in the grocery store. Where is one to turn for advice when deciding whether to pay double the price for cage-free eggs, or in determining how to vote on ballot initiates seeking to ban practices such as the use of gestation crates in pork production or battery cage egg production? At present, there is no clear answer. What is missing from the animal welfare debate is an objective approach that can integrate the writings of biologists and philosophers, while providing a sound and logical basis for determining the consequences of farm animal welfare policies. What is missing in the debate? Economics. This book journeys from the earliest days of animal domestication to modern industrial farms. Delving into questions of ethics and animal sentience, the authors use data from ingenious consumers' experiments conducted with real food, real money, and real animals to compare the costs and benefits of improving animal care. They show how the economic approach to animal welfare raises new questions and ethical conundrums, as well as providing unique and counter-intuitive results.

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Bibliographic Info

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This book is provided by Oxford University Press in its series OUP Catalogue with number 9780199551163 and published in 2011.

ISBN: 9780199551163
Order: http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199551163.do
Handle: RePEc:oxp:obooks:9780199551163

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Cited by:
  1. Jayson Lusk, 2011. "The market for animal welfare," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer, vol. 28(4), pages 561-575, December.
  2. Smithson, Katie & Corbin, Max & Lusk, Jayson L. & Norwood, F. Bailey, 2014. "Predicting State-Wide Votes on Ballot Initiatives to Ban Battery Cages and Gestation Crates," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 46(01), February.
  3. Norwood, F. Bailey & Lusk, Jayson L., 2011. "A calibrated auction-conjoint valuation method: Valuing pork and eggs produced under differing animal welfare conditions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 80-94, July.
  4. Mckendree, Melissa G.S. & Olynk Widmar, Nicole & Ortega, David L. & Foster, Kenneth A., 2013. "Consumer Preferences for Verified Pork-Rearing Practices in the Production of Ham Products," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 38(3), December.

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