The CASJ is teaming up with RSPCA Australia to initiate a ground-breaking international study that aims to understand which social, political and economic factors help or hinder animal protection. The two year project will compare public policy and regulation concerning the commercial production of chickens for meat (‘broiler chickens’) in four countries – the UK, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands.
A major reason why this sector has been chosen as our case study is because it is likely to represent the area where greatest harm to animals occurs. Just in the UK, around a billion chickens are raised and killed for meat each year, mostly in highly intensive systems using fast-growing breeds and overcrowded housing conditions. Around 30% of these animals develop heart and lung problems, and about half suffer severe walking difficulties.
Given the tendency of animal welfare regulation to give inadequate protection for animals relative to that demanded by public opinion, this research project will examine to what extent this is the case and the factors that either promote or frustrate democratic accountability. We will also seek to understand how animal protection organisations are impacting on regulation and the reasons for their successes and failures.
The research will be led by internationally-renowned animal policy scholars Dr Siobhan O’Sullivan from the University of New South Wales, Dr Peter Chen from the University of Sydney and the CASJ’s Dr Dan Lyons, with research assistance from Dr Sue Pyke at the University of Melbourne.