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Food safety and environmental issues in animal welfare
|Author(s) :||A.M. de Passillé & J. Rushen|
Food safety, protection of the environment and animal welfare are three concerns consumers have about modern food production systems. Standards dealing with these three issues can be in conflict, and finding ways to reduce this conflict is essential as international standards governing animal welfare develop. These conflicts can be reduced if flexible animal welfare standards are animal-based and attempt to directly assess the state of the animals themselves rather than prescribing the conditions under which the animals are reared. Animal welfare is often treated as an ethical issue, and is therefore difficult to deal with under current trade agreements. A greater appreciation of the link between animal welfare and animal health makes the link with food safety clearer. Improvements in animal welfare have the potential to reduce on-farm risks to food safety, principally through reduced stress-induced immunosuppression, reduced incidence of infectious disease on farms and reduced shedding of human pathogens by farm animals, and through reduced antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance.