In this section, we look at how the position and rights of animals are taken into account in legislation and regulatory policy. As animal species and individual animals are under human control, they cannot directly participate in the creation of laws that affect them. However, social and scientific debate has increasingly emphasised the need to respect animal welfare and rights. Consequently, animals and their welfare are affected by scientific research, economic interests, and the activities of civil society. Yet they area particularly silent group; therefore, it is important to carefully examine their position in the development of legislative drafting and decision-making. In this work package, we study how animals’ interests and rights are included in legislation and decision-making, and whose role it is to define them.

The first focus for the work package is the ongoing reform of the Animal Welfare Act. In the future, we will use various case studies to examine the concrete impacts of legislation and other regulations on animals. In addition, we will look at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on animal legislation and its implementation.

Based on these analyses, we aim to develop research-based solutions and policy recommendations on how animal welfare and rights can be better incorporated into animal regulation.

This work package is led by Professor Anna Valros and Docent Laura Hänninen from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Helsinki. The research group also includes Tomi Lehtimäki, a project researcher from the same faculty. See Research Group for more detailed contact information.