SLU news

Animal welfare measures affect the profitability of Swedish milk and beef production

Published: 08 March 2022

Animal welfare measures affect the profitability of Swedish milk and beef production. Secondary and long-term effects of animal welfare strategies and the perceived value of animal welfare must be taken into account.

Society's demands for good animal welfare and the costs this entails at the same time as imported food is produced with less strict animal welfare regulations have led to in-depth discussions in the industry. This is relevant as Sweden in many respects has stricter requirements than other countries.

Good animal welfare can have a value in itself and can provide benefits for animals, farmers and society. Animal welfare is important for animal well-being and it is ensured through animal regulations. But at the same time, animal welfare efforts can reduce the financial returns on farms with cattle, but more research is needed.

Researcher Ulf Emanuelson, SLU

Through policy and regulation, it might be possible to convert functional animal welfare values to monetary terms without losing respect for intrinsic values (for the animal itself). Marketable product attributes or public policies and subsidies can still maintain or even improve profitability, without sacrificing animal welfare. 

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Ulf Emanuelsson, Researcher
Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet
Department for Clinical sciences


Authors: Haseeb Ahmed, Karin Alvåsen, Charlotte Berg, Ulf Emanuelson, Helena Hansson, Jan Hultgren and Helena Röcklinsberg
© The Authors, February 2022, CC BY-NC-ND
The project Good animal welfare was conducted 2018-2021 by Department of Clinical Sciences, Department of Animal Environment and Health and Department of Economics, with funding from Research Council Formas (2017-00611 and 2017-00625).


Ulf Emanuelson, Researcher
Department of Clinical Sciences, SLU, +46(0)18-67 18 26