animal protection, ethics, animal law, regulations, legal oversight, private vs. public, agricultural practices, dairy industry

Document Type



It is widely assumed that laws governing dairy productioninclude substantial protection of animals’ interests—that in some way the state is regulating the treatment of farmed animals and protecting them against the worst excesses of their owners’ selfinterest. In fact, across jurisdictions in Canada and the United States, the standards governing farmed animal protection are not established by elected lawmakers or appointed regulators, but are instead primarily defined by private, interested parties, including producers themselves. As scholars of animal law have noted, this has contributed to weak and ineffectual legal protection of the interests of farmed animals. The present study will focus on a distinct, though related, difficulty arising from the de facto or de jure delegation of standard-setting authority to animal industries. Not only does this delegation result in less stringent standards, but it also works to erode crucial public law values, such as transparency, accountability and impartiality.