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Animal husbandry and Human-animal relationships Animal Welfare Evaluation and Labelling

A systematic review on whether regenerative agriculture improves animal welfare: A qualitative analysis with a One Welfare perspective

ByApril 25, 2023June 5th, 2023No Comments

Document type: A systematic review of the literature published in Animal Welfare 

Authors: Matías Javier Hargreaves-Méndez, María José Hötzel


Preview: The welfare of animals in food-production systems is a cause of concern to the public. Regenerative agriculture was first used by the Rodale Institute and proposes to regenerate degraded components of ecosystems, aiming to be more than just sustainable. However, despite animal welfare being pushed to be part of the SDG agenda for 2030, there is no clarity on how regenerative agriculture impacts animal welfare. It is challenging to determine regenerative agriculture impacts on animal welfare, since it is not entirely defined. One Welfare could help define entry points for future research by studying animal welfare in connection with human welfare and environmental conservation. We aimed to analyse the extent to which positive animal welfare outcomes characterise regenerative agriculture systems in peer-reviewed articles and whether the narratives of such articles support that regenerative agriculture promotes animal welfare directly or indirectly by improving human welfare and environmental conservation. We searched papers including 'regenerative agriculture' using PRISMA-P, selecting animal welfare, human welfare, environment conservation terms, developed themes, and carried out analysis using Atlas.Ti8 and Causal Loop Diagram. We found that papers mainly linked animal welfare to animal health, human welfare to financial farm status and farmer's self-awareness, and environmental conservation to soil improvement. Causal Loop Diagram indicated that regenerative agriculture had the potential to improve the health and nutrition components of animal welfare by enhancing financial farmers' status/self-awareness (human welfare), and the soil (environmental conservation), reflecting that the processes that affect human welfare and environmental conservation could also affect animal welfare. However, information in papers remains insufficient to determine how regenerative agriculture impacts on animal welfare and research into regenerative agriculture needs to extend its focus on animal welfare and elucidate the regenerative agriculture principles leading to animal welfare.

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