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Animal Perceptions in Animal Transport Regulations in the EU and in Finland

Outi Ratamäki


The long-distance transportation of horses to slaughter has been strongly criticized in various political arenas: in Europe there is now a campaign underway to end transportation that takes over 8 hours. This debate is investigated here by means of a case study. The research data consists of regulatory texts used in the EU and in Finland. These texts are analyzed initially according to their contents, that is, a content analysis, designed to find out how and in which connections the animal is conceptualized. This analysis is then amplified by means of critical discourse analysis to discover the kinds of discourse that are most powerful and stabilized, and also to reveal their institutional origins. The results show that there is a strong difference between market-driven and animal-centric interpretations of unnecessary suffering. It is also evident that pressure has been growing in favour of the animal-centric perspective on the part of both animal welfare NGOs and of citizens. Nevertheless, it has been observed that the fields of science that could offer expertise on the issue have been poorly utilized in the process of devising policies.


Horses, long-distance transportation, slaughter, EU regulation, animal welfare, conceptions of animal, Science-Policy Interface, Animal Transport Act, Animal Welfare Act, Animal Turn

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/rela-2014-002-rata

Relations. Beyond Anthropocentrism
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (04/05/2012 n. 211)
Online ISSN 2280-9643 - Print ISSN 2283-3196

Executive Editor: Francesco Allegri
Associate Editor: Matteo Andreozzi 
Review Editors: Sofia Bonicalzi - Eleonora Adorni
Editorial Board:
Ralph R. Acampora - Carol J. Adams - Rod Bennison - Matthew R. Calarco - Piergiorgio Donatelli - William Grove-Fanning - Serenella Iovino - Joel MacClellan - Dario Martinelli - Roberto Marchesini - Alma Massaro - Barbara Muraca - Serpil Oppermann - Simone Pollo - Paola Sobbrio - Kim Stallwood - Sabrina Tonutti - Jessica Ullrich - Federico Zuolo