Proceedings

CS – Alternative Strategic Responses To The Animal Welfare Advocacy: The Case Of PETA, Merino Wool And Practice Of Mulesing

Animal welfare is becoming an issue of increasing concern to consumers, managers and policy makers alike and the strategic responses to these issues by different stakeholders can have important implications for an industry’s short-term performance and long-term viability. The purpose of this paper is to conduct a comparative institutional analysis of the alternative strategies taken by two different national agricultural industries with respect to the same animal welfare issue, mulesing, and the resulting outcomes and implications of these actions.

The practice of mulesing involves the surgical removal of skin folds from around the breech of Merino sheep in order to prevent flystrike. Since the early 2000’s animal rights advocacy groups have increasingly demanded that farmers abandon the use of this practice. Wool industry stakeholders developed different opinions, with groups both supporting and rejecting the call. The Australian and New Zealand Merino Wool Industries adopted two different strategic responses to PETA’s demands. Using a grounded theory approach, we conduct a comparative institutional analysis to examine outcomes and impacts of these two different strategic responses.
This paper contributes to our understanding of differing strategic responses available to industry to diffuse animal welfare confrontations and provides critical insights into different outcomes.

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Author(s): Bowmar, R.K., Gow, H.R.

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Organizations(s): Michigan State University