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Steven White

This chapter considers the regulatory implications of a developing international emphasis on wild animal welfare, addressing the contribution that could be made by regulatory studies to the task of designing standards and standard-setting processes that will best give effect to a revised norm for wild animal protection. The chapter provides a brief overview of existing international standards and standard-setting processes for the legal protection of wild animals, including international regulatory regimes directly focussed on wild animals, such as CITES, as well as those which may indirectly undermine or advance wild animal welfare, including trade and animal health. The central argument of this chapter is that as animal, wildlife and international lawyers widen their concern to include protection of wild animal welfare as a first-order issue, attention must be paid to the standard-setting processes through which this norm might be given expression. A key strategic decision here is whether attempts to introduce specific welfare protections should be achieved by an enlargement of existing international environmental or other regimes, or instead be achieved through new institutional arrangements. If the path to reform lies in deliberate, policy-driven action by the international community, as much as the incremental development of soft law, existing treaties and the judicial decisions of international bodies, new institutional frameworks may be required.

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Steven White, Jian Gao and Wei Zhang