Current Research Projects

Agricultural policy, a policy field traditionally characterised by homogeneity, has been undergoing major changes, partly due to the integration of sustainability aspects. Animal welfare policy - this project assumes - is a new policy field that is differentiating itself as a result of these processes of change. Its genesis, development dynamics and determinants have so far been largely ignored in policy analysis. Despite its increasing political and societal relevance, there is a lack of systematic political science analysis of the policy field of animal welfare and of explanatory approaches for the development and the dynamics of animal welfare policies. This is all the more surprising as agricultural policy is one of the policy fields with the greatest degree of state intervention. The project aims at the systematic development of the policy field of animal welfare in international comparison in order to close this research gap. Theoretically, the comparison of the development of animal welfare policy in several European countries aims to develop hypotheses regarding the determinants as well as the variance and design of animal welfare policy. The systematic exploration focuses on problems and actors and their policy preferences (by means of media and discourse analyses and the analysis of party positions) as well as institutions and instruments (by means of the analysis of institutional responsibilities and the categorisation of policy instruments). Using theories from comparative policy analysis, a central goal is to identify explanatory variables for understanding differences and similarities between countries. Based on four country studies, the development of the policy field of animal welfare and the different characteristics of animal welfare policies are examined. The case studies will be conducted in cooperation with local universities. Based on the results of the four country studies, typologies will be developed which form the basis for the transfer to the European level. One of the questions posed here relates to a possible convergence of policies in the policy field of animal welfare. Animal welfare policy thus also represents a playing field for testing hypotheses regarding the emergence and development of policy fields in international comparison. By making the project results available in the form of an open access database, a central goal is to create a sound basis for further research in this field. The systematic empirical development of the policy field of animal welfare, which is the aim of this research project, is thus equally relevant from a theoretical political science perspective as well as from a practical political and social perspective.

Project data

Funding code

Determinants and international variance in animal welfare policymaking (funded by DFG 2021-2024, reference number 449682494)


1/2021 - 10/2025

Cooperation partner

University of Copenhagen


Printemps Université Versailles-Saint-Quentin-Paris-Saclay/CNRS


Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona