Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/7479
The precautionary principle is an in inherently environmental principle that has been integrated into the environmental provisions of the EU Treaty. Although it originates from environmental policy the precautionary principle has become firmly established in health protection as an effective tool for risk management when balancing the economic considerations of free trade with potential risk for human and animal health and environmental protection. The European Courts have been instrumental in defining the scope and application of the precautionary principle, the EFTA Court effectively giving legal validation to the principle within the EEA. After an extensive scrutiny of the legal and judicial application of the precautionary principle a set of guidelines were defined as to how the precautionary principle can be invoked in accordance with the case law of the European Courts, to defend trade restrictive measures in the interest of protecting the health and life of humans and animals. The nature of the precautionary principle as a general principle of law is explored by extending it into animal health and welfare protection and examining its application in that field. The implication of recent legal developments in animal welfare policy is also examined. As the health and welfare of animals is an increasing concern for consumers it is predicted that this policy area will be at the centre of several future trade disputes. A reliable definition of the elements of the precautionary principle and a consistent approach to its application could make the precautionary principle an invaluable tool in managing risk and trade related issues in the field of animal health and welfare.