In this research, we develop a reporting framework based on an ethical account of the Australian live sheep export (LSE) industry’s current operations. We demonstrate that LSE operates within a legitimacy vacuum constituted by a repeated cycle of events that we characterize as scandal-response-obduracy with a constant factor being animal cruelty on an industrial scale. The lack of legitimacy is facilitated by an obdurate regulatory context, an absence of consumer awareness of industry practices, jurisdictional impediments to enforcement of animal cruelty laws and foundational epistemic vices upon which the industry calculates an unethical cost benefit analysis of current practice. While legitimacy theory would expect demise of the LSE industry, its prolonged continuation is more than a curiosity. It presents an opportunity to understand how focus on vice epistemics and reporting of animal welfare may contribute to emancipatory change in the form of improved animal welfare in agricultural industries. Link to the article
CHRISTENSEN, M. and LAMBERTON, G. (2021). Accounting for Animal Welfare: Addressing Epistemic Vices During Live Sheep Export Voyages. Journal of Business Ethics, In press.