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Research Article

Consumer attitudes towards farm animals and their welfare: a pig production case study

Jacqueline Tawse

University of Chester, Chester, Cheshire CH1 4BJ, UK


28 Sept 2009


19 Apr 2010


17 May 2010






farm animals, farm animal welfare, consumer attitudes, pig production


Recent years have seen an increase in public concern for farm animal welfare in the UK. However, sales of higher welfare meat and other animal-based food products are typically lower than their standard counterparts. The aim of this study was to determine both the prevalence of concern for farm animal welfare in a population, as well as the reasons for higher concern in some consumers as compared with others. In addition, the study focused on consumer attitudes towards pigs (Sus scrofa scrofa), and concern for their welfare, in particular, in order to identify areas which, if addressed, may help to increase consumer concern for pig welfare on farms, as well as increase consumer demand for higher welfare pork products. A questionnaire was designed with this in mind and disseminated to undergraduate students at the University of Chester. Concern for farm animal welfare, concern for the welfare of pigs on farms and reported willingness to pay extra for higher welfare pork products were all found to be influenced by consumer attitudes towards pigs, participant programme of study, awareness of pork production methods and previous exposure to a conventional pig farm. In addition, the results of the study indicate that a high level of ignorance regarding pork production methods is prevalent amongst UK consumers. In order to increase concern for pig welfare on farms, and thereby increase demand for higher welfare pork products, it was suggested that campaigns should aim to make clear the production methods used in conventional pork production systems in the UK.

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