Public attitudes predict community behaviours relevant to the pork industryG. J. Coleman A D , V. Rohlf A , S. R. Toukhsati B and D. Blache C
A Animal Welfare Science Centre, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Vic. 3011, Australia.
B Department of Cardiology, Austin Health, Heidelberg, Vic. 3084, Australia.
C School of Animal Biology, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA 6009, Australia.
D Corresponding author. Email: Grahame.Coleman@unimelb.edu.au
Animal Production Science - https://doi.org/10.1071/AN16776
Submitted: 28 November 2016 Accepted: 1 June 2017 Published online: 28 July 2017
Concerns about livestock animal welfare are well documented worldwide. Public attitudes are often studied as indicators of risk for the livestock industries, but are less often studied in relation to behaviours that may affect the livestock industries. The present paper examines the relationships between public attitudes, opinion leadership and self-reported pork consumption and community behaviours that may have a negative impact on livestock industries by promulgating views that farming engages in unacceptable practices. To the extent that these attitudes and behaviours are based on a lack of knowledge or a lack of understanding about the actual relationship between current practices and animal welfare and farm productivity, care needs to be exercised to determine what industry practice change should occur or what should be done to inform the public. The results showed that in regard to consumption, being male and holding positive attitudes towards eating meat and livestock welfare explained 11% of the variance in pork consumption. Notably, however, information seeking and trust in information, attitudes related to animal welfare and the livestock industries, and membership to an animal-welfare group, accounted for 44% of the variance in community behaviours that express dissatisfaction with the livestock industries. Opinion leaders, that is, people in the community who indicate that they are used by others as a source of information about livestock animal welfare, tended to eat less pork and engaged in many more community behaviours, such as calling talkback radio or writing to politicians. Together, these results suggest that more needs to be done to identify the population segment of opinion leaders and to engage them in dialogue about pork production.
Additional keywords: community attitudes, livestock, opinion leader.
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