Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
RESEARCH ARTICLE

What are they thinking? Consumer attitudes to meat production in Australia

H. J. Bray A C , E. A. Buddle A B and R. A. Ankeny A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Humanities, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia.

B School of Animal and Veterinary Science, The University of Adelaide, Roseworthy, SA 5371, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: heather.bray@adelaide.edu.au

Animal Production Science 57(12) 2345-2352 https://doi.org/10.1071/AN17361
Submitted: 31 May 2017  Accepted: 31 July 2017   Published: 20 November 2017

Abstract

Meat production has come under increasing scrutiny from consumers and citizens who feel that certain practices are unethical and negatively affect farm-animal welfare. Animal welfare can be viewed as both a scientific and social concept, and purchasing products with animal welfare claims can be considered an act of ‘ethical consumption’. The present paper reviews research that examines consumer attitudes to animal welfare and highlights tensions between consumer and citizen attitudes and behaviours, and assumptions that are made within these studies. We present our own research into motivations to purchase free-range eggs as an example of research that attempts to unpack these assumptions, in particular, that such purchases are made out of concern for animal welfare. We present a further example of our own research that attempts to identify how attitudes to meat production are socially constructed. We conclude with recommended strategies to engage the broader community in discussions about animal production, so as to improve industry–community communication about farm-animal welfare in meat-production industries.

Additional keywords: animal production, animal welfare, ethical consumption.


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