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Stakeholder, citizen and consumer interests in farm animal welfare

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The assessment and improvement of animal welfare are the tasks and joint responsibility of many stakeholders involved in the agro-food chain. This paper first looks at the supply side of the chain, and presents different stakeholder views on farm animal welfare, discussing the potential for market differentiation, communication and labelling related to farm animal welfare standards. From the demand side, the paper then examines the duality that exists between citizens' attitudes and consumer behaviour in relation to animal welfare and livestock products, and identifies distinct segments of citizens and consumers. Although the importance that citizens claim to attach to animal welfare seems relatively strong, consumers' interest in information about animal welfare is only moderate compared to other product attributes, and the market shares of products with a distinct animal welfare identity remain small. The paper concludes that while there seems to be substantial consensus between supply chain stakeholders, citizens and consumers about what is relevant for achieving an acceptable level of farm animal welfare, the differentiation and satisfaction potential of increased animal welfare per se as a stand-alone product attribute seems limited to particular niche market segments. It argues that improved farm animal welfare is more likely be realised and valued by consumers when it is integrated within a broader concept of quality, such as quality assurance or sustainability schemes


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2009

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