DENMARK, Copenhagen. In recent years, the focus on animal welfare has sharpened. For many consumers, the legal regulations do not go far enough. Similar consumer groups and opinions were also surveyed in different countries.
In western Europe, national animal welfare legislation since the 1980s in combination with EU legislation has served to ensure minimal requirements for the welfare of farm animals. For many consumers, however, these requirements do not go far enough. A comparative study by Thomas B. Lund, Sigrid Denver, Jonas Nordström, Tove Christensenand Peter Sandøe shows the animal ethics orientations of consumers of pork in Denmark, Germany, and Sweden. Cross-sectional questionnaire data from representative samples of approximately 1600 consumers in each country were collected. A segmentation of pork consumers was carried out.
In all three countries, two subgroups were concerned about farm animal welfare: the first subgroup was driven by animal rights values; the second subgroup by animal protection values, where the main principle was that “it is all right to use animals as long as they are treated well”. Other consumer groups are less concerned about farm animal welfare and display little or no preference for welfare pork.
The research findings offer important insights that may benefit those seeking to analyze the marketability of welfare meat and promote market-driven animal welfare improvements. The study also emphasizes the fact that the heterogeneity of views within populations regarding farm animal welfare issues need to be considered when assessing the market potential of welfare meat. In all three countries, dual demand for welfare pork exists. The findings of this study can be used, among others, to understand the potential for market-driven animal welfare improvements. Future studies should examine potential trajectories of the unconcerned consumer segments and identify possible ways of directing these toward the purchase of welfare meat.