How animal welfare affects shopping in Europe
The results of a Welfare QualityÂ® study, funded by the
EU, show that across Europe, a large majority of consumers find farm animal
This ranged from 69% of respondents in the Netherlands, 73% in the UK, 75%
in France to 83% in Hungary and Sweden. Norway and Italy scored the highest,
with 84% and 87% respectively.
There is still concern among consumers, first of all related to conditions
in poultry production, but also to conditions of pigs. Compared to these, people
tend to see the treatment of dairy cows as least worrisome. People are concerned
about conditions on the farm; transportation and slaughtering are also met with
Quite a few consumers do think about such issues when shopping for eggs,
beef or milk. These proportions are generally much higher than the market shares
for special animal-friendly products. This indicates a wider consumer definition
of food animal welfare than product labels offer.
Italian and French respondents are quite worried about welfare conditions
in their own country; concerns are often associated with food purchasing, and
trust in actors in the food sector is relatively low. Hungarians do worry about
the issue and they are also more pessimistic about current trends, but animal
welfare is of less relevance when shopping. The Dutch display lower general
interest, but many worry. Many do think of welfare conditions when shopping for
eggs and beef. Swedes and the Norwegians are trusting and not worried.
Particularly in Norway, animal welfare is rarely associated with the consumer
When asked about changes over the last ten years, there is considerable
optimism in most countries. A majority of consumers thinks that conditions for
farm animals have improved, while less than one in five think that the situation
has become worse.
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