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Animal Ethics and Eating Animals: Consumer Segmentation Based on Domain-Specific Values

University of Goettingen, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Marketing of Food and Agricultural Products, Platz der Göttinger Sieben 5, 37073 Göttingen, Germany
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Sustainability 2019, 11(14), 3907; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11143907
Received: 28 June 2019 / Revised: 15 July 2019 / Accepted: 16 July 2019 / Published: 18 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marketing of Sustainable Food and Drink)
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Abstract

For a sustainable diet, especially with regard to animal welfare, human health, and environmental issues, a significant reduction in the consumption of animal source foods is essential. The most frequently reported motivations for a meat-reduced or meat-free diet are ethical concerns about animal welfare. This study realizes one of the first consumer segmentations in the context of the human–animal relationship based on domain-specific values; animal ethics. Such a consumer segmentation is relatively stable over time and encompasses the issue of the human–animal relationship in its entirety without limiting itself to a specific question. Based on a comprehensive consumer survey in Germany and by means of a three-step cluster analysis, five consumer segments characterized by different animal-ethical value profiles were defined. A subsequent analysis revealed a link between animal ethics and diet. As a key result, relationism as an animal-ethical position seems to play a key role in the choice of a sustainable diet. About a quarter of the population is characterized by a combination of animal welfare-oriented ethical positions with a clear rejection of relationism, i.e., they do not distinguish between farm animals and companion animals. This specific combination of animal-ethical values is associated with a significantly above-average proportion of flexitarians and vegetarians. Thus, the study contributes to a deeper understanding of existing animal-ethical values and their link to the choice of diet. View Full-Text
Keywords: human–animal relationship; animal welfare; animal-ethical intuitions; animal-ethical values; consumer behavior; sustainable diet human–animal relationship; animal welfare; animal-ethical intuitions; animal-ethical values; consumer behavior; sustainable diet
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Hölker, S.; von Meyer-Höfer, M.; Spiller, A. Animal Ethics and Eating Animals: Consumer Segmentation Based on Domain-Specific Values. Sustainability 2019, 11, 3907.

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