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Peer-Review Record

We Can’t Keep Meating Like This: Attitudes towards Vegetarian and Vegan Diets in the United Kingdom

Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6844; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236844
Reviewer 1: Anonymous
Reviewer 2: Anonymous
Reviewer 3: Anonymous
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6844; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236844
Received: 25 October 2019 / Revised: 26 November 2019 / Accepted: 26 November 2019 / Published: 2 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychology of Sustainability and Sustainable Development)

Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report

In the Background, paragraph 2, line 4, your quote that "99% of farmed animals live their lives on factory farms" is accredited to Jacy Reese, 2019. Sentience Institute. Please be advised that the quote was that "99% of US farmed animals live their lives in factory farms". While the numbers attributed to world production may not be too far off, I suggest that a reference that quotes world production be used instead of the aforementioned reference. On page 10, in reference to Table 6, you stated that the table indicated that older people tended to view some aspects of vegetarianism and veganism more positively than younger people. Perhaps I am missing something from the table, but there are no associated age variables in table 6. Please address. Finally, the research might have been presented a much deeper understanding of who were meat-eaters, versus, vegetarians or vegans, if there were more demographic stratification, e.g. ethnicity, socioeconomic, education, etc. The study is a very relevant one and it could present a much greater impact if these variables were added.

Author Response

Thank you for taking the time to give a thoughtful review of the manuscript. I am grateful for your comments, and believe the manuscript is substantially improved as a result of your input. I have made appropriate edits to the manuscript, and responded to your comments point-by-point in this table:

Comment

Response

In the Background, paragraph 2, line 4, your quote that "99% of farmed animals live their lives on factory farms" is accredited to Jacy Reese, 2019. Sentience Institute. Please be advised that the quote was that "99% of US farmed animals live their lives in factory farms". While the numbers attributed to world production may not be too far off, I suggest that a reference that quotes world production be used instead of the aforementioned reference.

Thank you for flagging this – we have changed this to the global figure and updated the reference.

On page 10, in reference to Table 6, you stated that the table indicated that older people tended to view some aspects of vegetarianism and veganism more positively than younger people. Perhaps I am missing something from the table, but there are no associated age variables in table 6. Please address.

The statistics given are the correlation of the rating of each aspect with age, such that a positive R value indicates that older people viewed that aspect more positively. I have added a line in the paragraph before Table 6 to make this clearer.

Finally, the research might have been presented a much deeper understanding of who were meat-eaters, versus, vegetarians or vegans, if there were more demographic stratification, e.g. ethnicity, socioeconomic, education, etc. The study is a very relevant one and it could present a much greater impact if these variables were added.

Thank you for this suggestion. I have added analysis of additional demographic factors including political views, education levels, and income level (see Table 5). To be clear, the comparisons are not which demographic groups are vegetarian or meat-eaters, since all participants in this study were meat-eaters. Rather, I have compared different demographic groups with respect to their views of vegetarianism and veganism.

Reviewer 2 Report

Introduction

The topic appears to be interesting to me. However, after reading the introduction, I am wondering the contributions of the study to knowledge. I therefore suggest that the author needs to include the knowledge gap and how the paper tends to narrow the gap.

Methodology

The methodology needs to a thorough revision. The data sampling technique needs be improved and the author should light the weaknesses associated with such sampling technique. Another issue is that the methodology has no data analysis section, where the author describes the methods used in analyzing the data set. The author should provide justification for the choice of methods used in the analysis. Since the author used different items to measure some constructs, it is important to test the reliability and validity of those items in the measurement of those constructs. 

Results

Please place the asterisks right behind the t-values instead of the "Aspects" in Tables 4, 5, & 6. 

 

Author Response

Thank you for taking the time to give a thoughtful review of the manuscript. I am grateful for your comments, and believe the manuscript is substantially improved as a result of your input. I have made appropriate edits to the manuscript, and responded to your comments point-by-point in this table:

Comment

Response

Introduction

The topic appears to be interesting to me. However, after reading the introduction, I am wondering the contributions of the study to knowledge. I therefore suggest that the author needs to include the knowledge gap and how the paper tends to narrow the gap.

Thank you for this suggestion. I have added more material demonstrating how the study addresses gaps in current knowledge at the end of the introduction.

Methodology

The methodology needs to a thorough revision. The data sampling technique needs be improved and the author should light the weaknesses associated with such sampling technique.

Recruiting an online sample through Prolific is very common in survey research. I have given some examples of this in the text, and acknowledged some potential limitations of this sampling technique.

Another issue is that the methodology has no data analysis section, where the author describes the methods used in analyzing the data set. The author should provide justification for the choice of methods used in the analysis.

Thank you for flagging this. I have added a data analysis section with details of data cleaning and justification of statistical tests used. In recognition of comments by Reviewer 3, I have also changed some of the statistical tests used and discussed that here.

Since the author used different items to measure some constructs, it is important to test the reliability and validity of those items in the measurement of those constructs.

Thank you for flagging this. This was just an attempt to relate the measures used to constructs previously identified in the literature – in fact, each measure was analysed individually so there is no reliability testing required. I have deleted this table to avoid confusion.

Results

Please place the asterisks right behind the t-values instead of the "Aspects" in Tables 4, 5, & 6.

I have moved the asterisks indicating Bonferroni-corrected significance to the statistic column as requested.

Reviewer 3 Report

The manuscript entitled “We can’t keep meating like this: Attitudes towards vegetarian and vegan diets in the United Kingdom” presents an interesting issue, however it requires some amendments.

Abstract:

Scientific writing has traditionally been third person, passive voice – author should avoid first person.  

Introduction:

In chapter 1.1. entitled “The Case Against Animal Products” author should add more information about environmental footprint. Page 1 (there are no numbered lines in this manuscript – it is difficult to indicated the necessary changes) – “… where they suffer tremendously [9].” The presented opinion should be more scientific and less emotional. Author should avoid nonformal language.  Page 2 – For concerns associated with excessive animal product consumption , author could also add the information about the fact, that The World Health Organization has classified processed meats – including ham, salami, bacon and frankfurters – as a Group 1 carcinogen (with appropriate reference). Table 2 does not look good – Maybe putting this information into text would be a solution. Or author could add some more information to this table – e.g. percentage of respondents for which this is an important (or most important) aspect. It is misleading that the title of table 2 has its own reference. It should be “Mullee et al. [44] found that,” instead of “Mullee et al. found that,” please correct it here and everywhere else. Page 4 – “This makes sense, since…” – author should avoid the informal language in scientific text.

Materials and methods:

“I recruited 1,000 UK meat-eaters aged 18 and over” - author should avoid first person. Please add the number of ethical approval from the University of Bath’s Department of Psychology Ethics Committee. Table 3 – some typos (lack of space before dash) Paragraph with methods of statistical analysis is needed. Was the normality of distribution tested? The information about it should be added and author should be consequent. If data have normal distribution, they should be treated as such, if not, nonparametric tests should be applied. Please specify it.

Results:

“Data were analysed using SPSS version 25.” This sentence belongs to Materials and methods. The caption of figures should be below the figures. Figure 1 - this data should be presented in table and the rating should correspond the scale presented in table 3. Figure 4 - this data should be presented in table and SD should be presented.

Minor comment:

There are some problems with formatting (e.g. size of font – chapter 2.2., there are no numbered lines in this manuscript, etc.)

Author Response

Thank you for taking the time to give a thoughtful review of the manuscript. I am grateful for your comments, and believe the manuscript is substantially improved as a result of your input. I have made appropriate edits to the manuscript, and responded to your comments point-by-point in this table:

Comment

Response

Abstract:

Scientific writing has traditionally been third person, passive voice – author should avoid first person. 

Thank you for flagging this. I have removed the first person, here and elsewhere throughout the manuscript.

Introduction:

In chapter 1.1. entitled “The Case Against Animal Products” author should add more information about environmental footprint.

I have added additional information about the environmental footprint of animal agriculture

Page 1 (there are no numbered lines in this manuscript – it is difficult to indicated the necessary changes) – “… where they suffer tremendously [9].” The presented opinion should be more scientific and less emotional. Author should avoid nonformal language. 

I have changed this phrase to an empirical description of common conditions for animals on factory farms.

 

Also, I have added line numbers.

Page 2 – For concerns associated with excessive animal product consumption , author could also add the information about the fact, that The World Health Organization has classified processed meats – including ham, salami, bacon and frankfurters – as a Group 1 carcinogen (with appropriate reference).

Thank you for flagging this, I have added a reference to this.

Table 2 does not look good – Maybe putting this information into text would be a solution. Or author could add some more information to this table – e.g. percentage of respondents for which this is an important (or most important) aspect. It is misleading that the title of table 2 has its own reference.

I agree that this table does not add much over the text in this section. I have removed this table, and summarised the information in the text instead, as suggested.

It should be “Mullee et al. [44] found that,” instead of “Mullee et al. found that,” please correct it here and everywhere else.

Thank you for flagging this. I have changed this here and throughout the manuscript.

Page 4 – “This makes sense, since…” – author should avoid the informal language in scientific text.

I have changed the wording of this phrase.

Materials and methods:

“I recruited 1,000 UK meat-eaters aged 18 and over” - author should avoid first person.

I have changed this here and elsewhere.

Please add the number of ethical approval from the University of Bath’s Department of Psychology Ethics Committee.

I have added this information.

Table 3 – some typos (lack of space before dash)

In the version I am looking at and resubmitting, there are spaces before the dashes in Table 3.

Paragraph with methods of statistical analysis is needed. Was the normality of distribution tested? The information about it should be added and author should be consequent. If data have normal distribution, they should be treated as such, if not, nonparametric tests should be applied. Please specify it.

Thank you for flagging this. Tests for normality indicated that the data was not normally distributed. On that basis, I have changed the analysis to use non-parametric tests, as suggested. Details of these can be found in Section 2.3.

Results:

“Data were analysed using SPSS version 25.” This sentence belongs to Materials and methods.

I have moved this to a new section in the methods, as suggested by other reviewers.

The caption of figures should be below the figures.

Thank you for flagging this, I have moved Figure captions below the figures.

Figure 1 - this data should be presented in table and the rating should correspond the scale presented in table 3.

The data is presented in the new Table 3 with mean values and SDs given. I have deleted the old Table 3, since the intention was not to form composite measures, just to compare the measures used to relevant constructs identified in the literature.

Figure 4 - this data should be presented in table and SD should be presented.

I agree that this data is clearer in a table. Therefore I have given this data in the new Table 2, and altered the corresponding text.

Minor comment:

There are some problems with formatting (e.g. size of font – chapter 2.2., there are no numbered lines in this manuscript, etc.)

Thank you for flagging this. I have corrected these in this manuscript.

Round 2

Reviewer 2 Report

The authors have addressed all my concerns and the paper has improved significantly. It can be accepted for publication.

 

 

Author Response

Thank you again for your comments - your input has greatly improved the manuscript.

Reviewer 3 Report

Author has been made a great effort to improve the manuscript, however some minor corrections and comments are required.

In data analysis section, author should present the level of significance (e.g., The level of significance of p ≤ 0.05 was chosen) Lines 280-282 – it should be “are significant at α= 0.05”or “are significant at p≤ 0.05” instead of “significant at p = 0.05” There are some problems with formatting (e.g., lines 74-75; font size in references)

 

Author Response

Thank you for your further comments and corrections. 

I have added a section explaining the significance levels in Section 2.3 - Methods/Data Analysis.

I have also fixed the formatting error around Line 75 and changed the font size in the references section.

Lines 280-282 now read 'p = 0.005' rather than p ≤ '0.05' as suggested.

Thank you again for your input, it has helped greatly improve the manuscript.

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