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Consumers’ Concerns and Perceptions of Farm Animal Welfare

Animal Production Department, Veterinary Faculty, University of León, Campus de Vegazana, 24071 León, Spain
Medicine, Surgery and Anatomy Veterinary Department, Veterinary Faculty, University of León, Campus de Vegazana, 24071 León, Spain
Production and Health Animal, Public Health Veterinary and Science and Technology of Food Department, Veterinary Faculty, Cardenal Herrera-CEU University, C/Tirant lo Blanc, 7, 46115 Alfara del Patriarca, Valencia, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(3), 385;
Received: 31 January 2020 / Revised: 17 February 2020 / Accepted: 25 February 2020 / Published: 27 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Domestic Animal Behavior and Well-Being)
In the current socioeconomic situation, consumers’ concerns about farm animal welfare can prevent them from buying some products, and this influences the sustainability of intensive systems. Consumers perceive the need to increase the level of welfare in farm animals, despite the fact that their level of knowledge about farming and animal welfare issues is relatively low. Consumers concerns are not equally distributed among the different farm species, nor is there consistency in the willingness to pay to enhance animal welfare. Therefore, farmers, businesses, and members of the food chain need to be informed of the evolution of public perceptions and consumer concerns to make informed decisions that help them improve their sustainability, social responsibility, and public credibility, which will allow them to maintain their social license through social ethical approval.
In this paper, we explore the evolution of consumers’ perceptions and concerns about the effects that intensification of production systems could have on the welfare of farm animals. Despite the differences in definitions of animal welfare that make perceptions about this complex subject extremely variable, there is a growing perception that farm animal welfare should be protected and improved. There is an increasing appreciation of animal welfare parameters over other quality attributes, and animal-friendly products are considered healthier, safer, tastier, more hygienic, authentic, environmentally friendly, and traditional by many consumers. The willingness to pay for the increases in price that higher levels of farm animal welfare could produce could be promoted by means of adequate information about management and housing conditions of the different farming species. Welfare-friendly products that are properly labeled with clear information provided by an internationally accepted, transparent, and traceable monitoring system will increase consumers’ confidence in the food chain participants. Both consumers and citizens have the opportunity to improve the welfare of millions of farmed animals now and in the future, consumers by assuming their responsibility at the buying point, purchasing welfare-friendly products, and citizens by driving legislation to achieve some minimum standard of welfare conditions that could meet animals’ needs. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal welfare; consumer; concerns; farming; perceptions animal welfare; consumer; concerns; farming; perceptions
MDPI and ACS Style

Alonso, M.E.; González-Montaña, J.R.; Lomillos, J.M. Consumers’ Concerns and Perceptions of Farm Animal Welfare. Animals 2020, 10, 385.

AMA Style

Alonso ME, González-Montaña JR, Lomillos JM. Consumers’ Concerns and Perceptions of Farm Animal Welfare. Animals. 2020; 10(3):385.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Alonso, Marta E., José R. González-Montaña, and Juan M. Lomillos. 2020. "Consumers’ Concerns and Perceptions of Farm Animal Welfare" Animals 10, no. 3: 385.

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