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Factors that Influence Farmers’ Views on Farm Animal Welfare: A Semi-Systematic Review and Thematic Analysis

School of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary Sciences Centre, University College Dublin, Belfield, D04 W6F6 Dublin 4, Ireland
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Animals 2020, 10(9), 1524; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091524
Received: 27 July 2020 / Revised: 24 August 2020 / Accepted: 25 August 2020 / Published: 28 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
Farm animal welfare is a complex issue linking several academic disciplines, including animal science, veterinary, psychology, sociology, and agricultural economics. Farmers are one of the key contributors for the successful implementation of improved animal welfare standards. This review presents findings from the last 30 years into the factors that influence farmers’ views on farm animal welfare. Using findings from single and multidisciplinary studies, this review highlights the factors that influence the farmers’ views of animal welfare. Overall this literature review aimed to ask two main questions “what do farmers think (farmer’s general view) about farm animal welfare?” and “what are the factors that influence their thinking?”. This review demonstrates that a deeper understanding of how farmers view and value animal welfare can lead to more effective development of collaborative knowledge transfer, policies, and management initiatives directed at maintaining healthy animals. This work may serve as a checklist to implement further studies on stakeholder perspectives on animal welfare. It also provides recommendations on technical approaches and strategies to improve best practice on farm animal welfare.
Farm animal welfare (FAW) is a growing societal concern, reflected by over 30 years of research to inform policy and practice. Despite the wealth of evidence to improve FAW, implementation of good practice continues to be an issue. The role of the stakeholder, particularly farmers, is pivotal to FAW improvement. This semi-systematic review synthesizes the evidence published in the last 30 years, worldwide, to address two main questions “what do farmers think (farmer’s general view) about farm animal welfare?” and “what are the factors that influence their thinking?”. A thematic analysis was conducted to identify factors that influenced the implementation of FAW innovation. The main outcomes extracted from 96 peer-reviewed publications on a range of livestock species identified 11 internal factors including farmer knowledge, empathy, personality, values, and human-animal bond; 15 external factors including economic advantages, communication, time and labor influenced the perception of FAW. Farmers’ knowledge and cost implications of FAW were the most frequently reported factors. The review further highlights the need for promoting interdisciplinary collaboration and stakeholder participation. This study suggests strategies to improve FAW, including tools to support behavioral changes amongst farmers. View Full-Text
Keywords: farm animal welfare; farmers; perceptions; attitudes; empathy; human animal relationship; policy; stakeholders; communication; knowledge transfer farm animal welfare; farmers; perceptions; attitudes; empathy; human animal relationship; policy; stakeholders; communication; knowledge transfer
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MDPI and ACS Style

Balzani, A.; Hanlon, A. Factors that Influence Farmers’ Views on Farm Animal Welfare: A Semi-Systematic Review and Thematic Analysis. Animals 2020, 10, 1524. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091524

AMA Style

Balzani A, Hanlon A. Factors that Influence Farmers’ Views on Farm Animal Welfare: A Semi-Systematic Review and Thematic Analysis. Animals. 2020; 10(9):1524. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091524

Chicago/Turabian Style

Balzani, Agnese, and Alison Hanlon. 2020. "Factors that Influence Farmers’ Views on Farm Animal Welfare: A Semi-Systematic Review and Thematic Analysis" Animals 10, no. 9: 1524. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091524

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