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Article

Health Risk Perception, Consumption Intention, and Willingness to Pay for Pig Products Obtained by Immunocastration

1
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Teramo, 64100 Piano D’Accio, Teramo, Italy
2
Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences, University of Bologna, Via Tolara di Sopra 50, 40064 Ozzano Emilia (Bologna), Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(9), 1548; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091548
Received: 7 August 2020 / Revised: 21 August 2020 / Accepted: 26 August 2020 / Published: 1 September 2020
Public awareness of farm animal welfare has gradually increased. It is well-known that some routine procedures in pig farming are detrimental to animal welfare, including surgical castration, especially without anaesthesia and/or analgesia. Some alternative techniques that offer welfare advantages over surgical castration can be implemented—immunocastration is among them. However, producers fear that consumers may be frightened by this technique and therefore they delay changes in the production system. This work aimed to understand whether Italian consumers perceive a health risk from the immunocastration technique and whether this perception is connected with their willingness to consume and to pay for products derived from immunocastrated animals. The results show that, within the Italian population, there are different levels of perceived health risk and that, as the perception of risk increases, the willingness to consume products obtained from immunocastrated animals decreases (and vice versa). The health risk perception by consumers also changes the willingness to pay for immunocastrated products. Particular attention must be paid to the information transmitted to the consumer if this technology will be widely adopted in pig husbandry.
Surgical castration without the use of anaesthesia and/or analgesia is considered to be detrimental for the welfare of pigs and for this reason its abandonment is advocated. Immunocastration is a more welfare-friendly alternative method; however, stakeholders in the pork sector fear consumer rejection due to perceived safety issues of immunocastrated meat. This work aimed to analyse whether Italian consumers perceive a health risk arising from the use of this technique and, if so, how the perceived risk may influence the purchase choices and the willingness to pay for products derived from immunocastrated animals. To achieve this objective, a survey was carried out on a representative sample of the Italian population. The results highlight that consumers perceive different levels of risk related to the use of immunocastration and that this influences purchasing behaviour and willingness to pay. Moreover, it should be noted that the willingness to pay is also influenced by certain demographic factors, since this is positively associated with younger respondents with lower incomes and less knowledge of farming systems, who live in rural areas and have a greater sensitivity to animal welfare. Given the concerns expressed by consumers, particular attention must be paid to the information transmitted if this technology will be widely implemented in pig husbandry. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal welfare; consumer behaviour; risk perception; willingness to pay; pig; castration; immunocastration; vaccination; alternative methods; consumption animal welfare; consumer behaviour; risk perception; willingness to pay; pig; castration; immunocastration; vaccination; alternative methods; consumption
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MDPI and ACS Style

Di Pasquale, J.; Vecchio, Y.; Martelli, G.; Sardi, L.; Adinolfi, F.; Nannoni, E. Health Risk Perception, Consumption Intention, and Willingness to Pay for Pig Products Obtained by Immunocastration. Animals 2020, 10, 1548. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091548

AMA Style

Di Pasquale J, Vecchio Y, Martelli G, Sardi L, Adinolfi F, Nannoni E. Health Risk Perception, Consumption Intention, and Willingness to Pay for Pig Products Obtained by Immunocastration. Animals. 2020; 10(9):1548. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091548

Chicago/Turabian Style

Di Pasquale, Jorgelina, Yari Vecchio, Giovanna Martelli, Luca Sardi, Felice Adinolfi, and Eleonora Nannoni. 2020. "Health Risk Perception, Consumption Intention, and Willingness to Pay for Pig Products Obtained by Immunocastration" Animals 10, no. 9: 1548. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091548

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