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Chinese Public Attitudes towards, and Knowledge of, Animal Welfare

College of Animal Science, Inner Mongolia Agricultural University, 306 Zhaowuda Road, Inner Mongolia, Hohhot 010018, China
Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Kreutzwaldi 1, 51014 Tartu, Estonia
School of Veterinary Science, University of Queensland, Gatton, QLD 4343, Australia
Curtin University Sustainability Policy (CUSP) Institute, Curtin University, Perth, WA 6845, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
First co-authors: Francesca Carnovale and Xiao Jin.
Academic Editor: Marina Von Keyserlingk
Animals 2021, 11(3), 855;
Received: 29 December 2020 / Revised: 11 February 2021 / Accepted: 14 March 2021 / Published: 17 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
Most of our current understanding of attitudes to animals comes from studies conducted in Western countries. China, however, is the world’s biggest producer of farm animals for consumption and has one of the worlds’ largest populations of humans. We conducted a survey of public opinion, in order to better understand Chinese people’s knowledge of animal welfare and their attitudes towards measures to adopt to improve it. Most respondents were unaware of the meaning of animal welfare, but it appears that awareness has increased in recent years. The welfare of wild animals was considered particularly important. The effects of good welfare on the taste and safety of food were highlighted and respondents were willing to pay more for food from animals raised in good welfare conditions.
Food-producing animals make up the majority of animals that humans manage globally, and China has been a major producer and exporter of animal products since the late 1990s. The opinions of the population in China regarding animal welfare are not as well understood as those in Europe. In China, animal welfare as a societal concern is still at an early stage of development. This survey of Chinese attitudes aimed to understand consumer knowledge of and behaviour towards animal welfare, and to determine whether harnessing consumer interests may be a potential future influence on the development of high-welfare agricultural production. Most participants were not aware of the meaning of animal welfare, but the number of those that were aware was higher than reported previously. The welfare of wild animals was rated particularly important compared to other animals. The links between welfare and the taste and/or safety of food were considered to be important, and Chinese consumers reported a willingness to pay more for food from animals produced in good welfare conditions, although the quality of the food was considered more important than the animal suffering. A large majority of the respondents reported that there should be legislation protecting animals and certification of welfare on farms, that animals on farms should be provided with enjoyable experiences and that transportation times should be minimised. Furthermore, most respondents reported that animals should be stunned before slaughter. We conclude that animal welfare is of importance to the Chinese consumer, in particular because of its connection to food quality. View Full-Text
Keywords: animals; animal welfare; China; attitudes; knowledge; livestock; management; Europe animals; animal welfare; China; attitudes; knowledge; livestock; management; Europe
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MDPI and ACS Style

Carnovale, F.; Jin, X.; Arney, D.; Descovich, K.; Guo, W.; Shi, B.; Phillips, C.J.C. Chinese Public Attitudes towards, and Knowledge of, Animal Welfare. Animals 2021, 11, 855.

AMA Style

Carnovale F, Jin X, Arney D, Descovich K, Guo W, Shi B, Phillips CJC. Chinese Public Attitudes towards, and Knowledge of, Animal Welfare. Animals. 2021; 11(3):855.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Carnovale, Francesca, Xiao Jin, David Arney, Kris Descovich, Wenliang Guo, Binlin Shi, and Clive J.C. Phillips. 2021. "Chinese Public Attitudes towards, and Knowledge of, Animal Welfare" Animals 11, no. 3: 855.

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