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Article

Consumer Perceptions of Precision Livestock Farming—A Qualitative Study in Three European Countries

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Marketing and Consumer Behaviour Group, Department of Social Science, Wageningen University and Research, Hollandseweg 1, 6706 KN Wageningen, The Netherlands
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Research Park Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Av. De Can Domènech, 08193 Bellaterra, Spain
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Bioeconomy and Environment, Natural Resource Institute Finland (Luke), Kampusranta 9, 60320 Seinäjoki, Finland
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Maria Caria
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1221; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051221
Received: 4 March 2021 / Revised: 12 April 2021 / Accepted: 22 April 2021 / Published: 23 April 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Animal System and Management)
Precision livestock farming (PLF) will have a profound influence on animal husbandry, farm animal welfare and animal-based production chains. Even though consumers ultimately pay the costs of innovations, their perceptions of PLF technologies have been under-investigated. To explore consumer perceptions of PLF technologies within the pork and dairy value chains, altogether six focus group discussions were conducted in Finland, the Netherlands and Spain. The results indicate that consumers expect that PLF technologies will enhance the health and welfare of farm animals, while generating environmental improvements and increasing transparency in livestock farming. They, however, also expressed the fear that PLF technologies will lead to more industrialisation in livestock farming; that PLF technologies and data are vulnerable to misuse and cyber-crime; and that PLF information may be inadequately communicated to consumers. The findings are used to formulate directions for strengthening the acceptance of PLF technologies among European consumers.
Scholars in the fields of animal science and technology have investigated how precision livestock farming (PLF) can contribute to the quality and efficiency of animal husbandry and to the health and welfare of farm animals. Although the results of such studies provide promising avenues for the development of PLF technologies and their potential for the application in animal husbandry, the perspectives of consumers with regard to PLF technologies have yet to be the subject of much investigation. To address this research gap, the current study explores consumer perceptions of PLF technologies within the pork and dairy value chains. The investigation is based on results from six focus group discussions conducted in three European countries, each reflecting a different market environment: Finland, the Netherlands and Spain. The results indicate that consumers expect the implementation of different PLF technologies to enhance the health and welfare of farm animals, while generating environmental improvements and increasing the transparency of value-chain processes. The analysis further reveals three over-arching consumer concerns: (1) the fear that the integration of PLF technologies will introduce more industrialisation into livestock farming production; (2) the concern that PLF technologies and data are vulnerable to misuse and cyber-crime; and (3) the concern that PLF information is not communicated adequately to allow informed purchase decisions. The research findings provide directions for members of the animal-based food value chain to make informed decisions to improve their sustainability, social responsibility and credibility by endorsing the acceptance of PLF (technologies) amongst European consumers. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal welfare; precision livestock farming; consumers; European cross-country comparison; focus group discussions; value chain; pigs; dairy cows animal welfare; precision livestock farming; consumers; European cross-country comparison; focus group discussions; value chain; pigs; dairy cows
MDPI and ACS Style

Krampe, C.; Serratosa, J.; Niemi, J.K.; Ingenbleek, P.T.M. Consumer Perceptions of Precision Livestock Farming—A Qualitative Study in Three European Countries. Animals 2021, 11, 1221. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051221

AMA Style

Krampe C, Serratosa J, Niemi JK, Ingenbleek PTM. Consumer Perceptions of Precision Livestock Farming—A Qualitative Study in Three European Countries. Animals. 2021; 11(5):1221. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051221

Chicago/Turabian Style

Krampe, Caspar, Jordi Serratosa, Jarkko K. Niemi, and Paul T.M. Ingenbleek. 2021. "Consumer Perceptions of Precision Livestock Farming—A Qualitative Study in Three European Countries" Animals 11, no. 5: 1221. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051221

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