Next Article in Journal
Use of a Collar-Mounted Triaxial Accelerometer to Predict Speed and Gait in Dogs
Previous Article in Journal
Identifying Habitat Elements from Bird Images Using Deep Convolutional Neural Networks
Article

Employee Management and Animal Care: A Comparative Ethnography of Two Large-Scale Dairy Farms in China

1
Animal Welfare Program, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, University of British Columbia, 2357 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
2
Department of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Clive Julian Christie Phillips
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1260; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051260
Received: 31 December 2020 / Revised: 25 February 2021 / Accepted: 16 April 2021 / Published: 27 April 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
China’s dairy industry is growing and restructuring to favor large-scale dairy farms. The lead author lived on two large-scale dairy farms in China and conducted immersive fieldwork where she participated in daily cattle care alongside the workers, conducted interviews with workers, and collected relevant documents. We found that employee management critically shaped animal care on both farms. Workers reported improvements to animal care on both farms, attributing these to improved employee management practices. Our findings suggest that cattle care may be improved through employee management practices such as fostering a positive organization culture, ensuring better working conditions, and incentivizing farm workers.
Farm management can directly and indirectly affect animal care. We explored how farm management affected animal care on two large dairy farms in China (anonymized as Farm A and Farm B). We used a mini-ethnographic case study design whereby the first author lived for 38 days on Farm A and 23 days on Farm B. She conducted participant observation and ethnographic interviews with farm staff positions within five departments in Farm A and six departments in Farm B. In addition, she conducted 13 semi-structured interviews (seven on Farm A; six on Farm B). We used template analysis to generate key themes. On both farms, workers believed that animal care practices had improved over time, due to three key employee management factors: 1) organizational culture, 2) competency of worker and management, and 3) an effective incentive system. Our results suggest that animal care may be improved in this context by: 1) promoting a culture in which workers have ‘grit’ and are eager to learn, 2) ensuring basic worker wellbeing, and 3) using animal care outcomes as performance indicators linked to pay. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal welfare; farm culture; human resource; behavior change; qualitative methods animal welfare; farm culture; human resource; behavior change; qualitative methods
MDPI and ACS Style

Chen, M.; von Keyserlingk, M.A.G.; Magliocco, S.; Weary, D.M. Employee Management and Animal Care: A Comparative Ethnography of Two Large-Scale Dairy Farms in China. Animals 2021, 11, 1260. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051260

AMA Style

Chen M, von Keyserlingk MAG, Magliocco S, Weary DM. Employee Management and Animal Care: A Comparative Ethnography of Two Large-Scale Dairy Farms in China. Animals. 2021; 11(5):1260. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051260

Chicago/Turabian Style

Chen, Maria, Marina A.G. von Keyserlingk, Sabina Magliocco, and Daniel M. Weary. 2021. "Employee Management and Animal Care: A Comparative Ethnography of Two Large-Scale Dairy Farms in China" Animals 11, no. 5: 1260. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051260

Find Other Styles
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop