Stakeholders in the livestock industry are in a position to make critical choices that directly impact on animal welfare during slaughter and transport. Understanding the attitudes of stakeholders in livestock-importing countries, including factors that motivate the stakeholders to improve animal welfare, can lead to improved trade relations with exporting developed countries and improved animal welfare initiatives in the importing countries. Improving stakeholder attitudes to livestock welfare may help to facilitate the better welfare that is increasingly demanded by the public for livestock. Knowledge of the existing attitudes towards the welfare of livestock during transport and slaughter provides a starting point that may help to target efforts. This study aimed to investigate the animal welfare attitudes of livestock stakeholders (farmers, team leaders, veterinarians, business owners, business managers, and those working directly with animals) in selected countries in E and SE Asia (China, Thailand, Viet Nam, and Malaysia). The factors that motivated them to improve animal welfare (in particular their religion, knowledge levels, monetary gain, the availability of tools and resources, more pressing community issues, and the approval of their supervisor and peers) were assessed for their relationships to stakeholder role and ranked according to their importance. Stakeholder roles influenced attitudes to animal welfare during livestock transport and slaughter. Farmers were more motivated by their peers compared to other stakeholders. Business owners reported higher levels of motivation from monetary gain, while business managers were mainly motivated by what was prescribed by the company for which they worked. Veterinarians reported the highest levels of perceived approval for improving animal welfare, and all stakeholder groups were least likely to be encouraged to change by a ‘western’ international organization. This study demonstrates the differences in attitudes of the major livestock stakeholders towards their animals’ welfare during transport and slaughter, which advocacy organisations can use to tailor strategies more effectively to improve animal welfare. The results suggest that animal welfare initiatives are more likely to engage their target audience when tailored to specific stakeholder groups.
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