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Animals 2018, 8(10), 171; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8100171

“I Feel Sorry for Them”: Australian Meat Consumers’ Perceptions about Sheep and Beef Cattle Transportation

School of Humanities, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia
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Received: 9 September 2018 / Revised: 26 September 2018 / Accepted: 29 September 2018 / Published: 3 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Farm Animal Transport)
Full-Text   |   PDF [228 KB, uploaded 3 October 2018]

Simple Summary

Understanding what concerns about animal welfare are most prominent among members of the public is critical to improve processes in the meat production industry. Hence, this study uses qualitative data to explore how Australian meat consumers viewed one aspect of the production process, livestock transportation. Participants in this study were concerned about the close packing of animals into trucks and ships, and their experiences during long-distance voyages; their views on this topic may be motivated by genuine concerns about animal welfare, together with anthropomorphic tendencies to project human feelings onto these animal experiences and emotional responses, due to transport being associated with slaughter. Given the importance of transport to the Australia red-meat production industry, we argue that public views should be considered as the sector modifies its practices; in addition, higher levels of transparency and communication about practices associated with good animal welfare are needed.

Abstract

Concern for livestock welfare is significantly increasing in many parts of the world. One area of concern is the transportation of livestock. Using qualitative research methods, this research explores the concerns of Australian meat consumers related to livestock transportation practices, both on land by truck and on sea by ship. Participants were predominantly concerned about animals being “crammed” into trucks and ships, and the long distances over which livestock were transported. Likely contributors to these reactions are the high visibility of truck transport in urban areas, and recent media and political attention to the live-export issue in Australia. We argue that participants’ concerns about transport are arising for a variety of reasons, including anthropomorphic tendencies, genuine concern for the welfare of farm animals, and emotional responses related to the discomfort experienced by meat consumers when they are reminded of the meat-animal connection. Given the importance of transport to the red-meat production industry, these results suggest that the sector may need to reconsider some of their practices and increase transparency and communication about the practices, which they utilise to ensure good animal welfare. View Full-Text
Keywords: livestock; transport; live export; trucks; road transport; consumer perception; Australia livestock; transport; live export; trucks; road transport; consumer perception; Australia
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Buddle, E.A.; Bray, H.J.; Ankeny, R.A. “I Feel Sorry for Them”: Australian Meat Consumers’ Perceptions about Sheep and Beef Cattle Transportation. Animals 2018, 8, 171.

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