Concerns about animal welfare: a cluster analysis of German pig farmers

Annabell Franz (Department for Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Marketing for Food and Agricultural Products, Georg August University Goettingen, Goettingen, Germany)
Ingke Deimel (Department for Agricultural Economics, Christian Albrechts University Kiel, Kiel, Germany)
Achim Spiller (Department for Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Marketing for Food and Agricultural Products, Georg August University Goettingen, Goettingen, Germany)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Publication date: 21 September 2012

Abstract

Purpose

The Federal Government of Germany, as well as the European Commission, are discussing the enhancement of animal welfare requirements. This study aims to explore different groups of conventional German pig farmers with respect to their understanding of animal welfare. Based on the results, a target group is determined that is willing to take part in an animal welfare programme in accordance with the current state of research, i.e. considering the four “Welfare Quality” principles: good housing, good feeding, good health and especially appropriate behaviour.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected from 160 German pig farmers between March and May 2010 using an online questionnaire. Data analysis combines two quantitative methods. To reduce complexity and to identify the animal welfare perceptions of the farmers first an explorative factor analysis was conducted. Subsequently, based on the determined factors, the sample was divided into different groups by means of a cluster analysis.

Findings

Three groups of pig farmers were defined with regard to the establishment of an animal welfare programme according to the current state of research. While a broad acceptance of the principles good housing, good feeding and good health exists among the farmers, the appropriate animal behaviour is only important for a small group of pig farmers. Therefore, the three groups should be addressed by the developers of an animal welfare programme, using different strategies to gain the support of all farmers.

Originality/value

To successfully introduce new animal welfare requirements, farmers are important actors to take into account. This paper is the first analysis of the animal welfare perceptions of conventionally producing German pig farmers and determines different groups for a comprehensive animal welfare husbandry system as currently discussed by scientists and politics.

Keywords

Citation

Franz, A., Deimel, I. and Spiller, A. (2012), "Concerns about animal welfare: a cluster analysis of German pig farmers", British Food Journal, Vol. 114 No. 10, pp. 1445-1462. https://doi.org/10.1108/00070701211263019

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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