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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

The nature of fear among farmers working with animal production

Ceccato, Vania; Lundqvist, Peter; Abraham, Jonatan; Göransson, Eva; Alwall Svennefelt, Catharina


In this article, we investigate the nature of fear among farmers working with animal production with particular focus on the impact of harassment and crimes linked to animal rights activism. The study is based on responses from 3815 animal farmers to a national survey in 2020 in Sweden. Cross-table analysis and logistic regression models underlie the methodology of the study. Findings show that three out of ten of those farmers feel afraid of being victimized by the actions of animal rights activists; the proportion is two-thirds among farmers with previous experience of victimization, and fear of victimization varies across Sweden and by type of activity. Perceived lack of support from the police, exacerbated by geographical isolation, are common determinants of farmers’ declared fear, particularly those whose families live on the farms and who have employees. While understanding the factors that affect farmers’ safety perceptions is important, the article ends by calling for further research on the ways by which fear of animal activism impacts farmers’ personal lives, those of their family and employees, and not least their livelihood.


Safety perceptions; Animal rights activism; Animal farmers; Logistic regression; GIS

Published in

International criminology
2021, Volume: 1, pages: 193–207