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Consumer and civil society feedback

Herlin, Anders Henrik; Gunnarsson, Stefan


This Consumer and Civil Society Feedback Report is a summary of previous research in the area and a survey of stakeholder groups to be available as at 30 th November 2016. To this end, a series of stakeholders related to the dairy value chain were consulted in order to acquire key market information. The contractual date of delivery was 31/08/2016 but permission was granted from the project officer to submit by 30/11/2011. The reason for this was that the work required contacts to a number stakeholders and that turned out to be very difficult during the European holiday season in July and August. In order to get a detailed understanding of the willingness to set up marketing initiatives related to animal welfare (AW) measures based on precision livestock farming (PLF) systems, the first aim of this study was to survey the current literature. In order to obtain empirical information of the stakeholder views on PLF in the food chain in different parts of Europe, an expert survey was conducted with key actors such as consumer organisations, retailers and third party certification organisations. The area of consumers’/citizens’ attitude to modern animal production has been studied fairly well regarding some aspects, e.g. the attitudes in issues related to organic farming, as well as animal welfare (incl. production diseases), have been surveyed in several countries in Europe, North America and Oceania. In studies that have surveyed consumers in more than one country at the same time, and through meta-studies of previous research, geographical, cultural and socio-demographic differences have been analysed. Factors underlying the attitudes and preferences of the consumers/citizens have been analysed in order to increase understanding. Education and experiences may influence some attitudes of private consumers, whereas other AW concerns are likely to persist, especially when farm animal practices conflict with deeply held values around animal care in individual citizens. Nevertheless, few studies

have focused on specific features of PLF technology, even if studies of consumer attitude to automatic milking systems have been performed. Although there were a limited number of responses in the survey, the aim was met to include at least ten different consumer and civil society representatives from several parts of Europe. It was found that there were doubts among responders if there was enough competence to have opinions on PLF in dairy production. Animal welfare was considered to be very important in dairy farming and in general there was a positive view on the potential of PLF to be an important tool in enhancing animal welfare. However, there were also opinions that there would be less connection between animals and humans in dairy farming. Additionally, other practices in dairy farming are considered to be more important for the consumers, e.g. access to grazing, than the use of precision livestock technologies. This report may, in the future, support the development of farm certification programs that will achieve improved PLF systems for monitoring of dairy production


dairy farming, precision livestock farming, consumer attitudes

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