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Research article2017Peer reviewedOpen access

Open Knowledge about Slaughter on the Internet: A Case Study on Controversies

Algers, Anne; Berg, Charlotte


Simple SummaryAnimal products are consumed by a large majority of the global population, yet public knowledge about animal handling and welfare during the slaughter process is limited. An open educational resource about slaughter, called Animal welfare at slaughter and killing has been openly available on the Internet since 2012. The resource includes learning objectives, 650 webpages, 800 illustrations, 150 video clips, self-tests with feedback and a series of take-home messages. The resource is designed to not only be relevant to the primary target group, i.e., the abattoir staff, but also to anyone with an interest in the topic. A study was conducted to evaluate the use and impact of this educational resource with participants from slaughterhouses, universities, authorities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Focus group sessions were video recorded and analysed using an interpretive thematic analysis. Improved knowledge among consumers may lead to more well-founded decisions at purchase of meat and improved awareness among citizens to increase public pressure to improve animal handling at slaughter.Abstract Knowledge about slaughter of animals for human food is often perceived as controversial and therefore not made widely available. An open educational resource on the Internet about the slaughter of animals has created tension at launch but also resolved tension. Aiming to explore how this resource at the boundary between academia and society is perceived, a study was carried out with participants from slaughterhouses, universities, authorities and NGOs. Focus group sessions were video recorded and transcripts were coded using an interpretive thematic analysis. The results show that an open educational resource in addition to contributing to learning and awareness raising can also induce dialogue (and thus resolve tension) about animal welfare and contribute to animal welfare resilience. Our results also indicate that participants had diverse opinions about the influence of multimedia on attitudes towards animal slaughter. The use of additional instruments such as comment fields may lead to more knowledgeable citizens and socially robust knowledge, but has to be carefully weighed against the risk of false or fake data.


animal welfare resilience; focus group; inclusiveness; learning; open educational resource; slaughter

Published in

2017, Volume: 7, number: 12, article number: 101
Publisher: MDPI AG

      Sustainable Development Goals

      SDG2 Zero hunger
      SDG4 Quality education

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Other Veterinary Science
      Animal and Dairy Science

      Publication identifier


      Permanent link to this page (URI)