Farmers And Animal Welfare In Cattle Farming
This research concerning animal welfare was conducted among cattle, dairy and veal farmers in several European countries, stratified by the type of quality assurance practices they engaged in.
All cattle farmers felt it was good farming practice to provide good care for the farmed animals. Some cattle farmers participated in basic, top quality assurance schemes, and described animal welfare to include health, comfortable housing, and low stress. Another group of farmers participated in quality assurance methods that include organic or other specific welfare schemes. These farmers also believed that animal welfare also includes the right to exhibit natural behaviors. Also, these farmers engaged in these practices because of improvement of market position or because they agreed with specific conditions. Those who noted ethical concerns specifically related them to food safety and environmental concerns, as opposed to animal welfare concerns. The farmers in the majority of countries felt that participation in QA programs was necessary based on pressure from buyers. Farmers in Italy were the most unlikely to participate. In general, cattle farmers believe that people want animal-friendly products but are not willing to pay more for them.
Little difference was noted among farmers from different countries with respect to animal welfare, animal welfare legislation or treatment during transport.
Some differences in farmers’ beliefs are attributed to the production systems they are involved in, for example veal farmers have long been faced with animal welfare issues.