Livestock production today faces the difficult task of effectively meeting emerging consumer concerns while remaining competitive in major target markets. Meeting consumer concerns about product safety and animal welfare are identified as key attention points for future livestock production. The relevance of these issues pertains to production efficiency and economic benefits and to re-establishing meat sector image and consumer trust. The current paper analyses consumer concerns about the ethical issues of meat safety and animal welfare from current livestock production. The research methodology is based on literature review, secondary data sources, and primary research through focus group discussions and a survey of 320 meat consumers in Belgium. Objectives were to assess importance attached by consumers to product safety and animal welfare as ethical issues in commercial livestock production, and to evaluate consumer perception of these issues for beef, pigmeat, and poultry. Significant differences in issue importance and perception are identified among consumer groups based on socio-demographic and behavioural characteristics. From the analysis, meat safety emerges as an absolute but minimum requirement for future success of livestock and meat production. Additionally, animal welfare can be expected to become a critical theme especially for pigmeat and poultry acceptance.
|Publication Title||Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics|
|Author Address||Ghent University, Department Agricultural Economics, Coupure Links 653, B-9000 Gent, Belgium.|
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