The British Food Journal will publish three articles in its next volume (Volume 109, Number 11) on the attitudes of Dutch, Italian and French pig farmers to animal welfare.
The papers will focus on the main characteristics of animal welfare in each country and will provide illustrations of good practice.
Dutch pig farmers
62 Dutch pig farmers, who are participating in quality assurance schemes, were interviewed about animal welfare, legislation, quality assurance schemes and animal-friendly production.
Two groups and trends were identified: farmers operating in price- and production-efficient markets define animal welfare in terms of animal health and zoo-technical performance. Farmers operating in a ‘value-market’ emphasising animal welfare and care for the environment, tend to define animal welfare as given the animals the room to express themselves.
The article provides a good insight into the willingness of Dutch pig farmers to convert to animal-friendly production.
Italian pig farmers
Italian pig farmers were questioned along the same lines as the Dutch farmers. However, the study is limited by the relatively small amount of people interviewed. The value lies in that it is the first time that pig farmers in Italy have expressed their opinion on animal welfare in light of existing production schemes and legislation.
French pig farmers
60 French pig farmers were interviewed for the purpose of this study.
The results showed that pig farmers in stringent quality assurance schemes related animal welfare to providing natural living conditions for the animals.
For farmers who do not participate in schemes, animal welfare means having a healthy livestock with a balanced diet and good housing.
The study gives a good overview of attitudes towards public regulations and private schemes for animal welfare.