Consumer Concerns about Animal Welfare and the Impact on Food Choice




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3.1Obligation towards animals



Most people in Germany (74% in 1994) regard animals as sentient beings and therefore verbally support appropriate husbandry7 (first statement in Tab. 2.1(a)). Animals are not solely seen as devices for meat production. Under the impression of a scandal over battery hens and the BSE crisis there was nearly unanimous agreement with the statement, that people have ethical obligations towards animals and that everybody should be concerned about it. BALSER (1994), reporting on a national survey by the SAMPLE-INSTITUTE in 1994, found that women, people in the old counties, organic-meat consumers and respondents with a university degree show more concern for animals, as measured by the first two statements given in Tab. 2.1(a). While ethical obligations towards animals are acknowledged, it is not clear from the data, whether these are respected.


General ethical issues

Statement

Agreement

Year

Animals are creatures that can suffer or be happy, too. I therefore support “appropriate husbandry”.1

74%

1994

Pork, cattle, poultry are meant to be used by people to supply meat. Discussing “appropriate husbandry” is idle sentimentality.1

17%

1994

It is our duty, to keep animals “appropriately”.2

97%

1996

Animal suffering should be everybody’s concern.2

96%

1996

Source: 1 SAMPLE INSTITUTE, 1994, cited in BALSER (1994), n = 1300. 2 unpublished results of INSTITUT FÜR AGRARÖKONOMIE, LEHRSTUHL FÜR AGRARMARKETING (1996), survey of Kiel, n = 193



Nearly half the people in 1996 (Kiel) agreed that people close to them want them to buy free-range eggs (about 20% were ambivalent) (Tab. 2.1 (b)). Stated social obligation appears weaker than stated ethical obligation.


Perceived social norm

Statement

Agreement

Year

Most people who are important to me, want me to buy free-range eggs.1

47%

1996

Free-range eggs are produced for socially well aware people.1

30%

1996

Source: 1 unpublished results of INSTITUT FÜR AGRARÖKONOMIE, LEHRSTUHL FÜR AGRARMARKETING (1996), survey of Kiel, n = 193


According to the „theory of planned behaviour“, the impact of ethical considerations and social norms on „behavioural intentions“ is moderated by „perceived behavioural control“, i.e. how much a person feels to have an impact on what is wanted. The available evidence on this topic is collected in Tab. 2.1 (c).


“Appropriate husbandry” was mostly considered feasible in 1994. In 1996 83% of interviewees in Kiel believed that their shopping behaviour made a difference to the way hens were kept. 76% of people in the same sample stated, not to find it very difficult to buy free-range eggs. Less respondents shared this opinion in a sample of Germany conducted by EMNID in 1998: A relative majority of only 42% thought it would be very or fairly easy to buy free-range eggs. This contrasts the previous finding, as people in the North (of which Kiel is a part) regarded it most difficult to get free-range eggs (agreement to „easy“: 34% in the North compared to 49% in the South). Above average „easy“ was stated by women (44%), people aged 25-55 (42% to 55%), households with net monthly incomes either below DM 2500,- (46%) or above DM 4500,- (45%), people with children (44%) and those not working (44%).


Perceived behavioural control

Statement

Agreement

Year

“Appropriate husbandry” is for idealists only and can nowadays not be realised.1

22%

1994

I can help hens to have an “appropriate” existence by buying free-range eggs.2

83%

1996

I can’t change anything by buying free-range eggs.2

19%

1996

I can’t change the whole world when shopping.2

64%

1996

Free-range eggs are difficult to get.2

15%

1996

Free-range eggs are easy to get.2

76%

1996

Generally speaking, how easy or difficult is it for you to buy free-range eggs where you normally do your grocery shopping?3

42% (easy) 22% (difficult)

1998

Source: 1 SAMPLE INSTITUTE; 1994, cited in BALSER (1994), n = 1300. 2 unpublished results of INSTITUT FÜR AGRARÖKONOMIE; LEHRSTUHL FÜR AGRARMARKETING (1996), survey of Kiel, n = 193; 3 EMNID (1998), n = 1031.



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