Consumer Concerns about Animal Welfare and the Impact on Food Choice




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3.6Animal testing



Animal welfare issues also arise in fields other than food production. Examples are leisure and sport and animal testing. Study of these fields should yield valuable insights into the nature of concerns about animal welfare. Given limited resources, I restrict myself to present some data on consumers acceptance of animal testing in Fig. 2.6.

Fig. 2.6: Animal experimentation necessary for scientific tests of medical drugs?


Sources: (1) Surveys by EMNID, data reported in: BUNDESVERBAND DER PHARMAZEUTISCHEN INDUSTRIE E.V. (BPI), Pro + Contra - Eine Beilage zum Thema Tierversuche. Wording of questions not stated in the source. (2) NOELLE-NEUMANN/KÖCHER, Allensbacher Jahrbuch der Demoskopie, Bd. 9, 1984/92, 1993, p. 934.



The data are puzzling: The EMNID-sample in 1985 (as well as in 1983 and 1981) indicates that a vast majority of people favoured animal testing, “if it is necessary”, while the sample reported in NOELLE-NEUMANN/KÖCHER for the same year suggests the opposite. The puzzle can only be partially resolved, since only the wording of the question posed by Allensbach is available to the authors:


“Two people talk about the use of animals to humans. Who expresses your opinion? (1.) We have to rear and kill animals to feed ourselves. Animals do otherwise definitely have to be respected and should not be misused for tests, not even in the medical sciences. (2) Since we rear animals for our nutrition, I also agree to use them for animal testing, because animal testing is useful to people, e.g. to better cure diseases.


EMNID probably put the emphasis on “necessary tests”, whereas Allensbach inquires into how acceptable misuse of animals is in testing. If this explains the conflicting results, complexity of attitudes needs to be accounted for in questionnaire design. Questionnaires need to be carefully tailored to the actual question of interest.


Some further findings on the topic are the following: According to the BPI34 a third of those who reject testing when asked by EMNID, could be convinced not to ban it altogether, if otherwise all hopes for effective drugs against cancer or heart-attacks were said to be lost. The BPI further reports that 66% of the respondents do not believe animal tests could be completely substituted by other measures (16% thought so and 17% believed tests could partially be substituted).


4Behaviour and market




4.1General consumption of animal products



Meat consumption in Europe and Germany underwent dramatic changes during past centuries. Consumption of meat in Europe varied around 50 to 100 kilos per person and year in medieval times. Later, around 1800, average meat consumption in Germany was much lower (about 10 kilos per year and person) because a generally poor population could not afford more. Meat consumption trebled in the nineteenth century due mainly to large productivity gains in farming and industry and hence rising real incomes (ZMP-ZENTRALBERICHT, 1996, p. 3). The increase continued in the twentieth century as scientists discovered the value of animal proteins for humans and especially as incomes rose after the second world war.

Figure 3.1: Consumption of meat and eggs


65.7

65.4

69.4

67.0

64.0

64.2

61.8

60.0

66.1

40.8

41.4

41.8

43.7

41.4

39.6

40.4

39.6

38.4

284

276

280

268

252

244

215

224

226

15.6

14.8

15.1

15.9

15.3

14.1

13.5

11.3

10.1

5.8

5.5

6.0

6.2

6.8

7.3

7.4

7.9

8.6

Note: consumption of meat in Tab. 3.1 is net-consumption (average meat actually eaten) and consumption of eggs is gross consumption (which is more than what people eat); data for the united Germany are used from 1990 onwards, before 1990 data for West-Germany are used.

Source: ZMP, 1995, p. 26 f.; ZMP, 1998, p. 26f. (for meat); BMELF, various years, p. 173 (for eggs).



Figure 3.1 graphs the more recent consumption trends for eggs and the most important types of meat in Germany. Total meat consumption in Germany peaked in 1988 at 69.7 kilogramms per person and year, when declining beef and pork consumption brought about a turnaround. In contrast to read meat, consumption of poultry increased over the past 15 years. In 1996 beef and veal accounted for 17.2% of meat consumption, pork for 64.4% and poultry for 13.7% (Wildner 1998, p. 30). Egg consumption reached saturation already in the seventies. Since 1993 a moderate increase has been recorded.


Lücke (1998, p. 447) points at rising sales of poultry and concludes that price, convenience properties and image (e.g. low fat content) as predictors of purchases are more important than altruistic motives like animal welfare or environmental impact.


Declining meat consumption is partly reflected in individuals stated past and intended future consumption changes. Therefore selected survey results for these questions are given in Tables 3.1 (a) and 3.1 (b).


Table 3.1 (a): Stated changes in meat consumption (in percent)

Question: Do you eat ... meat than you used to eat in recent years?




1980 (n=1000)

1983 (n=700)

1986 (n=1000)

1992 (n=103)

more

15

8

9

2

the same amount of

70

64

68

31

less

15

27

23

67

Source: CMA, 1987, Fig. 15; MTC, 1983, p.67; Schmitz, 1993, p.639

Table 3.1 (b): Behavioural intentions 1984 – 1989 – 1994

Reduced meat consumption intended?

1984

1989

1994

yes, already practised

56%

71%

79%

no

45%

29%

21%

Source: Alvensleben, 1994, p.148


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