Adolescents Care but Don’t Feel Responsible for Farm Animal Welfare

In: Society & Animals
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  • 1 Centre for Animal Welfare, The Royal Veterinary College
  • 2 Institute of Education, University of London
  • 3 Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Horsham
  • 4 School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, University of Nottingham
  • 5 School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London
  • 6 Centre for Animal Welfare, The Royal Veterinary College
  • 7 Centre for Animal Welfare, The Royal Veterinary College

Adolescents are the next generation of consumers with the potential to raise standards of farm animal welfare—to their satisfaction—if their preferences and concerns are translated into accurate market drivers and signals. There are no published data about adolescent views of farm animal welfare to allow meaningful design, implementation, and evaluation of educational strategies to improve consideration of—and behavior toward—farm animals. Knowledge of farm animal welfare, as well as beliefs and attitudes about farm animal welfare and behavioral intention relevant to it were determined in a sample of uk adolescents, using a survey incorporating an extended version of the theory of planned behavior and novel assessment tools. Our results indicate that adolescents have only a limited knowledge of welfare problems for farm animals and welfare-relevant product labels. Intentions to identify welfare standards for the animals from whom their food was derived were weak. Although they cared about farm animal welfare and agreed with fundamental principles—for example, the provision of space and the absence of pain and suffering—like adults they held limited belief in the power and responsibility that they possess through their choices as consumers; responsibility was often shifted to others, such as the government and farmers.

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