German dairy farmers’ attitudes toward farm animal welfare and their willingness to participate in animal welfare programs: a cluster analysis
Citable Link (URL):http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/15758
Farm animal welfare (FAW) is at the center of a controversial public debate, and the demand for higher farm animal welfare standards is growing. Nevertheless, there are hardly any dairy products from pure animal welfare programs (AWPs) on the market. Although dairy farmers are a very important stakeholder group for the successful implementation of AWPs, very little is known about their attitudes toward the introduction of such programs. For this study, 258 conventional dairy farmers in Germany were questioned about FAW and AWPs via an online survey. We identified five clusters (farmer groups) that significantly differ with regard to their attitudes toward AWPs, FAW, and their own willingness to improve the level of animal welfare or take part in specialized AWPs. Cluster A consists of farmers who strongly oppose AWPs; farmers in this cluster will probably not take part in AWPs, especially because they do not consider it profitable to do so. Farmers in cluster B also view AWPs and the associated market effects with some skepticism; however, they are willing to improve their level of animal welfare and, therefore, may someday become willing to participate in AWPs. Cluster C farmers have diverse attitudes toward AWPs; since they are slightly willing to improve the level of animal welfare on their farms and as they are comparatively most optimistic concerning the market effects of higher animal welfare standards, these farmers could also become AWP participants in the future. Farmers in cluster D have positive attitudes toward AWPs and show the highest willingness among the five clusters to improve animal welfare on their farms. However, when it comes to the market effects of higher national animal welfare standards and the market potential for more animal-friendly products, these farmers are the most skeptical; if the economic security of AWPs were guaranteed, Cluster D farmers would probably constitute an important target group. Farmers in cluster E have positive attitudes toward AWPs, show a high willingness to improve the own FAW, and tend to be less skeptical about the market effects of higher animal welfare standards; these farmers constitute the most important potential target group for AWPs. Our results can provide a starting point for the design of tailor-made AWPs that fulfill the requirements of both dairy farmers and the broader public.