Consumer attitudes towards production diseases in intensive production systems

Beth Clark, Luca A. Panzone, Gavin B. Stewart, Ilias Kyriazakis, Jarkko K. Niemi, Terhi Latvala, Richard Tranter, Philip Jones, Lynn J. Frewer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


Many members of the public and important stakeholders operating at the upper end of the food chain, may be unfamiliar with how food is produced, including within modern animal production systems. The intensification of production is becoming increasingly common in modern farming. However, intensive systems are particularly susceptible to production diseases, with potentially negative consequences for farm animal welfare (FAW). Previous research has demonstrated that the public are concerned about FAW, yet there has been little research into attitudes towards production diseases, and their approval of interventions to reduce these. This research explores the public’s attitudes towards, and preferences for, FAW interventions in five European countries (Finland, Germany, Poland, Spain and the UK). An online survey was conducted for broilers (n = 789), layers (n = 790) and pigs (n = 751). Data were analysed by means of Kruskal-Wallis ANOVA, exploratory factor analysis and structural equation modelling. The results suggest that the public have concerns regarding intensive production systems, in relation to FAW, naturalness and the use of antibiotics. The most preferred interventions were the most “proactive” interventions, namely improved housing and hygiene measures. The least preferred interventions were medicine-based, which raised humane animal care and food safety concerns amongst respondents. The results highlighted the influence of the identified concerns, perceived risks and benefits on attitudes and subsequent behavioural intention, and the importance of supply chain stakeholders addressing these concerns in the subsequent communications with the public.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0210432
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement N 613574 to IK. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. We would like to thank Matthew Grainger for his invaluable advice on the paper. We would also like to thank the participants for taking part in this study and to Dimitri de Meyer, Björn Forkman, Cagla Kaya, Dominiek Maes, Suso Mendez, Anne Marie Neeteson and Miriam van Stratham for their valuable input during the design stage of the research presented here. Also to Maciek Misiura, Gema Montavlo, Johannes Ripperger and Piotr Szeleszczuk for their help with translation of the survey instrument we used.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Clark et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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