Animal Welfare

Public perceptions of livestock industries and livestock welfare

Research First’s latest public perceptions trend figures put farmers and growers at the top of the board, with the highest proportion reporting their perceptions have become more positive in the last three years compared with other NZ industries.

Digging deeper into the livestock side of the sector also shows some positive results:

  • Three quarters of people trust farmers to properly care for their animals; only 11% have a level of distrust.
  • Three quarters of people rated the welfare of animals in the major activity types of dairy, sheep and beef as ‘good’ or ‘very good’.

Supermarket shortages eggsplain why chickens are at the bottom of the chart. The phasing out of battery cages and the subsequent supermarket duopoly decision against colony cages put egg producers and, by relation, poultry farmers into the media spotlight.

For those charged with changing these perceptions, it is worth nothing that celebrity chefs and messaging through supermarkets are unlikely to be your answer. Channels with higher levels of trust are animal welfare organisations and government press releases. Though, as always where government is involved, there is a healthy proportion that will be sceptical about what is said from there.