A-8/23 Good Animal Welfare in Norwegian Farmers’ context. Can both industrial and natural conventions be achieved in the social license to farm?

Writers: Brit Logstein and Hilde Bjørkhaug

This article presents research carried out in Norway, among the population of livestock farmers. It analyses farmers' understanding of animal welfare, and how their different concerns about animal welfare varies across farmers' considerations about the role of the agricultural sector in Norwegian society and animal welfare regulations, material conditions at the farm level, farmers' opinion about animal rights activist groups, and in several individual characteristics. The empirical material was derived from a postal survey conducted in 2020 (n = 745); the analyses were conducted by structural equation modeling (SEM) which has its advantage in identifying latent attitudes. Informed by convention theory, the study shows that two conventions of animal welfare were most prominent among Norwegian livestock farmers. One emphasizing animals' basic health and feelings and a second animals'natural needs. These two conventions point to a potential split within the livestock farming population. Support for the convention basic health and feelings coincides with efficiency and effectiveness in Norwegian food production and farmers' contribution to feeding the Norwegian population. Support of the convention natural needs coincides with support for enhancing biodiversity and attractive landscapes as important additional values in Norwegian agriculture. The support for the convention of animals' needs to behave naturally was found to be lower than the basic health and feelings and this might slow down or hinder implementation of practices and future regulations aimed at enhancing the natural needs of farm animals, accommodation to public expectations of good animal welfare, and is potentially challenging the farmers' social license to farm animals.

Journal of Rural Studies, Volume 99, April 2023, Pages 107-120 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2023.03.002

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