European consumers recognize the added value of mountain dairy production and relate it to a composite of positive attributes. However, while consumers’ understanding of conventional dairy production and animal welfare has already been investigated, how consumers perceive animal welfare in traditional mountain dairy farming remains unexplored. This qualitative study aims at shedding light on consumers’ perceptions regarding animal welfare in mountain dairy cheese production systems. Focus group interviews were carried out with three major consumer groups that purchase mountain cheese including rural consumers living in mountain villages, urban consumers living in the plains, and urban consumers living in mountain cities. The results of this study show that all participants expect mountain farming to be on a smaller scale and mountain products to be healthier when compared to non-mountain farming systems. However, the verbal appreciation of certain husbandry and management choices especially in the case of urban consumers did not result in their recognition when pictures of traditional husbandry systems were provided, which displays a disconnection between the expectations towards mountain production systems and reality. These findings will support the development of a transparent science-based dialogue among mountain dairy chain actors on animal welfare and sustainable farming practices in mountain areas.

Animal welfare and mountain products from traditional dairy farms: How do consumers perceive complexity?

Zuliani, Anna
Primo
;
Bovolenta, Stefano
Ultimo
2018

Abstract

European consumers recognize the added value of mountain dairy production and relate it to a composite of positive attributes. However, while consumers’ understanding of conventional dairy production and animal welfare has already been investigated, how consumers perceive animal welfare in traditional mountain dairy farming remains unexplored. This qualitative study aims at shedding light on consumers’ perceptions regarding animal welfare in mountain dairy cheese production systems. Focus group interviews were carried out with three major consumer groups that purchase mountain cheese including rural consumers living in mountain villages, urban consumers living in the plains, and urban consumers living in mountain cities. The results of this study show that all participants expect mountain farming to be on a smaller scale and mountain products to be healthier when compared to non-mountain farming systems. However, the verbal appreciation of certain husbandry and management choices especially in the case of urban consumers did not result in their recognition when pictures of traditional husbandry systems were provided, which displays a disconnection between the expectations towards mountain production systems and reality. These findings will support the development of a transparent science-based dialogue among mountain dairy chain actors on animal welfare and sustainable farming practices in mountain areas.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11390/1145929
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