German Pig Farmers’ Attitudes towards Animal Welfare Programs and their Willingness to Participate in these Programs: An Empirical Study

Louisa von Hardenberg, Heinke Heise


In recent years, the image of intensive livestock production systems has been suffering from increasing public criticism. Many consumers express strong demands for higher farm animal welfare standards – especially in conventional livestock husbandry systems. This applies primarily to products from pork production, as consumers have criticized that the animals have not enough space in their stables and no possibility for outdoor access. Although pig farmers are key stakeholders for the implementation of animal welfare programs (AWPs) there is little evidence of their attitudes towards AWPs. Thus, the main objective of this investigation was to investigate pig farmers’ attitudes towards AWPs and to determine target groups for participation in AWPs. Therefore conventional pig farmers throughout Germany were questioned via an online survey. For statistical analysis an explorative factor analysis and a hierarchical cluster analysis were applied. Four factors and three farmer groups were identified which significantly differ regarding their attitudes towards AWPs and their willingness to participate in AWPs. For all groups of farmers the economic aspects are important for implementing AWPs. The orientation on the production process is strongly influenced by monetary aspects. This paper represents a starting point for the design of tailormade strategies to increase the market penetration of AWPs and to provide incentives for farmers to participate in AWPs. Further financial incentives are needed to transfer pig farmers attitudes into corresponding behaviour.


animal welfare; animal welfare programs; German pig farmers; hierarchical cluster analysis; willingness to participate

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ISSN 1869-6945


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