Adolescents Care But Don’t Feel Responsible for Farm Animal Welfare23 January 2013
UK - A study at the Royal Veterinary College in collaboration with the Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Institute of Education examined for the first time the knowledge, beliefs and attitudes about farm animal welfare held by 14-15 year olds in the UK.
Jen Jamieson, who conducted the work as part of her PhD thesis, found that UK adolescents have only superficial knowledge of farm animal welfare problems and are confused about welfare-relevant product labels.
On the other hand, they do care about the treatment of farm animals. In particular, it is important for them that farm animals have enough space and freedom from pain and suffering.
However they do not see these needs as having anything to do with them. Nor do they believe that they themselves can influence such standards of care through their own behaviour.
So, does it matter? According to Jen Jamieson: "Adolescents are the consumers of the future. Through their purchasing decisions, they can influence how farm animals are housed and cared for. But this requires them to have the right information, to know they have this power, and to be motivated to make a choice. This does not currently appear to be true of UK adolescents, a finding supported by other studies on adults. To allow the concerns of this next generation about farm animal welfare to be translated into standards which meet their expectations requires these issues of responsibility and disempowerment to be addressed."