Communicating Farm Animal Welfare Science: Wisconsin Dairy Producers' Attitudes Toward and Interest in Dairy Cattle Welfare
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Research in the field of farm animal welfare science provides the foundation for the farm animal welfare assessment criteria and legislation that has been developing over the past fifty years, especially in the EU, England, Australia, and Canada. Research in this field involves using empirical evidence to make judgments about an animal's state of welfare; however, a number of studies, primarily in the EU, explore producer opinions and knowledge about farm animal welfare issues. Few comparable studies of US producers exist in the literature. The current study of Wisconsin (WI) dairy producers targeted producers' opinions about an animal's ability to experience the affective states of pain, fear, boredom, and frustration; their opinions about controversial on-farm management practices (e.g., tail docking and dehorning); their familiarity with farm animal welfare initiatives (e.g., university extension-sponsored conferences); their interest in learning about dairy cattle welfare; and how they currently obtain farm management information. Surveys were mailed to a computer-generated random sample (n=1,000) of WI dairy producers with a response rate of 48%. Results indicated that farm type, farm size, producer age, and producer education level impacted survey responses. This information could be used to develop welfare education strategies based on demographics and producers' preferred information sources.
Humane education -- Wisconsin; Dairy farmers -- Wisconsin -- Attitudes; Dairy farming -- Study and teaching -- Wisconsin; Dairy farming -- Moral and ethical aspects
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