Insights into German Consumers’ Perceptions of Virtual Fencing in Grassland-Based Beef and Dairy Systems: Recommendations for Communication

Autoren: Ekaterina Stampa, Katrin Zander, Ulrich Hamm

GreenGrass   |   12.2020    peer reviewed
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The share of cattle grazing on grassland is decreasing in many European countries. While the production costs of intensive stall-based beef and dairy systems are usually lower per kg product, grazing-based systems provide more ecosystem services that are valued by consumers. Innovative grazing systems that apply virtual fencing technology can improve animal welfare, optimize grassland use as pasture, and contribute to biodiversity conservation. Although consumer demand for pasture-raised products could promote animal-friendly practices, consumer perception of virtual fencing remains unknown. To address this gap in research, this study developed information brochures with different lines of argumentation and tested the responses of German consumers using concurrent think aloud protocols. The results demonstrated ambivalence in consumers’ attitudes to virtual fencing. The participants supported the idea of cattle pasturing to promote animal welfare and foster biodiversity declaring a willingness to contribute not only by paying price premiums for pasture-raised products but also through seeking other possibilities of action and participation. However, participants raised concerns about the effects on animal welfare and the social ramifications of the technology. The study offers recommendations for addressing these issues in communication and further contributes to the understanding of consumers’ perceptions of innovation in animal production.

Publikationsdatum: 12.2020

Verlag: MDPI AG

Quelle: Animals | 12 | 2267 | 10

Publikationstyp: Journal-Artikel