AS  Vol.8 No.7 , July 2017
US Resident Perceptions of Dairy Cattle Management Practices
As public perception continues to shape the dairy industry, an understanding of consumer views and purchasing behaviors is critically important. The objectives of this paper are to: 1) summarize consumer perceptions or views of 12 common dairy cattle management practices (humane methods of slaughter, humane transportation, increased pen stall or size, access to pasture, feeding of a GMO-free diet, feeding of an organic diet, feeding of a diet the animal would naturally consume, ability to interact with other animals of the same species, access to fresh water at all times, tail docking, use of antibiotics for sick animals, and dehorning), and 2) analyze relationships between respondent’s household demographic characteristics and perceptions of three specific contentious dairy practices, including antibiotic use, tail docking, and dehorning. An online, national survey was used to collect data on household demographics, dairy consumption and purchasing behavior, and perceptions of dairy production practices from 1201 US residents. The findings of this study indicate that 87% of participants consumed dairy products. Of these respondents, 12% had altered their consumption of dairy products over the past three years because of animal welfare concerns and 10% had done so due to food safety concerns. Respondents perceived tail docking and dehorning to have the least beneficial and most negative implications for dairy cattle welfare of the dairy production practices considered.
Cite this paper: Olynk Widmar, N. , Morgan, C. , A. Wolf, C. , A. Yeager, E. , Dominick, S. and Croney, C. (2017) US Resident Perceptions of Dairy Cattle Management Practices. Agricultural Sciences, 8, 645-656. doi: 10.4236/as.2017.87049.

[1]   Wolf, C.A., Tonsor, G.T., McKendree, M.G.S., Thomson, D.U. and Swanson, J.C. (2016) Public and Farmer Perceptions of Dairy Cattle Welfare in the United States. Journal of Dairy Science, 99, 1-12.

[2]   Olynk, N.J., Tonsor, G.T. and Wolf, C.A. (2010) Consumer Willingness to Pay for Livestock Credence Attribute Claim Verification. Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 35, 261-280.

[3]   Cook-Mowery, C., Olynk, N. and Wolf, C. (2008) Farm-Level Contracting for Production Process Attributes: An Analysis of the rbST Situation in Michigan Milk Production. Journal of Food Law and Policy, 4,177-208.

[4]   Ventura, B.A., von Keyserlingk, M.A.G. and Weary, D.M. (2015) Animal Welfare Concerns and Values of Stakeholders within the Dairy Industry. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 28,109-126.

[5]   McKendree, M.G.S., Croney, C.C. and Widmar, N.O. (2014) Effects of Demographic Factors and Information Sources on United States Consumer Perceptions of Animal Welfare. Journal of Animal Science, 92, 3161-3173.

[6]   Wolf, C.A., Tonsor, G.T. and Olynk, N.J. (2011) Understanding US Consumer Demand for Milk Production Attributes. Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 36, 326-342.

[7]   Huffington Post (2013) Ryan Gosling Fights Cow “Dehorning” in Letter Shared by PETA. Huff Post Green.

[8]   Miller, D.J. (2014) Great Lakes Cheese is “Outraged” over Mistreatment of Cows. Cleveland Plain Dealer. November 11, 2014.

[9]   Paul, J. (2015) Colorado Authorities Investigating Dairy Cow Abuse Video: Workers fired. The Denver Post. June 11, 2015.

[10]   Gao, Z. and Schroeder, T. (2009) Effects of Additional Quality Attributes on Consumer Willingness-to-Pay for Food Labels. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 91, 795-809.

[11]   Louviere, J.J., Islam, T., Wasi, N., Street, D. and Burgess, L. (2008) Designing Discrete Choice Experiments: Do Optimal Designs Come at a Price? Journal of Consumer Research, 35, 360-375.

[12]   Tonsor, G.T. and Wolf, C.A. (2010) Drivers of Resident Support for Animal Care Oriented Ballot Initiatives. Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, 42, 419-428.

[13]   Hudson, D., Seah, L., Hite, D. and Haab, T. (2004) Telephone Presurveys, Self-Selection, and Non-Response Bias to Mail and Internet Surveys in Economic Research. Applied Economics Letters, 11, 237-240.

[14]   Roberts, J.A. (1995) Profiling Levels of Socially Responsible Consumer Behavior: A Cluster Analytic Approach and Its Implications for Marketing. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 3, 97-117.

[15]   Wooldridge, J.M. (2009) Introductory Econometrics: A Modern Approach. 5th Edition, South-Western Cengage Learning, Mason.

[16]   StataCorp (2015) Stata Statistical Software: Release 14. StataCorp LP, College Station.

[17]   US Census Bureau (2015) Topics.

[18]   Eicher, S.D., Morrow-Tesch, J.L., Albright, J.L. and Williams, R.E. (2001) Tail-Docking Alters Fly Numbers, Fly-Avoidance Behaviors, and Cleanliness, But Not Physiological Measures. Journal of Dairy Science, 84, 1822-1828.

[19]   Stull, C.L., Payne, M.A., Berry, S.L. and Hullinger, P.J. (2002) Evaluation of the Scientific Justification for Tail Docking in Dairy Cattle. American Veterinary Medical Association, 220, 1298-1303.

[20]   Faulkner, P.M. and Weary, D.M. (2000) Reducing Pain after Dehorning in Dairy Calves. Journal of Dairy Science, 83, 2037-2041.

[21]   Heinrich, A., Duffield, T.F., Lissemore, K.D. and Millman, S.T. (2010) The Effect of Meloxicam on Behavior and Pain Sensitivity of Dairy Calves Following Cautery Dehorning with a Local Anesthetic. Journal of Dairy Science, 93, 2450-2457.

[22]   Bourn, D. and Prescott, J. (2002) A Comparison of the Nutritional Value, Sensory Qualities, and Food Safety of Organically and Conventionally Produced Foods. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 42, 1-34.

[23]   Sjostrom, L. (2015) Tail Docking Ends for NMPF Members, FARM Participants in 2016. Dairy Herd Management.

[24]   Food and Drug Administration (2015) FACT SHEET: Veterinary Feed Directive Final Rule and Next Steps.