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 AS  Vol.8 No.7 , July 2017
US Resident Perceptions of Dairy Cattle Management Practices
Abstract:
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.
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