Consumers fail to backup vocal demand for humanely-raised meat

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A recent survey out of Australia finds shoppers say they want humanely raised meat, and they’re willing to pay more for it, but actions prove otherwise.

Grocery checkout The findings were presented by Dr. Tania Signal at the World Farm Animal Day symposium. Dr. Signal is a researcher at Central Queensland University.

Through a series of questions regarding animal welfare and meat available to consumers, the survey found people said animal welfare is an important issue they consider while grocery shopping and they’d pay between five and 10 percent more for meat they knew was raised humanely. The findings also showed most respondents failed to follow through on their claims at the point of purchase.

Signal also found consumers are most likely to trust an independent 3rd party label as opposed to some certification from the grocery store, government or the farm producing the meat.

Although participants in the survey said animal welfare was an important issue, Signal said there’s a knowledge gap they need to overcome. Her research found a disconnect in people’s understanding of modern livestock production and most were unaware of common animal handling practices.

“There’s a disconnect between people’s actual knowledge of modern day farm practices and what they think is going on,” Dr. Signal said. Consumers are affected by media perceptions of livestock production and perceptions of how animals are treated on the farm may not be reality. “People’s knowledge seems to be very sensationalized based on what they see in the media,” she added.

Signal emphasized the farmer’s role in educating consumers, stating education in a non-sensational way is key to changing public perceptions of their food.

Read more here.

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Gary Sz    
Indiana  |  October, 08, 2013 at 09:13 AM

If you are going to report on a topic it would be helpful to readers to actually explain the article title. In what way have consumers "failed to follow through on their claims at the point of purchase"? There is nothing stated in this artice to support the title other than reitnerating a finding that also includes no support for it.

Oklahoma  |  October, 08, 2013 at 09:15 AM

I'm curious how this researcher defined "humanely raised"? Who isn't producing "humanely raised" meat? The statement in this article seems to suggest there are options in the grocery store to purchace meat that isn't "humanely raised", which I don't believe to be true.

barbara Gundy    
california  |  October, 08, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Drive through the sweltering stinking grassless feedlots "hidden" in the central valleys of California and tell me how "humane" those look to you, Bob.

Nebraska  |  October, 08, 2013 at 11:14 AM

OMG, the feedlots are grassless!!! The cattle must be starving - do you suppose they get anything else to eat in a feedlot?

kansas  |  October, 08, 2013 at 11:27 AM

Great Comment, "Huh?", NE! Gundy simply proves the Aussie study's point. Big Plus is the unintended hilarity of it coming from a typical urban Californian, i.e., "...sweltering, stinking, grassless 'feedlots'..." This is also a wonderful description of Los Angeles and most of the urban wastelands she and her kind occupy. Barbie might consider doing something closer to home before she attacks those of us who feed her and the rest of the great unwashed masses of SoCal.

Colo  |  October, 08, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Great comment Micheal. Maybe Barbie ought to stop in at a feedlot, look at the livestock, and ask all the questions she deems important instead of passing judgement as she, and too many others, drive by.

Ne  |  October, 08, 2013 at 12:57 PM

Cattle in feedlots actuall consume diets that are formulated by a nutritionist that has a PhD in beef nutrition. Nutritionist work closely with the veterinarian and feedlot management to insure the animals are healthy. These diets are a blend of forage, grain, co-products (distillers grain, plant products not used in human food such as citrus pulp, cull potatoes and carrots), vitamins and minerals. Cattle fed in feedlots consume a diet that is more properly balanced to meet every single 1 of their dietary needs than humans consume in a day. The feed is monitored and tested daily for quaility and proper mixing and feeding levels. Corn is the seed from a grass plant, it is the same as allowing the cows to consume the seed from brome grass in a pasture. A little different in nutrient composition however it still comes from a grass plant. Cattle within different groups are also fed different rations to meet their changing dietary needs so it is not a 1 diet fits all approach. They are fed 2-4 times each day to ensure the are getting the proper quanties and that feed isn't allowed to spoil before they can consume it. From the outside looking into the feedlot is a much different picture than viewing the feedlot from within. If you want to see what a real feedlot looks like on the inside and learn more about how modern feedlots operate visit

Can  |  October, 08, 2013 at 07:47 PM

Good one. I always wondered how those city critters survive in their apartment towers and townhouses. Last time I looked at a Safeway, they were all pavement and stinkin car choked.

Oklahoma  |  October, 10, 2013 at 09:20 AM

Barbara, I have. In part the reason feedlots are in remote locations as you have pointed out in your response is because people in urban areas want them there. Or would you rather it was located on the outskirts of the town you live in? Additionally, instead of passing judgement on an industry, and people in it, which from your post you seem to acutally know little about perhaps you should take the time with an open mind to learn more about it. And also understand that the people in that industry are well trained and experts in the field of agriculture. They are good people with families and friends who work hard to provide not only for their families but to produce a nutritional and safe food source that is affordable.

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