attitude towards farmed animal welfare
One survey in 2011 about the “Chinese Citizens’ Perceptions on Farm Animal Welfare” by Nanjing Agricultural University was with over 8,000 collected questionnaires (6,006 effective questionnaires, 75.1% of total questionnaires), covering over 150 cities or counties selected from 29 provinces and autonomous regions in China. The survey put on four issues: (1) public awareness of the concept and connotation of ‘animal welfare;’ (2) public opinions on current intensive factory farming; (3) the public’s level of satisfaction with the legislation of animal welfare; and (4) the public’s level of contentment on the market supply of pork and eggs.
There were 3 dependent variables under this issue, including “being aware of animal welfare or not,” “being appropriate or not to use cement floor for raising a pig,” and “being appropriate or not to kill fowls near cages in which they are kept.”
As revealed in the survey among 5,982 respondents, the majority of the public have not ever heard of the concept of ‘animal welfare,’ while 36.6% have ever heard of ‘animal welfare.’
The first set of questions includes three statements with a focus shifting from human beings to animals. The results show that, among 5,916 respondents, 4,314 of them (72.9%) choose an “instrumental reason” to decide how humans should treat animals as “Humans should improve the rearing conditions for pigs and domestic fowls to ensure the quality and safety of animal products;” 1,135 of them (19.2%) agree that animals themselves should enjoy some basic rights as “Pigs and domestic fowls should enjoy a happy life and be free from troubles as humans do;” and 468 people (7.9%) support anthropocentrism as “Pigs and domestic fowls are the only beast, and people can treat them as they wish.” The survey came to the conclusion that “the majority of Chinese public treat animals as instruments and part of the public think that animals themselves should enjoy some basic rights.”
For the questions of “to use cement floor for raising pigs,” and “to kill fowls near cages in which they are kept,” 49.2% of the respondents of the first question and 43.5% of respondents of the second think these actions are “somewhat inappropriate.” 20.5% and 30.8% of respondents of the two questions think these actions are “extremely inappropriate.” However, 15.0% and 10.4% of respondents of the two questions think these actions are “appropriate,” and 15.4% and 15.2% of respondents of the two questions think these actions are “unimportant.” This shows the majority is supporting the idea of farmed animal welfare to give animals the freedom to live in a natural way.
Survey on factory farming
Four choices are given to the respondents. Among the 5,705 respondents, a little more than half (56%) show a positive attitude towards factory farming in China including 21.5% of respondents select “a very good way of production” and 34.5% of respondents believe it is a scientific way; at the same time, a little less than half (44%) express negative opinion including 23.8% of respondents think this way limits the freedom of pigs and domestic fowls; and 20.2% of respondents dismiss this as a cruel way.
But for the detailed questions, quite a number of people make negative comments on factory farming products – 71.9% of respondents are worried about the overuse of additives; 49.9% are concerned about the overuse of antibiotics and 48.3% complain about “bad taste.” A little more than half of the public are willing to pay more for animal welfare for pigs, including only 9.4% of respondents who are “gladly willing to” spend more and 45.1% of them are willing just “to some degree.”
Survey on Animal Welfare
Among 5,772 respondents, 81.6% of them think the general animal welfare law in China is necessary; whereas 18.4% of them don’t think so.
For the specific question that “Do you agree on establishing mandatory laws of animal welfare to compel producers to provide better living conditions for farm animals such as pigs and fowls to help them grow and survive?” the proportion of people who approve including both “completely” or “to some degree” approving has a drop of 16 percent from 81.6% to 65.99%. The drop shows that the awareness of farmed animal welfare is not widely accepted as general animal welfare.
In this study, the elements of gender, age, education, career, income, and locality have been designed as independent variables.
“The survey conducted by the researchers reveals that only about one-third of Chinese public have ever heard of animal welfare. In other words, most Chinese have never heard of it. Moreover, considering the relatively high educational level and young age of the respondents, it is possible that the real proportion of Chinese who have ever heard of animal welfare would be even lower.”
Read more: A Survey of Chinese Citizens’ Perceptions on Farm Animal Welfare