Article CC BY 4.0
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Is less more? Investigating citizen and consumer preferences for the future direction of livestock farming policy

GND
1237635845
VIAF
4162781276165981594
Affiliation
Department of Management, Society and Communication, Copenhagen Business School, Dalgas Have 15, Copenhagen, Denmark
Schulze, Maureen;
GND
1172479895
Affiliation
Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Marketing of Food and Agricultural Products, University of Göttingen, Platz der Göttinger Sieben 5, Göttingen, Germany
Sonntag, Winnie;
GND
1089077017
ORCID
0000-0002-2853-2522
VIAF
267145857888523020198
Affiliation
Johann Heinrich von Thünen Institute, Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and Fisheries, Bundesallee 63, Braunschweig, Germany
Meyer-Höfer, Marie von

The sustainable transition of livestock farming has moved on the agenda of international and national policy regulations aimed at the mounting sustainability challenges. Until now, the political debate has been focused on how to change production and management practices to enhance animal welfare or reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The question about the number of livestock, however, has been neglected so far. In particular, this is true for the question of what a socially accepted development of livestock numbers could look like. Thus, the objective of this study was to investigate citizen preferences for a sustainable transition of livestock farming regarding the number of livestock, and whether citizen preferences align with consumer preferences. The sample consisted of 1030 German participants who were surveyed online in January and February 2021. A latent profile analysis (LPA) identified two sub-groups within the population labelled “status-quo proponents” (49.0%) and “proponents of a sustainable transition” (51.0%) that differed in their perception of the development of future livestock numbers. “Status-quo proponents” were aware of the sustainability challenges in livestock production but less interested in supporting the transition with their consumption behavior of animal-based products. For “proponents of a sustainable transition”, a reduction of livestock numbers was a viable pathway for the livestock sector. They were willing to adapt their consumption behavior accordingly. To reach a socially accepted transition of livestock farming, including a reduction of animal numbers, the transition should be supported by a combination of political push and pull measures, such as financial support for farmers, as well as information provision, nudging, and taxes on the market side.

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