Moral Values and Attitudes Toward Dutch Sow HusbandryJ Agric Environ Ethics

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Authors
Tamara J. Bergstra, Bart Gremmen, Elsbeth N. Stassen
Year
2015
DOI
10.1007/s10806-015-9539-x
Subject
Environmental Chemistry / Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous) / History / Environmental Science (all)

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ARTICLES

Moral Values and Attitudes Toward Dutch Sow

Husbandry

Tamara J. Bergstra • Bart Gremmen •

Elsbeth N. Stassen

Accepted: 22 February 2015 / Published online: 15 March 2015  The Author(s) 2015. This article is published with open access at Springerlink.com

Abstract Attitudes toward sow husbandry differ between citizens and conventional pig farmers. Research showed that moral values could only predict the judgment of people in case of culling healthy animals in the course of a disease epidemic to a certain extent. Therefore, we hypothesized that attitudes of citizens and pig farmers cannot be predicted one-on-one by moral values. Furthermore, we were interested in getting insight in whether moral values can be useful in bridging the gap between attitudes toward sow husbandry of citizens and pig farmers. Based on a questionnaire, it was found that pig farmers and citizens, when considered as one group, shared the valuation of most moral values. However, when studying the four clusters of citizens with different attitudes toward sow husbandry, determined in a previous study, a variation in valuation of the moral values between the clusters of citizens and farmers came to the fore. This means that moral values are interpreted differently by groups of people when forming attitudes toward sow husbandry. The results of our study give an indication of which moral values are weighed differently between clusters of citizens and pig farmers. This information can be useful in future research on attitudes toward animal husbandry in order to understand why attitudes differ between groups of people. Besides, our results can

T. J. Bergstra (&)

Department of Social Sciences, Chair Group Business Economics, Wageningen University,

Hollandseweg 1, 6706 KN Wageningen, The Netherlands e-mail: tamarabergstra@hotmail.com

B. Gremmen

Department of Social Sciences, Chair Group Philosophy, Wageningen University, Wageningen,

The Netherlands e-mail: gremmen@wur.nl

E. N. Stassen

Department of Animal Sciences, Chair Group Animals in Society, Wageningen University,

Wageningen, The Netherlands e-mail: elsbeth.stassen@wur.nl 123

J Agric Environ Ethics (2015) 28:375–401

DOI 10.1007/s10806-015-9539-x be useful for the pig sector and citizens to learn to understand each other’s attitudes.

With this understanding it is possible to invest in a husbandry system that can build on societal support.

Keywords Attitudes  Moral values  Naturalness  Sow husbandry

Introduction

In the last decades, societal concerns about animal husbandry systems have increased and became more prominent (Barnett et al. 2001; Bergstra et al. 2013; De

Barcellos et al. 2012; Krystallis et al. 2009; Marı´a 2006; Mench 2008; Meuwissen and van der Lans 2005; Ngapo et al. 2003; Schro¨der and McEachern 2004). One of the husbandry systems that has been confronted with societal concerns is sow husbandry. With regard to sow husbandry there are, for example, concerns about castration and tail docking without anesthesia, pig housing (e.g., surface, social contact and environmental enrichment) and the use of antibiotics (Barnett et al. 2001; Bergstra et al. 2013; Boogaard et al. 2011b; Frederiksen et al. 2010;

Marchant-Forde 2009; Millman 2011). There are also concerns about human health and the environmental consequences with regard to animal husbandry (Bergstra et al. 2013; Brom 2000; Harper and Henson 2001; Harper and Makatouni 2002;

McGlone 2001; Verbeke and Viaene 2000; Webster 2001). Most of these societal concerns arise from negative attitudes of citizens toward sow husbandry. Between citizens and other stakeholders, major differences in these attitudes and attitudes toward sow husbandry in general have been reported (Bergstra et al. 2013; Bock and van Huik 2007; Lassen et al. 2006; Te Velde et al. 2002; Tuyttens et al. 2010; Van

Huik and Bock 2007; Vanhonacker et al. 2008). The focus of this paper will be on two Dutch stakeholder groups, i.e., citizens and conventional pig farmers, because these groups play a crucial role in societal concerns about sow husbandry. In the remainder of this paper, pig farmer stands for conventional pig farmer.

Attitudes expressed in public debates originate in moral values (Rokeach 1968).

Moral values can be defined as normative values that have evolved in such a way that people can interact with one another (Krebs and Denton 2005). Being able to interact with one another means that people have to share morality (Krebs and

Denton 2005). However, the underlying reasoning of morality may differ between individuals (Krebs and Denton 2005), depending on culture, science, education, social background and legislation (Fraser 1999). The moral reasoning and how moral values are being weighed depends on the context (Cohen et al. 2010). In the context of a specific animal husbandry, moral values have an influence on the general acceptance of this animal practice (Fraser 2008). For example, modern dairy farm practices are more accepted by people who opt for the moral value that humans are superior to animals than by people who opt for the moral value that humans and animals are equivalent (Boogaard et al. 2011a). Also the moral value that farm animals are being sentient has an influence on the acceptance of animal husbandry practices (Duncan 2006; Knight et al. 2004). When a farm animal is considered to 376 T. J. Bergstra et al. 123 be sentient, the effect of animal husbandry practices on pain and/ or distress of the animal has to be justified before the animal husbandry practice can be accepted (Knight et al. 2004).

Although several studies have included moral values of farmers and citizens (Te

Velde et al. 2002; Tuyttens et al. 2010; Vanhonacker et al. 2008) they did not focus on a specific context. With regard to a certain context all individual moral values will be weighed relative to each other in order to form attitudes (Cohen 2010a, b).

This could lead to a situation in which people with the same set of moral values could develop different attitudes. In such a situation it becomes difficult to predict attitudes based on information about moral values. Cohen et al. (2010, 2012) concluded that moral values could only predict the judgment of culling healthy animals in the course of a disease epidemic to a certain extent, e.g. when the moral value ‘respect for animal life’ was considered important this person was most likely against the culling of healthy animals. In this paper we will try to generalize the findings of Cohen et al. (2010, 2012) to Dutch sow husbandry as a whole by testing the hypothesis that moral values of citizens and pig farmers cannot predict one-toone the attitudes toward sow husbandry of these groups. Nevertheless, it is of importance to know if citizens share the same set of moral values with pig farmers in order to understand how these moral values are being weighed and which moral values are considered most important. Knowledge about how these moral values are being weighed may enable the possibility to predict the attitudes of citizens and pig farmers toward sow husbandry. Knowing which moral values are weighed similar and which ones are weighed differently between citizens and pig farmers might make it possible to understand the difference in attitudes toward sow husbandry between these two groups. This understanding is useful for farmers and policy makers in the choices they make and in their communication toward citizens. When they know how citizens weigh their moral values and how this weighing differs from their own weighing, they might be able to predict how citizens respond to certain made choices and provided information. Knowing how different groups of people weigh their moral values is also useful for future research in order to understand where attitudes are based on. Understanding the weighing of the underlying moral values gives possibilities to bridge the gap between the different attitudes toward sow husbandry of citizens and pig farmers. This means that it might be possible to reduce the distance in these attitudes between citizens and pig farmers. This will make it possible for different groups of people to understand the attitudes toward sow husbandry of other groups. Different groups of citizens have different attitudes toward sow husbandry (Anonymous 2014). Therefore, it is of relevance to study these different groups. For groups of citizens we focus on the study of Anonymous (2014). In their study, Dutch citizens were asked to give a level of additional care (AC), i.e. the degree of extra attention compared to the current situation they found necessary, for different aspects of entities, i.e., animals, humans and the environment, related to sow husbandry. Based on these AC levels, citizens were divided into four clusters (Table 1). The two smallest clusters were the most extreme; the no-AC cluster (7 % of respondents) found no AC necessary for the aspects of sow husbandry and the max-AC cluster (14 % of respondents) found the most AC necessary compared to the other clusters. The high-AC cluster and the