Diners willing to pay more for 'happy meals'

Aug 27, 2012
Diners willing to pay more for ‘happy meals’

With increasing public awareness of animal welfare, how much more are people willing to pay for the happiness of the animals they eat?

Innovative research at the University of Reading suggests that people are willing to pay more for even a slight improvement in the wellbeing of the animals in their meals—but appear to favour cows and chickens over pigs.

Professor Richard Bennett, an who advises the UK government on animal welfare issues, is leading University of Reading research assessing the extent to which people want to improve the welfare of .

"We kill more than two million cattle, nine million pigs and almost 800 million chickens a year in the UK to feed our demand for meat," Professor Bennett said.

"With better understanding of , we can accurately measure the welfare of an individual animal in terms of its freedom from hunger, thirst, pain, injury, fear, and its ability to express normal behaviour—in short, what makes animals happy on a 0-100 scale.

"Our research shows that people are overwhelmingly concerned about the welfare of animals bred for meat, and would be willing to pay more each year for even a one-point increase on the happiness scale of the animals they eat."

The research, published in the journal Animal Welfare, suggests that for just a one point increase on the animal welfare scale consumers are willing to pay £5.24, £5.10 and £4.57 a year to improve the welfare of cattle, and pigs respectively.

Professor Bennett added: "We hope that our approach will be able to support future on farm animal welfare by explicitly showing the value people attribute to the welfare of farm animals."

Explore further: Birds 'weigh' peanuts and choose heavier ones

Related Stories

Wallowing in mud is more than just temperature control

May 02, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- While it is well accepted knowledge that pigs wallow in mud in order to regulate body temperature and keep cool, a new study published in Applied Animal Behavior Science shows that the wa ...

Research uncovers what increases chicken wellbeing

Oct 04, 2011

Researchers from the University of Bristol's School of Veterinary Sciences have concluded that the wellbeing of barn chickens is increased if they have activity objects, perches and other stimulation.

Frog dissections go virtual at California school

May 31, 2011

(AP) -- A Southern California high school is taking the scalpel to frog dissections in biology class as it becomes the first U.S. school to take up animal welfare supporters' offer of free anatomy software.

Recommended for you

Birds 'weigh' peanuts and choose heavier ones

May 23, 2015

Many animals feed on seeds, acorns or nuts. The common feature of these are that they have shells and there is no direct way to know what's inside. How do the animals know how much and what quality of food ...

Estuaries protect Dungeness crabs from deadly parasites

May 22, 2015

Parasitic worms can pose a serious threat to the Dungeness crab, a commercially important fishery species found along the west coast of North America. The worms are thought to have caused or contributed to ...

An evolutionary heads-up—the brain size advantage

May 22, 2015

A larger brain brings better cognitive performance. And so it seems only logical that a larger brain would offer a higher survival potential. In the course of evolution, large brains should therefore win ...

Our bond with dogs may go back more than 27,000 years

May 21, 2015

Dogs' special relationship to humans may go back 27,000 to 40,000 years, according to genomic analysis of an ancient Taimyr wolf bone reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on May 21. Earlier genome ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.