Consumer perceptions of precision livestock farming—a qualitative study in three european countries

Krampe, Caspar; Serratosa, Jordi; Niemi, Jarkko K.; Ingenbleek, Paul T.M.


Scholars in the fields of animal science and technology have investigated how precision livestock farming (PLF) can contribute to the quality and efficiency of animal husbandry and to the health and welfare of farm animals. Although the results of such studies provide promising avenues for the development of PLF technologies and their potential for the application in animal husbandry, the perspectives of consumers with regard to PLF technologies have yet to be the subject of much investigation. To address this research gap, the current study explores consumer perceptions of PLF technologies within the pork and dairy value chains. The investigation is based on results from six focus group discussions conducted in three European countries, each reflecting a different market environment: Finland, the Netherlands and Spain. The results indicate that consumers expect the implementation of different PLF technologies to enhance the health and welfare of farm animals, while generating environmental improvements and increasing the transparency of value-chain processes. The analysis further reveals three over-arching consumer concerns: (1) the fear that the integration of PLF technologies will introduce more industrialisation into livestock farming production; (2) the concern that PLF technologies and data are vulnerable to misuse and cyber-crime; and (3) the concern that PLF information is not communicated adequately to allow informed purchase decisions. The research findings provide directions for members of the animal-based food value chain to make informed decisions to improve their sustainability, social responsibility and credibility by endorsing the acceptance of PLF (technologies) amongst European consumers.