For the sake of production - and the animal, and me. How students at Danish agricultural colleges perceive animal welfare

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Farmers’ perceptions of animal welfare have been found to affect the way they treat their animals, and there is growing awareness of the range of ethical views today’s farmers take on animal welfare. The purpose of this study was to examine how perceptions of animal welfare develop among prospective farmers and farm workers in Denmark during their studies at agricultural colleges. We also examined the experiences of college teachers and their views on the inclusion of animal welfare in livestock courses. Drawing on individual interviews and focus group interviews at four Danish agricultural colleges, we used systematic text condensation to identify three major themes among the students: 1. The importance of balancing welfare and productivity, 2. Concerns about the animal itself, 3. Concerns relating to the students themselves. Our interviews with teachers revealed a growing awareness of the inclusion of animal welfare in Danish agricultural colleges, but also disagreements over the way animal welfare should be understood. We conclude that the education of future farmers in Danish agricultural colleges today embraces animal welfare but should leave more room in the future to introduce students to the issue of market-driven welfare and consumer interest in animal-friendly production.

Original languageEnglish
Article number696
Issue number3
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • Agricultural colleges, Animal welfare, Danish, Education, Farm workers, Perceptions

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