Attitudes of Dutch Citizens toward Sow Husbandry with Regard to Animals, Humans, and the Environment

Tamara Bergstra*, Henk Hogeveen, Erno Kuiper, Alfons G.J.M. Oude Lansink, Elsbeth N. Stassen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The pig industry is struggling with negative attitudes of people toward sow husbandry. To be able to respond to these attitudes, the pig industry first has to understand people’s attitudes. The first objective of this study was to determine the attitudes of Dutch people toward sow husbandry with regard to animals, humans, and the environment. The second objective was to group people based on their attitudes toward sow husbandry and determine and compare the socio-demographic characteristics of these groups. An online survey was conducted in the Netherlands and there were 1,607 respondents. On average, respondents had negative attitudes toward all issues defined in this study. The most negative attitudes were toward the effect on both animals and consumers of the use of antibiotics, the number of animals kept per square meter, the possibility for animals to go outside, food safety risks, public health risks, and environmental waste. The findings indicate the importance of considering all the issues identified in this study during the process of developing measures to improve people’s attitudes toward sow husbandry. Respondents could be divided into four clusters; each cluster represented different attitudes toward sow husbandry and had different socio-demographic characteristics. This makes it possible for the pig industry to assign people with specific socio-demographic characteristics to one of the clusters and predict their attitudes toward sow husbandry. Knowledge of these attitudes enables the pig industry to predict how different groups of people will respond to different animal welfare measures. Results of this study are therefore useful for the pig industry to help improve people’s attitudes toward sow husbandry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-211
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017



  • attitudes
  • clusters
  • people
  • sow husbandry

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