Societal concerns about pork and pork production and their relationships on the production system

E. Kanis, A.F. Groen, K.H. de Greef

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Pork producers in Western Europe more and more encounter a variety of societal concerns about pork and pork production. So far, however, producers predominantly focused on low consumer prices, therewith addressing just one concern. This resulted in an intensive and large-scale production system, decreasingly related to the area of farm land, and accompanied with increasing concerns about safety and healthiness of pork, animal welfare, environmental pollution, and others. An overview was given of possible concerns about West-European pork production with the consumers, citizens, and producers, and those concerns are traced back to the pork production system. The various kinds and qualities of information about the pork production system on which possible concerns are based have been worked out extensively in this paper. Knowledge about the aspects of pork production that can give rise to concerns can be used in two ways. First, the communication about those aspects towards consumers and citizens can be adjusted or extended to give them better possibilities to make food choices or to develop their own opinions about pork production. Second, producers could change the pork production system such that it better satisfies consumers and citizens. Such adaptations are well possible, as three pork quality schemes, which have been evaluated, illustrate. However, most of these adaptations can only be carried out at the cost of the present low consumer prices and will not occur spontaneously on a large scale. Therefore, accounting for the type and relevance of the concerns, legislation is necessary to address societal concerns in a balanced way such that pork production systems become acceptable for the majority of our society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-162
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • consumer concerns
  • perception
  • quality
  • meat

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