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Farmed Animals

 

Consumer Beliefs Regarding Farmed versus Wild Fish

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This marketing study used focus groups and surveys across Spain to identify why consumers prefer wild-caught fish to farmed fish. Consumers preferred wild fish on quality measures, but did not perceive a difference between the safety of wild and farmed fish, a change from previous research. They also perceived farmed fish as cheaper and more available. Environmental or animal welfare buying considerations were not included in the study.



Sustainability and Animal Protection – How Do They Intersect, Where Do They Collide?

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In this conference abstract and slide presentation, the author explores the spectrum of sustainability concepts, and their relationship to animal protection. Placing ecologically-based sustainability at one end of the spectrum, and sustainable development at the other, the author defines key questions to differentiate when sustainability is and is not an animal-friendly concept. She also discusses the complex ethical bases of the environmental and animal protection movements, and critiques the increased impact on animals of "Green Economy" sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region.


Sustainability Labels on Food Products: Consumer Motivation, Understanding and Use

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People in six European countries were surveyed on whether sustainability labels on food products affected purchase decisions. Some demographic groups demonstrated greater concern or understanding about sustainability issues than others, but these differences did not translate into action. Respondents based buying decisions primarily on nutritional labeling and price, regardless of their level of concern about sustainability issues. However, high concern was more likely to translate into behavior in some countries than others, suggesting a focus for future research.


Protective Mother Hens: Cognitive Influences on the Avian Maternal Response

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In this study, researchers tested whether hens could extrapolate from their own experience to perceive risk to their chicks, even when the chicks themselves perceived no threat. They conditioned hens to associate a particular box with startling puffs of air, and then measured their heart rate, comb and eye temperature, vocalization, and behavior when they saw chicks who had and had not received the same conditioning entered the box. They found that hens do respond when their chicks are in the proximity of risks known to the hens, but not the chicks. Hens respond even more intensely when the chicks are also aware of a threat.



A child raised to weigh 500 pounds by age 10?

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In observance of Respect for Chickens Day, with the kind permission of Harish Sethu, we are reblogging this September 2013 article from his Counting Animals blog: "It is reasonable to expect an average 10-year old child to weigh about 80 pounds. What if someone willfully raised a child to weigh over 500 pounds by her 10th birthday?" If you ever wondered how to craft statistics into a compelling and accessible message, read on.


The Dying Animal

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This paper calls for more attention within the field of bioethics to animal death, and to the implications of related research for animal welfare. Animals' awareness of, and behavior in reaction to death, including death of humans and other animals, and anticipation of their own death is discussed. The author also cites research on animal emotions, empathy, social bonds, and grieving to argue that death is a psychological as well as a physical harm. In addition, she examines techniques and justifications for euthanasia, and questions whether a different term should be used for death administered to end animal suffering when the suffering was caused by experimentation.

Efforts to Overcome Vegetarian-Induced Dissonance Among Meat Eaters

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In this psychological study, the author identifies and discusses 8 ways meat eaters reduce cognitive dissonance (conflicting beliefs) related to their meat-eating behavior. These mechanisms were measured after vegetarianism had been mentioned in passing (or not) to meat-eaters, and increases did occur. The author concludes that some campaigns to reduce meat-eating may actually increase entrenchment in meat-eating justifications. The discomfort these reactions create for vegetarians may also make it more difficult to remain vegetarian.


Climate Change and its Impact on Parasitic Zoonotic Diseases

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This brief conference abstract discusses the impact of climate change on parasitic diseases that can be transmitted between humans and another species (known as "zoonotic" diseases). In addition to direct effects due to disrupted ecological balances, socioeconomic impacts of climate change can promote transmission of parasitic diseases. Zoonotic conditions known to be affected by climate change are listed, and the author calls for more research to identify additional conditions, risk factors, and vectors (carriers), and to develop prevention strategies and treatment protocols.



A Sustainable Approach to Research and Advocacy

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Seeing the big picture is complicated. Research to measure and predict outcomes is an indispensable tool in the development of sustainable policies. Like any tool, it’s up to us what we build (or tear down) with it. A compartmentalized mindset has become the accepted standard, in advocacy as well as in research. But is compartmentalization sustainable?


Biomass Use, Production, Feed Efficiencies, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Global Livestock Systems

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This article from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences introduces a 120-page appendix describing animal distribution, biomass consumption (feed), farm size and practices, and animal-related greenhouse gas emissions in global "livestock" farming. The report is presented as a baseline dataset for environmental and agricultural decisions. Animal advocates may wish to address its assumptions that animal farming is key to food security, and that conversion to western-style factory farming best reduces its environmental impacts in the developing world. The comparison of "feed efficiency" in meat vs. dairy production may also be of interest.

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