Analyzing the perceptions of the general public with regard to meat production in the U.S.: A spotlight on pork production and the impacts of the Fair Oaks Farms' Pig Adventure

Ann M Cummins, Purdue University


Consumers have an increasing amount of information available to them while make purchasing decisions for livestock products. This information increasingly includes both production and product components. It is evident that along with this increasing amount of available information consumers also have an increased interest in farming practices associated with the rearing of livestock. Therefore, it is important to have an increased understanding in consumer’s perceptions and level of concern for production attributes, such as animal welfare, relative to product attributes such as taste and price. This analysis examines United States residents’ demographics, knowledge, sources of information, and perceptions on livestock rearing practices. This analysis reveals that the majority believe that the agriculture industry is important in the state they reside. This analysis also shows that production practices for the rearing of pigs that are of concern to consumers include the housing practices at different stages of production, particularly in crates. In addition, this analysis examines people’s choices when making forced tradeoffs between pork attributes (which include both production attributes, such as animal welfare, and product attributes, such as price and taste). Correlations were used to provide insight in terms of the importance of several different factors including consumer demographics, knowledge level and agritourism participation in relation to these forced tradeoffs. This analysis found that animal welfare was third most important (from the attributes studied) and that shares of preference for animal welfare were positively correlated with lifestyle factors such as owning a cat or dog.




Olynk Widmar, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Agricultural economics

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