Citizens’ and farmers’ framing of ‘positive animal welfare’ and the implications for framing positive welfare in communication

Belinda Vigors

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)
59 Downloads (Pure)


Human perception can depend on how an individual frames information in thought and how information is framed in communication. For example, framing something positively, instead of negatively, can change an individual’s response. This is of relevance to ‘positive animal welfare’, which places greater emphasis on farm animals being provided with opportunities for positive experiences. However, little is known about how this framing of animal welfare may influence the perception of key animal welfare stakeholders. Through a qualitative interview study with farmers and citizens, undertaken in Scotland, UK, this paper explores what positive animal welfare evokes to these key welfare stakeholders and highlights the implications of such internal frames for effectively communicating positive welfare in society. Results indicate that citizens make sense of positive welfare by contrasting positive and negative aspects of welfare, and thus frame it as animals having ‘positive experiences’ or being ‘free from negative experiences’. Farmers draw from their existing frames of animal welfare to frame positive welfare as ‘good husbandry’, ‘proactive welfare improvement’ or the ‘animal’s point of view’. Implications of such internal frames (e.g., the triggering of ‘negative welfare’ associations by the word ‘positive’) for the effective communication of positive welfare are also presented
Original languageEnglish
Article number147
Pages (from-to)147
Number of pages22
Issue number4
Early online date4 Apr 2019
Publication statusPrint publication - 4 Apr 2019


  • Farmer perception
  • Citizen perception
  • Qualitative research
  • Free elicitation narrative interviews


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