Irish cattle farmers’ experiences and perceptions of negative framing of farm animal welfare in the media

A. Duley*, M. Connor, B. Vigors

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Increased urbanisation in recent decades has created a knowledge gap between farming and the Irish public. Mainstream media has begun filling this gap through reports on farm animal welfare (FAW) incidents that sometimes frame farming in a negative way. This negative framing can influence how farmers perceive the information communicated in these media stories and colour their experiences. Furthermore, perceived societal pressures may contribute to farmers feeling overwhelmed or negatively impact their mental health. In the context of FAW, the latter is particularly relevant as poor farmer mental health has been associated with poorer animal welfare. However, little is known about how the negative framing of FAW stories influence farmers’ perceptions and experiences. The aim of this study was to explore how negatively framed media stories about FAW incidents affect cattle farmers’ perceptions of animal welfare. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with seven Irish beef and dairy farmers using vignettes displaying negatively framed FAW incidents presented in the media. Five themes were identified: (1) job satisfaction and motivation, (2) impact on the human–animal relationship, (3) the importance of community, (4) negative portrayal of farmers and (5) need for FAW education. Findings suggest that negative framing of FAW in the media, as well as rural restructuring in Ireland, may negatively affect farmers’ motivation which could have indirect implications for the welfare of their animals.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalIrish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research
Early online date4 Nov 2022
Publication statusFirst published - 4 Nov 2022


  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology
  • Food Science


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