What symbolises a “good farmer” when it comes to farm animal welfare?

Belinda Vigors, F Wemelsfelder, AB Lawrence

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Abstract

The literature examining farmers' views of animal welfare is dominated by the study of cognitive and attitudinal factors. This overlooks how cultural processes can inform what farmers do and why they may be resistant to change when it comes to animal welfare. This paper applies the concept of the “good farmer” to explore how farmers' approaches to welfare are also informed by cultural processes and farmer identity. A more-than-representational lens was applied to an interview study of Scottish livestock farmers (n = 28). This illuminated a set of shared practices and principles idealised by farmers as indicative of good welfare and symbolic of a “good farmer”: care of the animal's physical body, care of the animal's physical environment, health management, happy–content animals, stock-keeping skills, objective decision-making, and animal productivity. We explore these in light of the existing “good farmer” literature, discuss how such ideals may impact farmers' welfare-related behaviours, and how supply chain demands may contribute to their restructuring.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-170
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Volume98
Early online date26 Feb 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - Feb 2023

Keywords

  • Farm animal welfare
  • Farmer identity
  • Good farmer
  • Good farming
  • More-than-representational

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