The Human Perspective in Consumer Ethics and Animal Welfare Issues: Envisioning a Future for Change


  • Alessandro Bonadonna Department of Management, University of Turin, Turin, Italy and Research Center on Natural Risk in Mountain and Hilly Environment (NATRISK), University of Turin, Italy
  • Luigi Bollani Department of Esomas, University of Turin, Turin, Italy
  • Giovanni Peira Department of Management, University of Turin, Turin, Italy and Research Center on Natural Risk in Mountain and Hilly Environment (NATRISK), University of Turin, Italy



Animal welfare, sustainability, food diet, food consumption


Animal welfare has been a subject of interest for the European Union since the 1970s, with the definition of animal protection guidelines during international transport, on farms and for slaughter. However, the Legislator’s concern found its highest expression in the Animal Welfare Protocol of the Treaty of Amsterdam, where animals are defined as sentient beings, therefore worthy of attention in the policies developed by the European Union and its Member States. Nowadays, the interpretation of the animal welfare concept as an element that contributes to increasing profitability is also integrated by respect for the animal’s feelings and, consequently, the related different biological manifestations. Food scandals and diseases, on the one hand, and the emergence of a new approach to consumer ethics, on the other, have also strongly sensitized the European population about the importance of protecting animal welfare. Based on the above considerations, this study provides a framework to understand whether animal welfare should merely be considered as a product of EU strategies dedicated to the economic and competitive performance of agricultural and agro-industrial enterprises or whether it can also be assessed as a useful tool to minimize the environmental impact, through breeding practices and food habits, and therefore encourage more sustainable development.


Dudek H, Krawiec M, Koszela G. Are Changes in Food Consumption in the European Union Environmentally Friendly? Zeszyty Naukowe SGGW w Warszawie. Problemy Rolnictwa Światowego 2015; 15: 33-40.

Soares BB, Alves EC, Maranduba HL, da Silva FF, de Albuquerque Fernandes SA, et al. Effect of handling and feeding strategies in the environmental performance of buffalo milk in Northeastern Brazil. Int J Life Cycle Ass 2019; 24: 1129-1138.

Hu Y, Han Y, Zhang Y. Land desertification and its influencing factors in Kazakhstan. J Arid Environ 2020; 180: 104203.

Kuden AB. Climate change affects fruit crops. Acta Hortic 2020; 1281: 437-440.

UN. Our common future (Brundtland Report) [Internet]. UNWCED; 1987. Available from:

UN. Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development. From our origin to the future [Internet]. Available from:

Krajnc D, Glavič P. A model for integrated assessment of sustainable development. Resources, Conservation and Recycling 2005; 43: 189-208.

Peri C. Qualità: concetti e metodi. Milano: Franco Angeli editore, 1994.

Peri C. The universe of food quality, Food Qual Pref 2006; 17: 3-8.

Gaviglio A, Pirani A. Consumer Perception of Cured Pork Meats: The Added Value of the Organic Attribute. Czech J Food Sci 2015; 33: 32-36.

Guyomard H, Bouamra-Mechemache Z, Chatellier V, Delaby L, Détang-Dessendre C, et al. Review: Why and how to regulate animal production and consumption: The case of the European Union. Animal 2021; 15: 100283.

Vogeler CS, Hornung J, Bandelow NC. Farm animal welfare policymaking in the European Parliament: a social identity perspective on voting behaviour. Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning 2020; 22: 518-530.

Duarte R, Pinilla V, Serrano A. Globalization and natural resources: the expansion of Spanish agrifood trade and its impact on water consumption 1965-2010. Reg Environ Change 2016; 16: 259-272.

Malassis L. Politique agricole, politique alimentaire, politique agroalimentaire. Économie Rurale 1992; 211: 47-52.

Lamarque P, Lambin EF. The effectiveness of marked-based instruments to foster the conservation of extensive land use: The case of Geographical Indications in the French Alps. Land Use Policy 2015; 42: 706-717.

Wolff F, Schönherr N. The impact evaluation of sustainable consumption policy instruments. J Consum Policy 2011; 34: 43-66.

Cederberg C, Hedenus F, Wirsenius S, Sonesson U. Trends in greenhouse gas emissions from consumption and production of animal food products - Implications for long-Term climate targets. Animal 2013; 7: 330-340.

Watson M, Browne A, Evans D, Foden M, Hoolohan C, Sharp L. Challenges and opportunities for re-framing resource use policy with practice theories: The change points approach. Global Environ Chang 2020; 62: 102072.

Aschemann-Witzel J, Zielke S. Can’t Buy Me Green? A Review of Consumer Perceptions of and Behavior Toward the Price of Organic Food. J Consum Aff 2015.

Gerini F, Alfnes F, Schjoll A. Organic- and Animal Welfare-labelled Eggs: Competing for the Same consumers? J Agr Econ 2016; 67: 471-490.

Gracia A, De Magistris T. Consumer preferences for food labeling: What ranks first? Food Control 2016; 61: 39-46.

Bollani L, Peira G, Varese E, Nesi E, Pairotti MB, Bonadonna A. Labelling and sustainability in the green food economy: Perception among millennials with a good cultural back-ground. Review of Studies on Sustainability 2017; 2: 83-101.

Bollani L, Bonadonna A, Peira G. The millennials’ concept of sustainability in the food sector Sustainability 2019; 10(11): 2984.

Bollani L, Bonadonna A. Consumer ethics and animal welfare issues: changing the ‘human landscape’. In Food, Sustainability, Nutrition and Tourism. Tirana: International Academic Research Center Str. (IARC-ETQA Publishers); 2021.

Moresi M. Assessment of the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions in the food industry. Agro Food Ind Hi Tec 2014; 25: 53-62.

Westhoek H, Lesschen JP, Rood T, Wagner S, De Marco A, Murphy-Bokern D, et al. Food choices, health and environment: effects of cutting Europe’s meat and dairy intake. Global Environ Chang 2014; 26: 196-205.

Cavaliere A, Peri M, Banterle A. Vertical coordination in organic food chains: A survey based analysis in France, Italy and Spain. Sustainability 2016; 8(6): 569.

Schmitt E, Galli F, Menozzi D, Maye D, Touzard J, Marescotti A, et al. Comparing the sustainability of local and global food products in Europe. J Clean Prod 2017; 165: 346-359.

Vogeler CS. Why do farm animal welfare regulations vary between EU Member States? A comparative analysis of societal and party political determinants in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. J Common Mark Stud 2019; 57: 317-335.

Phillips CJ, Molento CF. Animal Welfare Centres: Are They Useful for the Improvement of animal Welfare? Animals 2020; 10: 877.

EU, Overview report Welfare of Cattle on Dairy Farms [Internet]. 2017. Available from: file:///C:/Users/abonadon/ Downloads/Final%20merged%20report.pdf

Ghione J, Matarrese AM, Ponzio R, Sardo P. Sondaggio sui Consumi di Carne e sul Benessere Animale Rivolto Ai Soci Slow Food Europei [Internet]. Bra: Slow Food; 2013. Available from:, accessed on 10 July 2020

Heng Y, Peterson HH, Li X. Consumer attitudes toward farm-animal welfare: The case of laying hens. J Agr Resour Econ 2013; 38: 418-434.

Sajdakowska M, Gębski J, Guzek D, Gutkowska K, Żakowska-Biemans S. Dairy products quality from a consumer point of view: Study among Polish adults. Nutrients 2020; 12: 1503.

Boaitey A, Minegishi K. Who are farm animal welfare conscious consumers? Brit Food J 2020.

Heerwagen LR, Mørkbak MR, Denver S, Sandøe P, Christensen T. The Role of Quality Labels in Market-Driven Animal Welfare. J Agric Environ Ethics 2015; 28: 67-84.

My NHD, Demont M, Van Loo EJ, De Guia A, Rutsaert P, Tuan TH, et al. What is the value of sustainably-produced rice? Consumer evidence from experimental auctions in Vietnam. Food Policy 2018; 79: 283-296.

Silva AG, Canavari M, Wander AE. Consumer preferences and willingness-to-pay for integrated production label on common beans. Economia Agro-Alimentare 2018; 20: 11-28.

Kirby DS, Visser C, Hanich Q. Assessment of eco-labelling schemes for Pacific tuna fisheries. Mar Policy 2014; 43: 132-142.

De Magistris T, Del Giudice T, Verneau F. The Effect of Information on Willingness to Pay for Canned Tuna Fish with Different Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Certification: A Pilot Study. J Consum Aff 2015; 49: 457-471.

EU. Evaluation of the EU Strategy on Animal Welfare (2012-2015) [Internet]. 2021. Available from: eu/animals/animal-welfare/evaluations-and-impact-assessment/evaluation-eu-strategy-animal-welfare_en

European Parliament. Animal welfare on the farm – ex-post evaluation of EU legislation: Prospects for animal welfare labelling at EU level [Internet]. 2021. Available from:

Silalertruksa T, Gheewala SH, Pongpat P, Kaenchan P, Permpool N, Lecksiwilai N, et al. Environmental sustainability of oil palm cultivation in different regions of Thailand: Greenhouse gases and water use impact. J Clean Prod 2018; 167: 1009-1019.

Caputo V, Vassilopoulos A, Nayga RMJ, Canavari M. Welfare effects of food miles labels. J Consum Aff 2013; 47: 311-327.

Bazzani C, Canavari M. Is local a matter of food miles or food traditions? Ital J Food Sci 2017; 29: 505-517.

De Magistris T, Gracia A, Barreiro-Hurle J. Do consumers care about European food labels? An empirical evaluation using best-worst method. Brit Food J 2017; 119: 2698-2711.

Moresi M. Assessment of the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions in the food industry. Agro Food Industry Hi-Tech 2014; 25(3): 53-62.

Moresi M, Valentini R. Dieta Mediterranea e impatto ambientale. Ind Aliment-Italy 2010; 502: 9-20.

Pairotti MB, Cerutti AK, Martini F, Vesce E, Padovan D, Beltramo R. Energy consumption and GHG emission of the Mediterranean diet: a systemic assessment using a hybrid LCA-IO method. J Clean Prod 2015; 103: 507-516.

Kwiatkowska E. The influence of the parents’ education on the frequency of vegetable and fruit consumption by their children. Annals of the National Institute of Hygiene 2010; 61: 179-182

Gheribi E. Consumption of fruit and vegetable in Polish households in the period of 2004–2008. Scientific Journal of Warsaw University of Life Sciences-SGGW Economics 2012; 95: 67-77.

De Boer J, Aiking H. Considering how farm animal welfare concerns may contribute to more sustainable diets. Appetite 2022; 168: 105786.

Janssen M, Busch C, Rodiger M, Hamm U. Motives of consumers following a vegan diet and their attitudes towards animal agriculture. Appetite 2016; 105: 643e651.

Stanco M, Lerro M. Consumers' preferences for and perception of CSR initiatives in the wine sector. Sustainability 2020; 12: 5230.

Stampa E, Schipmann-Schwarze C, Hamm U. Consumer perceptions, preferences, and behavior regarding pasture-raised livestock products: A review. Food Qual Prefer 2020; 82: 103872.

Lioutas ED, Charatsari C. Smart farming and short food supply chains: Are they compatible? Land Use Policy 2020; 94: 104541.

Fernandes JN, Hemsworth PH, Coleman GJ, Tilbrook AJ. Costs and benefits of improving farm animal welfare. Agriculture 2021; 11(104): 1-14.

Rivero MJ, Lee MRF. A perspective on animal welfare of grazing ruminants and its relationship with sustainability. Anim Prod Sci 2022.

Yeh CH, Hartmann M. To purchase or not to purchase? Drivers of consumers’ preferences for animal welfare in their meat choice. Sustainability 2021; 13(16): 9100.

Chen M, Hu E, Kuen LL, Wu L. Study on Consumer Preference for Traceable Pork With Animal Welfare Attribute. Front Psychol 2021; 12: 675554.

Infascelli L, Tudisco R, Iommelli P, Capitanio F. Milk quality and animal welfare as a possible marketing lever for the economic development of rural areas in southern Italy. Animals 2021; 11: 1059.

Jiang R, Sharma C, Bryant R, Mohan MS, Al-Marashdeh O, Harrison R, et al. Animal welfare information affects consumers’ hedonic and emotional responses towards milk. Food Res Int 2021; 141: 110006.

Vukina T, Nestic D. Paying for animal welfare? A hedonic analysis of egg prices. Agribusiness 2020; 36: 613-630.

Xu L, Yang X, Wu L, Chen X, Chen L, Tsai FS. Consumers’ willingness to pay for food with information on animal welfare, lean meat essence detection, and traceability. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2019; 16: 3616.

Frey UJ, Pirscher F. Willingness to pay and moral stance: The case of farm animal welfare in Germany. PLoS ONE 2018; 13: e0202193.

Achabou MA. Is animal welfare a central issue for consumers of luxury goods? Nat Resour Forum 2021; 45: 18-36.

Rubini G, Nannoni E, Di Pasquale J, Martelli G, Sardi L. Update on animal welfare perception by italian consumers: A descriptive survey. Italian J Food Sci 2021; 10: 9588.

Alonso ME, González-Montaña JR, Lomillos JM. Consumers’ concerns and perceptions of farm animal welfare. Animals 2020; 10: 385.

Tomasevic I, Bahelka I, Čítek J, Čandek-Potokar M, Djekić I, Getya A, et al. Attitudes and beliefs of Eastern European consumers towards animal welfare. Animals 2020; 10(1220): 1-18.

Estévez-Moreno LX, Miranda-de la Lama GC, Miguel-Pacheco GG. Consumer attitudes towards farm animal welfare in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia: A segmentation-based study. Meat Sci 2022; 187: 108747.

Washio T, Ohashi T, Saijo M. What Promotes Intention? Factors Influencing Consumers’ Intention to Purchase Animal-Welfare Friendly Beef in Japan. Comm Com Inf Sc 2020; 1297: 536-549.

Kitano S, Mitsunari Y, Yoshino A. The impact of information asymmetry on animal welfare-friendly consumption: Evidence from milk market in Japan. Ecol Econ 2022; 191: 107230.

Heinola K, Kauppinen T, Niemi JK, Wallenius E, Raussi S. Comparison of 12 different animal welfare labeling schemes in the pig sector. Animals 2021; 11: 2430.

More SJ, Marchewka J, Hanlon A, Balzani A, Boyle L. An evaluation of four private animal health and welfare standards and associated quality assurance programmes for dairy cow production. Food Policy 2021; 105: 102169.

Sonesson UG, Lorentzon K, Andersson A, Barr U-K, Bertilsson J, Borch E, et al. Paths to a sustainable food sector: integrated design and LCA of future food supply chains: the case of pork production in Sweden. Int J Life Cycle Assess 2016; 21: 664-676.

Eurobarometer. Attitudes of Europeans towards Animal Welfare [Internet]. March 2016. Available from:




How to Cite

Bonadonna, A., Bollani, L., & Peira, G. (2022). The Human Perspective in Consumer Ethics and Animal Welfare Issues: Envisioning a Future for Change. Journal of Advances in Management Sciences & Information Systems, 8, 1–10.