Attitudes of slaughter industry personnel towards animal welfare

Ellie Wigham, Andrew Butterworth, Andrew Grist

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


It has been widely reported that human attitudes towards animals can have a significant influence on human-animal interactions. In the slaughter industry, where individual people often handle and dispatch hundreds of animals daily, attitudes towards animals can have an important effect on animal welfare and product quality.
This study was aimed at investigating attitudes of personnel working in the slaughter industry and the influences that gender, experience, role and previous welfare training may have on such attitudes. Between May 2017 and May 2018 all delegates attending the slaughter industry specific Animal Welfare Officer (AWO) and Poultry Welfare Officer (PWO) training courses run by the University of Bristol were invited to complete a questionnaire designed to collect both demographic and attitudinal information.
A preliminary analysis of 150 questionnaires was carried out using ordinal regression, Mann Whiney U-tests and Kruskal-Wallis tests. Female participants (n=43) had more positive views on animal welfare questions when compared to male participants (n=102), however there were no differences in empathy scores between the genders. Those respondents with previous AWO/PWO training (n=44) felt there was ‘greater value in animal welfare training’ than those who had not previously attended the course (n=106). Respondents whose work was in an enforcement position (n=26) reported the greatest degree of emotional detachment from their role. However, a person’s role did not significantly affect their empathy scores or views on animal welfare as assessed using the questionnaire. Time spent in the industry did not significantly influence any of the responses.
These preliminary findings suggest that gender has one of the most significant effects on attitudes of slaughter industry personnel towards animal welfare. It is interesting to note that none of the participants who handled animals on a daily basis were female, and the reasons for this may warrant further investigation. Having had previous welfare training positively influenced the perceived value of such training, suggesting that animal welfare training is viewed as a positive experience for personnel in the slaughter industry.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the First Annual Meeting
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2018
EventEuropean Congress of Behavioural Medicine and Animal Welfare - Berlin , Germany
Duration: 27 Sept 201829 Sept 2018


ConferenceEuropean Congress of Behavioural Medicine and Animal Welfare


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