OSU Food Demand Survey Shows Nearly Half of Americans Support Banning Slaughterhouses Yet 90% of Population Eats MeatMon, 22 Jan 2018 07:43:18 CST
Oklahoma State University’s Agricultural Economics Department released the summary report of the January 2018 edition of the Food Demand Survey (FooDS) this week. According to it, willingness-to-pay (WTP) increased for deli ham and chicken wings, but decreased for steak, chicken breast, hamburger, and pork chops. WTP for hamburger saw the largest percent decrease among meat products compared to one month ago. WTP for all food products is lower than one year ago.
Expenditures on food eaten at home increased 2.72% from December to January and expenditures on food purchased away from home increased 3.99%. Consumers expect a decrease in chicken, beef, and pork prices compared to one month ago. Consumers plan to buy more chicken and slightly less beef and pork compared to last month. Plans to eat out decreased compared to last month.
Taste, safety, and price remained consumers’ most important values when purchasing food this month. Consumers’ food values remained similar to those in past months. Similar to last month, consumers reported that their main challenge was finding affordable foods that fit within their budget.
Several new ad hoc questions were added to this month’s survey regarding consumer’s attitudes towards animal farming and animal-free food. The ad hoc questions were motivated from a recent survey by the Sentience Institute, where 42% of Americans agreed with the statement ‘I support a ban on slaughterhouses’ despite the fact that more than 90% of Americans eat meat regularly. To test the reliability of the survey results and if Americans understood the question, FooDS replicated the Sentience Institute survey almost exactly and found even more Americans, 47%, in our survey said they wanted to ban slaughterhouses.
The responses to the other questions asked in the Sentience Institute survey were about the same also. About 56% of participants stated they strongly agreed with the statement “Whether to eat animals or be vegetarian is a personal choice, and nobody has the right to tell me which one they think I should do”. About 61% of participants in the Sentience Institute survey stated they strongly agreed. About 56% of participants stated they disagree with the statement “I support a ban on animal farming”. About 60% of participants in the Sentience Institute’s survey stated they disagree.
Dr. Bailey Norwood, who is the lead on the monthly survey that is released by the OSU Ag Economics Department, offers some insight into the numbers of people who eat meat but say they want to end the use of slaughter houses. "About 47% of participants agreed with the statement “I support a ban on slaughterhouses”. Participants who agreed with this statement were asked a follow-up question: “Were you aware that slaughterhouses are where livestock are killed and processed into meat, such that, without them, you would not be able to consume meat?” Approximately 73% of participants stated, yes, they are aware that slaughterhouses are where livestock are killed and processed into meat.
"Suppose we take the 27.1% of individuals who did not apparently understand what a slaughterhouse is, and we change their answer to the statement ‘I support a ban on slaughterhouses’ from ‘yes’ to ‘no’. That still leaves about 34% of Americans saying they wish to ban slaughterhouses.
"There are a number of reasons this this 34% is an overestimate. A number of questions that came before this question (e.g., “I have some discomfort with the way animals are used in the food industry”) might cause people to be less pro-meat than they really are. Had the survey began with questions like “I eat meat on a regular basis” and “Meat is a healthy food” it is likely the responses would have been different. However, this is not a criticism of the Sentience Institute survey, but a bias inherent in most surveys (including FooDS).
"Even after acknowledging these inherent biases, the 34% number is very high, much higher than we expected.
"This month’s FooDS survey shows, however, that the results by the Sentience Institute survey was not due to a bias sample or flawed methodology. Even though most Americans eat meat, they also do not like the idea of slaughterhouses.
"This provides a teachable moment on the use of survey responses. However useful they are, people will state attitudes in surveys that run contrary to their behaviors in the real world. That said, surveys can sometimes tell us more about what consumers want in their social and political institutions than their individual behaviors."
To take a look at the complete summary report of this month’s edition of the FooDS Survey for more highlights, click or tap here.
Source - Oklahoma State University
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