A Structural Equation Model of the Factors Influencing British Consumers’ Behaviour towards Animal Welfare
Results of national and pan-European consumer surveys and the growth in the demand for so-called “animal friendly” food products suggest that consumers within the European Union show a high level of concern for the welfare of farm animals. This paper analyses the determinants of British consumers’ behaviour towards animal welfare using structural equation models (SEM) with observed and latent variables. SEM is a statistical technique for testing and estimating relationships amongst variables, using a combination of statistical data and qualitative causal assumptions. We used a data set collected in 2005 through face-to-face interviews of 654 consumers in England. We analysed the range of statements in existing literature on consumers’ behaviour towards animal welfare and then used SEM to test and estimate these a priori determinants of behaviour. The models include observed and latent variables representing behaviour (stated purchases of free-range and organic chicken meat) and its underlying determinants (attitudes towards animal welfare and socio-economic factors). The models have an adequate overall fit to the data. The significance tests for the structural equation model on free-range chicken meat purchasing behaviour show socioeconomic group, education, attitudes towards animal welfare, reasons for buying chicken meat, access to information on animal welfare issues, number of children and price as significant determinants. All of these (with the exception of reasons for buying chicken meat) were found significant also in the model on organic chicken meat purchasing behaviour.
|Date of creation:||2009|
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